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A good overview of the GMO debate

Starting the year by releasing anxiety and building resilience

Can you believe we are already in February? It seems that 2021 is trucking along….the question is, how are you doing? Yes, the world keeps on turning, even if it looks somewhat different right now to how it did this time last year….How are you coping with all the changes that the last year has brought? Are you feeling resilient and able to adapt, to bend, to find your centre in the world as it is now? Or are you struggling with adapting to all the changes, perhaps having added responsibilities, uncertainty, etc? Maybe you’re feeling more like a brittle twig and that the next thing that happens may just be the thing to “break you”? We all have faced challenges over the past months. How can we release anxiety and build resilience in 2021? This is a time of opportunity for us to grow, to learn or re-discover tools to help us through this time. With the ease and convenience of online consultations and training sessions, there’s never been a better time to reach out for a little (or alot!) of help.

Below are my top 3 tools to help you:
1) Pilates and Mindful Movement:

Pilates is mind-body movement. We learn how to move our bodies using intelligence, breathwork and mindfulness. We build strength, endurance and flexibility of both mind and body. We finish each session feeling calm, centered, strengthened and stretched. Many of my clients view their sessions as a form of “moving meditation”.

If you’d like to schedule a session, please go here:

2) Phytotherapy:

Clinical herbal medicine or Phytotherapy is evidence based, personalised natural medicine using plants and food as medicine. Herbs have been used in almost all cultures around the world for thousands of years and it is still the most widely used form of medicine globally. Phytotherapists are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions and formulate a personalised prescription for each patient. The medicines we use are of the highest quality and more efficacious than many of the mass-produced  “over-the counter” herbal products available.Currently I am offering online consultations to my patients around the world. Specifically at this time, many patients are looking for support for immunity; recovery from illness; stress; anxiety; depression and insomnia. We know that we are living through a time of increased stress. This can have an impact on our nervous systems and on our immune systems. If you’d like some herbal support, tailored specifically to your needs, please go here:

1st consultation:
If you’ve had a Phytotherapy consult with me previously:

3) E.F.T./Tapping:

Do you feel like you keep reacting to things in a certain way and you wish you could change it? Maybe you get angry, or withdraw, or lose sleep? Emotional Freedom Technique (E.F.T), also known as “Tapping” is a form of energy medicine or energy psychology. There are many studies to support how effective this technique is. It has many applications, such as PTSD and trauma; chronic pain; anxiety, panic attacks; depression; learning challenges and optimising performance in school, sports, work and life! It is a simple system using the body’s energy meridian system to help connect mind and body. What makes it so effective is that by uncovering the root of where an issue started, we are then able to “re-wire” the neural pathways that have been laid down in response to the original trigger and form new pathways. In this way we no longer are “triggered” or “wired” to react in the old way/s, but can choose new ways to respond to situations, and we can enjoy our life more fully, being more present and free. Right now many people are feeling so stressed, anxious, fearful, isolated, etc. E.F.T/Tapping can help you release these feelings and navigate your path forward.

If you’d like to explore this please go here:

If you have any questions, please get in touch, email is usually the best way to reach me, as I’m often in consultation/ session.

Sending you peace, and well-being in mind, body and spirit.

A new study shows that Boswellia Extract May Be Beneficial for Reducing Inflammation and Pain in Patients Newly Diagnosed with Knee Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common age-related disorder associated with chronic inflammation, joint pain, decreased mobility, and negative impact on quality of life.

OA of the knee is the most common form of arthritis. Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the primary medications used for symptoms related to OA of the knee. These pharmacological interventions often lead to gastrointestinal, renal, and cardiovascular risk.

Gum resin extracted from boswellia has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat chronic inflammatory diseases, including OA. Studies have shown boswellia extract to be beneficial for treating age-related inflammatory disorders. (source: Phytother Res. May 2019)

I’ve used Boswellia successfully for this in my practice as well. However, remember that, as with many herbs, commercially available “supplements” are very often low quality &/or potency. This is true for Boswellia as well. If you are interested in finding out more about Boswellia and if it’s a good fit for you, and you’d like to find a good quality source, please contact me.

Responding to Covid-19 and how to build immunity

In my opinion there is something very flawed about the way governments around the world are responding to the “Covid-19 pandemic”.

Initially the lockdown was proposed and implemented under the guise of “buying time” so that medical staff and facilities could become prepared for the flood of cases expected.

Now however this time has passed. Presumably preparations have been made. Yet still people are living under lockdown. Many are being denied the right to work and earn a living, and many are without access to food.

“The virus” is being held up to be this terrifying bogeyman that we all have to avoid and attempt to eliminate at all costs. This is both untrue and unrealistic. Firstly, because we know there is little chance of eliminating the virus. Secondly because even under extreme lockdown, we can see that it is impossible to completely avoid exposure to the virus.

Until now the focus has been on a “downstream solution”: Avoid the virus/ eliminate the virus/ pray for a miracle cure or vaccination to be created. This is based on the “germ theory of disease”. In other words: germ exposure = disease.

In fact the Covid-19 statistics themselves prove why this model is incorrect. Not every person exposed gets sick. And +- 80 % of people who do become infected have experienced a relatively mild illness and recover.

So shouldn’t we rather be exploring how to build our immunity?

The human immune system is a beautifully orchestrated and sophisticated system that is designed to protect us against foreign invaders. Although we know a lot about it, there is still much that is not understood/ is poorly understood. What we do know that there are certain things that seem to assist the immune system to function optimally: Good nutrition, stress reduction and adequate restful sleep are among the most important of these.

Another key component of our immune system is the relative healthy balance in our own microbiome (The microbiome is the genetic material of all the microbes – bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses – that live on and inside the human body. The number of genes in all the microbes in one person’s microbiome is 200 times the number of genes in the human genome).

Natural health practitioners have long believed that the balance of our microbiome is one of the keys to optimum health and have worked towards achieving this with their patient. For years this was “poo-pooed” by conventional medicine, until mounting evidence made it unavoidable to accept. In the past few years’, the microbiome has received a lot of attention in main stream media. Sales of probiotics have exploded and it is now generally accepted that “the gut” has a crucial role to play in our general health, in our immunity and in our mental well-being (through the gut-brain axis).

However, the microbiome is not only in the gut. Our skin, mouth, nose, colon, and vagina are all colonised by microbes. A person’s microbiome may influence their susceptibility to infectious diseases and contribute to chronic illnesses, when imbalanced.

One of my concerns about the current response to Covid-19 is that many people seem to be becoming almost obsessed with the idea of sterilising every item that comes into their home and their bodies, in an attempt to protect against Covid-19. I am concerned that in this attempt they are in fact impacting the optimal balance and functioning of their microbiome: when we sterilise against Covid-19, we are also killing off all the beneficial microbes on our skin that may in fact be protective against a potential invading organism.  Yes, we should practice good hygiene such as washing our hands before we prepare food/eat and after using the bathroom, etc. but over-sanitisation may potentially be more harmful than helpful.

In fact, studies have shown that babies and young children living in over-sanitized environments may have a higher risk of allergies, asthma and auto-immune disease later in life.

There is also new evidence emerging from Chinese clinicians that COVID-19 dangerously disrupts healthy bowel flora and so weakens the response to the infection.

Shouldn’t we therefore be placing more emphasis on keeping/ restoring our microbiomes’ health?

How do we do this?

Prebiotics (vegetable and cereal foods, and some spices (see below), help nurture healthy gut flora) to help maintain your normal gut defences.

Furthermore, there are things that we know detrimentally impact immune functioning such as:

Chronic stress; poor nutrition; sugar; alcohol; inadequate exercise; vitamin D deficiency (we make Vitamin D as a response to sunlight on our skins)

It is clear that many of the measures governments have implemented in response to the pandemic may therefore have been having the opposite effect to what was desired (protecting us from the virus), in the following ways:

  • People are highly stressed about the possibility of becoming ill; their loss of income and effect on the economy; having to do more tasks which were previously outsourced (home-schooling; cleaning, etc), which may also mean less time to rest and get good quality sleep. Measures such as social distancing and enforced mask wearing may also be contributing to stress as it becomes impossible to escape the reminder of this “invisible enemy”. Many people are also feeling isolated in their homes.
  • Millions of people are unable to access food or good quality nutrition in the current circumstances. When people are hungry, “filling their stomach” seems more important than what they are filling it with. Many resort to high calorie, low nutritional quality foods.
  • Worldwide we consume far too much sugar and refined food. Limited access to safe drinking water may encourage drinking of high sugar cool drinks and beverages.
  • With people confined to their homes/ exercise permitted only between certain times, getting adequate exercise may not be possible.
  • With people confined to their homes people may not be spending enough time outdoors to achieve/maintain optimum Vitamin D levels.

So who is actually most at risk from Covid-19?

The evidence from the frontlines in China, Italy, the USA and other countries, including the UK, indicates that the most risk is for people with a combination of two or more of the following pre-existing conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, cancer, and kidney and liver disease. Older people with these conditions are more at risk.

A key frontline in the defence against this coronavirus appears to be the cells lining the blood vessels (the endothelium). This is where inflammatory processes begin and disturbances in endothelial function are at the heart of the first three risk factors above.

Of the 40-75% of those infected who know it, 80% have mild or moderate symptoms and mostly engage the three outer defensive rings. THIS IS WHERE WE NEED TO WORK TOO –to reduce our odds of being among the 8-15% who have a severe or critical infection.

What can we do to reduce endothelial dysfunction?

  1. Cut back hard on refined carbohydrates and sugars, fats and alcohol. This will reduce the stress on the endothelial frontline caused by higher blood sugar levels. ‘Insulin resistance’, brought on by high fast-carb diets is a major disruptor of endothelial function as well as a precursor to diabetes.
  2. Eat more plants! Polyphenols; flavonoids; anthocyanidins; lignans are phytochemicals found in plants which improve many endothelial function and prevent many forms of heart and circulatory disease.


  • Take more spices! Taking Asian spices like turmeric, ginger and cinnamon has also been shown to have positive benefits for endothelial health, even when combined with fatty foods. This can be really quick – one meal will make a difference! A number of these spices have also been shown to help reduce blood pressure. They also help gut immunity and microbiome defences.

So what measures would potentially better serve governments to encourage?

In my view, it is governments role to ensure that public health measures are in place such as access to good nutrition; clean drinking water; hygienic living conditions and access to adequate health care for those that require it.

Public education campaigns on how healthy lifestyle habits benefit immunity would be beneficial. Perhaps “social distancing” and mask wearing could be reserved for the population groups most at risk, allowing the majority of children and healthy adults to get back to productive learning and work without distractions.

It is ultimately up to us as individuals to make good lifestyle choices every day to ensure our own health and well-being. It is our right and responsibility to do this. If governments start mandating how we do this on an individual basis, I believe it begins to infringe on our basic human rights of freedom of choice and autonomy over our body.

If you’d like more support on how to build your immunity, please consult with your Phytotherapist.


1) Simon-Mills-Covid-19-Presentation




“The world is not a safe place” …and how to change a belief

Whether we are aware of it or not, we all have hundreds of beliefs about ourselves and about the world around us. For example: Do you think you’re good at your job; are you a good person; are you healthy; are you a good parent/ friend/ husband/ wife, etc. These are not religious beliefs, but are beliefs which we have developed (often unconsciously) within ourselves. They are not inherently “true” or “untrue”, but what we have decided to believe about ourselves and/or the world. Some of these are supportive, some are not, but they all affect our life.

A tangible example about how beliefs can shape our physical experience of the world is the placebo effect:

In allopathic medicine this effect has been extensively researched and recognised, to the point where many drug trials are conducted as “double-blind’ studies. This means that some of the participants in the trial will receive a “placebo” (non-active medication), and some will receive the active substance that is being tested. In this model, the drug needs to prove that it is more effective than the placebo in treating a particular condition. Interestingly, this is becoming harder and harder to do and is becoming increasingly difficult to overcome the “placebo effect”. Why is this? Well, this demonstrates very clearly the power of belief: The patients receiving the placebo are unaware that their “medication” is not active, and so believe they are receiving a medication that will improve their symptoms, and so it does! In fact sometimes the placebo group does even better than the group receiving the “active compound”, as they don’t get the side effects which often go along with the medication. The “placebo effect” is an example of quantum physics.

Bruce Lipton PhD, world-renowned developmental biologist studies the impact environment has on genetic expression. His research at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, between 1987 and 1992, revealed that the environment, operating though the membrane, controlled the behavior and physiology of the cell, turning genes on and off. His discoveries, which ran counter to the established scientific view that life is controlled by the genes, presaged one of today’s most important fields of study, the science of epigenetics. Two major scientific publications derived from these studies defined the molecular pathways connecting the mind and body. Many subsequent papers by other researchers have since validated his concepts and ideas.

He states, “Conventional science teaches us that we are a victim of our genetic circumstances. This is incorrect. Totally false.”

There are two major paradigms in physics:

1)Newtonian physics: Mechanistic view of science and the world- focuses on the particles (pieces). Conventional medicine uses this paradigm.

2) Quantum physics: Based on the invisible energy called: “the field”. We are physical beings, immersed in a range of fields, eg: magnetic, electro-magnetic (Radio, cell-phone, etc). The field controls biology. Albert Einstein stated, “The field is the sole governing agency of the particle.”

So what has all this got to do with our beliefs?

Well, just as the placebo effect demonstrates, what we believe shapes our experiences: If we believe strongly enough that the placebo will cure us, it does! This means that it is imperative that we become aware of what our underlying beliefs are and how they are shaping our life.

EFT/Tapping is one of the ways we can do this. Tapping is a great tool to allow us to firstly uncover any beliefs that are holding us in a particular pattern/experience; and then be able to change it. I remember when I first was learning about E.F.T, I found it incredible to become aware of some of my own underlying belief patterns, and realise that they weren’t necessarily true! Just because we have decided to believe something, doesn’t make it true. We can choose to change a belief to one that will serve us better. This can have a profound and far-reaching effect on our life.

Currently we are living in an extraordinary time. We are being constantly being bombarded with the message that, “the world is not a safe place”.

This is a profoundly dis-empowering belief and even before the current situation, this was a belief held by many people. It is a belief that has been shown to have far-reaching consequences in many different areas in our life, from our how we experience the world, to our health, relationships, success, and finances.

So how is/ will this current message that is being broadcast, that “the world is not a safe place,” affect you and the world around us? Will it become embedded in your subconscious as a belief? Or do you perhaps already believe it? Would you like to learn how you can change this/ another belief pattern?

Join me for a free, live tapping event on Thursday 30 April at 7pm SAST, where I will guide you in a session to change the belief that “The world is not a safe place”.

I will share the live Zoom link at 7pm on my Facebook event page.

Click here to book your place:

Zoom link to join:

Best strategies for protecting yourself and loved ones from the coronavirus

By now I’m sure you are very aware of the current Coronavirus situation worldwide. We are all living through an extraordinary time in humanity’s history.

Personally I’m choosing to see the current worldwide measures at temporary isolation as a positive step as it is the first time in our human history that we:
1) Have the knowledge, ability and communications ability to even propose such historic measures 
2) Globally we are acting individually to protect and look after the many. By self-isolating (which may be somewhat inconvenient to us as individuals), we will hopefully be able to turn the tide and safeguard the health of many. Which is a huge step forward in our human evolution!

If you are at home it is a unique time and opportunity to turn inward and spend time on yourself and loved ones. We can use this time proactively, to reflect on our lives, lifestyles and relationships and improve any areas which we want to work on. We can choose to make positive lifestyle changes to our diet, lifestyle and exercise routines. We can learn and choose proactive ways to decrease stress and anxiety. This is very important as stress negatively affect our immune systems.

The information conundrum:

Living in this age of connectivity and technology and having so much information at our finger-tips can be empowering and useful in many ways: There are many wonderful resources being shared and used, from online exercise programs, education, etc, to apps keeping us all connected and able to communicate. However, all the constant information can also become very time-consuming and overwhelming! My advice is to limit your daily intake of news, and time spent on your devices. Choose to use the time you do spend online productively!

There is also much fake news around. Everyone has become an instant “expert” on health, immunity and viruses… It is important to choose 1-2 sources of information that are validated and that you trust and then “tune out” of all the rest.

Some useful factual information on Covid-19

There is so much information around now on the virus. Here is a useful piece of information perhaps less widely known:

When are those affected able to infect others?

A new study from Berlin suggests that while people with mild infections can still test positive by throat swabs for days and even weeks after their illness; those who are only mildly sick are likely not still infectious by about 10 days after they start to experience symptoms.

The study also noted that people who are infected begin to develop antibodies to the virus quickly, typically within six to 12 days. The rapid rise of antibodies may explain why about 80% of people infected with the virus do not develop severe disease.

So what are the best strategies to protect you and your loved ones?

On a global, public health level the strategy to try and contain the spread of the virus through isolation measures and the general health precautions below seem sound:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

What about “alternative treatment” mesaures?

Phytotherapists (Medical herbalists) have considerable experience of using herbal and dietary interventions to support people with conditions likely to bring about a reduced resistance against viral infections. While we welcome the exploration of herbal strategies to encourage resilience to infection, we would not wish to support any spurious claims made by individuals or companies to provide “cures” for coronavirus. We are aware of many such products already being marketed and need to point out that, although some of these purport to be herbal in nature, these products are in no way representative of the accredited work of herbal practitioners

Much research is already underway, with some treatment trials based on information extrapolated from previous, but unrelated, coronavirus infections. Some of these trials will include herbal elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which was used to manage many patients at the start of the outbreak in China. In China it is common practice to use a combination of TCM and conventional medicine approaches even in hospital settings. The World Health Organisation is registering many such trials at present. Initial information remains tentative, but there seems to be some evidence that patients who received a combination of TCM and conventional strategies may have done better than those who were offered just one type of treatment.

The results of these studies are eagerly awaited. Meanwhile, as practitioners we can offer herbal strategies used to bring about enhanced immunity and increased resistance to infection; as well as optimising general health and treating underlying conditions. We always encourage our patients to integrate the herbal advice they receive from qualified practitioners with any conventional treatment or management strategies, and to observe the current infection control and management guidelines formulated by the Department of Health. {Thanks to the NIMH}

During these extraordinary times, Phytotherapy practitioners have also been granted allowance by the AHPCSA to conduct internet-based and telephone consultations.

Some simple additional ideas for staying safe and healthy:

  1. Stay Calm: One of the biggest factors affecting your immune system and resistance to infection is stress and anxiety. Try not to get caught up in the panic. Use sensible precautions and practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing; yoga; Pilates; meditation; Reiki, EFT/Tapping, etc.
  2. Eat well: A varied diet, rich in organic fruit and vegetables with their high vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content is one of the best defenses against any kind of infection. Make sure to include onions, berries and green leafy vegetables; and oily fish or a fish oil supplement.
  3. Get some fresh air and sunshine: Vitamin D (from sunlight) helps to keep our immune system healthy. Make sure you get 20 mins each day of sun exposure on long bones such as arms and legs (without sunscreen). Best to do this outside the hottest part of the day (11am-3pm), to avoid the risk of sunburn. In addition, it has been reported that the coronavirus is destroyed by heat above 24 degrees. While this is still uncertain, a dose of sunshine should still be beneficial for general immunity
  4. Garlic: Long used as an anti-viral; antibiotic and anti-fungal, raw and freshly crushed garlic is a potent defense against infections of all kinds. 1 Clove crushed into olive oil or plain yogurt, or mixed into your food (after cooking), is a great way to stave off many infections. Garlic is partly eliminated via the lungs, disinfecting them as it is breathed-off, so this is a great herb for any respiratory tract infections.
  5. Vitamin C: There has been speculation that the use of vitamin C may be useful against the coronovirus. This is currently not well substantiated and appears to pertain more to infusions rather than oral supplements. However, Vitamin C is used to raise immunity in those with low immunity and has been shown in many studies to shorten both the severity and duration of many viral infections.

What else can we do?

I think for many of us, the best thing we can do, in addition to the suggestions above, are to use this time to proactively develop and maintain a relaxed and positive mindset. Two great ways to do this are:

  1. Set Goals: Simple, fun goals during this time can help to give your day some structure and something to work towards. These don’t have to be huge “important” goals, just something to work towards. For example: my son (7rs) and I have set a goal to practice beach-bats every day throughout the 21 day lockdown. Our goal is to see how long a “rally” we can achieve by the 21st day.
  2. Explore techniques to help reduce stress and anxiety. One very effective way to do this is with EFT/Tapping. To help facilitate this, I will be offering a free online, group tapping session. I will be posting more details about this soon. You can also “like” Healing Cottage’s Facebook page for more updates:

In the meantime, I am available for online EFT/Tapping sessions; Phytotherapy consultations and online Pilates sessions.

Please email me at: to schedule an appointment.

Until then, keep calm and stay healthy…

Walnuts for healthy ageing

According to a new study, Regular Walnut Consumption Linked to Health and Longevity in Women. Scientists have linked eating at least two servings a week of walnuts with an increased chance of “healthy aging”—defined as living longer with intact cognitive function, a lack of physical impairments, and an absence of chronic conditions—in women in the late 50s to early 60s age group.


At a recent international symposium that brought together some 200 delegates from around the globe, presentations covered studies on the health benefits of garlic in a range of fields, from liver injuries, cardiovascular diseases and memory to dental and pet care.
One study demonstrated that the common gum disease gingivitis could be effectively treated through the daily consumption of aged garlic extract, or AGE.
AGE, is made by aging and extracting compounds from garlic: aged for 20 months in ethanol.

While scientific research on the health benefits of garlic is relatively new, the use of garlic as an herbal medicine goes back at least 5,000 years.

Antioxidant Resveratrol Could Prevent Muscle Loss In Mars Mission Astronauts

A new study, (reported in the Tech Times July 19, 2019) has linked resveratrol supplementation with the preservation of muscle mass and strength in mice exposed to “zero-gravity” environments that simulate what astronauts would endure during space travel.

Resveratrol is known to have antioxidative, anticarcinogenic, and antitumor properties. 
Dietary sources include grapes, wine, peanuts, and soy. They can also be introduced into the diet through Itadori tea, which has long been used in Japan and China as a traditional herbal remedy for heart disease and strokes.

Recently published data suggests that supplementation with turmeric or its derivative compound, curcumin, can assuage the joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation experienced by patients with rhuematoid arthritis tantamount to that of over-the-counter pain relievers.

Medical News Today. June 19, 2019

Of course as always, it is essential to get good quality turmeric in sufficient quantities and in a bio-available form. If you’d like to discover more about using this valuable herb, book your appointment now.