Agnus castus is an herb that is also known as Vitex and chaste tree. It is known for its phytoestrogen affect.
PMS- Agnus castus provides phytoestrogen properties. This can be particularly useful for PMS, as PMS is caused by the rapid decline in hormones just before a period.
Menopausal symptoms- The phytoestrogens in Agnus castus may help to replace some of the declining oestrogen that causes some of the menopausal symptoms.
Protection from oxidative stress- Agnus castus helps to mop the free radicals that are created by every day biological functions and environmental factors. Functions such as breathing and digestion cause oxidative stress on the body, and athletes and people who exercise a lot need a lot more anti-oxidants in their diet to maintain equilibrium. When we create oxidants in the body, we become slightly acidic and we end up with excess hydrogen atoms. Antioxidants are missing a hydrogen atom and by adding them in to the diet, they create balance and help to maintain the correct pH.
Choline is a water soluble nutrient related to vitamin B6, B9 (folate) and B12. Choline is naturally found in egg yolk, liver, peanuts, fish, milk, brewer's yeast and soy lecithin.
Cardiovascular health- Having high homocysteine levels in the body has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Supplementing with choline and having a high choline diet a can help maintaining normal homocysteine levels.
Liver support- Choline is needed for the liver to function properly. The liver produces bile which is needed for the breakdown and metabolism of fats in foods. Adding choline may help to improve the absorption and breakdown of fats, which can become a problem, particularly in the elderly.
Brain function- Your brain requires fats, especially omega 3 DHA for normal function. For your body to absorb and utilise fats effectively, you may benefit from taking choline.
Chromium is an essential mineral that is present in trace amounts in the earth and food. It is found in foods such as mushrooms and egg yolks and apples.
Chromium contributes to the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels.
Blood sugar control and diabetes- Chromium may be particularly beneficial for those who struggle to keep their blood sugar levels under control. This may be useful for those who are pre-diabetic, or those who get energy highs and lows throughout the day.
Weight loss- When we are trying to lose fat, it is important to ensure that your blood sugar levels are kept stable, especially if you want to lose weight from around the middle.
Sugar cravings- we often get sugar cravings when we are having a blood sugar dip. Pre-historically, it would be dangerous for blood sugar to dip too low, and so the body produces sugar cravings to ensure that you consume something high in sugar as soon as possible. Pre-historically however, this would have been berries and not chocolate. Keeping blood sugar levels stable by eating protein, complex carbohydrate and chromium helps to prevent sugar dips and therefore helps to prevent cravings.
Copper is a mineral that is needed for the body and naturally occurs in many foods, particularly in organ meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, grains and cocoa products. Copper is stored in the body, mostly in the bones and muscles. The liver helps to regulate blood copper levels and helps to ensure that it is kept in balance.
Skin health- Copper is needed for the strength and structure of the skin. It is involved in the enzymatic reactions that take place in order for the skin formation. Copper is also needed for the correct skin pigmentation, so may be of benefit to those with pigment loss.
The immune system- Copper is needed or the immune system to work effectively and works in balance with zinc. Some immune cells cannot work without copper, which drastically impairs your immune response.
Zinc supplementation- when zinc is taken for longer than 3 months, it must be taken with copper. The two minerals work together and too much zinc can cause there to be insufficient copper in the body.
Echinacea is an herb that grows naturally in America and in Europe. It produces a purple flower and is related to the daisy family.
Immunity- Echinacea is most commonly used as a winter tonic to give the immune system some support during the winter months. Often people take it only once they are ill, however it can also be used to help protect against infection.
UTI’s- Urinary tract infections are a common occurrence. Taking Echinacea may offer support to the urinary tract and help to provide some resistance against infection.
Respiratory tract support- Echinacea may help to provide support to the upper respiratory tract. This includes the throat and the nose, the places that are most susceptible to infection.
Ginger is a root herb that grows native to South America and Africa. It is the roots called the tuberous rhizome that are used therapeutically.
Respiratory tract health- Ginger is known to help support the respiratory tract by keeping it free of thick mucus. It also supports the body’s natural defences, so is particularly useful in the case of a throat or sinus infection.
Anti-sickness- Ginger helps to prevent the sensations of nausea, and may help to prevent vomiting. Ginger is a beneficial supplement to take before long journeys for those who suffer from travel sickness. It is also handy to keep some in the car for those who never know when they might need it.
Protection from free radicals- Ginger helps to mop the free radicals that are created by every day biological functions and environmental factors. Functions such as breathing and digestion cause oxidative stress on the body, and athletes and people who exercise a lot need a lot more anti-oxidants in their diet to maintain equilibrium. When we create oxidants in the body, we become slightly acidic and we end up with excess hydrogen atoms. Antioxidants are missing a hydrogen atom and by adding them in to the diet, they create balance and help to maintain the correct pH.
Ginkgo Biloba is a tree with fan shaped leaves. These leaves are used for their medicinal purposes.
Cognitive function- Ginkgo biloba helps to improves blood circulation, particularly blood circulation to the brain. This improves the oxygen and nutrition supply to the brain cells, and helps the brain cells work to the best of their ability.
Protects from free radicals- Ginkgo biloba helps to mop the free radicals that are created by every day biological functions and environmental factors. Functions such as breathing and digestion cause oxidative stress on the body, and athletes and people who exercise a lot need a lot more anti-oxidants in their diet to maintain equilibrium. When we create oxidants in the body, we become slightly acidic and we end up with excess hydrogen atoms. Antioxidants are missing a hydrogen atom and by adding them in to the diet, they create balance and help to maintain the correct pH.
Blood flow- Ginkgo biloba helps with blood flow by decreasing the stickiness of the red blood cells, and therefore makes it easier for the blood to enter the capillaries and provide oxygen and nutrition to cells.
Green tea is an herb that is used for culinary and medicinal uses. It is the same species as black tea, however is lightly steamed after cutting to prevent oxidation, meaning that it therefore contains higher levels of active ingredient flavonoids and catechins.
Fat loss- Green tea may help with fat loss, by increasing the rate in which your body burns fat. This is particularly useful when combined with a healthy diet and exercise program.
Balanced moods- Green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine. This is used to make GABA, a brain neurotransmitter that helps us to feel relaxed.
Anti-ageing- The flavonoids and catchens in green tea help to mop up free radical damage within the body. Free radicals can cause damage to DNA, which can affect the health of cells, and particularly the fast growing cells in the skin.
Memory- Green tea contains small amounts of caffeine, which is responsible for the benefits regarding memory.
Iodine is a mineral that is essential for health. The main food source is from sea food such as shell fish and seaweed. There is generally very little in land food unless it has been added during processing. In the body, Iodine is found in large quantities in the brain and breasts.
Cognition- Iodine is used by the brain cells and is needed for cognitive function. Iodine is needed for thyroid hormones. Having adequate thyroid hormones also plays a role in cognition, therefore providing benefit from 2 angles.
Thyroid hormones- Thyroid hormones are made from Iodine. T4 is made from 4 molecules of iodine, T3 from 3 molecules and so on for T2 and T1. When we do not have enough iodine in the body, we may develop an enlargement of the thyroid gland called a goitre. The gland enlarges so that it can trap more blood and therefore more iodine.
Skin health- Iodine is needed for the fast growing cells of the skin and for the integrity of the skin. Having how thyroid hormones often leads to poor skin health, so we need to ensure an adequate iodine supply to support the skin form both angles.
Iron is a metal that is naturally found in foods, both plant and animal foods, particularly green leafy vegetables, red lentils, black strap molasses and liver. There are 2 types of Iron, Haem and non-haem. Haem comes from animal products and non-haem coms from plant foods. Although low levels are usually associated with anaemia, it is needed for a wide range of body functions.
Blood health- Iron is needed for the creation of haemoglobin. This is the oxygen carrying part of the blood cell, and is essential in order for the cells to receive oxygen. When we do not have enough haemoglobin we experience anaemia which results in tiredness and fatigue.
Cognition- Iron is needed for the proper function of the brain and for cognitive function. Without enough Iron, we see a decline in mental function, but also a restriction in the cognitive development of children.
Immunity- Iron is essential for the immune system in the right level. It is recommended that you take an Iron test from the GP prior to supplementing so an appropriate dose can be taken.
Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in our body and can be found mostly in bones and teeth. It works in balance with calcium and is essential for health. Magnesium is involved in over 200 enzymatic processes within the body, so a deficiency and seriously impair function. Naturally it is found in green leafy vegetables, nuts and seed and whole grains. Often, our diet does not meet our magnesium demands, and our lifestyle choices increase our need even further.
Bones and teeth- Magnesium is the second most abundant mineral in bones and teeth after calcium. It forms part of the bone and teeth matrix. A deficiency in magnesium can lead to bone disorders.
Nervous health- Magnesium is known as natureâ€™s tranquiliser and plays its role in nerve health where it helps to relax nerves. This benefits both physical and emotional nervous well-being.
Sleep- Magnesium works in balance with calcium for both nerve and muscle function. Calcium provides the contraction response, and magnesium provides the relaxation response. Often when we cannot sleep, it is due to a combination of tense muscles and nerves.
Energy- Magnesium feeds directly into the energy production cycle, which is ineffective without it. Athletes often use magnesium for energy production and for the function of their muscles.
Manganese is a trace mineral that is found naturally in food. It is needed by the body for a variety functions and is not widely discussed. Manganese is often added to multi vitamin and mineral formulas.
Energy- Manganese is needed by the body for the energy production cycle, and without it, energy production is impaired. Manganese is often found in energy formulations.
Bone health- Consider bones to be like brick walls. Calcium and magnesium form the bricks, and manganese makes up part of the cement formula. The cement is essential for keeping the bricks together in case of impact. The same is with bones. Bones rely on a variety of vitamins and mineral including manganese for strength.
Protection from oxidative stress- Manganese helps to mop the free radicals that are created by every day biological functions and environmental factors. Functions such as breathing and digestion cause oxidative stress on the body, and athletes and people who exercise a lot need a lot more anti-oxidants in their diet to maintain equilibrium.
When we create oxidants in the body, we become slightly acidic and we end up with excess hydrogen atoms. Antioxidants are missing a hydrogen atom and by adding them in to the diet, they create balance and help to maintain the correct pH.
Milk thistle, also known as silybum marian, is an herb that is native to Europe and can be found growing wild in the UK. Both the aerial parts and the seeds are used to make herbal remedies.
Liver support- Milk thistle is most famous for the role it plays in the liver. Many people use milk thistle when commencing a detox, before and after consuming alcohol. Milk thistle may also help to protect liver cells from damage.
Digestion- Milk thistle helps to promote proper digestion and the excretion of gastric juices. It also helps to stimulate the movement of the gut, so may be particularly useful for those with constipation.
Weight loss- Because of milk thistles action of helping to maintain a normal appetite, it may be useful for those who are trying to cut down on food consumption for weight loss.
Passiflora, also known as passion flower is an herb that is native to the United States. The aerial parts are ground down for use in supplementation.
Sleep- The most common use of passiflora is for sleep. Passiflora helps to induce sleep, and to help you stay asleep. This is particularly beneficial for those with stress related insomnia.
Relaxation- Passiflora helps to induce a state of calm, especially after a period of excitement, an argument or by periods of stress. It works by increasing the levels of GABA in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that is needed to relax us and keep us calm. It is beneficial to have passiflora ready in stressful times of your life, and when your emotions need some support.
Potassium is a mineral that is found abundantly in fruits and vegetables. It is the most abundant electrolyte found in the body.
Those with high blood pressure- Potassium and sodium work in balance with each other in your blood to maintain normal blood pressure. One of the usual suspects for high blood pressure is too much sodium in the diet. It is important to work with your GP or a Professional before using potassium supplementation for blood pressure.
Muscles- Muscles rely on potassium to work effectively. If you have frequent muscle cramps, it may be worth getting a blood test from your GP to check for sodium/potassium balance. You will find potassium in a lot of sports supplements, and it forms one of the main blood electrolytes, needed for the hydration and energy of muscle cells.
Nervous conditions- Potassium is needed for the electrical communication that nerves use for nerve to nerve communication. Without potassium, nerves are unable to work effectively.
Red clover is a legume, which, like soy, contains phytoestrogens (plant-based compounds structurally similar to oestrogen).
Menopause- Red clover contains high levels of phytoestrogens, which can help to replace some of the losses that occur during the menopause phase. The symptoms associated with the menopause phase are a result of the sharp drop in hormone levels, and therefore replacing them is helpful.
Cardiovascular health- Red clover helps to support the cardiovascular health by supporting the flexibility of the blood vessels and normalising blood pressure.
Sage has been used in Europe for centuries as a spice and a medicine. It is an herb which is used therapeutically for its phytoestrogen content and its stimulant effects.
Respiratory- Sage helps to support the respiratory help by supporting healthy mucous levels. Sage also offers support to the immune system, and is therefore perfect to take in the case of a cold.
Mental performance- Sage is a mental stimulant and may be beneficial to those who need some support with cognition and focus.
Menopause- Sage contains phytoestrogens which may be beneficial to those who are experiencing symptoms from the sharp decline in hormones that happens during the menopause.
Protection from oxidative stress- Sage helps to mop the free radicals that are created by every day biological functions and environmental factors. Functions such as breathing and digestion cause oxidative stress on the body, and athletes and people who exercise a lot need a lot more anti-oxidants in their diet to maintain equilibrium. When we create oxidants in the body, we become slightly acidic and we end up with excess hydrogen atoms. Antioxidants are missing a hydrogen atom and by adding them in to the diet, they create balance and help to maintain the correct pH.
Selenium is a mineral found naturally in the soil and plant, and most abundantly in Brazil nuts. It is essential for the body and must be consumed daily.
Free radical protection- Selenium helps to mop the free radicals that are created by every day biological functions and environmental factors. Functions such as breathing and digestion cause oxidative stress on the body, and athletes and people who exercise a lot need a lot more anti-oxidants in their diet to maintain equilibrium. When we create oxidants in the body, we become slightly acidic and we end up with excess hydrogen atoms. Antioxidants are missing a hydrogen atom and by adding them in to the diet, they create balance and help to maintain the correct pH.
Hair and nails- Selenium is needed for the normal growth of the hair and nails and may be of particular interest to people with slow growing hair and nails or to those wishing to increase nail durability.
Immunity- Selenium is needed for the initiation of the immune response, and is therefore considerably important for helping your body to protect itself against invaders.
Turmeric is a root vegetable that is related to ginger. It is bright yellow inside, and the colouring is used as a dye. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. Although it is one of many curcuminoids, it is the most potent and biologically active curcuminoids.
Inflammation- curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties, and is therefore useful in a wide range of situations. Most conditions have inflammation involved, and therefore may benefit from curcumin.
Digestion- Turmeric is a digestive stimulant, and stimulates the release of gastric juices. This can improve fat digestion, and therefore improve comfort and indigestion symptoms.
Immunity- Curcumin is an anti-oxidant, which is hugely helpful for the immune system. It also has anti-microbial properties, which is beneficial in fighting infection.
Antioxidant- Curcumin helps to mop the free radicals that are created by every day biological functions and environmental factors. Functions such as breathing and digestion cause oxidative stress on the body, and athletes and people who exercise a lot need a lot more anti-oxidants in their diet to maintain equilibrium. When we create oxidants in the body, we become slightly acidic and we end up with excess hydrogen atoms. Antioxidants are missing a hydrogen atom and by adding them in to the diet, they create balance and help to maintain the correct pH.
Valerian is an herb that is native to North America and is cultivated as an herbal remedy. Valerian grows sweetly scented small white flowers.
Sleep- This is the most common reason for using valerian. It helps with getting to sleep, staying asleep and promoting sleep quality.
Moods- Everyone gets moods from time to time, so it is handy to have some valerian on-hand. Woman who suffer from PMT may also benefit from taking valerian around the time of menstruation.
Stress- Valerian may be particularly useful for those who have busy and stressful lifestyle. Valerian helps you to cope with stressful situations and relax both physically and emotionally. Valerian is a hand her to have in your office draw, for those unexpected stressful periods.
Vitamin A, also called Retinol is a fat soluble vitamin found in egg yolks, liver and butter. In the body it can be synthesised from Beta carotene, and you will often see Beta carotene content expressed as vitamin A, or Retinol equivalent. Beta carotene is different however, and sometimes, people can be ineffective at converting beta carotene into vitamin A. Because Vitamin A is fat soluble, it does get stored in the body and can become toxic.
Iron deficiency- Vitamin A is needed for the normal metabolism of iron. Many nutrients work together, as does Iron and vitamin A. it is recommended that anyone with Iron deficiency anaemia should supplement with vitamin A at the same time. We often have a substance in our diet called phytates which can inhibit the absorption of iron. Vitamin A helps to prevent this inhibition, and encourages the absorption of iron in the gut.
Health of mucous membranes- Vitamin A is needed for the mucus membranes and their integrity. Mucus membranes include the mouth, eyes, nose, throat, gut and vagina. A deficiency in vitamin A can often lead to problems with these areas, leaving them dry and with loss of integrity.
Skin health- Vitamin A is needed for normal skin health, for both the skins immunity and integrity. There are many skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis where the skins immunity and integrity is lowered.
Eye sight and eye health- Vitamin A is also named Retinol due to its function with the health of the retina in the eye. It is needed for the photo-receptors in the retina to function properly and be able to detect the full range of colour pigments. A deficiency symptom of vitamin A is night blindness, simply because the retina cannot not pick up colour pigments in low light. As stated above, the eye is surrounded by mucous membranes which need vitamin A in order to keep the eye moist and lubricated.
Immunity- Vitamin A is needed for the correct activation and increase in numbers of certain immune cells. It also plays a role in the differentiation of T helper cells. T helper cells must be imbalance to prevent autoimmune diseases and allergies.
B vitamins are water soluble vitamins which are essential for the body. They are found in animal products, whole grains and yeast. They all have different names and may be referred to as:
B vitamins may help you with a wide range of problems and conditions. Ideally, a B complex should be taken along-side a healthy a nutritious diet to ensure maximum benefit.
Energy - Most people take a B complex for energy production, whether they have a demanding lifestyle or if they have fatigue. B vitamins are needed for the energy production cycle that happens inside each cell, and without them, energy production is not possible.
Nervous system health- B vitamins are often used with low moods, concentration, and anxiety and sleeping disorders. All of these symptoms are signs of a distressed nervous system which needs balancing. B vitamins may also be useful in conditions that affect the outer coating of the nerves (myelin sheath) such as MS. Stress is another time when people find benefit from taking B vitamins. Stress puts pressure on your nervous system which is why we often feel unable to cope in stressful situations.
Immunity- A deficiency in B vitamins can leave you with a poorly functioning immune system. And although vitamins B6, B9 and B12 are the main ones needed for the immune system, they all work together to increase the effect of each other.
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that must be consumed daily. It is naturally found in raw fruits and vegetables. Heat destroys vitamin C, so loses occur during cooking.
Time of illness and healing- Vitamin C is needed for the proper function of the immune system. Some immune cells cannot work without it, so a deficiency can cause major problems. When we are ill, we need a much higher intake of vitamin C than we do on a normal day, which can be hard to get from diet alone.
Cardiovascular health- vitamin C is needed for the collagen in the blood vessels. It is the collagen that ensures that they are kept flexible and strong. Strong and flexible blood vessels are essential, especially as we enter old age and are at more risk of easy bruising and stroke. Flexible blood vessels encourages good circulation and may help to keep blood pressure down.
Healthy bones and joints- our bones and teeth rely partially on collagen to keep them strong. Consider bones to be like a brick wall. The calcium and magnesium form the bricks, and the collagen forms the cement. A large wall without cement will easily break, where as a small wall with adequate cement will be stronger. Collagen is also needed for the cartilage in the joints which often gets warn down with arthritis.
Skin health- Collagen forms a large part of the skin, and vitamin C is needed for the maintenance of the skin you have and the new skin that is growing. The skin collagen is greatly involved in the skins elasticity.
Vitamin D, also known as the sun vitamin is essential to the body. It is found in a few foods such as oily fish and egg yolks, however dietary sources are usually not sufficient. Another way of getting vitamin D is by sun exposure to bare skin. A chemical reaction happens when the skin is exposed to the sun, and the vitamin D gets stored in your body. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning that storage and toxicity is possible.
Bones and teeth- Vitamin D is needed for the proper abortion of calcium and phosphorus which is needed to grow and maintain healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D works in balance with vitamin K and bone together make a bone and teeth health duo.
Immunity- Vitamin D is essential for the proper function of the immune system. Colds and flu usually strike in winter when our vitamin D levels are at their lowest.
Healing- vitamin D is needed for the division of cells and therefore needed for proper healing. If you have slow healing, it is worth getting your nutrition status tested, including vitamin D.
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin and is found in foods such as vegetable oils, cereals, meat, poultry, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and wheat germ oil.
Vitamin E contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress
Vitamin E helps to mop the free radicals that are created by every day biological functions and environmental factors. Functions such as breathing and digestion cause oxidative stress on the body, and athletes and people who exercise a lot need a lot more anti-oxidants in their diet to maintain equilibrium.
When we create oxidants in the body, we become slightly acidic and we end up with excess hydrogen atoms. Antioxidants are missing a hydrogen atom and by adding them in to the diet, they create balance and help to maintain the correct pH.
Vitamin H, more commonly known as biotin or vitamin B7, is a water soluble vitamin that belongs to the B groups.
Energy production- Much like many of the other B vitamins, vitamin H is needed for the energy production cycle that happens in each cell in the body. A deficiency in it can lead to fatigue.
Hair and skin- Vitamin H is most famous for its role in skin and hair health. Skin and hair are rapidly dividing cells and grow at an incredible rate, and rely on vitamin H for the process to work effectively. The same is also with the mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, mouth and gut. Mucous membranes need vitamin H to maintain integratory and keep surfaces moist.
Nerve and psychological health- Nerves require vitamin H for the outer coating of the nerves. This coating is important for nerve to nerve communication and stability of both the physical and emotional nervous system.
Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin that is found in green leafy vegetables. Being fat soluble means that it can get stored in the body and does not get washed out daily. The best form of vitamin K to take is vitamin K2 as it is ready for your body to use with minimal effort.
Bone health- Vitamin k works in balance with vitamin D. Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium and vitamin K takes the calcium into your bones. Taking vitamin D without vitamin K can cause problems for bone health and therefore they are recommended to be taken together.
Blood health- Vitamin K is needed for the normal clotting of blood. Blood needs to not clotting too much and clot when it is required to. Without vitamin K, we may find increased bleeding time and easy bruising.
Zinc is an essential mineral that is found in animal and plant foods. It is needed for in the body for many enzymatic reactions, and without which our body would not be able to function properly.
Fertility- Zinc is needed for the proper division of cells in the body. It is particularly needed in the early stages of pregnancy. Zinc also needed for the regulation of testosterone levels in both males and females so can regulate fertility this way. Zinc is also needed for the viability of the sperm, and a deficiency can lead to low sperm counts in the male.
Skin hair and nails- Zinc is needed for the replication and decision of cells. Fast growing cells such as those of the skin, hair and nails need a constant supply of zinc in order for this function to happen correctly.
Vision- Zinc is found in large quantities in the macula of the eye where is works with vitamin A to create a pigment called melanin. Melanin helps to protect the eye from light damage and may also play a role in night vision.
Bones- Zinc is needed for many enzymatic processes, including being part of the â€˜cementâ€™ that keeps the bone matrix together.
Cognitive function- Zinc is needed for nerve to nerve communication within the brain, and therefore normal cognition. Zinc may also play a role in memory formation by playing a role in brain cell signalling.