Natural health: natural lip balm, performance-enhancing drinks, Bursitis

Q. Can you recommend a natural lip balm?
A. Burt’s Bees has a range of natural petroleum-free lip balms, and cost around €3.99 from health stores. 

If you prefer to use a product that doesn’t contain bee products, then you can just use coconut oil, cocoa/cacao butter, or shea butter on your lips. 

The advantage of these particular oils is that they are usually solid at room temperature, so you can simply carry it around with you in a small container or tin.

Q. Are there natural alternatives to pre-packaged performance-enhancing drinks?

A. Commercial energy drinks are designed to target fluid and mineral replacement during and after sports, exercise, or other strenuous activity. 

Most are not formulated to enhance performance, but we can optimise our stamina, speed, and strength when our nutritional and hydration needs are being met.

Pure young coconut water is considered to be a suitable alternative to these isotonic drinks, and is becoming more widely available in stores and supermarkets. 

It can be difficult to find one without additives and sugar, so make sure you check the label first.

As far as enhancing athletic performance goes, there are a number of herbal supplements and ‘boosting’ powders deemed to be the latest natural miracle solution — from deer antler through to amino acids. 

There is a simple root vegetable you can juice at home to improve cardiovascular health and support your athletic endeavours. 

Beetroot juice has been found to increase blood flow and boost the supply of oxygen to your muscles.

Beets have high levels of nitrates, which leads to vasodilation (dilating the blood vessels) and activates the mitochondria — improving energy and endurance. 

Not only does this valuable vegetable provide pre- and post- workout benefits, it has also been shown to reduce blood pressure levels, and is high in protective antioxidants and electrolytes. 

If you prefer the fruity flavour of sports drinks, then you can simply blend 250ml each of fruit juice and water in a 1:1 ratio, add a scant pinch of salt and stir to combine.

Q. I have bursitis in my left knee, which is very painful even when I am not walking on it. 

I take anti-inflammatories, but they don’t seem to be improving the pain or tenderness in my knee. Is there anything you know of that may help?

A. Bursitis occurs when the connective tissue surrounding a joint becomes inflamed. 

While it is very common to knees and elbows, it also appears in shoulders, ankles, hips, thighs, and buttocks.

Often labelled with quirky common names, such as weaver’s bottom, miner’s elbow, or housemaid’s knee, this condition is typically caused by a repetitive motion. 

It can also be triggered by injury, infection, excessive exercise, or pre-existing arthritic conditions.

Symptoms include pain, redness, swelling, and loss of movement in the joint. 

Physical therapy is very useful in treating bursitis, so if you are not already seeing a physiotherapists, now is a good time to set up an appointment. 

Anti-inflammatories can help to relieve symptoms to a certain degree, but do not address the root cause of your pain and tenderness.

Along with eating a whole foods diet, it may be worth investigating the benefits of an alkaline diet for at least three-six months. 

It is thought that acid-producing diets can irritate the bursae, or connective tissue surrounding joints.

 An alkaline diet typically favours foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, seeds, nuts, and sprouted grains along with drinking plenty of pure water.

Healing herbs for bursitis include burdock root, willow bark, and meadowsweet. 

Topically, the best balm I have come across for this type of condition is Dr Christopher’s Cayenne Heat Balm. 

If you can’t get a hold of this salve, then simply make sure that the product you are using will help to provide heat and increase blood flow to the affected area.


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