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Independent health store advice on must-have herbal remedies

Looking for advice on natural wellbeing? Your local independent health stores can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This issue we speak to Von Deegan, manager at Von’s Health Store in Limerick city

In the days before modern medicine herbs were the most commonly used remedies for a number of various ailments, and many of them still hold powerful qualities that can improve your health. People with high cholesterol, digestive issues, sluggish liver or diabetes will benefit from taking milk thistle. It is a natural herb with powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It grows mainly in hot climates such as California. It is mostly used as a liver support and works by drawing the toxins out of the body while protecting the liver from free radical damage. The liver is the largest internal organ and therefore works very hard to purify the blood in circulation.

Milk thistle supports the digestive system by promoting enzyme production, improving bile production, reducing inflammation, while soothing the mucous membranes throughout the body. Milk thistle also improves the levels of cholesterol in the liver, and so aids heart function. It may also contribute to the control of blood sugar levels. It is anti-ageing as it blasts free radicals.

For anybody prone to picking up infections or who has digestive issues oregano acts like a natural antibiotic. It is a plant-based oil that has very powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Its main active ingredients are carvacrol and thymol. Oregano doesn’t have any of the side effects usually associated with antibiotics and can treat a number of infections such as the common cold, nail fungus/athlete’s foot, gingivitis, digestive issues such as heartburn and earache.

Dandelion for some is a curse on your lawn but so beneficial for your health! Both the green and the root can be used and packed with nutrients. I like to take dandelion when I go on holiday as I find it great for fluid retention in the heat.

The root is generally dried out, ground and used as a coffee substitute, while the greens are steamed or eaten raw and used in salads. It may help reduce cholesterol by taking it in a tincture or as a tea. It can help assist in weight loss as it is a diuretic. It supports liver function, enabling it to detoxify more efficiently. It also has anti-bacterial properties.

Agnus castus, also called chasteberry or vitex, is a hormone balancer. It acts directly on the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. It increases the luteinising hormone, modulates prolactin and slows down the release of the follicle stimulating hormone, which aids the increase of progesterone levels. It reduces PMS and can help regulate hormone induced acne. Improves female fertility and other related problems such as fibroids and endometriosis when taken over a course of 12-18 months. It is not just for women as it helps reduce enlarged prostate.

Rhodiola, also called golden root, is an adaptogenic herb. This means that adaptogens help the body to adapt to chemical, physical and environmental stress. Rhodiola in particular works on cortisol levels (fight/flight). This is a great herb for athletes doing a lot of training or for students studying for exams or anybody with deadlines and who needs to stay focused with long working hours.

Rhodiola may also assist with weight loss as the active ingredient rosavin can trigger a fat-burning response. It helps balance cortisol levels and reduces cravings. Improves stamina and endurance by increasing red blood cell count and reducing free radicals. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the muscles improving the levels of EPO (erythropoietin, which stimulates RBC production). It can help improve physical and mental fatigue and brain fog. Can help fight depression and improve brain fuction.

Who’s who and what’s what at Von’s Health Store

“We’re celebrating our 10 year anniversary this year,” says Von Deegan of Von’s Health store in Limerick. “This is a small and friendly shop run by myself, a nutritional therapist and qualified chef, and Denise Waldron, who is very knowledgeable about natural health.

“I am a local, my family home is just down the road, and we have a very homely atmosphere in the shop. Northtown is a small shopping centre with only a few shops. Originally we opened as Just Health, but three years ago we expanded and rebranded as Von’s Health Store and introduced a few changes. One of these in that we now serve coffee – customers come in to have a coffee and we offer a healthy sweet treat to go with it that’s usually wheat-, gluten- or sugar-free. We offer a loyalty card where customers get the 10th cup of coffee free. They can bring their own cup and get 50 cents off the price, or buy one of our bamboo coffee cups instead.

“We stock a wide range of products and will order in anything that customers ask for. Our bodycare range covers everything you might need for yourself and your children, including dental products. We stock a wide variety of good quality supplements. Our food ranges are huge – from dried food like beans, lentils and cereals that can be bought by weight, to gluten-free products, local honey from Adare and our fridge which carries drinks, juices, vegan options and dairy alternatives like nut and soy milks, cheese and yogurts.

“We also stock a good range of eco cleaning products, candles, essential oils and homeopathic remedies. I do fermenting workshops in store, and cooking demonstrations in schools and local clubs. Our customers range in age from mid-20s to people of my parents’ generation who are in their 80s, with lots of regulars I would have known for years.”

Visit: Von’s Health Store, Northtown Shopping Centre, Ennis Rd, Limerick, Ireland
PHONE: 061 322 569
SPEAK TO: Von Deegan or Denise Waldron.

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