Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Questions and Answers - Newsletter February 2009

Q1: My swollen ankles used to go down at night but they don’t now.
My GP can’t find any reason for them he doesn’t want me to take any more of the water pills.
Is there anything I can do to help myself?

A: Drink two cups of parsley tea daily - chop a handful of fresh parsley, put in a jug and add one pint of boiling water. Cover, leave for 10 minutes and strain.
Drink half in the morning, the rest mid afternoon. If you have dandelions in your garden - and no dog - have a few of the bright green leaves every day in salad or a sandwich.
Both these plants are gentle diuretics.

Take 400 mg of vitamin E every morning and use frequent applications of alternate hot and cold water.
Lymphatic drainage from a qualified masseur helps, especially when there is no underlying problem.
Your GP might know someone locally as this type of treatment is even used in hospitals after mastectomy.

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Q2: My 27 year old daughter has slightly high blood pressure but doesn’t need medication.
There is a family history and my sister died of a stroke at 43. Can my daughter do anything to keep hers down?

A: Caffeine, whether in coffee, tea, chocolate or cola drinks, in large quantities, raises the pressure, as does nicotine in any quantity - avoid them both.
Salt is one of the commonest causes, so encourage your daughter to throw away the salt cellar and read the labels on everything she buys.
More than half the salt we eat is hidden in manufactured foods - even cornflakes.

Exercise, yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques, all reduce blood pressure and the risk of strokes and there are books, tapes and videos to learn from.
Oats, beans, apples, pears, garlic, onions and leeks should be eaten in generous amounts to help reduce cholesterol.
Take a daily dose of 1000 mg lecithin, 25 IU vitamin E and a garlic supplement.

Make sure your daughter goes for regular checks on her blood pressure, which should decrease gradually if she follows this advice.

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Q.3 Since getting glandular fever, my 19 year old son suffers constant sore throats and swollen glands, so he’s always on antibiotics.
How can I help him improve his resistance to these infections?

A: Start with a healthy diet - not so easy as you live in Scotland. Lots of essential fresh fruit, vegetables and salads.
They’re all vital for their protective antioxidants, like vitamins A and C, the plant chemicals which are highly protective, and the minerals the body needs.
Add vegetable oils like olive, nut and sunflower, for vitamin E, and plenty of nuts and seeds for energy as well as nutrients.

Give him plenty of whole meal bread, potatoes, rice and pasta for lots of healthy calories and a daily supplement of Kaloba, the African traditional herbal remedy from the plant Pelargonium sidoides.
This helps boost his immune system and may prevent the recurrent throat problems, instead of resorting to antibiotics straight away.
He should try gargling every four hours with a glass of sage tea - add a heaped teaspoon of fresh chopped or two teaspoons of dried sage to a glass of boiling water, cover and stand for 10 minutes.
Pour through a tea strainer and use when cool enough.

Also dose him up with the herbal medicine Echinacea.

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Q.4 I’m currently having chemotherapy after removal of a cancerous breast lump and my daughter contacted a nutritionist who gives advice by telephone.
He’s recommended 60 different pills a day and they’re costing me a fortune but I’m afraid to stop as he said the tablets would save my life.

A: You must stop all the pills he’s sold you right now.

Firstly, no proper nutritionist who is a member of the British Dietetic Association or has a British university degree in nutrition would ever do consultations over the phone.
Secondly, no responsible practitioner of any sort of complementary therapy would tell you that you were going to die if you didn’t take their pills.
Thirdly, there are some types of tumour that thrive on extra doses of vitamins, so before taking any supplements you should discuss it with your consultant.

The person you describe is without doubt either an unscrupulous charlatan or a misguided fool who really believes in what he is doing – I’m not sure which is the more frightening.


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