Top 5 Herbs for Digestion

We Naturopaths subscribe to the belief that good health starts in the gut. If there are digestive symptoms present, it’s highly likely that other areas of health are also imbalanced. In the case of a chronically upset digestive system, other symptoms like anxiety, depression, skin issues, poor immunity, impaired sleep and low energy levels often follow. The reasons for this are various - the body is a complex place!

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Alexandra McPhee
Anxious? Include these Foods for a Calm Mood

There is plenty of advice out there (including on this blog) about which foods to limit when addressing the causes of anxiety. Managing your intake of coffee, refined foods and sweet treats is a helpful start to the dietary treatment, but what should you be eating instead? As a Naturopath I have found that simply asking a client to eliminate a problematic food or drink isn’t always successful. The change is much easier when I can provide an alternative or substitute that the client can reach for!

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Alexandra McPhee
Women Need Zinc. Here's Why:

When was the last time you thought about your zinc intake? Most likely the answer is never. Zinc is an often forgotten yet critically essential mineral for almost all of my clients. It’s an intracellular mineral, meaning that it is found and utlisised inside the cell and has many important functions. The other thing to note straight up, is that zinc is found in its highest concentrations in seafoods such as mussels, oysters and other shellfish. If you’re anything like me, these foods may not form a regular feature of the diet! As busy modern women, the demands for zinc are enormous, yet many of us do not reach the daily recommended intake.

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Alexandra McPhee
What REALLY Causes Acne?

The answer you’ve all been waiting for… Well, it depends. We are all different and so are the skins we walk around in. There are however, some common threads that I see in most adults with acne. I am going to talk primarily in regards to acne in women, due to the prevalence of post-pill acne and the effect that fluctuating sex hormones can have on the skin.

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Alexandra McPhee
Gut Feelings - Part 2: Does Anxiety Start in The Gut?

Welcome back! Thanks for joining me in Gut Feelings Part 2. If you haven’t yet read Part 1, I recommend going back and reading it here!

Intestinal Permeability (Leaky Gut)

In Part 1, I began to delve into how leaky gut can contribute to leaky brain and mental health symptoms. Another thing to be considered when thinking about the integrity of the gut lining, is how this affects the absorption of critical nutrients.

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Alexandra McPhee
Glow Up with Tremella Mushroom

Whether you’re worried about your skin from years of sun-baking or just want a glowing complexion, my friend Tremella has your back. “Is Tremella your new beauty therapist or something?” I hear you ask. Well, yes! Women have turned to her for thousands of years in their quest for dewy, youthful skin. You may have guessed by now that Tremella is not a human woman, nor a three thousand-year-old witch that drinks boy tears in exchange for her powers. Tremella fuciformis is the beauty queen from the kingdom of fungi.and she’s a slice of vanilla heaven.

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Alexandra McPhee
Gut Feelings – Part 1: Does Anxiety Start in the Gut?

Strap yourselves in with a cup of herbal tea because this is a wordy one!

The intricate link between the digestive tract and mood is coming to light both in the scientific literature and popular health culture, with the topic of gut health on (almost) everyone’s minds! This post may especially be of interest to you if you experience frequent anxiety, stomach upset related to stress, depression, IBS or all of the above.

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Alexandra McPhee
Checking in to Check Out of Negative Self-Talk

Are you able to recognise when you are acting out of fear? Can you identify when your mind begins the loop of negative and critical thinking? Maybe it’s not even a thought, but the little sinking feeling of shame in your chest that you get when you remember “Oh yeah I’m not good enough.” Sometimes we are so caught up, we actually think we can predict the future! (and spoiler alert: it’s not going to be good!)

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Alexandra McPhee
Lion's Mane as a Nervous System Superfood

If you’ve known me long enough, you’ll know my obsession for medicinal mushrooms! When so many of my clients come in with symptoms of nervous system stress, fatigue and anxiety, it’s nice to have so many beautiful species of fungi available to support them. My absolute favourite is Lion’s Mane mushroom ~ I even wrote an article for Endeavour College of Natural Health about Lion’s Mane and the research behing its potential effects on the nervous system and brain! You can read the article here…

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Alexandra McPhee
Anxiety Isn't Your Fault, But It IS Your Responsibility

Many people I talk to about anxiety, raise the concern that it’s just part of their personality. Looking back, they were an anxious child and this trait has followed them into adulthood. Or maybe it’s genetic - their parents had anxiety too - so this is just their lot in life. I’m here to tell you that these are myths. Urban legends. Experiencing anxiety is neither a form of personal failure, nor a fixed state of being. Stress and anxiety is an evolutionary requirement to keep us safe, so it’s never going to go away fully. But we can start to work on when and how these feelings express themselves.

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Alexandra McPhee
Let’s Talk Coffee

Coffee is kind of synonymous with Melbourne culture. They’re practically mutually exclusive concepts. Even other Naturopaths looked at me like I was bananas when I announced that I was two weeks coffee free! Full disclosure: I haven’t cut coffee out permanently. I break up with coffee intermittently throughout the year, based on my energy levels and mental health. I do find that reducing my coffee intake is the quickest way to decrease my restlessness, leaving me grounded and calm.

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Alexandra McPhee
Herbal Favourites for Anxiety

The potential combinations of herbs for the treatment of anxiety are almost limitless! As with any condition, herbs are chosen for their ability to address the physiological and energetic mechanisms at play within anxiety. Here are some of my favourites in clinic:

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Alexandra McPhee
Magnesium – My Secret Weapon

I know you’ve probably heard this before, but Magnesium is the bomb! Magnesium is a mineral that is required for over 300 physiological cellular functions including (but not limited to) energy production, blood sugar regulation, the production of calming neurotransmitters, muscle contractions and recovery as well as synthesising hormones. Our body’s demand for magnesium is even higher when we are under stress or just going about our daily modern lives!

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Alexandra McPhee
Free Techniques for Abolishing Anxiety

There’s a few (five to be exact) free techniques I always encourage my clients to use in the treatment of anxiety. Instead of handing you a bottle of pills and sending you on your way, I’m dedicated to getting you real and lasting results with your anxiety. Which means insisting on a personal commitment to positive change! Like homework but more empowering. 

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Alexandra McPhee
The Anxious Brain

I am going to try my best not to get too lost in the neuroscience here and keep this introduction to your amygdala on a strictly need to know basis! The amygdala is a little part of your brain that is the centre for emotion, instinct, survival and memory. The amygdala is a quick learner and learns mainly by association, linking what our senses are experiencing to emotional responses.

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Alexandra McPhee
Blood Sugar & Anxiety

There’s a lot of signs we associate with needing to eat. Hanger, dizziness, brain fog, irritability and fatigue often trigger us to reach for food - usually the sugary kind if it’s in reach. But did you know anxiety can be a common symptom of blood sugar imbalance?

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Alexandra McPhee
Healthy Easter Chocolate

Every Easter is a battle of not giving in and eating my entire stash of Easter chocolates in one go. If you can relate to this, simply change up your chocolate game to avoid the guilt! Here’s a tried and true raw chocolate recipe that can be whipped out at Easter as well as Valentine’s day.

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Alexandra McPhee
Solar Powered Tea

I love working with the sun to create solar infusions. I choose a herbal blend and the sun does the rest! When exposed to sunshine, the herbs slowly release their medicinal properties into the water. These two elements which co-created the plant itself, coming together to produce a herby elixir! 

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Alexandra McPhee
A Naturopath Explains: Collagen Powders

Collagen powders are marketed everywhere at the moment as the latest and greatest supplemental food. Hailed as edible protection against wrinkles, lines and sagging skin, collagen powders talk a big game! So that is the logic behind the collagen claims?

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Alexandra McPhee