Archive for the ‘Tiredness’ Category

8 natural ways to boost your sex drive

Friday, May 1st, 2009

If you often find yourself not in the mood for sex, or simply can’t remember when you last had sex, try some of these natural solutions to get your libido back on track:


1) Practise your Kegels: Get your vaginal muscles in shape again by practising your Kegels (pelvic floor exercises). Kegel exercises can help strengthen your pelvic muscles and combat incontinence and make sex more enjoyable. To find out which muscles you need to use, the next time you go to the toilet stop urinating in midstream by contracting your muscles; these are your pelvic floor muscles. Use these muscles to perform a Kegel, contract them and hold for a count of five and then relax. Repeat this ten times, at least five times a day, and you should find it easier to reach orgasm. If you need extra help, then there are some good pelvic toners on the market. There are two I would recommend, so for more information go to or call 0845 8800915.


2) Give yourself a vitamin boost: If you’re feeling too tired to make love ensure you are getting enough of the correct vitamins and minerals. Nutrient deficiencies can drain your energy and dampen your libido so a healthy diet is a must, as is cutting down on caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes, all of which can interfere with your sex drive. Also be sure that your multivitamin and mineral supplement contains enough vitamin C, B complex and magnesium – these nutrients are all vital to help your body combat libido-sapping stress, balance your blood sugar levels and keep your vagina lubricated.


3) Treat yourself and your partner to a massage: Aromatherapy massage oils, such as jasmine, sandalwood, ylang ylang and rose, are all thought to stimulate sex drive. So why not give your partner a massage and ask him or her to return the favour! Massage helps release dopamine – the body’s natural pleasure chemical.


4) Catuaba: When no amount of aromatherapy massage can get you in the mood, you may want to try Catuaba – a Brazilian herb that is known as the ‘tree of love.’ The bark contains substances that may act as a natural aphrodisiac within five to 21 days of taking extracts regularly.


5) Muira puama: If your partner is the one who struggles to get into the mood you may want to encourage him to try muira puama. This fragrant Amazonian shrub has been used for centuries to boost libido by stimulating production of the brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine. It may also help boost the production of sex hormones and boost circulation to the genital area.


6) Boost your serotonin levels: The key to boosting libido is stabilising serotonin levels. Excess amounts of serotonin (the brains ‘feel good’ hormone) cause fatigue and a decrease in sexual desire. But serotonin deficiency is associated with low moods, lack of concentration and poor appetite control. To help your brain and body strike a serotonin balance, make sure you eat five to six small, balanced meals and snacks every day containing complex carbohydrates and healthy protein.


7) Foods to spice up your sex life: Although there really aren’t any aphrodisiac foods as such, there are certain foods that contain crucial nutrients for healthy libido. Make sure you include plenty of the following in your diet:


ApplesApples are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre that can boost immunity and general health and wellbeing. Good health and a healthy libido go hand in hand.

Avocado – The Aztecs called the avocado tree ahuacatl or “testicle tree.” While avocados can indeed look like that body part, they also contain high levels of folic acid, which helps metabolise proteins, thus giving you more energy. They also contain vitamin B6 (a nutrient that increases male and female hormone production) and Vitamin E, both of which are vital for overall sexual function (and a smooth complexion).

Beetroot – Well known for its immune-boosting and blood-building properties, beetroot contains nutrients that help support the liver, which is where sexual hormones are metabolised. It is also rich in iron, calcium and potassium, all of which promotes healthy circulation to the reproductive organs.


Cherries – Cherries may be small, but they are a big source of antioxidant compounds – such as the antioxidant flavonoid quercetin, a high intake of which has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, strokes and heart attacks. They are also bursting with vitamins and minerals that can boost health and energy – and so boost your libido.

Cinnamon – According to Chinese medicine cinnamon is thought to tone the kidneys and produce a strong flow of energy, and it is linked to virile sexuality. Studies have also shown that the smell of cinnamon can also boost concentration and alertness.

Garlic – Yes, you might need to stock up on some extra breath mints, but it’ll be worth it! Garlic contains allicin, an ingredient that increases blood flow to the penis. As such, it’s a highly effective herb for increasing libido. If the odour just won’t work, or you can’t stand garlic, you can always encourage him to take garlic capsules instead. (The one I use in the clinic is called Aged Garlic – see the Resources Page).


Strawberries – Berries (such as strawberries, blueberries and blackberries) are not only rich in the sex hormone zinc but are also are incredibly high in antioxidants, which helps to optimise blood flow to the sex organs. They also have the lowest glycaemic load of any fruit, meaning they provide sustained energy levels at only a few calories.


Tomatoes – The juicy tomato, or “love apple,” is a potent source of antioxidants which have strong anti-cancer, anti-ageing and libido-boosting properties.

Mangoes – Apparently the mango is known as ‘The Love Fruit’ and has been used as an ancient Viagra. The Kama Sutra recommends drinking the tropical juices before sexual play – and who can argue with the bible of love! This wonder-fruit contains zinc, a natural sex aid, and sugar and nutrients for stamina. In India mangoes are very important for couples and feature at weddings and other celebrations as a symbol of love and joy of life.

Figs – These are high in amino acids, which are believed to increase libido. The shape of a fresh fig and the sweet, juicy taste are two tangible aspects that are highly pleasurable.


8) Go to your GP: If healthy diet and lifestyle changes don’t work and you feel you’ve tried everything, go to your GP to rule out underlying medical disorders that may be dampening your libido, such as high blood pressure or thyroid dysfunction. If no medical reasons are found, your GP may advise counselling if loss of libido is stress related.

Plants to tackle indoor pollution

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Industrialisation and urbanisation has cut us off from nature and filled our indoor environments with thousands of hazardous synthetic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and trichloroethylene. Furnishings and fittings, floor coverings, gas cookers and stoves, cleaning products, disinfectants, plastic bags, adhesives, paints, varnishes, air fresheners, perfumes, hair sprays, cosmetics, deodorants, shoe polish and other household items are often loaded with these synthetic chemicals that can contaminate the inside of your home by releasing harmful gases or particles in the air.


If you work in an office the pollution could be even worse. Printers, copiers, computer monitors, floor coverings, paint and wall paper all release harmful substances into the indoor atmosphere. According to the Healthy Plants in the Workplace Campaign approximately one third of indoor working spaces have an unhealthy indoor climate, and it is no surprise that illness related absence is much higher in these buildings.


Most people spend up to 90 per cent of their time indoors in modern energy efficient, tightly sealed homes that keep toxins firmly locked inside. These toxins can trigger allergic reactions and many other health problems, such as fatigue, headaches, dizziness, chemical sensitivity, sick building syndrome, skin, eye and respiratory infection, and even an increased risk of infertility.


In 1983 the US Environmental Protection Agency detected over 350 volatile organic compounds in five different buildings in Washington DC homes for the elderly, and since then other research studies have found traces of toxic chemicals in other indoor environments. NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has been aware of the problem of indoor pollution in closed spaces since the early 1970s, but it is only recently that governments and industries have started to look at ways that buildings can be made more health friendly.


Fortunately, there are a number of ways to improve the quality of your indoor atmosphere, and perhaps the simplest and easiest is to utilise the healing power of plants. NASA research has shown that household plants can absorb harmful substances and chemical compounds in the air through tiny openings in their leaves. They also give us oxygen in exchange for our carbon dioxide and humidify the air by releasing moisture. Low humidity can cause dryness of the mouth, a blocked nose and skin and eye irritation. Plants have been shown to reduce coughing and irritation by up to 30% as well as easing headaches and fatigue. In addition, household plants can absorb noise and act as a filter for dust and dirt in the air.


And if all this wasn’t enough researchers have discovered that indoor plants can reduce stress levels and, by so doing, boost mood and enhance productivity in the work place. It seems that simply observing plants can reduce stress (indicated by physiological measures such as lowered blood pressure and heart rate). One study showed that illness related absence from work was decreased from 15% to 5% within six months when plants were placed near to the computer monitors of the workers.


So, with all these health benefits, visiting a garden centre could be a very smart move. Putting a plant on your desk or filling your home and office with plants could make all the difference to your health and well-being.  NASA research has consistently shown that living, green and flowering plants can remove several toxic chemicals from the air in building interiors. So why not use plants in your home or office to improve the quality of the air, to make it a more pleasant place to live and work – where people feel better, perform better and enjoy life more.


But which plants to choose? Which have the most ecological benefits? May I recommend the following:


Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

The Peace Lily is a beautiful plant with dark green leaves and a white flower. It’s brilliant for removing alcohols, acetone, trichloroethylene, benzene and formaldehyde. It grows best in bright indirect light and warm temperatures. Avoid intense exposure to sunlight as it can cause wilting and wash the leaves regularly.


Mother in Law’s Tongue (Sanserieria Trifasciata)

The spiky, prongy leaves of this plant have earned it the name Mother in Law’s Tongue. It is great for humidifying the air and for removing formaldehyde. It copes best in low light and moderate temperatures and requires little watering.


Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens)

A bushy plant that releases a lot of moisture into the atmosphere – judged one of the top plants for removing indoor toxins. During the summer months it needs a lot of watering, moderate to bright light and average temperatures. Don’t allow the plant to sit in water or the roots might rot, and remove stems quickly when they die to prevent rot from affecting other healthy stems.


Boston Fern (Nephrolepsis Exaltata Bostoniensis)

This popular fern is particularly good at removing air pollutants such as formaldehyde and for humidifying the air. It thrives in indirect sunlight and moderate temperatures. It needs plenty of watering; ensure the soil remains moist but don’t flood it with water.


Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea Erumpens)

Adds moisture to the air and is also one of the top rated plants for removing benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. It needs low to medium light and well-drained, moist soil.


Janet Craig Dracaena (Dracaena deremensis)

This tall plant with long leaves is one of the best plants for removing trichloroethylene. It should be kept in medium light, in average warmth and watered every two weeks or when dry. The compost should not dry out and it should be misted regularly to keep up the humidity.


Other great indoor plants for tackling toxic substances include: Date Palm (Pheoenix Canariensis), which is particularly good at removing xylene; Elephant Eat Philodendron, which is particularly good at removing formaldehyde; Rubber Plant (Ficus Robusta), which again is effective at removing chemical toxins from indoor environments; and Spider Plant (chlorophytum Comosum), which can help remove carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and xylene from indoor environments.


The recommendation is that you use 15 to 18 good-sized houseplants in 6 to 8-inch diameter containers to improve air quality in an average 1,800 square foot house.

Boosting energy the natural way: Walk the talk

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Far from making you feel more tired, physical activity can actually give you more energy. If you don’t fancy going to the gym there are plenty of activities you can easily fit into your daily routine that will help to keep you fit and healthy and boost your energy levels at the same time. Here are some examples: 

  • Increase your steps: Take the stairs instead of the lift, leave the car at home and get off the bus a stop before your own, use the upstairs toilet  rather than the downstairs one (if you have one), hide the remote controls and get up to switch your appliances on and off. Buy a pedometer to count your steps.
  • Get out in the garden: Researchers at Kansas State University say gardening can strengthen limbs, help the cardiovascular system and develop flexibility. So get out there and start digging. Take the opportunity to have a good stretch after you’ve been kneeling down.
  • Do it to music: Put on a lively CD and do your housework in time to it. You’ll be working out without even knowing it.
  • Rediscover your sexual energy: Sex is a calorie burner and can be a good aerobic workout too. It also releases feel good hormones that increase your energy levels and put you in a good mood. So feel free to indulge yourself.