Nutritional Therapist and Medical Herbalist Jennifer Derham has been involved with the health industry for almost 20 years and has extensive experience working as part of a multi-disciplinary and integrated healthcare teams. With this experience and knowledge, Jennifer has been able to acquire a range of innovative consultations and health care programs to suit individual needs. Jennifer’s qualifications include, a MSc Ethnobotany from the University of Kent & Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK, Diploma in Nutritional Therapy from the Irish Institute of Nutrition and Health, Ireland, and a BSc (Hons) Health Sciences: Herbal Medicine from the University of Westminster, UK.
We asked Jennifer to share her philosophy and favourite wellbeing tips.
What are some of the health conditions that people can benefit from your service?
Herbal medicine, dietary intervention and nutrient supplementation may be used to treat many of the conditions for which you would visit your GP. These include issues with digestion, allergies, circulation, hormonal imbalances, urinary tract infections, skin issues such as acne and eczema, stress and anxiety, low energy and mood, joint and muscle pain as well as respiratory complaints from asthma to the common cold, plus many more! Herbal medicines and supplements can be used safely and effectively for the whole family, with all ages from young children to the very elderly.
How did you become interested in using herbs?
I have been interested in herbs since childhood, when I used to gather plants in my grandmother’s garden and make ‘healing ointments’. As I got older I branched out and began making my own medicines, such as cough syrups and herbal tinctures, and found I hardly ever had to go to the doctor! I then discovered you could actually do a science degree in herbal medicine, and there has been no looking back!
How can they be combined with other forms of medicine in treating a patient?
Many of my patients are already receiving treatment from their doctor when they come to see me. In this case, I prescribe herbs and supplements which do not adversely interact with other medications. Patients are encouraged to inform their GP that they are on a herbal regime.
What is your philosophy when it comes to good health?
Balance and moderation! I believe that balance is essential to living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eating well, exercising often and enjoying life are equally important. The trick is to eat natural whole-foods, fruit and vegetables, most of the time while avoiding processed or ‘white’ foods as much as possible. However, I do endorse a little indulgence once in a while – this is important for balance.
How do you adopt your nutritional practices to your daily routine?
I eat fresh, organic food and avoid processed foods as mush as possible. I drink plenty of water, make time for relaxation and try to get a good amount of sleep. To avoid blood sugar and energy dips, I like to eat smaller meals frequently throughout the day and I always carry a healthy snack in my bag so I never get caught out. This really helps improve my energy throughout the day and keeps me in good form!
What are your top 3 tips for avoiding colds and flu?
It is always worth taking a taking a good multivitamin and mineral formula for a couple of months to boost your levels. Try a food state supplement like The Synergy Company or Wild Nutrition. These are made with whole food nutrients which are now known to be more active and beneficial to health. Nature, however, has provided us with a wide range of remedies, which play an important role in building up the immune system and defences in the body, helping to protect and prevent us against the many bacteria and viruses around us.
One of the most effective of these is elderberry, the fruit born of the elder tree Sambucas nigra. Now found in a number of the respiratory and immune enhancing formulas, it can be taken as a tea, syrup or in capsule form. Traditionally, elderberry was made into a cordial, know as ‘Elderberry Rob’ which was used throughout the winter.
The elder tree is a medicine chest in its own right. The flowers and berries have long been used in the treatment of infections including colds influenza, and viral infections of the upper respiratory tract as well as sinusitis and hayfever. The berry has the ability to restrain cold viruses developing and has also been shown to be antiviral against many strains of influenza virus! High in anti-oxidants, it is loaded with Vitamin C, and as well as iron and other nutrients. It is an excellent tonic for convalescence, fatigue and debility, assisting a more rapid recovery and improving energy levels.
Rose hips are another favourite. Rose hips are a powerhouse of Vitamin C and antioxidants. They also contain other vitamins including Vitamin D and E. Regular consumption of rose hip tea, helps boost the immune system and fend off colds and fight infections. Rose hips can be bought in syrup and capsule form but can also be used fresh or dried added to jams, pies, soups, bread and even made into wine.
I discovered, much to my joy, that the mushroom stall in Marylebone Farmers market sold fresh reishi. I have since been brewing it up every morning and drinking it throughout the day and have to say I feel a certain improvement in energy. Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) long known as the ‘mushroom of immortality’, is considered one of the most powerful mushrooms for enhancing immunity along with having many health benefits. It has been shown to be antiviral and anti bacterial while also having anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties.
Mushrooms, the ‘flowers of the fall’, have been valued throughout the world as food and medicine for thousands of years. Mushrooms contain many health-giving properties, are powerful tonics for the immune system and help prevent illness. Not to mention the perfect food for staying trim! Mushrooms are a rich source of Beta-Glucans and polysaccharides which are immune modulating substances that can support the body in fighting viruses and bacteria.
It is well worth adding as many mushrooms as we can to our diets to help boost our systems. Mushrooms can be added to soups, casseroles, stews, risotto, salads and also taken as a tea. If mushrooms are not to your taste, many of the medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi can now be taken in capsule form.
If you could give everyone a single piece of advice when it comes to health, what would it be?
Sip, sip, sip water throughout the day. This is the only way to rehydrate fully. Water is essential for life, every cell in our body, energy production, mood, not to mention our skin! Half the time we think we are hungry we are in fact thirsty. We have a tendency to gulp water down in one go whether it is at lunchtime or in a panic just before we go to bed. Remember, we are but a tube, and drunk this way, water simply passes straight through us!
Actually, I’m going have to have two pieces of advice as I can’t miss out good fats. Crucial for our cells, skin, nails, hair, mood, the list goes on. These and especially Omega 3, are more often than not lacking in our diets. The best dietary sources of good fats are oily fish, nuts and seeds, oils such as flaxseed oil, coconut oil and olive oil. If you feel you don’t eat enough of these, try a good fish oil supplement.
To book a consultation with Jennifer at CONTENT, phone 020 3075 1006 or read more about Jennifer here.