Allergy? Food intolerance? What’s in a name?

Lots of people think that allergy and food intolerance are just two expressions meaning the same thing. This even includes some Doctors! In fact, there is a big difference.

There is one thing allergies and food intolerances have in common: both can cause physical reactions, ranging from mild to severe. But that’s pretty much where the similarity ends.

So what is the difference? It should become clear as soon as I give you the…

It's unlikely anything in this shot is safe for celiacs and other gluten intolerants

Could gluten be damaging your health?

Previously published on Gluten Factsheet

Do you suffer from some or all of these problems: IBS, depression, difficulties with your weight, aches and pains in your bones and joints, chronic fatigue? If so, you may be gluten intolerant.

Gluten is a protein found in cereals, specifically, wheat (the main culprit), barley and rye. A similar protein is also found in oats. These cereals are relatively…


Carrier oils from nuts, Part 2

Originally published on Guide to Aromatherapy

In my first post, I covered nut-based carrier oils derived from sweet almond, arachis (peanut), coconut and hazelnut. Today’s post covers kukui, macadamia, pecan and walnut. All four can be used as carrier oil additives, as well as on their own.

Anyone with a nut allergy should avoid all oils derived from nuts, even if they are labelled “refined”.

Kukui nut oil

Kukui oil is quite…

Common or garden thyme in flower

Thyme health benefits: a truly multi-purpose herb

Originally published on Herbal Medicine from Your Garden

(A video containing the main points outlined here is available here)

The thyme I am talking about here is Thymus vulgaris, the common or garden thyme. It’s a low growing, fairly tough plant that likes a sunny situation. It comes in the standard green leafed and also in variegated forms, which some people consider to be more attractive, but the important thyme oil (which is the source of all thyme’s…

Red clover is happy in most places with moist, well drained soil

Red Clover health benefits: for headache, nausea and skin care

Originally published on Herbal Medicine from Your Garden

Red clover, Trifolium pratense, is also called Chilean clover, cowgrass clover, mammoth red clover, medium red clover, peavine clover, purple clover and sometimes shamrock (although this name is mainly used for other clovers). It is a member of the same family as beans and peas.


Like most members…

Poetic guide to blending essential oils

<em>Originally published on Guide to Aromatherapy</em>

This is a horrible bit of doggerel, but it might help when you’re blending essential oils to remember the way the aromas blend best. If you make a blend that smells awful, you’ll just be wasting time and money, because you are very unlikely to use it.

Chamomile Roman, chamomile blue
Geranium, jasmine, lavender too
Neroli, rose and violet
These are the members of the floral set.

Palmarosa, patchouli
Sandalwood makes number three
Vetiver, ylang ylang
These oils are in the exotic clan.

Benzoin, camphor and fir needle
Frankincense, galbanum, myrrh
Add vanilla to complete the scene
Seven oils, all made from resin.

Star anise and both the bays
Black pepper, cardamom, clove

Herbs, oils and tips to boost brain power and fight mental fatigue

Forget about ginkgo. Although often referred to as a brain booster, research has shown that it doesn’t have any greater effect than placebo. There are herbs and essential oils that do help, though, and some of these are listed here.

Please note that herbs and essential oils are medicinally active, and as with all medicines, not all of them are suitable for everyone, especially pregnant women. Follow the links for more detail about contra-indications and usage, and never exceed the stated…


Home Remedies for Heartburn (Acid Reflux)

Heartburn, also known as acid reflux, is a very common and often very unpleasant ailment which is triggered when the lower oesophageal sphincter above the stomach opens up and stomach acid backs up into the oesophagus. The sensation resulting from this can feel as though someone has lit a small bonfire in your chest, and it’s burning its way up to your neck.

Heartburn is a minor ailment, however unpleasant, but if it continues for a long period it can lead to conditions…

What is 5-HTP and why should I be taking it?

5-hydroxy­tryptophan or hydroxy L-tryptophan, to give it its full name, is an amino acid which is produced by the metabolism of tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in dairy, meat, potatoes and some other vegetables. It is not readily available from food.

5-HTP is probably better than tryptophan as a supplement, because it eliminates one of the steps in serotonin production and has fewer side effects. However, if you suffer from digestive problems like heartburn, nausea or diarrhea, or you start having vivid dreams or nightmares, it…