Health Topics

Thinking there doesn't need to be an introduction to this page..

Herbal Medicine and the NHS

The branch of medicine currently used to deliver health care within the NHS is known as the ‘biomedical model’. The ideas behind this particular way of approaching health and disease evolved through the industrial revolution, and became consolidated in a discipline as distinct from other approaches to medicine during the 19th and early 20th century. The model, claiming exclusive use of the word ‘scientific’ to describe its own method, has distilled itself into a system of medicine t ...

Fasting, Dieting and Detox

Many of us find that ‘dieting’, in the sense of cutting down calories to lose weight, doesn’t work. Eating and our relationship with food can be muddled up with loaded emotional issues such as comfort and denial. Cutting out or cutting down on food intake, for those living in the West, is rarely a logical and straightforward process. If this were true then it would be simple! As we get older our relationship with food may move away from the connection between our weight and our body image, to ...


All other things being equal , or in satisfactory balance ( which of course they never are), physiologically, optimum fertility for a woman will be connected to the rhythm and hormonal balance of her cycle; the ease of passage of the ripe eggs along the fallopian tubes to the location of conception, the uterus; and the capacity of the uterus to nourish and sustain the embryo(s).

In men is about mechanical function (erection), and motility, quality, and quantity of sperm ...


Our digestion - the mechanism by which we absorb nutrients and eliminate waste products, is fundamental to our health. The role of the digestive system is central in most traditional medicine systems, and science is increasingly confirming its role in seemingly unrelated diseases.

We are becoming increasingly aware that not all people have the capacity to digest all foods - there is more focus on this on the health topic page 'food'

Mental health

The word ‘holistic’ has become overused, but the concept is particularly important in relation to herbal medicine and mental health or more accurately herbal medicine and pschyo -emotional health.


All very well for Hippocrates, you may say. He lived in Ancient Greece and didn’t have to contend with an abundance of cheap and available processed food; a sophisticated food industry with vested interest, power and plenty of money to distort the science; and an baffling array of experts all taking conflicting and contradictory positions as to which food is even healthy.

This is true, but the advice remains, none the less.


Many folk pop into the Herbal Barge Apothecary and ask about herbs for sleep. We sell a sleep herbal tea mix containing Californian poppy, linden blossom, chamomile lavender, mint and rose, that has been dramatically effective for some; and a tincture mix containing valerian and hops that has worked for others - but I always find this a difficult area to address quickly ‘over the counter’ because there are so many routes to a poor night’s sleep. Invariably I suggest structured bedtime rou ...

Anti-biotic Resistance

According to the Director of the WHO we may be heading to a ‘post antibiotic era’. This looming catastrophe can surely only be brought nearer by the other challenges facing our generation – climate change, vast movements of vulnerable people, international conflict, economic meltdown, austerity etc.