Celiac disease is a malabsorption syndrome and chronic digestive disorder. The intestine is not able to absorb vital dietary nutrients from foods containing gliadin, an alcohol-soluble portion of gluten. This condition which is often hereditary means the sufferer has a serious intolerance to wheat (including durum, semolina and spelt), rye, oats, barley, and related grain hybrids such as tritaclae and kamut.

Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joint. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis which is characterised by joint degeneration and loss of cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis which is also an autoimmune disorder. In this case the body's immune system attacks its own cartilage and tissue surrounding the joints.

Some detoxification experts advocate fasting, while others do not. It is known that the components of any well-designed detox program will stimulate the body to cleanse itself, but people who are underweight, are undernourished, have weak hearts, have blood sugar issues or are ill should avoid fasting. Some studies have shown that restricting food intake can actually lead to bingeing.

Hemorrhoids are extremely common in industrialised countries and it is estimated that fifty percent of persons over fifty years of age have symptoms of hemorrhoidal disease. Although most people may begin to develop hemorrhoids in the twenties, the symptoms do not become evident normally until in ones thirties!


What is insomnia?

Insomnia is one of the more common everyday problems and is estimated to affect one in every three adults at some point in their lives. Each year doctors prescribe more than 20 million sleeping pills (hypnotics), and researchers have now identified some 80 different sleep disorders. 15% of the population are believed to suffer from chronic insomnia. The condition is chronic if it continues for longer than three weeks.

The underlying causes of chronic insomnia are difficult to pinpoint and tackle - they can include depression, a dietary overload of stimulants, especially caffeine, drinking too much alcohol, chronic pain due to other causes, muscle cramps, and other physical ailments. Researchers suggest that at least 50% of all cases of chronic insomnia are caused by psychological factors, especially depression and anxiety.

How do I treat insomnia naturally?

The following ten tips can help you achieve sleep and the benefits it provides. These tips, offered by the National Sleep Foundation, are intended for "typical" adults, but not necessarily for children or for adults experiencing medical problems.

How to sleep better

  1. Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule including weekends. Our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by a "circadian clock" in our brain and the body's need to balance both sleep time and wake time. A regular waking time in the morning strengthens the circadian function and can help with sleep onset at night. That is also why it is important to keep a regular bedtime and wake-time, even on the weekends when there is the temptation to sleep in.
  2. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or hot tub and then reading a book or listening to soothing music. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep. Avoid arousing activities before bedtime like working, paying bills, engaging in competitive games or family problem-solving. Some studies suggest that soaking in hot water (such as a hot tub or bath) before retiring to bed can ease the transition into deeper sleep, but it should be done early enough that you are no longer sweating or over-heated. If you are unable to avoid tension and stress, it may be helpful to learn relaxation therapy from a trained professional. Finally, avoid exposure to bright before bedtime because it signals the neurons that help control the sleep-wake cycle that it is time to awaken, not to sleep.
  3. Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep — cool, quiet, dark, comfortable and free of interruptions. Also make your bedroom reflective of the value you place on sleep. Check your room for noise or other distractions, including a bed partner's sleep disruptions such as snoring, light, and a dry or hot environment. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, "white noise," humidifiers, fans and other devices.
  4. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy — about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up during the night.
  5. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine. For example, if looking at a bedroom clock makes you anxious about how much time you have before you must get up, move the clock out of sight. Do not engage in activities that cause you anxiety and prevent you from sleeping.
  6. Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime. Eating or drinking too much may make you less comfortable when settling down for bed. It is best to avoid a heavy meal too close to bedtime. Also, spicy foods may cause heartburn, which leads to difficulty falling asleep and discomfort during the night. Try to restrict fluids close to bedtime to prevent nighttime awakenings to go to the bathroom, though some people find milk or herbal, non-caffeinated teas to be soothing and a helpful part of a bedtime routine.
  7. Exercise regularly. It is best to complete your workout at least a few hours before bedtime. In general, exercising regularly makes it easier to fall asleep and contributes to sounder sleep. However, exercising sporadically or right before going to bed will make falling asleep more difficult. In addition to making us more alert, our body temperature rises during exercise, and takes as much as 6 hours to begin to drop. A cooler body temperature is associated with sleep onset. Finish your exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime. Late afternoon exercise is the perfect way to help you fall asleep at night.
  8. Avoid caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate) close to bedtime. It can keep you awake. Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it can produce an alerting effect. Caffeine products, such as coffee, tea, colas and chocolate, remain in the body on average from 3 to 5 hours, but they can affect some people up to 12 hours later. Even if you do not think caffeine affects you, it may be disrupting and changing the quality of your sleep. Avoiding caffeine within 6-8 hours of going to bed can help improve sleep quality. To determine how much caffeine you ingest daily, check out our Caffeine Calculator.
  9. Avoid nicotine (e.g. cigarettes, tobacco products). Used close to bedtime, it can lead to poor sleep. Nicotine is also a stimulant. Smoking before bed makes it more difficult to fall asleep. When smokers go to sleep, they experience withdrawal symptoms from nicotine, which also cause sleep problems. Nicotine can cause difficulty falling asleep, problems waking in the morning, and may also cause nightmares. Difficulty sleeping is just one more reason to quit smoking. And never smoke in bed or when sleepy!
  10. Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. Although many people think of alcohol as a sedative, it actually disrupts sleep, causing nighttime awakenings. Consuming alcohol leads to a night of less restful sleep.

Other lifestyle tips for insomnia:

Decrease stress. Too much stress produces too much adrenaline in the body, high levels of which overpower the serotonin that would normally help you get a good night’s sleep - so bringing your stress levels under control is important. Try our breathing and yoga techniques.

In the East, a hot foot bath is a traditional remedy for insomnia - the logic is that it draws the blood from the brain to calm a racing mind - and if you enjoy using essential oils when bathing, both lavender and lemon balm will help relax you.

Use lavender oil in the bath, use an essential oil burner in your room or just sniff a good quality oil occasionally before bed

Diet for treatment of insomnia

Increase level of the sleep-controlling hormone melatonin by stepping up your intake of serotonin; a neurotransmitter involved in the manufacture of melatonin. You can also easily boost levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that is critical for the manufacture of serotonin. Foods that are high in trytophan are turkey, banana, figs, dates, yogurt, tuna, whole grain crackers, nut butters and grapefruit.

Researchers have found, that people who find it hard to get off to sleep are usually deficient in their levels of serotonin, the synthesis of which also requires large amounts of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) which is found in carrots, cheese, avocado, fish, lentils, peas, potato, spinach, sunflower seeds, and wholemeal flour.

If you suffer from insomnia, you should eat more of these foods and cut out the high sugar foods such as white bread and white rice, which can cause fluctuations in blood-sugar levels. Stick instead to a high carbohydrate diet, which maximises the presence of L-tryptophan, a form of tryptophan, in the brain. In fact, those who eat a carbohydrate-based diet of quality wholefoods are found to be calmer, rarely depressed, and better to sleep soundly than those who do not.

Most of us only get a third of the optimum daily dose of calcium our bodies need, and calcium deficiency has long been linked with increased tension and sleep disturbances. Calcium is a potent sleep inducer - this explains why drinking a glass of warmed milk at bedtime can help - and should be taken as calcium citrate or calcium hydroxyapatite, which are the forms the body can most easily absorb. In Russia, the folk remedy is to grind anise and serve it with warm milk and honey. Milk is not only high in calcium but also rich in tryptophan, and so has a doubly powerful tranquillising effect.

Herbs for treatment of insomnia

Herbal remedies can help promote a good night’s sleep most wonderfully. The list of herbs that help with sleep ranges from everyday store cupboard offerings such as mint, rosemary, valerian, lemon balm, kava, hops and lime blossom and the antispasmodic, muscle-relaxant, thyme, to the more exotic passionflower (for chronic insomnia) and saffron. Chamomile, is an excellent natural sedative and safe to give to children. You can make a tea from the flowers or, for super-potency, juice the herb in the same way you would juice wheatgrass to make a nutritional drink.

Chaste tree regulates the pituatory gland has been found vbery useful for stubborn cases of insomnia

If you prefer homoeopathic homeopathic remedy, Lycopodium is the one most frequently prescribed for anyone who spends half the night going over the previous day, drops off in the small hours of the morning only to wake and start worrying again at around 4am. The other popular remedy is aconite.

Supplements for insomnia

L-tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

Medical research indicates that supplementation with 1 g L-tryptophan before bedtime can induce sleepiness and delay wake times. L-tryptophan is thought to bring on sleep by raising levels of serotonin, a body chemical that promotes relaxation. This supplement should be used with caution, however, as it may adversely interact with certain anti-depressants (including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs] and monoamine oxidase inhibitors [MAOIs]) and cause serious negative side effects.

Studies also suggest that 5-hydroxytryptophan, made from tryptophan in the body or available in supplement form, may be useful in treating insomnia associated with depression. Like tryptophan, however caution on side effects should be taken.