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Begin a wellbeing journey with gentle, nurturing support and guidance
Begin a wellbeing journey with gentle, nurturing support and guidance

Begin a wellbeing journey with gentle, nurturing support and guidance

Achieve long-term wellness with simple, powerful Herbal Medicine and holistic changes in your nutrition and lifestyle habits.
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What is Herbal Medicine?

What is Herbal Medicine?

Herbal medicine has it's origins set in ancient cultures and is the oldest and still the most widely used system of medicine in the world today.

It is medicine made exclusively from the active parts of plants and can include the leaves, fruits, seeds, stems and bark, flowers and roots. It is used in all societies and is common to all cultures. Whilst Western Herbal Medicine has a tradition, it has been significantly influenced and validated by the development of scientific technology and medical research. Many of our current pharmaceutical medicines like Asprin or heart medications like Digitalis are derived from plants.

'Herbal medicines' can include herbs, herbal materials, herbal preparations and finished herbal products. These can be prepared in various forms including liquid extracts, dried, chopped, powdered, pills and capsules, teas, topical applications, or added to bath water. Herbal Medicines are so versatile in their application, which makes it so consumer friendly.

Inner Peace utilises the use of all forms of herbal preparations including fresh and dried herbs, teas, liquid formulas, creams and ointments, developed herbal products such as tablets and powders. We use only organic where possible and only prescribe products of a high standard and quality. 

Michelle Ringin

Online Booking

Online Herbal Medicine Consultation

Online consultation allows people to receive care and support from a place they are comfortable in and at a time that best suits them. Whilst the form is online, contact will be made with you by the practitioner via phone, email or Zoom (online video call) to discuss a treatment plan with you. 

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Our Blog

Dashie loving the sun

Heat Stroke in Pets

Our Summer weather, in the Southern Hemisphere has finally started to kick in. We are always pretty much going to get these hot days, as it is Summer Down Under, but we are not always that prepared for it. Especially when it comes to our pets.

Our pets can really suffer in the summer heat and as owners we need to make sure we have their back and do what we can to make sure they are safe and kept cool during the extreme temperatures. As owners, we have a responsibility to ensure that we provide what our pets need to stay cool and need to remain vigilant in offering our pets ample shade, cool areas and plenty of clean, cool drinking water.

Our dogs particularly can feel the heat and can end up suffering from heat exhaustion and/ or heatstroke, which can make them really quite ill, or even cause them to die. Dogs can not sweat to cool themselves, and they pant heavily in the attempt to cool, however this leads to the evaporation of water from the tongue which then leads to dehydration.

Heat exhaustion is characterized by fatigue and weakness but may also include vomiting and diarrhoea. In the heat exhaustion phase, the pet will likely still have a normal or slightly elevated temperature and dehydration.

Heatstroke is the most severe condition in a spectrum of heat-related illnesses. The first sign a dog may be developing heat-induced illness is typically heat cramps, characterized by muscle spasms.

The transition from heat exhaustion to heatstroke is central nervous system signs such as disorientation or seizures, an elevated temperature, and often, multiple organ dysfunction. Heatstroke results from an inability of the body to cool down. This results in damage to the tissues of the body (inflammation), which leads to decreased blood flow to the organs and can ultimately cause organ damage and failure.

Older pets, pets with thick coats, those with short noses and pets adapted to cooler climates are particularly susceptible to the heat.

Some signs of heat distressed pets can be some of the following:

  • Excessive panting
  • Reddened gums/mucous membranes
  • Tachycardia (fast heart rate)
  • Dehydration 
  • Head tilt: This is often an indication of heat exhaustion, but it has also been seen in dogs who have gone through heat stroke. The head tilt is the result of excess fluid build up in the head and neck and does not necessarily indicate that the dog is actually experiencing heat stroke.
  • Elevated temperature 
  • Vomiting (with or without blood) 
  • Diarrhoea (with or without blood)
  • Disorientation/stumbling
  • Weakness/collapse
  • Seizures/death 

Heat stroke can occur very quickly and is an absolute medical emergency and pet parents need to get their animals to the nearest vet clinic immediately.

If your pet becomes heat stressed, it is critical to cool them down. You can do this by following this technique: When cooling your pet, never use ice, as it can increase the risk of shock (drop in blood pressure, further damage to organs) and even cause hypothermia. Try to move your pet to a cool or shaded area with a fan if possible. Wet your dog with room temperature water and drape wet towels on the back of the dog during transportation to the hospital.  

Some simple tips to keep our dogs and cats cool:

  • Ensure water bowls are not stainless steel and keep them out of direct sunlight. Add a few extra drinking areas in case one gets knocked over, cats and dogs also love flowing water from pet fountains.
  • Keep dog beds and cat perches out of the sun.
  • Create cool zones, hose down under trees, and create ample shaded areas.
  • Do not leave your pet in the car, even for a few minutes. Animals on utes need extra consideration- the tray can become very hot very quickly and can lead to burnt paws. Dogs transported in dog boxes need air flow so the sides should be mesh and they need a cover. Again it can become very hot very quickly in a metal cage. The ute needs to have an insulating material to avoid the dogs coming in direct contact with the metal surface. Avoid transporting them this way if possible on hot days.
  • Only exercise your pet during the cooler parts of the day- early morning or late evening.
  • If your pet is exhibiting any symptoms of heatstroke seek veterinary treatment quickly.
  • Allow your pet inside to lay on the bathroom and kitchen floors. Plus; they will also benefit from a fan or the air-conditioning.
  • If it’s too hot for a run at the dog park, consider teaching your pet a new trick. Flexing their minds can be just as beneficial as a big run.
  • Consider clipping thick-coated breeds.
  • If your dog is outside, a shallow container of water (a child's paddle pool or 'clam shell') they can sit or lie in will help them cool down.
  • If you know it is going to be a hot day and you will be at work, close the blinds in one or two rooms to keep the sun out. This will help the rooms to stay cooler.
  • Animals can get sunburned too. Protect hairless and light-coated dogs and white cats with sunscreen when your animal will be outside in the sun for an extended period of time. Put sunscreen or zinc on exposed areas of pink skin (ear tips and noses).

We can all enjoy the summer a little better if we take care and look after our furriest family members!

 

References:

PetMD https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/systemic/heatstroke-dogs

Pet Insurance Australia https://www.petinsuranceaustralia.com.au/heatstroke-in-pets

Animal Welfare Victoria https://agriculture.vic.gov.au/livestock-and-animals/animal-welfare-victoria/dogs/health/heat-and-pets

CIVT Animal First Aid

Elderberry - The Ancient Cure

Elderberry - The Ancient Cure

Parts used: Berries and flowers. Historically, all parts of the plant have been used at some stage or another.

Plant medicine used in Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Botanical Practice.

Historically

The Elderberry has been used for its health benefits for centuries. There is evidence that the Elderberry may have been cultivated by prehistoric man, and there are recipes for Elderberry- based medicines in the records dating as far back as Ancient Egypt, where some ancient Egyptians have been found with with the tincture buried with them. Hippocrates, the ancient Greek known as 'the father of medicine' described this plant as his 'medicine chest' for the wide variety of ailments and conditions it seemed to cure.

So, it must work, right?!

But how? What makes it so special?

Elders contain several hundred identified compounds including high levels of phosphorus, vitamins A, B6 and C and most of the amino acids. They are also very high in polyphenols and anthocyanins. Polyphenols are a category of chemicals that occur naturally in plants. They are micro-nutrients with antioxidant properties that play an important role in preventing the progression of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, etc. Anthocyanins are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that are responsible for the red, blue, purple or black colouring of fruit/ plants. These have antioxidant properties and are used to treat a number of conditions including colds/ flu, blood pressure, cancer, cardiovascular complaints, cognitive function and many more. Both these antioxidants work to keep the immune system strong and resilient.

The plant is also high in compounds with a wide range of antiviral activity. The antiviral agents in the berries are highly potent where they are thought to be able to 'deactivate' viruses.

Even with this very watered-down, 'in a nutshell' information, we can already see the value in this amazing plant with it's beautiful, plump, glossy purple berries!

The Elder flavonoids have a strong affinity for influenza viruses working some what like a magnet and iron filings. The action of this is similar to the 'shot' of Tamiflu that we are familiar with from our Doctor when we actually have the flu. 

The compounds in Elder are particularly active against enveloped viruses such as the influenza viruses, herpes viruses, pox viruses (shingles and chicken), some hepatitis viruses, HIV, plus many more. Research has been conducted with various parts of the plant against many of these viruses and have been found to be active against them. It appears as if the plant may in fact be a broad-spectrum anti-viral for all enveloped viruses. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted on Air Travellers. The outcomes and data from that trial suggested that Elderberry supplementation suggested a significant reduction of cold duration and severity in air travellers. This is just one example of research that has been conducted on the benefits of the humble Elderberry plant. 

The Elder Flowers are not to be forgotten either! They are packed with bio-flavonoids that help to boost the immune system. Research has also been conducted on the flowers that has shown the flowers are also effective in killing common pathogens. The flowers are anti-catarrhal meaning it is extremely effective for runny noses and congestion. Anti-catarrhal herbs prevent excess mucous formation and aid in removing mucous and reducing inflammation in the body. 

Elderberries and elder flowers are also very valuable in supporting someone with allergies, with its anti-inflammatory and immunostimulating properties. 

Really, I could write about the amazing Elderberry plant all day... pages and pages! It is one of the most researched plants in regards to its use in the common cold and flu, but has been shown to be valuable in so many more conditions. It is one of my favourite herbs and I have been using it powers in my clinic to support the healing and well-being of the people that I see. Inner Peace utilises Elderberry in tincture form, dried tea blends and we create and make our own Elderberry Syrup.

And a plant that has been used for thousands of years for it healing properties...well that's saying something, hey?!

References

www.verywellhealth.com

www.medicalnewstoday.com

www.academic.oup.com

What does health mean to you?

What does health mean to you?

When we think about health, what exactly comes to mind? Is it physical appearance? Is it having enough stamina, or energy to make it through your day? Or is it just being able to get up in the morning?

There are so many different ways that people perceive what health means, and these differences can be so varied depending on the person themselves.

Lets take a look at what health really is…

The definitions of health are also varied, which can create some internal conflict-

  • Classical Medical Research: The absence of disease
  • Oxford dictionary meaning: The state of being free from illness or injury
  • The World Health Organisation defines health as “… a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

If we were to split these meanings open, which one resonates with you?

“Health” can be complex and have very different meanings to a whole bunch of different people. Not only what they view or perceive health to be, but what it actually means and looks like to them…

The term ‘health’ not only has a variety of different perspectives, but also has 5 ‘Dimensions’ and also ‘Determinants’ of health. Lets have a look at these…

The general population can have very different perspectives of health than a health professional. Some of the perspectives on health can include:

  • Health as not ill/ diseased
  • Health as a reserve
  • Health as physical fitness
  • Health as energy and vitality
  • Health as social relationships
  • Health as function Health as psycho-social wellbeing

If the last 3 years, (post-covid) have taught me anything, it’s made me look at health in a very different way. Whilst  I can see the validity in all those perspectives, being a health professional, I think if I were to look at 3 of those perspectives above, just as a ‘person’, they ones that make me consider health and what that means, they would be- health as a reserve, health as energy and vitality and health as social relationships.

Health as reserve: Well, what does this mean? Health as a reserve identifies a person’s ability to recover quickly should they fall ill. For example, if an individual developed a cold, their health reserve would allow them to quickly combat the cold and return to good health. Someone who does not have a health reserve may take longer to recover, even for minor injuries and illnesses. It’s never too late to start working on building a good health reserve!

Health as energy and vitality: This encompasses the overall energy and enthusiasm of an individual to complete various activities on a daily basis. Energy and vitality can be signified by various abilities, including; ability to get up easily without effort or strain, not feeling tired or lethargic, the ability to continue with activities, maintaining energy and enthusiasm for work related tasks, generally feeling good and well.

Health as social relationships: Various age groups have slightly different approaches and views when it comes to health as social relationships. The older generation identifies health as social relationships with regard to helping others and the enjoyment it bought to them, whereas the younger generation identifies this as spending time with family members. Health as social relationships can be seen in many different ways depending on age, gender, interests, and personality.

These 3 perspectives have been somewhat more enhanced for me post-covid.

Now let’s look at the 5 Dimensions of health; Social, mental, spiritual, emotional and physical dimensions of health.

  • Social- Social health relates to the interpersonal relationships a person is able to make and maintain with others. Good social health requires an upkeep of relationships, which involves behaving appropriately, and maintaining socially acceptable standards. Some attributes to good social health can include strong communication skills, accountability, and intimacy. A poor social life can be detrimental to someone’s health as it may increase the likelihood of feeling depressed, increase negative thoughts about themselves, decrease their self-esteem and leave them feeling isolated.
  • Mental health- is defined as a state of wellbeing in which a person realises their own potential, can cope with the normal stressors of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to contribute to their community. An increase or decrease in mental health will directly impact the remaining health dimensions. Mental health is not to be confused with mental illness.
  • Spiritual- is integral to good health care and contributes to the health and well-being of the entire community. Spiritual health not only encompasses religion and prayer, but also the ability to establish harmony and peace in one’s life, the ability to develop congruence between actions and values, and the ability to perceive a common purpose that links creation. Overall health is impacted by spiritual health by increasing a person’s positivity and resilience to stressful events.
  • Emotional- Emotional wellbeing includes a person’s ability to manage their own feelings and associated behaviours, cope efficiently under pressure or stress, and adjust to changes in their lifestyle. This dimension of health emphasises the importance of being aware and accepting feelings and stressors, whether positive or negative.
  • Physical- Physical health encompasses an individuals entire health status and can be defined as the absence of disease. It can also be viewed as simply the physical capabilities and fitness levels of an individual. A decline in physical health can trigger a decline in one of the other health dimensions.

Now that we have an understanding of the Dimensions, lets look at the ‘Determinants’ of health.

The Determinants of health refers to any influence that directly impacts or shapes an individual’s community’s or population's health, either positively or negatively. Determinants of health refer to environmental and circumstantial situations which are not necessarily in the complete control of the individual.

Some examples of determinants of health include:

  • Genetics
  • Income
  • Education
  • Relationships
  • Residency
  • Community environment

On a larger, more broader scale of ‘Determinants of Health’, lets have a discussion on the following 3:

Social, economic and political determinants: This determinant includes factors such as income, employment, education, social support and housing, which are all intricately linked to health. In general, individuals from poorer social or economic backgrounds or with poor government policies are at greater risk of poor health, have higher rates of illness, disability and live shorter lives than those who are more advantaged.

Cultural health: Different cultural values and characteristics may shape an individuals concept of what health is. Common cultural beliefs relate to an individual’s weight and physical appearance, age, form and function. Many cultures still believe that weight is a direct indicator of health.

Population/ social health vs individual health: both are intertwined since the same external factors affect both, social constraints affect the health of the individual as well as the health of the population. To improve the health of the community, these factors need to be considered.

I hope that by sharing this article, it has shed some light on how complex health can be, how it can be influenced by a number of factors, and that health is more than just being one dimensional.

If not, then I hope it just got you thinking about how you view health and what it means for you.