How Fennel Can reduce Depression & Anxiety in Menopause

Jun 01, 2018

Along with hot flushes, low libido, poor memory and fatigue, some women who go through the Menopause also experience depression and anxiety. Although many women resort to synthetic hormones to deal with the debilitating symptoms of menopause, some are wary of the side effects on their future health.

Are There Herbal and Nutritional Alternatives to Help with the Emotional Ups and Downs of Menopause that have Clinical Evidence?

The herb fennel is traditionally used by Herbalists for gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, cramping and to help nursing Mothers produce more milk. However it is a phyto-oestrogen (i.e. plant-based oestrogen). An Iranian study published in the September 2017 edition of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology evaluated the effect of the herb Fennel on anxiety and depression in post-menopausal women. 60 women were selected and split randomly into a placebo and a fennel group. The fennel group were given 100mg of fennel (in capsules with sunflower oil) 3 times daily, with the placebo group being given just the oil.

Did The Fennel Capsules Have any Effect on Menopausal Anxiety and Depression?

After 3 months only 49 women completed the trial. However those with Anxiety and Depression at the start of treatment did show improvements, based on the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS) and the Hospital and Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS). This is one of the first human clinical trials using fennel for anxiety and depression (there have been animal trials showing its anti-anxiety and anti-depressive effects). Although the numbers of participants in the trial was small, fennel may be of benefit as a natural alternative to the emotional roller-coaster experienced by some Menopausal women.

Can I get relief from my Menopausal Symptoms If I don’t wish to Use Pharmaceuticals?

Anita has a Masters Degree in Chemistry, as well as being a Naturopathic Physician. Hence you can be confident that you are dealing with someone who blends Science and Alternative Medicine in order to help improve your physical and emotional symptoms.

Anita has nearly 10 years experience in treating a variety of medical conditions including Menopause. Give her a call on +447757 540 436 to book an appointment now, or email her on Anita is also available for telephone/SKYPE consults and can post your herbal medicine/supplements to your door.

Foods to Boost your Immune System and Improve Gut Function

May 26, 2018

Why do I seem to catch every cold, flu or gastrointestinal bug more than other people?

Your immunity to bacteria or viruses starts in your bone marrow where lymphocytes are made.B cells produce antibodies and T cells kill off your own cells when they become infected. These two types of lymphocytes then move to the thymus (the gland between your lungs) and to the gut to mature. As we age the thymus shrinks, so this can affect our immunity. Caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar and stress can cause disturbances in our gut that may also affect immunity. You can’t get younger, but dietary changes may help boost your immunity.

So, there are foods I can eat that may boost my immunity?

Fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut and even yogurt can boost your immunity as they introduce beneficial microbes into the gut. So they benefit the immune system in a similar way to taking probiotics in that the ‘good bacteria’ fight the ‘bad bacteria’. But it’s actually a more complex process, with specific immune responses (lymphocyte, antibodies etc) all being boosted by the proteins in the fermented foods.

There are many publications that have recorded the benefits on the immune system of β glucans which are found in Shiitaki and Reishi mushrooms as well as seaweeds and Brewers Yeast.

A 2017 study on rats published in the Journal of Agricultural Sciences showed that the herb Echinacea purpurea (i.e. root) increased boosted certain immune cells and reduced inflammatory chemicals. Although most Herbalists (like ME!) know that combining the root and leaf/flowers of Echinacea is the best for boosting the immune system.

What about any practical things I can do to help my immune system?

Bacteria, viruses etc can be spread by indirect contact. Many germs can linger on an inanimate object, such as a table top, doorknob or bathroom tap. When you touch a doorknob handled by someone ill with the flu or a cold, for example, you can pick up the germs he or she left behind. If you then touch your eyes, mouth or nose before washing your hands, you may become infected. So, make sure you wash your hands with hot soapy water regularly.

Sunlight is anti-bacterial and it boosts vitamin D in your body which is good for the immune system. Even in Winter, if it is sunny, try and spend time in the sunlight with your skin exposed.

If you’ve been suffering with recurrent infections, or an auto-immune condition and it’s impacting your work and home life, email Anita on or call her now on +447757 540 436 to book a Naturopathic consultation. If you can't see her in person in Balham or Tooting, Anita can see you via SKYPE/telephone for a 1 hr consult and your personally tailored liquids herbal medicines, nutritional supplements and flower essences can posted to your home or work address.

How The Fermented Soyabean Paste Natto can Reduce Strokes

May 17, 2018

The TakayamaStudy was a 16 year Japanese Trial involving 30,000 people over the age of 35. It looked at how diet and lifestyle factors can impact the health of the study participants, especially as regards chronic diseases. The Study found that the consumption of Natto, a Japanese fermented soyabean paste contains nattokinase, which has anti-clotting benefits.

High Natto consumption was seen to have a significant reduction in deaths from cardiovascular disease, total stroke, ischaemic stroke and ischaemic heart disease.

Foods and Supplements to Boost Your Immune System in Winter

Jun 01, 2017

The shorter daylight hours and cold weather are depressing enough in Winter, without falling ill with coughs, colds and flu, kindly passed onto you via your work colleagues! We all now know the benefits of Zinc on the immune system, Vitamin C etc. But the article below references a few new foods and supplements that can reduce the severity of the cold/flu virus over Winter.


A clinical trial in Singapore in 2009 involving 64 patients with 3 or more flu-like symptoms (fever, headaches, muscle-aches etc) split participants into two groups. 32 patients received an Elderberry lozenge 4 times a day, the other 32 patients received a placebo lozenge. After 48 hrs 28% of patients in the Elderberry group had no flu symptoms and 60% had relief of some symptoms. In contrast, no patients showed improvements over 48 hrs in the placebo group.

Echinacea, Propolis and Vitamin C

A 2009 Israeli randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 328 children aged 1-5yrs took place over the Winter months. The children were split into two groups, once receiving ‘Chizukit’ which is a syrup containing Echinacea, Propolis and Vitamin C, and one group receiving a placebo. After 12 weeks, the total number of illness was significantly lower in the Chizukit than the placebo group. The total number of illness days and duration of illness were also significantly lower in the Chizukit group.

Probiotic Bacteria

A 2005 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study used Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium longum and B. bifidum over two Winter/Spring periods, with participants taking supplements for 3 months. Symptoms scores, duration of colds and days with fever were fewer in the group treated with the probiotics. Colds were found to be 2 days shorter in the Probiotic group. Key immune cells (specifically CD8+ and CD4+) were also higher in the probiotic group when analysed.


A 2005 Chinese study on fresh and dried ginger on human upper and lower respiratory tracts infected with the human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV). This is a very common virus that gives symptoms similar to the common cold.

Fresh ginger was general more effective than dried ginger, but fresh ginger was very effective when given BEFORE INNOCULATION with the HRSV virus. It worked by preventing the virus from attaching and being internalised by the body. This shows fresh ginger is good to be taken preventatively during the cold and flu season.


Funny how in the northern hemisphere, Cloves are used a lot in Christmas Baking? Obviously ancient people knew that cloves are great for fighting infection and boosting our immune system in the Winter months. In India Clive tea is taken by people with colds and flu due to its anti-microbial effects. Add it to soups and stews to help you reduce the intensity and severity of your cold or flu and add it to your cup of tea during the day.

How Eating Just Two Meals a Day Can Relieve The Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Jun 15, 2016

A study in Saudi Arabia investigated the effects of a change in eating patterns on the symptoms of 20 patients with oesophageal reflux disease. For 2 weeks they would eat only 2 meals a day. In between meals, if they felt hungry, they were allowed to consume only liquids such as juices, tea, coffee, water etc. None of the participants took any reflux medication for the duration of the study.

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