Natural remedies for common health problems as shared by PurelyB’s Amanda Teh
The natural touch
You are a qualified Naturopath. Can you please tell us more about what Naturopathy is?
Naturopathy is the study of natural medicine based on the philosophy that nature is the most effective healer and emphasises on the self-healing process with the support of natural therapies. It takes the holistic approach where the person is treated as a whole and the focus is to identify the underlying cause of diseases instead of just providing symptomatic reliefs.
Modern day Naturopaths, or naturopathic practitioners, blend centuries-old knowledge of the healing power of nature with the latest scientific research and evidence-based approach to best maintain good health. We may use many different approaches such as dietary and lifestyle changes, botanical medicine, dietary supplements, homoeopathy, detox therapy, manipulative therapies and others.
We also adopt the view that prevention is better than cure when it comes to health. Therefore, apart from treating patients, a naturopath would educate the necessary lifestyle changes for attaining and maintaining the best possible health.
How would you differentiate naturopathy medicine and western modern medicine?
My view is that they complement each other, and have different roles to play. In Malaysia, traditional medicine comes under the roof of "complementary medicine", meaning we are not an 'alternative' but more of a supportive system with the main stream.
A good example will be traditional medicine cannot treat life threatening situations that require surgery, anaesthetics; and we also don't do very intensive diagnosis for the client. But western medicine can provide a better prognosis and diagnosis to the patient with current advanced technology. In addition, some of the drugs in definitely lifesaving when it comes to acute attacks, but side effects are always a main concern.
Traditional medicine is great for chronic conditions, health management and preventative measures. A lot of patients who would consider traditional medicine are those whose condition is stable, and the aim is to reduce the usage of the drug as much as possible with a natural medicine as an alternative. Traditional medicine focuses on lifestyle-based diseases, and guides the patients on diet and lifestyle changes. Hence, most chronic disease such as diabetes, obesity, allergy, chronic fatigue will see major improvements when the client changes their diet and lifestyle.
Can you share with us some natural remedies for the following common health problems:
Try peppermint essential oil. Just add a few drops of it onto a handkerchief, hold it close to your nose and sniff gently. It will help to relieve the muscle tension. Alternatively, you can try a cup of strong peppermint tea (double teabag) for headache relief.
Cold and Flu
Try garlic. It's the strongest and best natural antibiotic that you can find it in your kitchen. It boosts your immune system, and helps you to fight off the viral flu so that you can heal faster. Apart from that, I love herbal remedies like echinacea, elderberry and andrographis - they're all a type of traditional remedy that is meant to help you recover naturally.
Try gargling with sea salt water. Sea salt as one of the oldest home remedies for various ailments. It is anti-inflammatory and rich in minerals that help to repair and heal. Add one teaspoon of salt into 250ml of warm water and gargle the solution. It will help loosen up the phlegm, if any, and reduce the pain.
Try flaxseed. Mix one tablespoon of flaxseed in a glass of water and leave it overnight. Drink the mixture first thing in the morning and your bowel movement will be much better. The water will be very slimy as it is high in mucilage, which will help to clean out your digestive tract effectively.
What are some tips for coping with daily stress?
1. Eat simple food and eat less.
Food can definitely have a huge impact and most people's diets will become very poor during a stressful period, as they will go for anything that is convenient and fast. However, I found that eating light when I'm stressed actually helps. I'll feel more energised and my mind feels clearer too, enabling me to cope with stress better.
2. Go vegetarian.
As biologically speaking, our digestive system will slow down when we're stressed; so too much meat protein will require more enzymes to break them down and as a result, we will feel more tired.
3. Hang out with friends.
Apart from family, I think friends are so important. So, catch up with your friends over tea and chat about your thoughts and recent stories. Having a good laugh is definitely very healing and it will make you forget about any stress that you had.
4. Chanting and meditation.
It can clear your mind as you have some space to yourself, shutting off from work and just tune out for a while. Sometimes, it also helps you to listen to your heart so that you can make a better decision after the session.
What are some of the recent health trends that you've discovered?
Back to basic foods
I think people now want something more sustainable instead of opting for fad diets. More and more consumers simply want to make healthier food choices that are minimally processed. You will see more superfood-based products and naturally functional food like coconut, chia-related and hemp. Expect more organic and healthy-eating restaurants to be available in the market too.
Thriving micro-biome and fermentation
Many are now aware of the importance of bacteria that lives on and within the human body so things like pre-probiotic products as well as fermented food such as kimchi, tempeh, and yoghurt are gaining traction.
Adaptogens or superherbs for stress
A lot of people believe that this group of herbs - for example, maca, ginseng, ashwagandha - is going to be 'big'. These herbs support our adrenal function, help us to cope with stress, and give us more energy - which is pretty much what everyone needs in today's modern lifestyle.
Three of your favourite items available on the new PurelyB Marketplace.
From my kitchen to the dressing table to my bathroom, I use coconut oil a lot. It is my natural alternative to cooking oil, a healthy choice of ingredient for desserts and raw recipes, and also acts as my makeup remover, shaver cream, moisturiser and something to tame my frizzy hair.
It is a mixture of beetroot, oats, barley and other whole grains. Beetroot is always my favourite as it is great for the skin, supports liver detoxication, and is high in iron and antioxidants. It's highly recommended for ladies. You can add this into your breakfast or shakes.
I used it during my post-pregnancy. It smells fantastic and I love that Tanamera's products are very down-to-earth, local and authentic. We should be proud of local-made products and promote them. Another favourite item that I like from the brand is their lemongrass essential oil. I use it in a diffuser as a natural insect repellent.
Follow Amanda Teh on Facebook for more expert advice or check out PurelyB's Chinese site where she oversees the content and which contains more articles about traditional Chinese medicine, Chinese recipes and even feng shui tips for health.