Summer Holiday Special

Our bodies can really come under attack in the summer. Hot weather; a variety of sun creams and sun blocks; unusual food and drink as well asdehydration, all add up to the type of onslaught that we’re just not used to. This month, Dee Atkinson from Napiers the Herbalists gives some timely advice on keeping healthy in the summer months.

Summer Skin

Most of the year 90% of our skin is bundled up and under wraps and then, suddenly, for a couple of months, we bring it out and expect it to be in top form.To wake your skin up and prepare it for summer, start a routine of gently brushing the skin every morning. Use a medium bristle brush and, starting from your toes, brush in sweeping strokes towards your heart on a dry skin before showering. This helps to stimulate the body’s lymphatic system and improves circulation.

Salt scrubs, simply made up with sea salt and olive oil, are a great weekly treat. I add a drop of geranium essential oil to the mix and use it on dry skin before a shower. This will help to smooth those rough bits on the top of your arms and thighs. Follow this with moisturiser straight onto the damp skin after towel drying. Body butters or Napiers Detox Massage oil are real skin treats.

During the summer, moisturising is the key. Try and do this every time you have had a shower, concentrating on areas that can get especially dry like shins and upper arms. Always moisturise twice a day if you have been out in the sun. To help keep the skin hydrated, make sure you are drinking enough water – at least 1.5 litres a day. Herbal tea blends with Nettle, Dandelion leaf and lemon balm really help to keep the skin looking fresh and blemish free. Buy the loose herbs and make up your own mix and try drinking it cold on ice with a sprig of mint!

My top summer tip is to use sun block on the backs of the hands. Do this every day to prevent age spots developing as you get older – it really makes a difference.

Summer allergies

The longer days and summer weather can herald the start of hayfever misery. Many people have found that symptoms have started early this year and it looks set to be a long summer. I have a three pronged attack to managing pollen allergies and hayfever:

  1. As soonas you spot the symptoms, try to cut dairy products right out of your diet. Many allergy sufferers find that cow’s milk products make the allergy worse. It seems to be the protein in cow’s milk that causes the problem. You need to cut it out completely, simply reducing it will not help. There are many great alternatives, from goats milk and goats cheese to various oat milks, rice milk or even coconut milk.
  1. Drink a tea blend like Napiers Summer Time Tea Blend two to three times a day. I originally made this up for patients and it became so popular that we now sell it as a refreshing summer tea. Containing nettle, eyebright, chamomile, liquorice and elderflower, it helps the body to manage allergies and has mild anti histamine properties.
  1. Try putting a thin coat of Vaseline inside your nose. This will trap the pollen and reduce the amount that gets into the system to trigger allergy. You can buy various ointments in health stores that contain Vaseline and have a similar action.

Summer Tummies

Travellers Tummy. Delhi Belly. Whatever you call it, the result is the same. An unpleasant couple of days as you try to calm down the bowels and get everything back on track. Occasionally, it really is because you’ve eaten something bad, but most of the time it is simply a combination of new food, too much alcohol, a change in water, or even simply getting constipated because you’ve lost your morning routine due to travel.

Your bowel contains billions of bacteria – mostly ‘friendly’ and necessary for the healthy functioning of your digestive system. Our bodies are creatures of habit and do not like changes in routine. When you travel you need to make a special effort to keep everything functioning smoothly. To help maintain the bowel flora take some Acidophilus every day, starting a few days before you travel. Made up of the same kind of bacteria that you find in natural yogurt, Acidophilus is much stronger and is just what you need to keep everything regular.

If you do get a bit of diahorrea then make sure you keep your fluid intake up. Try drinking some chamomile tea as this is very calming and soothing on the tummy and if there is any gripping or bloating add some peppermint to the chamomile. Apples (peel or wash well) contain pectin and they will help to bind the stools. When eaten with plain boiled white rice this will help if you have a few days of feeling off colour with your tummy.

And remember that Napiers Best British Bitters are a fantastic remedy if you have over indulged and need a bit of help!

Summer Flying

If you are travelling, especially flying, it is all too easy to pick up a cold. Advance planning is needed. Make sure you are already taking some Vitamin C. I usually recommend 1000mg per day and if flying this can be increased. Dissolve 1000mg in a liter of water and drink this throughout your flight. On a long haul you might do this two or three times during a 6 to 10 hour flight. Take some Echinacea tincture with you on the flight and take regular 10 drop doses up to four times an hour. This will keep the Vitamin C and Echinacea in your system and will support your immunity.  If you are particularly prone to sinus and chest infections wear a scarf and pop a few drops of Tea Tree essential oil onto the material during the flight. Tea Tree is antibacterial and antimicrobial and will help to disinfect the area around you. If your sinuses get blocked with flying, add some rosemary to the tea tree or a few drops of lavender. Viruses are often passed by contact, so make sure you use antibacterial wipes before using your fingers to eat snacks and regularly wash your hands.

Fear of Flying? Take some Bach Flower Rescue Remedy with you and use during the flight. If the stress is bad before you fly,NapiersScullcap Oat and Passionflower Compound works a treat. Developed in 1860 by Duncan Napier as a Nerve Debility Tonic, it is made today to the same formula and is as effective as it ever was.

Happy Holidays!

To make an appointment with Dee or any of Napiers’ practitioners call 0131 315 2130 or log on to


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