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Herbs for IBS, acid reflux and hair loss

7th March 2008

My letter from last Friday ('Why The Beeb Banned
Complimentary Medicine') caused quite a stir!

This came as no surprise to my wife.... who often
slaps her head in exasperation as I rant about
'natural health' opinions at parties, dinners, shop
queues and parents' day meetings.

'Do we NEED to go through this now, Ray?' she
says, as we sit at the back of the funeral service.

Anyway, the issue of the BBC removing good
information on alternative therapies from their
website has caused widespread outrage.

(If you didn't read the letter in question, go to
http://www.goodlifeletter.co.uk and type 'Beeb'
or 'BBC' into the search box on the left.)

As usual, my inbox was brimming with emails....

Have the BBC have been 'got at'?

One of my readers emailed me to say:

'The reason the Beeb have done this is quite
simple. They have been got at!

The big pharmaceutical companies are afraid of
losing their hold on society. THEY DO NOT WANT
PEOPLE TO GET WELL! If people are well they
won't be going to their doctors and being prescribed
their drugs.

Have you noticed how many 'mental' illnesses there
are these days? They come up with a label for
absolutely everything and then of course push the
drugs to 'cure' the 'patients'.'

Controversial. But I certainly would agree that
there's a lot of money to be made in diagnosing as
many 'diseases' as possible. And there's less of an
impetus to cure them.

Probably because most 'diseases' are natural
human conditions that can't be cured... not that this
stops industry creating more and more drugs to
treat them.

In my view, it's diet, genes, modern food
production, social change, pollution, increased life
expectancy, and MANY other factors that are
behind the modern epidemics of cancer, heart
disease, mental illness and Alzheimer's.
Why it's not the BBC as a whole

Another reader with close connections to the good
old Beeb writes:

'My husband works for the BBC here in Bristol and
has had a thyroid problem over the last year or so.
He has been treating it with 'unproven' 'alternative'
and 'complementary' methods with good results.

The BBC accepted his choice of treatment and
gave him reduced hours on full pay for some
months while he began to recover his health!'

I think that many people in the BBC accept and use
alternative treatments.

There are as many programmes which excitedly
explore weird and wonderful therapies as there are
programmes in which a scientist goes around
denouncing them.

For some reason, however, the 'official' website
feels unable to present information that the
scientific mainstream won't accept.

Of course, in my letter, I also had a bit of a go at
certain alternative health attitudes too. I said that
regulation would lower the amount of malpractice
and deceit in the industry.

But Goodlifer, I.S, points out:

'You say in your latest Good Life Letter that in
alternative therapies there are a lot of Snake Oil
merchants. I agree but let's face it the
pharmaceutical industry is not much different and
it's been regulated for years.'

Absolutely. Fair enough.

I.S then revealed that those non-scientific herbal
remedies that the sceptics sneer at have done
wonders for his health.

Here's his Chinese herbal remedy for acid relflux
and irritable bowel syndrome. Worth trying out...
Rosemary, sage, and eyebright for Acid Reflux

He writes:

'I've been on tranquilizers for years and was
suffering many of the long term effects of taking
these, including reflex, IBS, bad memory, not to
mention the effects of anxiety, and feeling like a
chemist shop drug addict. I investigated herbal
remedies starting off with Chinese Herbalism, and
then my own.

'I take Rosemary, Sage, Eyebright and Poppy
Seeds stewed in a pump around Tea maker for a
few hours. As well as drinking the Tea I swallow
down the soaked herbs to give the stomach
something to work on.

'I also drink about 2 to 3 litres of various herbal teas
a day, for instance Chamomile, Nettle, Green Tea
and also Lipton (brand name) black tea. I eat lots of
vegetables in my diet and daily have a few Garlic

'...My reflex has gone, though if I have a curry three
days in a row I get bad indigestion. My IBS is so
much better, nearly cured. My memory and
concentration are a lot better.'

On the subject of herbs, I had another good email
asking me if herbs could ever treat hair loss.

Can natural medicine restore hair?

He says:

'I've discovered to my dismay that I've gone
considerably 'thin' on top! I know this may sound
like the inevitable as age rolls on, but I'm wondering
if there's possibly any way to arrest hair loss, or
possibly even recover and regenerate the hair I've
lost on top?

I've never ever really been ill in my life, and have
consequently never taken any serious forms of
medicine. I am wondering if there might be perhaps
some wonder herb/nutritional supplement which
might perhaps go some way towards hair
restoration ?

Well, the issue of male pattern baldness and other
hair loss problems is tricky.

Lots of people are out to exploit the situation,
offering you miracle cures and wondrous solutions.

Male pattern baldness is partly a genetic thing.
Therefore it's not preventable.
If it runs in the family my advice is to learn to love
your baldness. Make it a feature of you personality
and get your hair cut to suit the style. Usually, that
means very short. (I'd avoid the comb-over. It may
seem like it's restoring your hair, but it only makes
the problem more obvious.)

That said, the problem can also be worsened by
hormonal imbalances.

When men age, the hormone testosterone turns
into something called called dihydrotestosterone

Researchers have found that many balding men
have been high levels of DHT. These stop the good
nutrients from reaching your scalp, resulting in your
hair thinning out.

This is why there could be a natural herbal solution
that could help...

A herbal product to try

One herbal product that I've heard a few
encouraging things about is Folligro,

It is based on a concoction of fenugreek, B vitamins
and saw palmetto. These are natural substances
which can help lower the amount of hair your scalp

* Saw palmetto has been found to help
prevent hair loss by lowering levels of DHT
(the hormone that many men with male
pattern baldness have too much of).

* Fenugreek can improve blood circulation
and the supply of nutrients to your scalp.

* B vitamins have a part to play, because
many people suffering from hair loss have
been found to have low levels of vitamin B.

While people report that it may help prevent hair
loss, there's absolutely no evidence that it can
utterly reverse any type of baldness.

The product comes in capsules and oral spray.
You'll also need to use it for six months to see an

You can look for this product in your local chemist,
or type it into a search engine and shop around.
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