Marvellous Wild Mustards:
Botanica Medica Blog
by Jo Dunbar
1w ago
Preparing to go on holiday is always a very busy time for me, as I try not only to see my normal daily contingent of patients, but also to make up prescriptions for people while I am away. I am also involved in the final edits for my latest book on Stress & Fatigue, and so I arrived in Malta absolutely exhausted. Naturally, I caught a cold on the aeroplane, but did not have any herbs to hand. As the infection moved into my lungs, I knew that I had to find something, and popped into a local pharmacy to ask if they had eucalyptus lozenges. To my delight, they did not, but they did have loze ..read more
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Despatches from Malta:
Botanica Medica Blog
by Jo Dunbar
1w ago
When I travel, I am always delighted to come across my leafy friends. In this case, we are travelling through Malta, visiting the many and fabulous ancient temples on the island. Besides being a very friendly and beautiful island, Malta is a very stony island, and as such the knights of Malta built fantastic walls to defend this island against invaders. But even before that, ancient peoples built temples, long before Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza, and the more modern people built cities of stone, so beautiful as to take your breath away. Within those stony walls grows a very common, but ..read more
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Sickness and Diarrhoea Bug:
Botanica Medica Blog
by Jo Dunbar
4M ago
On the 30th of November this year, the NHS website reported that the “number of patients in hospital with norovirus last week was almost triple the number during the same period last winter, new NHS figures show today. An average of 351 people were in hospital with diarrhoea and vomiting symptoms every day last week compared to 126 in the same week last year.” This virus is highly infectious, and remarkably resilient. In fact, freezing contaminated food only preserves the virus until it finds a new host. With an incubation time of 15 – 48 hours, once it invades your cells it is wildly prolifi ..read more
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Corn Silks:
Botanica Medica Blog
by Jo Dunbar
4M ago
These pretty corn silks are usually the parts that we throw away, but do you know what you are throwing out? Traditionally, herbalists use the corn silks to help with cystitis and kidney infections, but when you look more deeply into this herb – it is absolutely amazing. The silks can be collected and dried if you are prone to bladder infection, or high blood pressure. Simply drop a teaspoon of fresh or dried silks into a cup of boiling water, cool and drink. They are highly anti-oxidant, with anti-inflammatory actions on the urinary tract and other parts of the body. With significantly diure ..read more
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Sugar – the white death:
Botanica Medica Blog
by Jo Dunbar
4M ago
It’s Christmas time, and wherever you look, there are temping sweet treats available to nibble on. At this time of year, commonly, our consumption of sugar raises dramatically, and with that comes increases in both bacterial and yeast infections, because guess what? Those little bugs love sugar even more than we do. Sugar releases opioids and dopamine, and is so addictive that is has been shown to surpass the cocaine reward(1). I have just come back from Cape Town, where there are wild baboons running all over the mountain, and frequently into tourist areas, as well as breaking into homes. On ..read more
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The Claws
Botanica Medica Blog
by Jo Dunbar
6M ago
Winter brings not only viruses, but also aches and pains in the joints tend to make themselves known in the colder months. Two of my favourite herbs for arthritis are Cat’s Claw and Devil’s Claw. Both come from the warmer regions of the southern hemisphere and both have excellent anti-inflammatory actions, making them very valuable in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Some people find Devils Claw helpful with conditions such as gout and fibromyalgia. Cat’s Claw’s anti-viral actions make it a very useful herb, with pain-relieving properties, as well as protecting against viral infe ..read more
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What to do if you get Covid, or any other virus
Botanica Medica Blog
by Jo Dunbar
6M ago
I have been inundated with people ringing me for herbs to help against Covid or other flu-like viruses. This is the advice I give people to start immediately until their herbal medicines arrive the next day. All these home remedies have documented anti-microbial activity and are available from your kitchen cupboard. Raw Garlic – anti viral:(1) Rub generously on both sides of a piece of rye toast Slice some organic tomatoes and drizzle olive oil over the top Season with salt and pepper and enjoy. Horseradish – anti bacterial and anti-inflammatory: This is the season for horseradish and it is ..read more
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Two little herbal miracles
Botanica Medica Blog
by Jo Dunbar
7M ago
Many of my South African patients tell me that they or a close friend has used a herb called Sutherlandia to cure their cancer. Now, this is not making any claims, of course, but I’d like to tell you about my parent’s dog Biddy. She is a little black Scotty with the sweetest nature. She was about 10 years old, when last year the vet diagnosed her with bladder cancer and gave her 2-3 months to live. We thought it would be a good idea to give her Sutherlandia, which they add to her food every day. Now she runs around like a puppy, full of joy with a mischievous gleam in her eye. When Dad took h ..read more
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Rowan berry butter
Botanica Medica Blog
by Jo Dunbar
7M ago
This is one of my favourite autumn rituals, and it produces a divine tart but sweet fruit butter which is perfect with either fatty meat or strong cheese. Collect bright orange Rowan berries (aka Mountain Ash). Rinse them off, and snip them off the stems into a small saucepan. Just cover with water, and bring to a simmer. Chop up a few apples collected from the many apples which fall to the ground. Don’t peel or core, just chop up and add to the pot, then allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. When the fruit is soft, crush the berries using a potato masher. At this point, I add lots of jamming ..read more
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Of rosehips and spiders
Botanica Medica Blog
by Jo Dunbar
7M ago
Don’t you just love autumn? There is something so nostalgic about those last gentle rays of summer, and the chilly mists which descend in the evenings. I love the early-morning dewy spider webs strung like diamond necklaces across the path to my apothecary. As such, I am obliged to negotiate with Madam Spider, and carefully move her web to a nearby hedge without disturbing her night’s work too much. I had a stow-away in my car, dangling right over my arachnophobic friend’s head, who half leapt into my lap when she spotted Peter the spider. We couldn’t possibly evict him, and I dare say that b ..read more
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