The Health Benefits of Elderberry with Pukka Herbs

Elderberries are perfect for wild collection; they grow in abundance and can be harvested every year without harming the plant. Pukka’s wild elderberries come from southern Hungary, where there is still a thriving industry of wild herb collection. The collectors, who are predominantly of Roma origin, have formed a small cooperative made up of about 30 people. Every year they harvest the fresh berries from a patchwork of different sized areas of organically certified land. The fresh berries are immediately taken to Pukka’s local partner for drying and export.

What are elderberries used for?

Bursting with brightly coloured pigments that act as natural antioxidants, elderberries are a natural source of vitamin C. Well-known for supporting our immune function, vitamin C plays an important role in allowing our immune system to communicate and co-ordinate a response.

Sipping on herbal tea is a fantastic way of incorporating elderberries into your day-to-day lives. Pukka Herbs’ Organic Elderberry and Echinacea tea is packed with antioxidants to reduce stress and fight infections. 

If you want the power of elderberries, whilst benefitting from other natural immune-supporting ingredients like thyme and manuka honey, Pukka Elderberry Syrup is a delicious remedy that can be taken by the spoonful. 

Our Nutritional Therapists are on hand to offer health advice – you can pop in store Monday to Saturday, call us on 01737 223499 or contact us for a FREE Winter Wellness Check-in here.

The article has been adapted from Pukka Herbs, you can read the original full feature here.

Vitamin D and Good Health

Vitamin D is well known for helping to maintain healthy bones but what’s becoming apparent is the many other ways it supports good health.

We can get a small amount of vitamin D from food sources such as oily fish, egg yolks, red meat and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, however it’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone.

We get most of our vitamin D from natural sunlight and indeed it’s often called the ‘sunshine vitamin’. Our bodies can make vitamin D when the sunlight touches our skin and this is during the ‘summer’ months (between late March/early April to the end of September). However, in the ‘winter’ months (October to the end of March) sunlight is not strong enough to make Vitamin D. Evidence now shows that many of us in the UK may be low in this important nutrient so supplementation is often needed. Public Health England now recommend supplementation for most of the population through the autumn and winter months in particular.

Vitamin D is available as drops and sprays (straight into the mouth) so is very easy to take, but can also be taken in tablet form too.

Our team of registered Nutritional Therapists are always on hand to provide advice in store and online. Contact us, or pop in and see us to talk nutrition and how to support your health this winter.

Sources: BioCare, NutriAdvanced, Better You and Gov.uk

Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms

Mushrooms may not seem the obvious choice for keeping your immunity strong, skin glowing and blood sugar balanced, but numerous clinical studies have proved medicinal mushrooms can have amazing superpowers when it comes to keeping our health in tiptop condition.  

Everything from boosting immunity to keeping your blood sugar balanced; you can be supercharged with these fabulous fungi. 

Dr. Vivienne Rolfe PhD, and Pukka’s Head of Herbal Research, explains why they should be a go-to natural remedy for staying in good health.   

1. Keep your immunity strong and support natural defences

Mushrooms are high in beta-glucans – natural substances that have been found to help ‘prime’ our immune system, making sure it’s ready for action to fight off bugs and germs (1). Certain types of mushrooms such as reishi, shiitake and maitake are especially rich in the most powerful beta-glucans. So, getting a daily dose of these mushrooms could be beneficial at times when we need extra support, such as during the cold and flu season. A recent study found that maitake mushrooms have a protective effect against the flu virus and reduce cold symptoms, so it’s worth adding a dose of maitake to your wellbeing rituals. 

2. Natural source of vitamin D

Studies have shown that vitamin D plays an important role in our immune systems. That’s why, combined with the fact we are spending a reduced amount of time outside, it’s a good idea to make sure we’re getting a sufficient amount of it. Mushrooms are a great vegan food source of vitamin D. Known as the chestnut tree mushroom, the Shiitake mushroom contains essential amino acids and vitamins B1, B2 and D2. As an edible mushroom, it has been cultivated since ancient times both for culinary and nutritious uses. Vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system and process of cell division

3. Boost energy and help you cope with stress

Certain medicinal mushrooms are traditionally used in many parts of Asia on a daily basis as a mood tonic or ‘adaptogen’. Adaptogens are natural substances that are said to help the body adapt to stress and protect against some of its negative effects, such as fatigue and poor sleep (3) meaning you have more energy too! Maitake and reishi are among the mushrooms said to have adaptogenic qualities.

4. Keep blood sugar balanced 

When blood sugar levels get out of control, this can affect everyday energy as well as increase the risk of other problems such as type 2 diabetes and weight gain. The maitake mushroom has been found in studies to help bring blood sugar down by improving sensitivity to insulin (4,5) – the hormone that triggers cells to take glucose out of the blood. It may also help protect the pancreas, which produces insulin.

5. Keep joints healthy 

Missing out on your morning run due to aching joints can set you back, but inflammation around the joints be a major concern for many people, especially those with arthritis or joint damage. Mushrooms are said to be anti-inflammatory, so could help to ease pain and discomfort (6). Reishi and shiitake mushrooms, in particular,      are helpful here. A randomised, placebo controlled double-blind study      (a robust clinical trial)      found that reishi mushrooms helped to ease pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis over a period of 24 weeks (7). So, mushrooms could help keep you moving and doing the activities you love. 

6. Look after your natural glow 

Lastly and certainly not least of all, studies have found that mushrooms such as shiitake (8) and reishi (9) are rich in youth-boosting antioxidants, such as polyphenols, like those found in fruits and vegetables. But mushrooms actually go one better than most vegetables – in fact, two better. Firstly, because their powerful beta-glucans      – which are also helpful for immunity – can have an antioxidant effect. And, scientific reviews have found that mushrooms are also a great source of the minerals copper and zinc (10), used by our body to make its own powerful antioxidants. All this means that they can have anti-aging      and protective activity for our skin, as well as our heart, brain and liver.

How do I get medicinal mushrooms into my diet?

You may have seen shiitake mushrooms in your local supermarket, but maitake and reishi are not as readily available in food form. For a convenient and effective way to get all the health benefits of these      powerful mushrooms, try a good-quality organic nutritional mushroom supplement combining all three. Pukka’s Mushroom Gold is a blend of organic full-spectrum reishi, shiitake and maitake mushrooms.

This article has been brought to you from Pukka. You can read the original feature by clicking here.

What are Echinaforce® Echinacea drops?

Echinaforce® Echinacea drops are a traditional herbal remedy used for the symptomatic relief of colds, influenza type infections and similar upper respiratory tract conditions. Always read the leaflet. 

Echinaforce® Echinacea is made from fresh extracts of Echinacea purpurea herb (95%) and root (5%). 

Echinacea is a plant native to America but is now cultivated extensively in Europe. The plants which go into our product are cultivated organically in Switzerland at our own herb farms.

Up to 10 species of Echinacea have been identified, but only three (E. purpurea, E. angustifolia and E. pallida) are used medicinally. Echinacea purpurea is considered to be the one which has been most widely researched and this is the species we use.

Our Echinacea is produced using extracts of freshly harvested, organically grown Echinacea purpurea herb and root, picked fresh and used within 24 hours of harvest. The benefit of using freshly harvested herbs has been demonstrated in research – extracts produced from fresh plants contain almost 3 times more active substances compared with those obtained from equivalent amounts of dried herb*.

This is why, when you need a herbal remedy to help you fight the misery of colds and flu, not all Echinaceas are the same.

*Tobler M et al: Characteristics of whole fresh plant extracts. Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur GanzheitMedizin, 1994

You can view the original feature by A. Vogel here

Resolve to Better Health

We know it’s tempting to dive in to a detox at this time of year or embark on a strict diet after all the festivities! However, so often we just fall back in to old habits afterwards, or we find it too difficult to stick to new health plans in the first place, leaving us no further forward with our health!

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Festive Digestive!

As the festive season starts don’t forget to support your digestion! With all the rich food, over eating and extra alcohol, it’s easy to suffer with indigestion, bloating or gas, or even nausea, constipation and diarrhoea.

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Winter Wellness Check In!

2 sprigs or rosemary, half a lemon and a wooden honey spoon

Now we’re approaching the winter months, it’s a good time to support your immune system to keep you strong when sore throats, coughs and colds come along. We’ve already seen a lot of customers coming in with winter bugs, so with that in mind we’re offering everyone a FREE 15 minute Winter Wellness Check In, to help our customers stay healthy through the winter.

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Menopause with questionnaire

women with blond hair and sunglasses on top of head sitting on bench, looking upwards

Take our Questionnaire (below) and come in for a FREE 15 minute check in – to help us find the best product for you!

We are all unique and as such our experience of the menopause will also be! The average age for the menopause is between 45 and 55 yrs old. There are many symptoms which can occur, but the number and severity of these will vary from woman to woman.

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Travel and Holiday Tips

Top half of a deck chair with bright pink, blue and yellow stripes against a clear blue sky and some sand and buildings in the background but hazy

Travel and Holiday Tips

Last year we wrote a blog on what to take during your summer holidays or on your travels, to keep you and your family healthy. So do take a look at that again to remind yourself! This summer we’re just adding a few extra tips!

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