Megan Sheppard offers some natural health advice.
Q: Following recent surgery, I picked up a superbug called CPE and needed to be isolated in hospital for some weeks. I still have traces of the bug in my system. What would you advise?
A: CPE, or Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacterales, is the latest in a long line of so-called ‘superbugs’ which have developed a resistance to nearly all known prescription antibiotics.
These pose a particular threat to high-risk patients, such as those in intensive care, undergoing bone marrow and organ transplants, receiving cancer treatments, and people who require major surgery.
There are two bee products which have had great results in treating patients with the other well-known superbug, MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) — one of which is manuka honey.
ManukaCare 18+ from Comvita is rated at a minimum potency of UMF 18, which means that it is equivalent to at least an 18% phenol solution — four times greater than standard antiseptics.
Take a teaspoon of honey straight from the spoon once in the morning and again in the evening.
The other bee product with potent antibacterial properties is propolis. Used since the 1960s to fight bacterial infection, including against MRSA, it’s unique as it also has antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and immunomodulatory effects.
Propolis alters the management of cytokine production and release in our immune system, allowing the body to quickly respond to antigens. Cytokines are basically chemical messengers which enable cells in our immune system to communicate with each other.
Additionally, propolis contains bioflavanoids which stimulate interferon production, keeping your body in a fit state to fight off infection and remain in a state of health. Propolis liquid costs €8.34 for 30ml and is available from health stores — take as directed.
Q: My periods have become irregular. When they eventually arrive, sometimes skipping a month, the flow is very heavy. I’m 43 years old. Is there a natural remedy I could take?
A: This sounds very much like you have entered the perimenopausal stage of your journey as a woman. These pre-menopausal changes typically begin anywhere from the age of 35 years onwards.
The wonderful Andean root, maca (Lepidium meyenii) will not only help to bring your cycle closer to the 28-day ideal, but it also works to increase energy levels, improve mood, and is a powerful antioxidant.
Maca is also a complete protein and high in many vitamins and minerals, including calcium and zinc.
Agnus castus (also known as Vitex, Monk’s Pepper, or Chasteberry) is a wonderful herb for regulating the menstrual cycle.
It can also help with extreme period pains, heavy bleeding, intermittent bleeding, shortened cycle, infrequent menstruation, cystic hyperplasia of the endometrium, secondary amenorrhoea.
Agnus castus is best taken once daily following breakfast; improvements can appear relatively quickly, but treatment should be continued for a minimum of six months for long-lasting results.
If you are taking a tincture preparation (typically 1:5 strength), then you will need to take 1-3ml (20-60 drops) each morning. Capsules should be taken at a dosage of 500-1,000mg daily.
There are so many valuable herbs to help with perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms: red clover, dong quai, black cohosh, wild yam, raspberry leaf, squaw vine, and nettle (leaf and root).
You can do your own research as to which of these seems to fit you best or find a combination formula as many of these herbs work even more effectively when combined synergistically.
It is important to make sure you are supporting your adrenal system and keeping on top of your stress levels.
Eating clean whole foods, exercising regularly, breathwork and meditation, drinking plenty of water, and making time to do the things you love are all important for your mental and emotional wellbeing as well as helping to regulate your menstrual cycle.
NOTE: The information contained in this column is not a subsitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor.