A Message for Girls

Girls, when you are finding your feet in this world, on the cusp of being an adult and looking for ways to show it, you have no idea how beautiful you all are, in your individuality. Don’t let the world tell you how you need to change; remove hair here, paint it in there. Do not judge each other harshly. What is most beautiful is your soul shining through, expressed in your unique shapes and gestures, the sparkle in your eyes, and your fresh faced youth. No need to hide behind a mask. Beauty is greatest in self acceptance, for then our souls truly inhabit our bodies and make us glow with life. This is not just platitudes, it is truth. Enjoy who you are now, for youth does not last. Our bodies stop growing, but if we allow it, our spirits just keep on expanding.

© Janey Colbourne 2017

also published on my blog heartseer.wordpress.com

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Rhodiola rosea (Arctic root, Rose root)

Rhodiola is an adaptogen that raises serotonin and dopamine levels. It improves transport of tryptophan and 5HTP, which the body uses to make serotonin, into the brain and also acts as an MAO inhibitor. MAO inhibitors inhibit the breakdown of serotonin and dopamine. Studies have shown that rhodiola can increase serotonin levels in the brain by up to 30%. This means that it has an antidepressant action, lifting mood and reducing fatigue. It can also improve cognitive (mental) function, attention span, memory and alertness. It may help with post-viral recovery. Those who take antidepressants or antipsychotics should seek medical advice before taking rhodiola as they may interact dangerously. Along with eleutherococcus, it has been extensively studied by the Russians in their search for adaptogens to improve performance and endurance, both physical and mental. Rhodiola increases muscle energy both during and after exercise and so improves recovery time. I think of rhodiola as a slightly stimulating antidepressant whereas hypericum (St John’s Wort) is more of a relaxing antidepressant, so a good routine might be to take rhodiola in the morning and hypericum in the evening.

Managing Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that debilitates many people. It’s primary symptom is pain, but symptoms can be many and varied, as it is a disorder of the central nervous system. I think a better name for it would be “central nervous system hypersensitivity”, as this describes current understanding of the condition. I am in the (long!) process of writing a book on natural treatments for fibromyalgia, so for now, here is just a basic outline of two of the most important remedies.

Magnesium

As I have mentioned in a previous post, magnesium is required for muscle relaxation. It is also involved in nerve transmission and energy production, so it is pretty much a standard remedy for fibromyalgia sufferers, many of whom find it helps with muscle pain and sleep in particular.  Magnesium is found in wholegrain foods, such as brown rice and wholemeal bread, and in legumes such as lentils. Magnesium levels in the soil have become depleted in recent times so a supplement would ensure sufficient levels to help with symptoms. The best forms of magnesium for efficient absorption are magnesium malate, magnesium citrate and chelated magnesium. It is also available as “magnesium oil” to use externally and is well absorbed through the skin. Epsom salts are magnesium sulphate, traditionally used for a relaxing bath soak.

St John’s Wort

St John’s wort increases serotonin levels, which are low in fibromyalgia. As well as being involved in mood regulation, serotonin normally regulates levels of substance P,  a pain “messenger” in the body. Medical herbalists also see St John’s Wort as a nervous trophorestorative, which means it restores the health of the nervous system tissue. It relieves pain and symptoms such as numbness or tingling, caused by nerve damage, infections in the nerves such as shingles, or the overactive nerves in fibromyalgia. St John’s Wort interacts with a number of medications, which can be potentially dangerous, and with the contraceptive pill, which may lead to pregnancy, so do not take in these circumstances without medical advice. It  is otherwise a safe remedy and can be taken with other herbs, vitamins and minerals.