Natural health with Megan Sheppard

My sister is prone to urinary tract infections. She is currently in hospital and is concerned she will develop an infection while being attached to a catheter. What do you think?

Your sister is quite right to be concerned, as many people (males and females) who require long-term use of a catheter find themselves dealing with repeated urinary tract infections. It is likely that both her input and output of liquids will be monitored closely, so she will no doubt already be getting enough water to ensure that her system is flushing through.

E. coli accounts for most urinary tract infections in women, which is largely due to the fact that women have a shorter urethra, making it easier for bacteria to transfer over into the bladder. A preventative approach is quite wise, particularly since your sister is already aware that she is prone to such infections.

D-mannose is a supplement that works by binding to the bacteria and preventing it from sticking to the lining of the bladder. This allows the bacteria to be safely excreted as urination occurs, preventing it from multiplying and causing problems in the urinary tract and bladder.

D-mannose is based on mannose, the simple monosaccharide sugar in cranberries which is responsible for the prevention of bacterial growth and development. It is also worth noting that this supplement is very effective in treating any existing symptoms of infection quickly, since it is water- soluble and able to be rapidly absorbed and excreted.

D-mannose is available from health stores. For more information and to order see:

I suffer from chilblains during the cold weather, particularly in my feet. What natural remedies would you suggest?

Chilblains are a result of blood entering the tissues as a result of constriction in the small arteries and veins, leading to painful and swollen areas on the skin typically affecting the fingers and toes, but sometimes appearing on the ears, heels, nose, wrists, and legs.

When the temperature rises on entering a warm room or when wearing cosy winterwear, the blood swells and causes pain, swelling, and itching. One of the best things you can do to reduce these symptoms is to ensure your hands and feet are gradually acclimatised when you are switching from warm to cold environments and vice versa.

For the long-term treatment of chilblains, it is important to ensure that your circulation is functioning well. Chilblains typically occur due to a combination of circulation issues and colder weather.

Ginger root (Zingiber officinale) works particularly well not only to improve circulation, but also to relieve pain. Ginger also helps the integrity of the veins and tissues. If joint and muscle pain and stiffness are an issue, then the ginger will also be of benefit in easing these problems.

All you need to do to prepare your own ginger remedy, is to add one or two slices of fresh ginger root to a cup of boiling water, adding honey to taste. If you can’t find fresh ginger root, then use half to one teaspoon of ginger powder. Adding a pinch of cayenne pepper can also really improve the effects of this simple circulation brew. Drink a cup of this preparation two to three times daily, and simply pour fresh water over the slices of ginger root rather than throwing it in the bin.

If you prefer to take a supplement over making your own kitchen remedies, then you might want to look into a product originally developed to prevent deep vein thrombosis. Zinopin combines ginger with pycnogenol (pine bark extract), as these two ingredients have been shown to work together to nourish and heal the circulatory system.

Visit for more information.


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