Healing from your kitchen – Ginger soak/poultice for injuries and pain.

acupuncture gingerApart from having Acupuncture, people often want to know what they can do themselves to aid recovery from injuries, loosen tight muscles, or ease the pain of arthritis.

The answer is to raid your kitchen (or the local supermarket) for some ginger. This is the basis of a handy DIY external treatment that has excellent anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant effects. It also acts as a mild irritant to the skin, increasing blood flow and mobilising the body’s own healing mechanisms.

I have used ginger soaks and poultices (medicated bandages) successfully for knee pain from osteoarthritis, low back pain, finger injuries, and thumb/wrist pain as part of an overuse syndrome.

If you’re thinking about using these techniques for arthritis, be aware that they are not suitable for rheumatoid or any other condition where the joints are hot and swollen. Also avoid using them if the skin is broken.


You’ll need:

  • A bit of fresh ginger roughly half as big as your thumb.
  • 2 saucepans or large bowls. If you are going to use it for soaking (best for the fingers, wrists, feet, or ankles), the bowl or pan needs to be deep enough to immerse the injury.
  • A cheese grater
  • A sieve
  • A small hand towel or flannel and a large towel to protect clothing, the sofa etc.


What to do:

Grate up the ginger and put it in a bowl or saucepan. Add boiling water and let the ginger steep for 10 mins. At the end of this time, add some cold water so that the temperature is hot but not intolerable. Strain into another bowl or pan to remove the grated bits of ginger (this is optional, but makes it less messy!).

For a soak, immerse the affected area for 10-20 mins. Periodically add more hot water so that the water temperature stays hot.

For a poultice, soak the flannel in the ginger solution, wring out slightly, fold into a pad and then apply it to the area. It usually feels best with a bit of pressure.

This works well for many injuries, but sometimes a stronger version is needed. This should not be used if you have sensitive skin. For this version, you grate up a bit more ginger – enough to cover the area. Put this directly on the skin and cover with a flannel soaked in hot water, and then wrap with cling film. It will usually start to feel quite hot after 10 mins or so – remove the ginger at this stage.

Local reactions to the ginger (like long-lasting redness or blistering) are rare, but if this occurs, do not use again.

Best results are achieved if you use these ginger treatments daily until the pain subsides. For stubborn conditions not relieved by ginger poultices and soaks, it is best to come in for assessment and treatment, as Acupuncture can be very beneficial for these conditions.


Naturopathy and Mental Health

naturopathy mental healthWe live in a stressful and busy world. Once upon a time our bodies went into fight or flight when we were chasing the woolly mammoth or sabre tooth tiger, and then we could sit back and relax and enjoy our well earned meal. Now many of us are in a constant state of stress, which leaves cortisol and adrenalin levels high and therefore contributes to a host of other problems such as cardiovascular disease, reproductive difficulties, digestive complaints and poor immunity to name a few.

What you may not realise is that diet and lifestyle are a major contributing factor to stress, anxiety and depression. There are certain things that would be beneficial to cut out, and other things that would be very helpful to add, to help balance your some of your neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin.

Can Naturopathy help with those not wanting to take medication, or reacting poorly to it?

If you are looking for natural alternatives for anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, then your naturopath may be able to help. We will conduct a thorough investigation into your health, with initial consultations going for approximately 1 hour. We will then devise a treatment plan with food as medicine, necessary lifestyle changes and appropriate nutritional and herbal supplementation.

Some of the conditions Naturopathy can help with

  • Insomnia and sleep disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • PMS moodiness
  • Low energy and motivation

Three Day Spring Cleanse.

Feeling sluggish? Low in energy? Perhaps have indulged in excess food and alcohol? Been burning the candle at both ends?

Spring is the perfect time to give your digestive system a clean. Just three days can help you to reset some good habits, revitalize and start feeling fantastic.

fruit juicerBefore you get started

  • To minimise side effects*, cut down on caffeine (coffee, tea, energy drinks), highly sugary foods, processed foods and fast food in the 5 days leading up to your cleanse.
  • An ideal time to do your cleanse is over a long weekend – Saturday, Sunday and Monday, or whenever you can take time to slow down and nurture yourself.


  • Juicer
  • Blender
  • Saucepan

What to eliminate for the three days

  • Alcohol
  • Processed foods
  • All grains
  • Pasta
  • Sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • All fizzy drinks
  • Sweets, crisps, biscuits, cakes
  • Cigarettes and recreational drugs

shoppingShopping List

This shopping list is for the entire three days so you don’t need to worry about running out of ingredients or working out how much you need.


  • 3 carrots
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 bags baby spinach
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1 chilli
  • 1 ripe pineapple
  • Bunch of coriander
  • Bunch of parsley
  • 6 centimetres of ginger
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 ripe mango (use frozen mango cheeks if not in season)
  • Lecithin granules
  • Organic flax seed oil
  • Organic, free range eggs

Lunch and Dinner, and Snacks

  • Fish
  • Hommous
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Legumes
  • Vegetables
  • Lemons
  • Pure water


It is best to purchase these supplements from a health food store or your naturopathic practitioner to ensure the best quality and potency.

  • High potency multivitamin and mineral formula
  • Milk thistle
  • “Greens powder” example wheatgrass, barleygrass, spirulina and/or chlorella
  • Epsom salts (for the bath)
  • High-dose vitamin C with flavanoids
  • Good quality probiotic

3daysThe Three Day Routine

Go Slow

If possible, take the three days off work, and tell friends and family you are replenishing yourself and make these days all about you.

Detoxify your environment and avoid harsh chemicals (cleaning products, cosmetics, pollution) and also avoid being around negative, energy-draining people.

Turn the television off for the entire three days, and avoid using any technological devices and electronics including your mobile phone where possible.

Make the most of this opportunity to catch up on some reading, meditate, spend some time in nature and listen to relaxing, uplifting music. Sleep and rest well.


  • Start the day with one of three juices (recipes below) – enjoy a different one each morning. Sip the drink slowly and in a relaxed environment.
  • Follow your juice with one hard boiled egg. Eggs are rich in amino acids and also sulphur – a vital nutrient for your liver.
  • Then take your multivitamin, milk thistle, chlorella, vitamin C and probiotic supplements.

Lunch and Dinner

  • Choose your protein – fish, eggs, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, legumes or hommous and serve up with plenty of vegetables of your choice, cooked or raw.
  • Fill your plates with vegetables to avoid feeling deprived, particularly as you are cutting out grains.
  • Vegetable sticks and snacks make a good snack. Have some fruit (fresh, not dried) if you feel like something sweet, with a half handful of nuts.

Keep Hydrated

If you don’t usually drink much water, now is the time to really increase your water consumption. You can drink warm water if you are averse to cold water. Add a squeeze of real lemon or lime, or some chopped cucumber to make it more interesting and cleanse the palette. Also drink as many herbal teas as you like – chamomile, peppermint, ginger or dandelion are all great options for your cleanse.

Physical therapies and Exercise

Every evening, dry skin brush your body, working towards your heart before relaxing in a restorative Epsom salt bath. The salts work to remineralise your body, aids detoxification through the skin and is also relaxing.

If possible, enjoy a massage and if you want to exercise, keep it gentle and slow. Yoga and walking are perfect options, or take a gentle swim in a natural body of water such as the ocean (but not a chlorinated swimming pool).

Juice Recipes

Digestion Boost

  • 1/2 pineapple
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ chilli
  • Bunch of coriander
  • 1 red pepper
  • ½ inch ginger
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 carrot

Juice all ingredients in your juicer, putting the smaller ingredients (chilli, garlic and ginger) down the chute at the same time as the larger ingredients. Serve over ice.

Omega 3 Greens

  • 2 carrots
  • ½ bag of spinach (push through with other ingredients)
  • 1 cucumber
  • Juice the above 3 ingredients, then pour into your blender jug, and add:
  • 1 tablespoon lecithin
  • 2 teaspoons flaxseed oil
  • 2 extra handfuls of spinach

Blend on high speed until the juice is smooth and the spinach has broken down into a liquid. Serve over ice.

Green and Mango Smoothie

  • 1 ripe mango
  • ½ bag spinach
  • Big handful of parsley
  • Chilled water

Peel mango, and add to blender first. Put spinach and parsley on top and blend. You’re aiming for a smooth, creamy texture, so depending on the blender, add water gradually until you achieve this result.

Side Effects

When changing your diet and lifestyle, it is not unusual to notice the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Wind
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Aggravation of existing health conditions

Should you become concerned, do consult with your healthcare practitioner.