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Embarrassing bodies

Some health issues are just plain embarrassing, but there are natural remedies that can help even the most blush-worthy conditions

Fungal infections

These can be minor or pretty troublesome and include athlete’s foot, jock rash, ringworm and nail bed infections. Treatment is all about making the conditions difficult for the fungus to survive.

Martha Brennan of Harvest Fare in Blessington, Co Wicklow: “Fungal infections generally need to be seen as coming from within, so we would suggest cutting back particularly on sugars and white foods and taking something like olive leaf, propolis, caprylic acid or spilanthes and topically applying something like colloidal silver or tea tree to the affected area. Probiotics are an invaluable support too.”

Other tips include:

  • Apple cider vinegar – mix with warm water and put on the affected area for 30 minutes several times a day. Rinse and dry.
  • Tea tree oil – mix with sweet almond or olive oil and apply to the skin.
  • Garlic – make a paste of two crushed garlic cloves mixed with olive oil and apply to the affected area. Leave for 30 minutes then wash and dry.

Thrush

Liz Beattie from Health Matters, Grafton St, Dublin: “Thrush is a yeast infection caused by a fungus commonly known as candida albicans, this can be both oral and vaginal. It is important to avoid sugar and yeast. Use products containing saccharomyces boulardii to remove the fungus, natural anti-fungals such as oregano or garlic, and fibre to help to pass the fungal infection.”

Martha Brennan: “Great relief is found using a topical spray containing an array of oils known for their efficacy in soothing the area.”

Other tips include:

  • Eat live natural yoghurt every day to put good bacteria into your gut.
  • Ask your local health store for a native bacteria supplement (formerly known as probiotics) such as acidophilus.
  • Avoid soaps, bubble bath etc near the sensitive area and wash using warm water only.
  • Add white vinegar to bath water to help stabilise your vaginal pH.

Verrucas

Verrucas are essentially warts that grow into the foot and are often picked up at swimming pools. Liz Beattie: “The homeopathic remedy thuja is very effective for this condition and applying tea tree oil neat to the verruca will help to remove it. They can be stubborn too, so bathing the foot with tea tree and using a tea tree foot powder can help it to stop reoccurring.”

Martha Brennan: “I would recommend olive leaf extract taken internally for a while. Vitamin E applied to the wart and then covered with a very sticky plaster to prevent air getting to it can also help.”

Other tips include:

  • Remove the top layer of hard skin on the verruca before treating.
  • Wear flip flops or swim socks in the swimming pool to prevent a verruca and avoid spreading to others.
  • Take an anti-viral herb such as olive leaf, echinacea or medicinal mushrooms until the verrucas are gone.
  • Grapefruit seed extract – take 15 drops mixed with water every day.
  • Garlic – put a slice on the verruca and cover with a plaster.

Body odour

Liz Beattie: “Body odour is caused by bacteria on the skin’s surface. We recommend sage tablets for the perspiration and a sage deodorant. Sage tea could also be beneficial.”

Martha Brennan: “Once this isn’t a hygiene issue practical steps like wearing natural fibres can make a difference. Tea tree soaps have a gentle antibacterial action. If it’s beyond these steps diet needs to be looked at, reducing strong-smelling foods, heavy proteins, caffeine and sugars, aiding digestion with a good probiotic and following a good diet. A good detox tea preparation and adding super green foods such as wheatgrass or chlorella can help.”

Other tips include:

  • Wipe witch hazel, tea tree oil or baking soda onto your underarms to reduce bacteria.
  • Shave under your arms regularly to keep hairs that trap perspiration as short as possible.
  • Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach as the chlorophyll they contain is a natural deodoriser.
  • Drink a tea made from parsley and hot water.

Bad breath

Liz Beattie: “Halitosis can be a result of poor dental hygiene or an underlying gut problem. It is always helped by using a good chewable or soluble live native bacteria. Aloe vera juice and chlorella are also very good at removing the bacteria causing the odour and citricidal can be used as a gargle or mouthwash.”

Martha Brennan: “Dental hygiene, cavities and gum disease need to be considered first. If these aren’t the cause, a probiotic addressing stomach issues and high chlorophyll foods to alkalise and help detox the system may help. Zinc supplementation as a suckable lozenge can be good as well as chewable probiotics.”

Other tips include:

  • Brush your tongue as well as your teeth and floss daily. See your dentist regularly.
  • Drink enough water as being dehydrated can make halitosis worse.
  • Zinc helps your mouth stay bacteria-free – take a supplement and use mouthwashes containing zinc.
  • Foods high in live native bacteria include natural yoghurt and kombucha tea.
  • Gargle with salt water to kill off bacteria in the mouth.
  • Eat an apple a day – it helps to scrape plaque off your teeth.

Constipation

Martha Brennan: “Firstly are they drinking enough fluids and getting enough fibre in their diet? If not, psyllium husks or linseeds taken with plenty of water can be beneficial. Magnesium supplements can loosen things up and many people take them for this reason.”

Liz Beattie: “We would recommend a good digestive enzyme and a fibre supplement such as psyllium powder. Essential fatty acids can help to move things along. Fluid intake is a big consideration, so drink plenty of water.”

Supplements that contain the live native bacteria lactobacillus, bifidobacterium and saccharomyces boulardii can help to promote digestion and these are also found in foods like yoghurts.

Click here to read earlier Rude Health Magazine natural health articles.
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