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New month, new series! Starting with


Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Gout, Fibromyalgia are just a few of the over 100 recognised forms of Arthritis
Some of these are now classified as auto-immune conditions, all are of course inflammatory conditions.

Osteoarthritis affects mainly cartilage, the breakdown of this.
In Rheumatoid Arthritis the body over-reacts and attacks the joints, specifically the synovium  – the linings of the joints
Psoriatic Arthritis affects joints, connective tissue and the skin
Fibromyalgia is considered a central pain syndrome – this means pain signals are processed differently.
Ankylosing Spondylitis affects the spine & large joints

Conventional treatments include pain killers & anti- inflammatories & steroids – these do alleviate symptoms, but unfortunately they all have side effects.

So, let’s start with ways to deal with these dis-eases from a nutritional perspective
the first place to start is an overview of the diet – 
many foods are considered pro-inflammatory – 
all nightshades – potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chill
white flour / white rice
processed meats ie salami, bacon, smoked chicken etc
food additives – msg, aspartame, 
fried foods  – because AGE happens – advanced glycation end product is a toxin that appears when foods are heated, grilled, fried, or pasteurized. AGEs damage certain proteins in the body, and the body tries to break these AGEs apart by using cytokines, which are inflammatory messengers.
pasteurised  dairy products – hard cheeses, milk
many oils – corn oil for example – which these days is found in many processed foods – they are high in Omega 6 fatty acids
citrus may affect- but interestingly lemon in small amounts can be beneficial.

many people find following a vegan diet reduces or eliminates their symptoms altogether – but one needs to ensure that there is a good balance of protein

raw milk , kefir, water kefir are good choices dairy-wise

oily fish like salmon, tuna, sardines lots of omega 3 fatty acids 
if you don’t want fish, have flax seeds  – a good way to get that is LSA, which you can buy or make
3 cups Linseed, 2 cups Sunflower seeds, 1 cup Almonds  – grind all very finely –
Soy Beans
good oils include extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil – walnut oil contains 10x the omega 3s that evo does!
good ole anthocyanins – 
broccoli which also contains   sulforaphane
Green tea is packed with polyphenols, antioxidants believed to reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction. Studies also show that another antioxidant in green tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) blocks the production of molecules that cause joint damage in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Smoothies are a great way to get some of these compounds in
Turmeric, Ginger  – use fresh if you find it
Pineapple – not too much
yoghurt – dairy, coco, soy 
almond / coco milk

If you are going to undertake a detox – go to your health professional please

Exercise of course is essential

swimming, walking, weight bearing, yoga

Are you sitting all day? Invest in an ergonomic chair

Then of course there are the emotional aspects to this spectrum of dis-ease
some of  us may look at these as blaming ourselves you know – the ‘I did this to me’ routine that we can go through in our busy busy heads – nothing further from my mind as I talk to this today.  
We are where we are – acceptance of how we got here can be a very good thing – that does not mean we are bad, or stupid, or blind – we are where we are – and once we can accept that we got here, then we can begin to move somewhere else.
Louise Hay is always an interesting place to start – it can be quite challenging, and ultimately rewarding, as we work out what’s going on for us.
Arthritis: Feeling unloved. Criticism, resentment. –
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Feeling victimized. Lack of love. Chronic bitterness. Resentment. Deep criticism of authority. Feeling very put upon.
Inflammation – 
Stiffness –

New Zealand Native Plants pt 4


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Pukatea Laurelia novae-zelandiae

Laurelia novae-zelandiae (Pukatea) can grow to a height of 40 m and is the only New Zealand native tree with large plank-buttresses – thin triangular flanges which extend up the trunk and along the roots to support the tree’s growth in swamp or shallow-soil areas.
L. novae-zelandiae also has a specialised respiratory root structures called pneumatophores (roots above the ground) in certain waterlogged ground or mud. Like mangroves
The tree’s trunk is clean and straight and can grow to more than 2 m in diameter.
Pukatea is found from sea level to 600 metres throughout the North Island, and in the South Island in Marlborough and on the west coast as far south as Fiordland in lowland semi-swamp and gully areas. It is common in gullies around New Plymouth.

The  4-8cm x 2.5-5cm leaves are bright green oval, grow opposite each other, are thick and leathery with coarse blunt serrations on their edges. They have a glossy top surface and are pale underneath. The young leaves are a light green and the adult leaves are darker.
It has small (6mm) green flowers on flower stalks up to 3cm long during October to November. The genus Laurelia is unusual, with both sexes  separate on the same tree, and occasionally together on the same flower.
After flowering it develops urn shaped seed cases up to 2.5cm long which split and release hair-covered seeds which are dispersed by the wind.

Pukatea wood is tough but spongy, making it excellent for carving. Maori used it to carve the ornate figureheads for their waka, but it was not used for the body of the craft.
The leaves were chewed to relieve the pain of toothache and decoctions of the bark were used internally and topically for neuralgia, venereal disease and many dermatological complaints.

Pharmacologically speaking
The inner bark contains the alkaloids pukateine and laureline, which are morphine-like in their structure and activity, although allegedly with less adverse effects.
Pukatea has strong analgesic properties making it useful in the management of severe pain. Pukateine has shown dopaminergic and antioxidant properties, implicating possible application for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Medicinally, the bark is used


Stomach pains
Syphilis – internally and topically
Painful conditions
Parkinsons disease

Various skin complaints, including chronic ulcers
Syphilitic & tuberculoid lesions

Red Matipo/Mapou  Myrsine australis

Myrsine australis is a species of shrub within the family Myrsinaceae. It is endemic to New Zealand, which means it is unique to NZ it is found throughout the country and on offshore islands.
It has crinkly-edged leaves which make it easily mistaken for a pittosporum and reddish bark and stems. Growing to around 6 metres in height, it inhabits bush margins. The bark on a mature trunk is grey.  Mapou produce very small black fruit in summer (popular with birds) these grow directly on the stem of the plant, not at the end of branches and twigs – a really good way to distinguish it from Pittosporums

Maori boiled mapou leaves to make an infusion for toothache. They also used the leaves as relief for arthritic problems, as a remedy for skin disease, intestinal worms and as a general tonic.
The branch wood was used for digging sticks and adze handle sockets.

Main Constituents:
Flavonoids including rutin
Triterpene saponins

Main Uses:

Cardiovascular disorders   – varicose veins

Possible Pharmacological Actions:
Vascular protective

Tanekaha   Phyllocladus trichomanoides
Celery Pine Toatoa

Tanekaha is a slow-growing evergreen conifer endemic  to New Zealand.It grows to about 20 m, with a 1 m trunk, found from North Cape to Marlborough/Nelson.  Its common name ‘Celery Pine’ comes from the celery-like foliage of this graceful tree.

Like the Kauri, Tanekaha shed their lower branches, producing smooth straight trunks and knot-free timber which is sought after for its strength. Its wood is the strongest and most flexible of the native conifers. Maori used the white timber for their canoes and houses, and for koikoi (double-pointed spears). Bark from this coniferous tree was beaten in a trough of water heated with stones, to make red-brown or black dye and walking sticks were fashioned from sturdy shoots.
Its branches are very supple and do not break if bent over, making the wood ideal for any function involving bending. Early European settlers use it as yacht masts and fishing rods. The wood was also used for marine piles, bridges, railway sleepers and for props in the northern coal and gold mines.
The bark is rich in tannin, from which Māori extracted a red dye.

Active Constituents:



Essential oil

Flavonoid glycosides

A phylloflavan analogue

Inositol, pinitol and other
cyclitols (heartwood)


Medicinal Uses:
Tanekaha was used medicinally as an astringent and antimicrobial agent by Maori people and European settlers.
Decoctions of the inner bark were used in the treatment of diarrhoea,
dysentery and internal haemorrhage
The leaves were used for scrofulous diseases
Externally, it was used as a healing remedy for burns as well as for boils, abscesses and septic infections

The anti-microbial action of tannic acid has been well documented
and it has been shown to be effective against a range of bacteria
yeasts and viruses.
The combination of astringent and antimicrobial actions makes this plant an ideal addition to mouthwash formulations. The strong
astringent action helps tighten and heal the gum tissue while the anti-microbial action helps kill the bacteria responsible for dental caries, as well as conditions such as gingivitis and periodontal disease.
There has been some in vitro tests commissioned by Phytomed on preparations containing a combination of Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) and Tanekaha have found activity against the common oral bacteria
Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus mitis,
andActinomyces naeslundii

Adverse effects: Possible tannin-mediated impairment of gastrointestinal absorption of minerals and proteins ingested within
30 minutes before or after tanekaha ingestion.
Possible temporary staining of the skin/nails following prolonged external use.