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  • 1 Mar 2021 7:36 PM | Kate English (Administrator)

    In these very difficult times I have found myself looking more and more to complementary therapies to help with day to day difficulties for family and friends. I have in fact enrolled in a Bach Flower course with CNM The College of Naturopathic Medicine. As I mentioned in my last blog, it is something I have been interested in for many years and use in times of need.  I would like to share a lecture with you given by Dee Clough who is a Naturopath, Nutritionist, Herbalist and Bach Flower Therapist. It deals with many issues that are effecting us all in these unprecedented times including, fear and anxiety, loss of motivation and drive, fear of being unclean and fear of infections. It outlines the flower remedies which can help with the different issues which are so prevalent in all our lives at the moment. I hope to share more on The Bach Flower Remedies as I work through the course , but I am more than happy to help if anyone has any questions. 

    Click the link below to find out more.

    Bach Flowers For Wellbeing

  • 9 Nov 2020 7:53 AM | Kate English (Administrator)

    HoneysuckleI'm sure that you have all heard of or come across Rescue Remedy at some point in your lives. It is probably the best known remedy in the Bach flower range. However, most are unaware of the thirty eight individual essences, how they work and how we can use them to help with difficult times in our lives, no matter what the situation.

    Flower essences are made by infusing the blooms particular vibration into water and then stabilising it. Research has shown that water has a memory. Flower essences work on the premise that every flower has a particular healing attribute in the form of a vibrational frequency. So if an individual is fearful for example, they may ingest the flower essence that floods their body with vibrations of courage in order to counteract the fear and begin to resonate a state of courage, fearlessness and peace. This is called sympathetic resonance and is the science behind this system.

    CeratoCan you remember a time that you felt better by simply being around a happy person? Vibrations can be contagious and flower essences are a way to acquire the positive vibration of a particular flower. Negative emotional states play havoc with our immune system, leaving us more vulnerable to illness. Flower essences are a gentle and effective way of supporting a wide array of emotional dispositions that prevent a person from living a happy, content and peaceful life. They can also help us in times of distress. Rescue remedy being a blend of five flower essences to help in times of shock and trauma.

    There are thirty eight individual Bach flower essences to support every conceivable personality, attribute and negative state of mind. They were developed as a complete system by Dr. Edward Bach who gave instructions that no more remedies were to be added after his death. Dr. Bach believed that health is our natural state and disease indicates that the personality is stuck or in conflict. Bach flower remedies are unique in the way they treat the person and not the disease. Bach classified all emotional problems into seven major groups:-.  Fear, uncertainty and indecision, insufficient interest in present circumstances, loneliness, over sensitivity, despondency and despair, and over concern for the welfare of others. The remedies can be used alone or along side other therapies. But most importantly, they cannot do harm. Dr. Bach qualified as a medical doctor and bacteriologist at University college hospital London in 1912. In his studies he noticed that individuals had different responses to the same disease. It seemed odd to him that despite these differences they should all receive the same treatment and medication. He thought that it would probably be more effective to treat the person and not the disease. This observation became more apparent to him after he suffered a serious hemorrhage in 1917 and after surgery was given three months to live. Three months became many years and he lived to be fifty. He developed thirty eight individual essences which he classified under the seven headings which I mentioned earlier.

    Star of BethlehemIn these difficult and uncertain times in which we live, I believe that it is important for each of us to look after ourselves. After all, our first responsibility is to ourselves. Covid -19 is effecting us all in different ways, bringing many changes to our lives. It is difficult to stay positive with so much uncertainty. I believe that the flower essences can offer some help in these challenging times. They are a safe and inexpensive way to help, no matter what our age or circumstance. I have been using flower remedies for many years and what I really love about them is that there is one,or more to help with every difficulty and can be used along side other therapies. They are safe and easy to use. I hope this may be of some help in these strange times we are living in. I wish you all health and happiness in your lives, you deserve it!

    Click here to learn more: The Bach Centre

  • 24 Aug 2020 11:30 AM | Kate English (Administrator)

    Hi all on this not so sunny day. I thought I might share a little information with you about hibiscus. I'm sure many of you are familiar with the beautiful flowers that are so prevalent in those countries with warmer climates than ours. The flowers can be used to make a tea with a distinct tart, cranberry-like flavour and bright red colour. This tea can be served hot or cold and in 2010 , an antioxidant analysis of three hundred different beverages was published, examining everything from Red Bull to red wine.  Hibiscus tea won hands down even beating the oft-lauded green tea. Within an hour of consumption, the antioxidant power of your bloodstream shoots up, demonstrating that the antioxidant phytonutrients in the tea are absorbed into your system. It has been shown to lower cholesterol in fifty percent of those studied but where hibiscus really shines is its ability to reduce high blood pressure. The premier clinical trial randomised hundreds of men and women with elevated blood pressure into an "advice only" group or an active lifestyle group. The first group were given instruction to loose weight, reduce their salt intake, get more exercise and eat healthy food. The second group received the same instruction but also got face to face sessions, attended group meetings, kept food diaries and monitored their physical activity, calories, and sodium intake. Within six months, the second group achieved a four point drop in systolic blood pressure compared to the advice only group. This may not seem like a lot but on a population scale, a five point drop may lead to 14 percent fewer stroke deaths and 9 percent fewer fatal heart attacks. Meanwhile, in the study, a cup of hibiscus tea with each meal managed to lower  the systolic blood pressure of those taking it by 6 points over the other groups.

    Of course to lower blood pressure, you should still loose weight, reduce you salt intake, get more exercise and eat healthy food, but the evidence shows that adding hibiscus tea to your daily routine may offer an additional benefit, comparable even to that provided by antihypertensive drugs. Tested head to head against a leading blood pressure drug, two cups of strong hibiscus tea every morning ( using a total of five tea bags or equivalent in loose tea) was as effective in lowering blood pressure as a starting dose of the drug Captopril taken twice a day.  The drug also has side effects including, rash, cough, taste impairment, and can, though extremely rare, cause fatal swelling of the throat. No side effects were reported for hibiscus tea, though it is very sour in taste and you would be advised to rinse your mouth with water after drinking to keep the natural acids in the tea from softening the enamel on your teeth. Also, given the extraordinary manganese content in hibiscus tea, it is recommended not to drink more than a litre  a day. I prefer to buy my herbs loose and opposed to a tea bag. The quality is usually better. You can see exactly what you are getting and is usually cheaper. 500g of loose leaf hibiscus works out around €9.00. If anyone is interested in giving it a try there will be some available to purchase at the yoga studio. 

  • 8 Jul 2020 12:06 PM | Kate English (Administrator)

    Many years ago I  took a course in " Herbal Healing" and as luck would have it, I have just come across my notes from this course.  There, among my notes is information about raspberries and there many uses. Not only are the berries used but also the leaves and the roots occasionally. Raspberry leaves, as many of you may know, can be used to make a tea, and used in the third trimester of pregnancy to tone and relax the womb, in order to help with an easy delivery. Two cups per day is recommended in the third trimester. Nettle can be added if you are anaemic. During the last week of pregnancy, add two or three cloves to each cup of tea but do not use cloves early in pregnancy as this can stimulate the uterus and cause contractions.                                                                          Raspberry leaf tea can also help with menstrual cramps and heavy bleeding. It can help with mouth ulcers, sore throats and a mouth wash can be used to help with oral thrush.  Raspberry fruit and Raspberry vinegar ( I will include the recipe for raspberry vinegar) can also be used as a remedy for sore throats and as a cooling drink for fevers. 

    Raspberries are packed with so many nutrients that I thought I would list them.

    One cup (123 grams) contains:-

    Calories 64

    Carbs 14.7 grams

    Fiber 8 grams

    Protein 1.5 grams

    Fat 0.8 grams

    Vitamin C 54% of RDI (recommended daily intake)

    Manganese 41% of RDI

    Vitamin K 12% of RDI

    Vitamin E 5% of RDI

    B Vitamins 4-6% of RDI

    Iron 5% of RDI

    Magnesium 7% of RDI

    Phosphorus 4% of RDI

    Potassium 5% of RDI

    Copper 6% of RDI


    Raspberry vinegar is the best way of preserving the vitamin C and therapeutic action of the fruit . It is not necessary to add sugar to this recipe to preserve.

    Pick sufficient raspberries to fill a large jar. Cover with good quality apple cider vinegar ( organic if possible) and stand in a cool place for three to four days. Strain with muslin and bottle in sterilised containers.


    Take 1-2 teaspoons (5-10ml) in a little warm water daily through out the winter. This will help to prevent colds and flu.

    Dilute with three parts water for use as a mouth wash or gargle. At this strength it can also be taken freely to help with a fever, adding a little honey to taste. May also be used as a compress to reduce a fever.


  • 23 Jun 2020 10:00 AM | Kate English (Administrator)

    Goji Berry Fudge

    This recipe is very simple and  quick to whip up. The added bonus being the high nutrient content. The beauty of this recipe is the fact that it is so versatile. Once you stick to the same base you can swap whatever you fancy and add to the party ! Eg., You could swap goji with cacao nibs , chopped nuts, chopped dark chocolate ( add orange zest to the chocolate for a different twist), raisins or other dried fruit.... really whatever takes your fancy or is in your store cupboard. It has to be stored in the freezer and only removed just before eating. Cut into small pieces as it is very filling and pop what hasn't been eaten back in the freezer. I have used powered freeze-dried raspberry in this recipe along with goji berries and hemp seeds. 

    You will need a dish suitable for the freezer approximately 20cmx15cm. I use a glass dish with a lid but this is not necessary. I line it with non bleached parchment as I am cutting down on plastic as much as possible but you can line it with cling film.

    4 TABLESPOONS EXTRA VIRGIN COCONUT OIL, (many health benefits, too many to list here)

    6 TABLESPOONS MAPLE OR AGAVE SYRUP,Goji Fudge before Freezing



    310g LIGHT TAHINI, ( high in calcium)

    5 TABLESPOONS GOJI BERRIES, (some benefits mentioned in my blog),

    3 TABLESPOONS HEMP SEEDS (optional, but packed with health care and high in protein),

    2 TABLESPOONS RAW HONEY ( we are so lucky to have a reputable and delicious source so near at Ashgrove ) Raw honey certainly merits a blog totally dedicated to it!

    POWDERED FREEZE-DRIED RASPBERRIES ( approximately 3 teaspoons) (optional)

    Melt the coconut oil on a very low heat and when melted add the vanilla extract, salt and agave or maple syrup and mix together.

    Add the tahini and mix together using a fork. When you have a smooth texture, add the gojis and hemp and mix through.

    Put half the mixture in your dish and spread out. Next trickle the honey over the mixture and give a little swirl with a fork. 

    Take approximately one to one and a half teaspoons of powdered freeze -dried raspberries and sprinkle over the mixture before adding the rest of the smooth fudge. You can sprinkle more gojis or freeze-dried raspberries  on top or just leave as is. Cover with a lid or parchment or cling film and place in the freezer. It will be ready to enjoy in approximately two hours. Enjoy!

    Once Frozen Cut into Portions and it's Ready to Eat

  • 22 Jun 2020 2:31 PM | Kate English (Administrator)

    Click to Vist Natures Element WebsiteEven though our summer seems to have temporarily left us, I'm sure mother nature will still provide us with an abundance of berries and fruit. I spoke in my last blog about cherries and their anti inflammatory properties. One other property they have is that they naturally contain melatonin and have been used to help with sleep without any side effects.....


    Goji berries however, hàve the highest concentration of melatonin. Gojis also have the third highest antioxidant capacity of any common dried fruit. That is 5 times more than raisins, and second only to dried pomegranate seeds and barberries ( a fruit commonly found in Middle Eastern markets and spice shops). Gojis also contain an antioxidant pigment called zeaxanthin which is shuttled straight to our retinas ( the back of your eyes) and appears to protect against macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss.                                                    The egg industry boasts about the zeaxanthin content in egg yolks, but goji berries have about 50 times more than eggs. A double blind, randomised, placebo controlled trial found that gojis may even help people already suffering from macular degeneration.


    In a double blind, placebo controlled, crossover trial of blackcurrants, it was found that they can improve the symptoms of computer eye strain (Known in doctor-speak as " video display terminal work-induced transient refractive alteration") It is thought that the anthocyanin pigments are responsible for the many health benefits therefore blueberries and blackberries may also help. The cheapest source, though is probably red cabbage. Unfortunately, these anthocyanin pigments take a hit when berries are processed in to jam. Freeze-drying, however appears to be remarkably nutrient preserving, but expensive. I had bought organic freeze-dried raspberries, strawberries and blueberries, produced in Ireland to use in food for our mini-retreat which unfortunately had to be cancelled. Another time perhaps . Berries in all their colourful, sweet, and flavourful glory are protective little antioxidant power houses. Whether they are used in smoothies, breakfast, salad, dessert or simply as a snack,  they are nature's  SWEETS and always best eaten fresh.

  • 8 Jun 2020 6:18 PM | Kate English (Administrator)

    Hi all, and welcome to Kate's blog. It is fantastic to have this opportunity to share some knowledge about that which I am very passionate.....FOOD. We all have a tendency to forget that everything that passes our lips literally becomes us. This gives us so much control over our general well-being. Hence " You are what you eat" literally! Our lives have changed so much over the past thirty years that in general we now only spend 10% of our income on food, compared to 50% on average thirty years ago. Was eating nutritious home cooked meals more important thirty years ago? Our quality of life has improved in lots of ways certainly but I do feel that we need to look more closely at eg., Where our food comes from? How far has it travelled? Has it been tampered or contaminated in any way? These are among many questions that we need to ask ourselves. However, I am going to move on and share with you a little from a book I am reading at the moment. "How not to Die" is written by Michael Greater MD. It is packed with interesting facts and statistics about different ailments and how to prevent, help, or in some cases reverse disease. As we are surrounded by lots of wonderful berries at the moment, I thought I would take this opportunity to share some nutritional facts.


    Dr. Greater suggests that berries are the healthiest fruits in part due to their respective plant pigments. Colourful foods are often healthiest because they contain antioxidant pigments. The more colourful the fruit or vegetable, the higher the antioxidant level and capacity to wipe out more free radicals....which are responsible for aging and skin damage. Therefore we should choose fruit and vegetables that are the most vibrant colour. Eg., Pick red grapes over green, pink grapefruit over yellow, red cabbage over green and so on, if we want to avail of the higher antioxidant properties. Berries are second only to herbs and spices as the most antioxidant-packed food category. As a group they average nearly ten times more antioxidants than other fruits and vegetables ( and exceed fifty times more than animal based foods). Strawberries weight in at 310 units per 120g, cranberries at 330, raspberries at 350, blueberries at 380 ( though wild blueberries may have twice as much)! and blackberries at a shocking 650 units.


    I have taken particular interest in cherries at the moment, as for the first time ever our cherry tree is laiden down with the most juicy red fruit. Cherries can reduce inflammation and research going back half a century suggests that tart cherries are so anti-inflammatory that they can be used to successfully treat a painful type of arthritis called gout. And now for the science! Cherries contain a certain type of anthocyanidin unique to this fruit, which has been shown to inhibit a substance called xanthine oxidase, which is the enzyme that the body uses to manufacture uric acid. Inhibiting this enzyme will cause uric acid levels in the body to drop, and will reduce the likelihood of an excess starting to crystallize in the joints.

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