Tag Archives: Health

Being sensible with Herbal remedies


Careful taking herbal remedies


BELEM, BRAZIL - JUNE 07: Amazonian herbal reme...

BELEM, BRAZIL – JUNE 07: Avoid Street displays like this



Sadly, many of the most efficient cancer drugs aren’t  very nice to take – so we end up either being resentful as we dutifully swallow our prescribed drugs – but not very willingly.

Or, ditching drugs altogether and going for old-fashioned alternatives.

But before we take alternatives, we should ensure that these medicines are not going to give us as many problems.

Some herbs can be very, very powerful, and even kill us if we mis-use them.

What’s best for us

Sadly, as a medical writer I get numerous claims of XXXXX herbs that can cure cancer.  They can’t.

Believe me, if there was a real Herbal cure for cancer, even though the drug companies might not like this, Governments are spending too much money on cancer treatment to ignore this.  But as so often happens, yet another claim of a ‘miracle’ plant bites the dust, and the world goes back to searching again.

But many people believe that herbal remedies can help mitigate the side effects of drugs, so if you want to take these:

a)  take your Oncologist’s advi ce

b) then ask the advi ce of a Pharmacist who understands the power of herbal medicine.

Better still, after you have taken sensible advice, go for products grown and supplied by one of the traditional companies that has a good reputation in this field – not one that has come on the scene from some country with a supposed reputation for medicine – but no actual backing or basis for their prescribing.

  •  Has it a good record?  Some companies have been going for 200 years
  •  Has it has an advisory committee overseeing products?
  •  Is it is proud of its traditions, guarding these jealously?
  • So look for a herbal company that has a good track record, as is sold in a specialist pharmacy such as Lloyds or Boots.
  • One such firm is the 200 year old firm of Potters Herbals, whose products are stocked in major specialist pharmacies, where the pharmacists understand herbal medicines.

Recently I saw a copy of their report Health of the Nation, which is a fascinating account of different major problems that affect our health – from coughs to lack of sleep.

Plants can be powerful!

  • Don’t let Foxgloves fool you;  like many plants and herbs, they are very pretty.  (see left).

Herbs gathered from plants are powerful:  aspirin is made from white willow;  morphine and codeine are made from the opium poppy – and the favourite for medieaval poisoners was the attractive foxglove (digitalis).

But  company such as Potters has a reputation to safeguard.  For many major worres today, from digestive problems to stress, they have an old-fashioned herbal remedy.  Our ancestors seemed to do well on these, and prescribed by someone who understands their interaction with anything else you can take, they may well provide a gentler solution than taking a drug.

Sometimes drugs are necessary – but have a look through this report and see if there is a solution that makes sense.  As they rightly say, “routinely popping pills isn’t necessarily the answer to safeguarding everyone’s health.  Natural ingredients can play a powerful contribution to health by working effectively, and generally they also have fewer side effects.

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Celebration for nails too!



When Kensington Town Hall hosted an inspirational Cancer Well-Being Event, this incorporated a mixture of information and hands on therapy sessions. This event was a celebration of life, with those attending delivering a pro life message in a big way.

As part of the relaxing therapy zone sessions, nailtiques’ mini manicures; targeting the adverse effects of intensive medication such as dry, brittle nails had people flooding to the stall, technicians suggested the perfect balance of proteins and conditioners to improve nail quality.

For over 20 years nailtiques has been providing treatments for those with problem nails caused not only by prolonged illness but also ageing and negligent care. For the majority of females visiting the stall it was about regaining their femininity, no more seeing life’s little luxuries as an indulgence but a necessity to their well-being.

Guest’s were very excited to find nailtiques samples in their goodie bags. A range of treatments were advised to them during an individual consultation and guests found samples to suit and take home.

All Formulas were recommend on a personal basis

  • Formula 1 advised to those looking to maintain a healthy nail building upon its already present strength
  • Formula 2 specially developed to improve soft, peeling and weak nails, stimulating rapid growth
  • Formula 3, getting results for hard, dry or ridged nails.

The day was a great success with nailtiques coming prepared with product and expert advice on nail care. Event organiser, Ijeoma Igwume said “I am overwhelmed by the fun that was had at the nailtiques stall. The consultations were a genuine opportunity to indulge these highly courageous individuals. It’s been a roaring success, we were busy all afternoon and it was a huge bonus to have nailtiques involved with fab treatments.”

Liz Kilpatrick, Educator and nailtiques specialist, was hard at work in her tiny corner.  The organisers wanted to offer lots of room, but the event was so popular that Liz and the other therapists were crowded in their corner, to fit everyone in.

But Liz carried on without a break, commenting, “I’m so proud that nailtiques were able to be involved; it’s such a worthwhile cause. There was a real sense of living for the here and now, when life threw them a curve ball they grabbed it with both hands.”

The timetable included humorous speeches as well as a vibrant display of African Dance- so associated with the bustling carnivals and a natural beauty perfectly setting the tone of such as inspiring event.

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Is Lansley deaf?



The National Health Service Norfolk and Norwic...

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We have all tried to tell Lansley he is going about NHS reforms using a sledge hammer that is out of control – but he doesn’t  seem to be listening.

LaLa wanders around with a smug smile on his face, but when brave campaigners have tried to put their point across, he just pushes past without paying any attention.

Two years ago, I was one who said that the NHS needed to save money, and welcomed the idea of reform.  One only had to step over the doorstep of almost any NHS centre to realise that joined-up thinking was often lacking, and stupid rules and regulations were costing money.

BUT – living in London, I began to realise that the Post Code Lottery is rife;  ‘new’ ways of saving money are designed to save money for a NHS centre, but not for the service overall, GPs are sitting on referral letters – I went to mine for a referral in August;  in October I asked what was happening and was asked, “do you still want it?”.  The referral was finally sent off on January 25th.

So there is ONE FINAL petition that you might like to sign.  It doesn’t cost anything – and might be the proverbial straw – miracles sometimes happen!


Cancer Survivors' event to be held in London


 Monday, March 26th 2012

 Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall, Small Hall

 3 – 7 pm

 Cancer Survivors often speak of feeling  ‘abandoned’ once they leave hospital.  This Event aims to show survivors that there are organisations, services and people out there willing and ready to offer help and advice’  improving quality and wellbeing of life for survivors after cancer.

This is a FUN event with a serious purpose – to show cancer survivors, carers, nurses, medical staff, doctors etc. just what is available in the Borough.

Local Companies have donated spot prizes and raffle prizes ~

first was Chelsea FC Foundation with a football signed by their players


Stalls on :

–       Rare Cancers         Prostate Cancer     Breast Cancer         Cancer Support centres

       Free Prescription information stall     Financial advisory stalls  –   Welfare Benefits department (DWP)

–       Citizens advice bureau            Macmillan               Cancer champions

–       Advocacy advisory groups (e.g. Age concern, Advice now, RBKC, Welfare directory)

–       Travel Insurance           Skin care products          Cook and taste demonstration session- Nutritionist

–       Reflexology         Equipment specialist          Lingerie           Health trainer and exercise advice

 –       Medical Tattoos. Wigs  – and more.    (Warning – due to other commitments if a stall can’t participate, we have others to take their pla

Organisers:  Verite Reily Collins,   Paula Murphy, Ijeoma Igwama, Gaenor Holland Williams

Information : http://www.Rbkclink.org or www.after-cancer.com

English: Kenneth Ferrie's golfbag, detail: Flo...

Daffoidils spell Spring Wikipedia

Or contact; Ijeoma Igwume at http://www.kclink@hestia.org


0208 969 4852


Or :  Verite Reily Collins 020 7351 4434  verite@greenbee.net









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Laugh 'til it Heals

Christine K. Clifford

comes up with

another winner


Never one to miss a good opportunity to laugh whilst having cancer treatment, Christine Clifford believes in a certain Dr. Siegel, who said,

“show me a patient who is able to laugh and play… and I will show you someone who is going to live longer”.

And throughout her new book she comes up with one-liners, two-liners and lots-of-liners that make you laugh out loud, from

Shouldn’t they call it a HERSterectomy?

to one that pokes gentle fun at doctors who consider themselves superior beings, via a description of The Pope:

His Holiness is at the Pearly Gates, not best pleased at having to wait in line.  He sees a man with a stethoscope walk to the head of the queue, and to his astonishment he is let in before everyone else.

He demands to know why the Guardian Angel allows doctors in before him.

The Angel answers, “that was no doctor.  That was God.  He just liked to pretend he is a doctor”.

And whenever you come across one of those pompous beings, I can promise you you will remember Christine’s story – and smile.

Or there was the woman who woke up and thought she was dead.  Why?  Because nothing hurts.  (We can all smile at that).  Or I let out a loud laugh when I read about the woman who insisted she wanted Whoopee cushions placed on the pews at her funeral.

Laughing all the way – that’s the best medicine.

Laugh ’til it Heals  by Christine K. Clifford





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Winter weather needs good skincare

Now is the time to

Up your skin protection


Watford. Gated Road through Park after some sn...

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For the next few months we are going to be faced with scenes like this……

And this type of weather is not good for our skin, particularly if we are on pills which block off our body’s defense mechanisms.

So now is the time to stock up on goodies that help us defend our skin – and gives us protection from winds and cold.

So here are some Hero products to use in the battle against winter. Continue reading

Looking after your hands

Mini-treat comes to the rescue


Known as a ’60 second Fix for Hands’, this Crabtree & Evelyn’s Citron gift box is available in two versions;  a big box costing £24, but is also available in a mini version costing £8.

I was mooching around Tescos trying to think of a present to cheer up a friend having chemo, when I suddenly saw a dinky little box.  It was just the right size for her to pop into her handbag, and take with her whilst she sits in the ‘chemo chair’.

Originally made for gardeners, but just right for anyone suffering from horrible skin with chemo, the 60 second fix consists of a hand scrub with pumice, ideal to get rid of nasty hang nails, ‘spare’ skin and rough bits;  and a lovely hand cream to smooth on and keep hands soft.

All set up in a little bag so you don’t have to wrap it!

Get this at major Tesco stores, or


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GP surgery with ideas for others to copy



Patients living near Measham, in Derbyshire,  have access to this user-friendly GP surgery.

Although Measham is in the country (near villages with names such as No Mans Heath and Snorestone), the surgery offers services that are an example to inner-city surgeries – with all the access and no TLC on offer.

For instance, They have a patient shuttle bus (see photo) – a first.

Cancer Care service, with a cancer nurse – oh – that my inner-city surgery offered this!

Home Visits for certain patients (anyone remember those?)

And offer what they call Mixed Surgeries:

As they say, “We are now running a new type of surgery, called a mixed surgery, which offers a variety of appointments so that you can choose the type that best suits you.

The appointments you can choose from are:

Telephone consultation : where the Doctor will call you at an agreed time on a either a landline or mobile number. These appointments are appropriate if you do not require an examination or need to see the Doctor face to face. If you need to come to the Surgery after speaking to the Doctor then the Doctor has appointments available for that day or later in the week.

5 minute express appointment: an express appointment is appropriate for the discussion of one easy straightforward problem that can be dealt with in 5 minutes. An express appointment is not appropriate for dealing with complicated or ongoing problems.

10 minute routine appointment : a routine appointment is appropriate for ongoing or more complicated matters.

We are still providing all other types of surgeries such as antenatal and gynae appointments, diabetic clinics, infant welfare, minor operations, extended out of hours, Saturday morning emergency surgeries and HGV medicals.

We hope that the introduction of mixed surgeries provides you with more flexibility and convenience as well as offering you a choice of appointments”.

What else do they offer?

There is a whole list of the things this caring surgery offers – and what caught my eye were:

Travel Clinic: well done;  along with sensible advice on the time you should allow for certain vaccinations to take effect (they say allow up to ten weeks), they also offer rabies preventative vaccination.  With this horrible disease coming nearer and nearer to Britain, it makes sense for anyone going camping in Europe (especially in France and behind the ‘old’ Iron Curtain) to have this.

Patient Shuttle Bus:  patients often come from many small villages with no transport.  But thanks to a generous donation from a patient, Barbara Boardman-Weston, it now has its own fully-adapted bus to pick up disabled and elderly patients and bring them in to the surgery.

Campaigns:  this surgery obviously believes in supporting its community, and the website has details of a successful campaign locally to save a service.

Aspirin:  with all that is being written about aspirin in the media, there is sensible advice about what you should know.

Carers sessions.

Amenity Fund to lend items of equipment.  This is funded by donations from patients.

Intercare that distributes those medicines which we are told to stop taking.

This last service seems such a good idea.  How often are we told  ‘I am changing your medication.  Stop taking XXX”  and you wonder why you are supposed to throw money away along with the pills you are no longer prescribed.  Well, at this surgery they distribute them abroad – such a good idea.

To see more, and get ideas of services you might like to suggest for your surgery:


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Carol Smillie and using seaweed to zap spots


When spots make your life a misery, simple

seaweed can offer help

Undergoing cancer treatment, some people are incredibly lucky.  The drugs they take dry up their skin from inside – making spots shrivel up and disappear.

For others, the spots go on, and there seem to be a constant supply of new zits and blackheads making life a misery.  For some even unluckier people, they suddenly develop crops of spots, and can’t get rid of them.

There is hope

Scientists have discovered a new use for seaweed, and it is helping clear up skins that suffer from these nasties.

Recently Carol Smillie and her daughter Christie were showing off their skins after using the new seaweed-based Oxy products to help control spot outbreaks.

Oxy Tube with fresh looking packaging

Produced by the Mentholatum company, (makers of Deep Heat and Regenovex), their scientists have been harnessing seaweed off the shores of Brittany, as a basis for the Oxy range.

Now Oxy products are being sold in major chemists – alongside their topical gels  such as Deep Freeze and Regenovex.  These do a good job of helping relieve pain and help mega-precious footballers – and cancer patients with aching joints.  So the ‘stable’ is a good one.

Dealing with Spots

We all think acne is something we get in our teens, and hope to grow out of.  Now, this company own the OXY brand of topical skincare treatments, designed to tackle spots, blackheads and excess oil.

For those of us with cancer – spots can be a horrid reminder of our teens as the spots make their unwelcome appearance again.

Seaweed – is this the new miracle ingredient?

Scientists are now using new methods to combat spots, and and a lot of research has gone into using seaweed to combat these nasties.

As a plant, I have been watching seaweed for some time;  it is probably the latest ‘miracle’ ingredient, judging by the uses companies are finding for those long tendrils.  A friend living in Brighton gathers the squishy brown tendrils when she goes for shore walks, then brings them home to add to her bath.  Soaking in the warm, seaweed infused water certainly gives her a gorgeous skin.

This time it is the Laminar or Laminaire (below) variety of seaweed the scientists are using, and also a type of brown seaweed that is helpful – but to get the benefits you need to do a bit more with it than just soak in the bath.

Those clever people at Mentholatum have been working with this at a works by the seashore in Brittany, France, and have now come up with Oxy skincare products that have proven very successful in trials.

I suppose I am lucky – my skin just dried out from cancer drugs, but sitting next to me at the Oxy product launch was a friend who had had  horrendous spots as a result of cancer drugs, and she was saying what a benefit it had been.

Celebrity Trials

Another one who is keen on this product is Carol Smillie, and her very pretty teenage daughter Christie.

Carol says “the fact that some of its key ingredient properties come from seaweed ……. I much prefer the thought that as a mum, my daughter is using a product which uses ingredients from nature.  My daughter is a normal teenager ….. loves to wear make-up ……  Christie’s been using the new Revitalised Oxy ranged for several months now, and it really has the desired effect”.

Oxy skin preparations contain several active ingredients, including Phycosaccharide – harvested  from brown seaweed along with others from the coast of Brittany.  According to Dr. Carrie Ruxton, this is also a rich source of potassium, sodium, magnesium and iodine – plus also being a good source of anti–inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.  She has been working on a double-blind randomised and placebo-controlled trial at the San Gallicano Institute and Acne Clinic in Rome.

As a result, Oxy has developed a brand new Oxy range, just launched in major chemists.  More info:  www.oxy.co.uk


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How to avoid waiting lists

Waiting room of Nanjing railway station

At its worst WikipediaAVOIHOW TO AVOID A LONG WAIT




Currently there are long delays at A & E, or to see any doctor, Consultant or GP, so this news story might provide some pointers:


Two patients limp into two different medical clinics, with the same complaint.

Both have trouble walking, and appear to require a hip replacement.

The FIRST patient is examined within the hour, is x-rayed the same day, and has a time booked for surgery the following week.

The SECOND sees his family doctor, after waiting two weeks for an appointment, then waits 8 weeks to see a specialist, then gets an x-ray, which isn’t reviewed for another week, and finally has his surgery scheduled for a month’s time.

Why the different treatment for the two patients?

The FIRST was a Dog.

The SECOND was a Senior Citizen.

NEXT TIME YOU HAVE A LONG WAIT, try a VET – but foreigners must think we are weird the way our animals sometimes get better attention!

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