In this new blog, our Naturopath Stephanie offers soothing and practical suggestions to protect our throats and lungs against the heavy and smoky air quality:-

It has been a very distressing, sad and traumatic time here on the South Coast as the fires have affected each of us in a myriad of different ways. Heightened feelings of anxiousness, worry and grief are the norm amongst everyone I have spoken with.

The smoke we have inhaled each day has been adding a layer of physical symptoms to the already present emotional symptoms we have been feeling. Complaints of sore throats, irritating coughs, and heavy sensations in the chest area in normally healthy people have been common. The lungs and heart are also the organs associated with strong feelings of grief and loss.

Here I offer you some suggestions for physically soothing and protecting your lungs and throat which may have flared up from the recent exposure to the smoke and emotion of the time. 

Thankfully, the current season is offering us a plentiful and affordable bounty of fresh fruit with blueberries, strawberries, cherries, mangoes, peaches, and nectarines presenting an abundance of protective nutrients to our lungs and immune systems. High in vitamin C and other antioxidants, these fruits will offer protection against the toxic, heavy air. Taking daily vitamin C and zinc supplements may also be necessary if you are consistently getting sore throats after exposure to the smoke or your exposure is particularly high.

Garlic (as a raw food or as a capsule) acts like a herbal antibiotic and can help combat respiratory infections in the throat and lungs and assist breaking up excess mucous. 

Herbal teas containing licorice, ginger, thyme, and marshmallow root can also soothe and loosen up tight lungs and airways. Add some lemon (vitamin C) and organic raw honey (antimicrobial) for extra benefit.

Avoid strenuous and intense exercise outdoors for lengthy periods of time, especially in the morning when the air is still.

If you have asthma or other pulmonary illness and you feel it has worsened, please see your regular healthcare professional to reassess your treatment plan during this more challenging time to your airways. 

Finally, please offer radical loving kindness to yourselves. You need the space, kindness and freedom to allow the regeneration that always occurs after a fire to to ourselves, our community and our world. 

In health, Steph 

Stephanie Donougher – Naturopath – Nutritionist

Identifying current patterns for recovery in TCM

It is difficult to process the physical, emotional and mental residue that remains for wide spread communities affected by the ongoing fires.  The stages of recovery in every aspect are so varied that they should be treated with absolute sensitivity to each individual.  

Chinese Medicine has an effective systematic diagnostic ability  through  pulse identification and then acupuncture protocols and herbal formulas  to identify individual patterns of imbalance in the body.  This method of treatment helps  prioritise  the needs of the body to help re-establish  its core ability to regulate and heal, to be resilient, to have wellbeing. 

Respiratory and stress/psychological/sleep disorders may be two of the most pressing current areas of concern for many patients. Here are some examples of clinical presentations and therapeutic functions for some of the patterns that may present individually (or in combination) in these areas. 

1. Presentation: Initial stage of respiratory infection with fever and sore throat ; Function: disperse wind-heat
2. Presentation: Allergic sinusitis or rhinitis with nasal congestion and clear nasal discharge; Function: Disperse Wind-cold, open nasal orifices
3. Presentation: Sinus infection with yellow, purulent nasal discharge and nasal congestion; Function: Disperse wind and heat, open nasal orifices
4. Presentation: Lung infection with profuse yellow thick phlegm, post nasal drip, chest fullness, breathing difficulties; Function: Clear lung heat and phlegm
5. Presentation: Acute Cough, dyspnea, wheezing, dry mouth, thirst; Function: clear lung heat, descend lung qi.
6. Presentation:  Acute dyspnea, chills, nasal congestion and clear or white nasal discharge; Function: release exterior wind, eliminate phlegm, nourish yin
7. Presentation: Ongoing and deficient type respiratory conditions with wheezing, shallow inhalation, general weakness; Function: tonify and descend lung qi
8. Presentation: ear, nose and throat and lung infection and inflammation; Function: clear heat in the head and upper orifices, eliminate toxins. 

1. Presentation: stress, frustration, irritability, anxiety and emotional disturbance; Function: spread liver qi, relieve stagnation
2. Presentation: severe restlessness, stress, anxiety; Function: purge liver fire, calm the spirit
3. Presentation: Insomnia with excessive worries, pensiveness; Function: tonify heart blood, tranquilize  the spirit.  
4. Presentation: Depression; Function: Disperses phlegm and stagnation of qi, blood, food and damp
5. Presentation: Depression and Stress; Function: spread liver qi, clear heart fire

One of the most important components of wellbeing is resilience – the ability to effectively cope with adversity. We are all faced with adversity at some point or another in our lives and how we respond is a key attribute of our wellbeing.  However long it takes, each step you take is a good step. 

Wishing you health and happiness. 

Tanya McMahon

Top tips from Stephanie

As we all enter the crazy part of the year, I am talking to all my patients about finishing the year feeling alive and NOT depleted. 
So many of us run ourselves into the ground so that by Christmas we barely have anything left to enjoy such a lovely time of the year. 
My top tips are:
1. Schedule a weekly time for a health-focused activity. This is non-negotaible, and something different to what you do most of the year. It’s in place to shake up your normal habits of putting your health last when you are short for time. For me it is weekly acupuncture with Tanya, for some of my patients it is sitting down to write up a meal plan for the week, for others it might be a massage, a yoga class, or a walk along the beach. Every week, at least once.
2. Hold back on nightly alcohol intake – minimise the burden on your liver, your nervous system, and your energy levels by keeping your alcohol intake to the weekends only (if at all!).
3. Don’t feel obligated to say yes to every event that you are invited to. Self-preservation is the goal for the coming weeks. Unless you are spending time with people that you adore and doing something that lights you up then really think about how important it is to go. Will your attendance nourish you or deplete you?
Finally, if feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, and stress are common for you this time of year, consider extra nervous system support through certain herbal preparations and mineral like magnesium. Discuss what best suits you with your naturopath or herbalist. 
Here’s to finishing the last year of the decade feeling nourished, alive, and well! 
Wishing you a happy summer, Steph .⁠


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