Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year. The winter holiday season is an intense time. Children become over excited from anticipation and then from sugary seasonal treats. Parents have their patience stretched to the limit by shopping, preparing, calming hyper children and hosting or travelling to family gatherings. Hosts and hostesses run non-stop to keep everyone fed and watered.
Family dynamics are a notorious source of tension at such times. To top off the stress and consequent exhaustion, add overindulgence. It’s not surprising that many of us feel the worse for wear either during or after the winter celebrations.
I am happy to be able to share with you my favourite over-the-counter remedies and supplements to support you through a happy holiday season. Throughout the preparations as well as the events themselves, you may want some help completing your “to do” list.
Licorice root supports the adrenal glands (also known as the stress glands), giving a smoother, healthier energy boost than coffee. It’s generally available in dried root. Take one and a half grams of dried root in tea, pill or capsule form, or two and a half millilitres in tincture form.
Ginsengs also support the adrenals: Korean ginseng is a higher energy, heating herb (not for women suffering hot flashes). Take one and a half to two grams of dried root Korean ginseng in tea, pill or capsule form. You can add two to three grams of Siberian ginseng in tea. It’s a gentler energy enhancer. Using a product that combines ginkgo biloba with ginseng is my personal preference as it supports mental as well as physical function. Please note that both licorice and ginseng should be avoided if you have high blood pressure.
Gotu kola (one to two cups with one teaspoon of the dried herb every day) is known for its energy-giving properties. Royal jelly is a nutritious energy supplier, but should be avoided by those who suffer from hayfever. It may contain pollen. Take one to two vials a day, or follow the instructions on the container.
Pick the substance or combination that suits you, but don’t take any of these too late in the day if you want to be able to drift off to sleep easily when you have finally crossed the last item off your list.
When children are too excited by the prospect of Santa’s visit to get to sleep, a gentle homeopathic remedy is useful to soothe their highly stimulated nervous systems. Products containing homeopathic Stramonium, Gelsemuim, Hyoscy-amus, and Kalium bromatum work well for highly-strung, even hyperactive behaviour. These can be used for their calming effects during daytime too.
Santa’s Little Helper
If you feel overwrought, anxious or frustrated, the equivalent of “mother’s little helper” will calm you without affecting your abilities, and of course with no possibility of addiction. Try homeopathic preparations of some herbs for the nervous system such as camomile, passion flower, oat straw, hops, lemon balm, valerian. Some such remedies also contain supportive tissue salts such as calc phos, mag phos, kali phos, ferrum phos and nat phos. These homeopathic remedies can be used for children as well as adults. If you prefer herbs, take teas, tinctures or capsules of the above herbs. You can also take 150 to 300 milligrams of standardized extract of kava kava, or two to four grams of the dried herb, once or twice a day for its quieting effect without affecting alertness.
To help your body process sugars you need lots of B vitamins. These also help support the nervous system, so a good 50 milligrams (for children or for adults who already take a multivitamin) or 100 milligram B-complex supplement is appropriate. Remember that these make urine a darker greeny-orange colour, so don’t worry when that happens.
And then, when it’s all over, a hangover may hit. Drinking plenty of water is always beneficial to help clean the body, but what else can you do?
If you have access to Chinese herbs, you can use pill curing. If you remember to take a vial after overindulging and before bed, so much the better. Either way, one or two vials up to three times the next day is beneficial. If your digestion is upset with loose stools, po chai pills will help more than pill curing, taken the same way. Remember that herbal products produced on this continent have better product control safeguards than those made in China.
Alternatively, the homeopathic remedy Nux vomica, also known as Colubrina, works well for the after effects of excesses in general. This includes too many late nights as well as too much to eat or drink. A 30C potency is available in many health food stores, and a dose (two pellets) or two of that will relieve symptoms swiftly, depending on the intensity of the symptoms. If only a 12C or 6C potency is available, you may have to take a few doses, about a half an hour apart. The unpleasant sensations and symptoms melt away, leaving no feeling of having taken a drug, because you haven’t.
Homeopathics are best taken when your mouth does not have a flavour to it, such as the after-taste of foods, drinks, gum, smoking or brushing teeth.
I hope that these tips help you to have an easier and healthier holiday season. Merry Christmas!