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Health store help

Independent health store advice on holiday health including suncare, tummy troubles and beating bugs

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health stores can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This issue we speak to Deborah Buckley who works at Celestial Times in Kilrush, Co Clare

We’ve waited months for the longer warmer days, but it’s wise to take some precautions to ensure we stay healthy during this time. Our skin’s outer layer is composed of cells that contain a pigment called melanin, this helps protect our skin from sun rays. The higher this pigmentation in the skin, the higher your natural sun protection factor is. Fair skinned people have lower levels of melanin, resulting in a tendency to sunburn. Sunscreen with SPF (sun protection factor) acts as a shield for our skin cells and protects our skin from damage due to exposure to the sun’s UV rays.

Natural SPF

Skin is semi permeable, so what goes on your skin will find its way into your blood stream. Buying a cheap or chemical-laden lotion is a false economy where your health is concerned. Your local health store will stock a wide range of natural sun protection lotions with varying SPFs. Remember the SPF factor represents the number of minutes you can spend in strong sun before reapplying, so choose an SPF appropriate to your level of time in the sun.

Natural mineral sunscreens contain zinc oxide which blocks harmful UVA and UVB rays and is water resistant. Unlike chemical sunscreen which absorbs into the skin, zinc oxide sits on the skin and deflects sun rays. Even during winter and cloudy days SPF is needed as up to 80% of the sun’s radiation reaches earth.

Try to avoid intense sunshine between the hours of 10am and 4pm – sunglasses, clothing and seeking shade are also important.

Taking a beta carotene supplement a few weeks prior to going on holiday increases your skin’s natural sun protection and also helps to lengthen the lifespan of your tan.


During hot weather season, whether at home or abroad, dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion, so drinking enough water is key to replenishing water and electrolytes lost due to sweating. This helps to regulate body temperature and keep cool. Drinking enough water and having enough electrolytes helps our bodies function properly.

Coconut water is full of electrolytes if you’re feeling dehydrated.

Tummy troubles

Many people suffer with upset stomachs when on holiday. This can be due to food poisoning, viral infection or change in food and water going into the body. Probiotics may help to reduce symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea and cramps.

Being abroad can be a prime time for our gut to become exposed to different bacteria, causing stomach upset. Saccharomyces boulardii is a specific strain of good bacteria which has been shown to alleviate symptoms associated with gastric illness. This strain of good bacteria has a sticky outer membrane which adheres itself to harmful bacteria.

Some good remedies to help are slippery elm for acid reflux or heartburn.

Digestive enzymes help break down the food we eat.

Teas such as ginger, peppermint or fennel are great for an upset tummy, digestive issues and bloating.

Nux Vom 30c is a homeopathic aid for over-indulgence, nausea, migraine and swelling of the stomach.

What’s good for insect bites?

Insect bites can be a real problem on holiday. Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, produces a skin odour that is not recognisable to human noses, but repels mosquitoes, midges and their flying cousins. Take it orally for about two weeks before you go away if you are highly sensitive or allergic to insect bites.

If bitten, a dab of apple cider vinegar on a bite will reduce the inflammation. Lavender oil also does the trick.

Garlic changes the odour given off from the body through the sweat glands, helping to repel insects.

Try odourless tablets

Neem and citronella oils are natural insect repellents.

Your holiday first aid kit

  • Witch hazel – a multi-tasker, helpful for taking the edge off a nettle rash, insect sting and cleansing hands in a hurry
  • Aloe vera gel – nature’s aftersun lotion for sunburn, skin irritations or bites
  • Activated charcoal – for food poisoning, activated charcoal binds to the pathogen and aids in removing it from the body, try and take it as soon as you notice symptoms
  • Arnica – for bumps, bruises or accidents
  • Calendula cream – for cuts or bruises, itchy skin
  • Quercetin and vitamin C – both natural antihistamines which help skin allergies and bites
  • Tea tree essential oil – for insect bites, it’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Dilute before use.

What’s What and Who’s Who in Celestial Times

“I opened Celestial Times in April 2022,” says owner-manager Paula Greene who with Deborah Buckley make up the team. “We are just off the square in Kilrush, and on the main road to the Killimer Ferry, so we get quite a few tourists and passing trade. We try to stock everything that our local shoppers require.

“We stock a wide range of top supplements including herbal remedies, and quite a bit of food. On the shelves we have a big range of teas, dried goods, prepacks and gluten-free products. In our fridges we stock humous, dips, tofu, falafels, drinks, yogurts, juices, kimchee and kefir. We also stock a beautiful local honey. We have delicious artisan coffee and beetroot turmeric lattes are quite a healthy treat too.

“We have a wide range of gifts which are popular with customers, including crystals, angel cards, Irish soaps made locally, and moon calendars made locally which support Irish birds.

“Our eco cleaning section offers a wide range with laundry liquid, softener and house cleaner all offered as a refillable service. Our extensive range of beauty products includes body lotions, lip balms and perfumes, all from Irish brands.”

VISIT: Celestial Times, 56 Moore St, Kilrush, Co Clare
PHONE: 087 345 4578
SPEAK TO: Owner-manager Paula Greene and Deborah Buckley
OPEN: Mon-Sat 9.30am – 6pm

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