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Iron Tonics

How to make an iron tonic using a base of red wine and molasses, including dried apricots and a blend of herbal extracts designed to optimise iron absorbtion.

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iron tonic

Time To Get The Nettles!

Nettles are highly rated in herbal medicine for many different reasons. The plant is classed as a 'dynamic accumulator', which means it absorbs a high volume and wide variety of minerals from the soil via its root system, making it a great source of readily available iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium, among many other vital nutrients. It is far more effective than any supplement pills, and most likely far richer in minerals than most common vegetables, as nettles tend to grow in mineral-rich soils that have not been depleted by industrial agriculture. If you currently fork out for expensive supplements, then it is really worth picking loads of nettles at this time of year to save yourself a bit of cash and feel virtuous at the same time.

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nettle

Prebiotics Part One

All about prebiotics, what they are, and some herbs that we use as powders for helping with gut health.

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marshmallow root

St John’s Wort

Bringing some summer sunshine into the winter gloom. St John’s Wort is primarily known as a herb for banishing the winter blues and this has been borne out by a Cochrane Collaboration review – which is supposed to be the last word in evidence based medicine - which concluded that St John's Wort is as effective as standard anti-depressants in treating major depression, with fewer side-effects.

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Adaptogenic Broth

When food becomes medicine, and vice versa.

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Ashwaganda

Four Thieves Vinegar

This is supposed to protect people from the plague - but in the absence of any recent outbreaks it is hard to verify that particular claim. However, it is really easy to make, and contains herbs with known antibacterial and antiviral properties. It also, of course, contains apple cider vinegar, which is a really brilliant thing all on its own.

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Psoriasis

The Psoriasis Association estimates that around 1.8 million people in the UK are affected by psoriasis1. Psoriasis is usually described as an immune-mediated, chronic inflammatory disorder that presents with silvery scales on bright red plaques on the skin. It commonly occurs on the knees, elbows and scalp, but different types of psoriasis can also affect other parts of the body. 50% of patients will suffer from some nail changes ranging from ‘pitting’ to complete destruction of the nail2. Many patients experience some associated itching of the affected areas of skin. Psoriasis is also associated with a type of joint condition called psoriatic arthritis which affects 30% of psoriasis patients3. Patients with psoriasis have a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome and lymphoma depending on the severity of their condition4. Patients with psoriasis may also have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disorders, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and Crohn's disease6 7.

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All About Bitters

I have recently been running workshops for bar-tenders interested in making their own cocktail bitters, which has prompted me to take a closer look at why these botanicals have such a widespread appeal. Here are some notes that I passed on to them during a workshop at the aptly named Milk Thistle Bar in Central Bristol. Mankind has used bitters for medicinal purposes for millennia. We have evolved a highly sophisticated set of taste receptors for differentiating between the many shades of bitter, reflecting our development as a species across a wide range of habitats and available plant foods. The key point being that many toxic substances in nature share similar chemical characteristics, and our taste receptors have evolved to allow us to identify potential poisons. We can identify these chemical groups through our senses and our programmed response is generally one of repulsion.

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