Your Guide To The Best Herbs And Natural Supplements For Health

Want to GLOW from the INSIDE? We’re DEMYSTIFYING the world of herbs and natural supplements, from STRESS-RELIEF, to SKIN HEALTH, to IMMUNITY, so you can look and feel better, NATURALLY

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For skin health…

Turmeric, a member of the ginger family, is famed for its anti-inflammatory properties. Recent research has shown that this punchy-coloured spice may have a range of benefits in skin, from protecting us against premature ageing, to skin-clearing, to supporting skin healing and cell renewal. Turmeric is widely used in Indian dishes such as curries, but can also be made into a sweet, earthy tea, tossed with roasted vegetables, stirred into rice, or added to smoothies. If you want to ensure you’re getting a daily dose, you can also buy turmeric capsules, such as Pukka Herbs’ Wholistic Turmeric, €15.10, www.organico.ie

Homemade turmeric tea
Homemade turmeric tea.

Castor oilmade from castor seeds, is high in vitamin E. It also contains essential unsaturated fatty acids such as  omega-6 which stimulate blood circulation on the surface of the skin, encouraging hair growth and fighting the signs of ageing. It can rubbed on eyebrows to encourage growth, used as an eye make-up remover for long, conditioned lashes, and applied to skin to fight inflammation and signs of ageing. Try Pukka Organic Castor Oil, €13.45 for 250ml, www.nourish.ie.

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For energy…

Ashwagandha, a whole root grown in India, is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to energise and revitalise the body, and looks to be huge amongst the health-conscious in 2017. It is said to help the body better regulate its own energy systems, which are often put out of sync by our stressful lifestyles. This results in a calm, healthy energy, helpful for enabling deep sleep and dissipating stress, rather than many energy quick-fixes which leave us feeling even more drained. It’s also believed to replenish the blood, balance hormones, enhance nutrients and build bone strength. Try Pukka Ashwagandha Capsules, €17.94, www.bodykind.ie.

Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha

Spirulina is a blue-green algae, usually sold in a powdered form, which is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. What’s more, these nutrients are in their natural form so our body can use them more easily than it can from a multivitamin tablet.  Spirulina powder can easily be added to smoothies and juices, stirred into savoury dishes or sprinkled over salads. Try Pukka Organic Spirulina Powder, €17.75 for 175g, www.thehopsack.ie.

Spirulina Powder
Spirulina Powder

For stress…

Chamomile is renowned for its soothing properties, and is good for relaxing the nervous system. A warm cup of chamomile tea is a great way to calm down after a stressful day.

Pukka Three Chamomile Tea, €3.55, www.nourish.ie
Pukka Three Chamomile Tea, €3.55, www.nourish.ie.

Liquorice is a sweet root, which is strongly anti-inflammatory. It supports the adrenal glands, altering the release of stress hormones and allowing us to cope better with stress. We may know it as the flavour of the black sweets we used to eat as children, but drinking it as a tea is a better way to gain its full benefits without the sugar rush. Try Pukka Organic Three Licorice Tea, €3.55,  www.nourish.ie

For digestion…

Mint has been used for centuries to ease digestive upset, and its strong menthol essential oils can also help to uplift and relax. Tear fresh mint over warm baby potatoes, make it into a refreshing tea, or use in salads and in a variety of Asian dishes for a fresh flavour and a relaxed stomach. Or try Brother Hubbard’s recipe for Coconut Porridge with Mint and Lime, or Trish Deseine’s Winter Salad with apple, celery, ricotta and mint.

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Fennel is also widely used to promote digestive health. Fennel is wonderfully aromatic and an effective anti-inflammatory, supporting digestive upset and pain associated with conditions such as IBS, as well as general digestive discomfort. It’s wonderful roasted with fish, after meals in a tea, or try Trish Deseine’s Fish Soup with fennel.

Pukka Organic Three Fennal Herbal Tea, €3.75, Supervalu
Pukka Three Fennel Tea, €3.75, Supervalu.

 

Ginger‘s natural warmth is a welcome addition to a variety of dishes. This spice is renowned for treating nausea, stimulating circulation, and can also effectively clear sinuses and congestion from a cold. Whether as a tea, in curries, or stir-fries, it gives a wonderful flavour as well as a health boost. Trish Deseine uses it in her delicious Lamb Shanks with Honey.

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For immunity…

Elderberries are native to Irish hedgerows and forests, appearing in September. They have been used to promote the immune system for generations. Elderberries are anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and high in vitamin C, so can reduce the severity and duration of an infection. They’re delicious added to pies, stewed, or can be bought as teas and syrups, such as Pukka Elderberry Syrup.

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Tulsi is a member of the mint family also known as “holy basil”, a strongly aromatic herb that is traditionally used in Indian culture to support the immune system. Tulsi is believed to improve the body’s response to physical and mental challenges, by supporting the adrenal glands during periods of excessive stress.

Pukka Three Tulsi tea, €3.49, Holland & Barrett
Pukka Three Tulsi tea, €3.49, Holland & Barrett.

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