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Monday SEPTEMBER 25th 2017 
Please contact me for an appointment


Firstly migraine is not a disease; it is a process which may have a benefit to the sufferer (although this may not be much comfort during an attack!).

The documented history of migraines dates back as far as the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia (300BC).

Current thinking suggests that we are all potentially susceptible to the migraine mechanism, and that the difference between those who experience migraine headaches and those who don’t is their individual genetic threshold.

The brain can be described as a complex of interacting networks in a state of equilibrium in their own environment. Migraine can be considered as a result of an upset to this environment.

There are five clinical phases of a migraine.

  1. Premonitory. You may feel “different”. This can take the form of heightened sensitivity to sound, smell, or colours. You may feel hungry, tired, depressed, elated, thirsty or have cravings. Other symptoms include, yawning, fatigue, difficulty concentrating or stiff neck.

    As the attack progresses you may become sensitive to light and sound. (If you take note of your own symptoms in the lead-up to a migraine you may be able to stop it before it gets too bad) LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!.

  2.  Aura. You may experience flashing lights, zigzag patterns, or blind spots. (Not everyone who has migraine attacks experiences aura). 

  3. Headache.  You may experience severe headache, vomiting, aversion to light, sound, smells, food and water. During an attack the digestive system shuts down which is why oral medication needs to be taken as soon as an attack is recognised.

  4. Deep sleep.

  5. Recovery. You may still feel tired and only be able to tolerate a small amount of food. Often people need to pass large amounts of urine and may feel euphoric or depressed.

What happens during a migraine is a complicated cascade of chemicals and nerve impulses some of which involve the nervous system some the hormonal system, some the digestive system  and some the flow and thickness of the blood. Once started it is very difficult to stop this cascade so keeping each system at its best between attacks is helpful.

Some people are able to identify triggers, these may be external (the strobe effect of the sun through trees or eating chocolate), or internal often related to biological rhythms such as sleep or the menstrual cycle). For most sufferers it is a combination of triggers.

If migraine is the result of an upset environment then the more the brains equilibrium is disturbed the more likely you are to experience a migraine attack.  While you may be able to cope with lack of sleep or overwork or eating chocolate or dancing in flashing lights you may not be able to cope with all at once!

Identifying and avoiding YOUR COMBINATION OF TRIGGERS is the first step to managing your migraines.

It goes without saying that the more care you take of your body both physical, through good diet and exercise, and mentally/emotionally through stress reducing practices such as mediation the less likely you are to breach your migraine threshold.

Many people say that they can feel an attack building up and that they experience a sense of well-being afterwards. The idea that migraine is protective, a release valve, however unpleasant, has been around for centuries, this again highlights the “overload” analogy.

If simply avoiding triggers or when combinations or stress levels are unavoidable or unremitting there are plant remedies which can help to bring the body into equilibrium and help to reduce the frequency of attacks.








Rose hips


(You can use any of all of the above)

3-4 sliced lemons



Wash the fruit and put into a large saucepan with the sliced lemons.

Cover with water and slowly bring to the boil.

Allow to simmer very gently for 15 mins.

Cool and strain through muslin (double muslin if you have used rose hips)

Squeeze well to get all the liquid.

Measure the amount of liquid.

Add 3LB (1.3KG) of sugar and 2oz (56g) citric acid for every 3.5 pints (2L).

Stir until dissolved then store in plastic containers in the freezer.

Keep in the fridge once defrosted and use within 1 week.

NOTE make sure the liquid is cold before you stir in the sugar and citric acid or you

 will have winter jelly!

Wild Medicine Forrage

posted 1 Jun 2015, 07:21 by Fiona Taylor   [ updated 1 Jun 2015, 07:30 ]


Wild Medicine Forage around the fields of Hadsham Farm Horley.

Thursday 2nd July 6.30-8pm

Thursday 16th July 6.30-8pm



  These evenings are designed to introduce you to the wild medicinal plants growing in our area. We will identify and discuss the herbs, how modern herbalists use them, how they were used in the past and how some can be used as safe home remedies.

The walk will be slightly strenuous across fields, over stiles and up hills. Speak to Fiona for more details.

Cost £5 per person to be donated to the Air Ambulance.

Contact Fiona to book your place. (Places limited to 15)

        01295 738609                                              fionataylormnimh@gmail.com



posted 8 Jan 2015, 02:12 by Fiona Taylor   [ updated 8 Jan 2015, 02:23 ]

                                                                        Not your average January Detox diet!


Many feel that after the overindulgence of the Christmas and New Year period a Detox is in order for January. However the typical detox diet of restriction and cold raw foods, coupled with hard exercise is not ideal for the cold winter months.

This is the season to rest, sleep more and recharge your batteries with nourishing food ready for the longer days of spring. Nourishing food does not mean heavy stodgy comfort food (sticky toffee pudding is defiantly off the menu!), it means nutritious warm bone based stocks used to make soups; rich stews and winter vegetables; free range eggs and healthy fats such as olive oil and animal fats in moderation.

One of the best things you can do is to cut sugar out of your diet and this includes alcohol, squashes and fizzy drinks. If you have a sweet tooth try substituting dried fruit or a small square of very dark chocolate.

Swap white refined carbohydrates for unrefined and reduce your overall consumption of grain based foods, swap them for pulses, nuts and seeds.

Add warming herbs and spices to you cooking; ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pepper, star anise, garlic, onions, etc.

If you have difficulty digesting fats or suffer from bloating or constipation you may benefit from taking bitters (these are bitter herbs that stimulate the digestion and have been used as aperitifs for centuries) 20 mins before meals. Adding bitter foods is also advantageous, try watercress, Brussel sprouts or rocket. All the cabbage family are warming and contain Sulphur which acts like a broom sweeping debris out of the body.

Fermented foods like soured vegetables, Kim chi and kefir yoghurt help to increase the beneficial bacteria in the gut which are part of our immune system.

Resting does not mean sitting watching TV, playing computer games and social media all day! Limit the amount of time you spend looking at screens.

While January may not be the best time to start a vigorous workout routine, walking and yoga are gentle and help to improve circulation. Getting outside is important as we can be very low in vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin (which is needed for the immune system) if we spend the whole winter in artificial light.

The start of a new year is a great time to initiate new healthy habits. Living and eating with the seasons is a great way to start.

Wishing you all a Happy Healthy 2015.

Now the rain has gone

posted 5 Jun 2014, 03:38 by Fiona Taylor

The rain has stopped at last leaving every plant bedecked in diamonds. Grasses with heavy seed heads quiver with the weight of undried rain drops. Scents are all exaggerated driving the dogs mad with excitement. My knees are wet though and the water is running down into my wellies but it does not seem to matter today. As I come around the end of a small pond where the water mint mingles with horsetail and the willow trails long fragile fingers towards agrimony with her feet in the water and her head turned to the morning sun, I see a soft glow on the far bank. I walk around and there is a patch of beautiful little orchids. Every year I think they have gone and every year they are suddenly there with no warning, magical!

I am startled out of my gentle herbal reverie by excited barking in time to see Molly the terrier disappearing, with Zebadee like bounces, across the field. Shouting like a banshee has no affect so in the end I just sit on a stile in the sun and wait for her to return, she does in her own good time still bouncing, soaking wet and with a huge grin on her face! Time for home, coffee and a search for my Elderflower picking basket, yep it’s that time again!



posted 13 May 2014, 07:25 by Fiona Taylor

Asparagus Aphrodisiac?

Quite possibly! It contains saponins. Saponins have a chemical structure which is similar to many of the body's hormones including oestrogen and cortisol and many plants containing them have a significant hormonal activity.

Culpepper (1616 – 1654) wrote “the young buds boiled in ordinary broth make the belly soluble and open…….provoke urine….expelleth the gravel and stones out of the kidneys…..and will help with the hip gout and sciatica and can clear the sight”

He was not wrong!

Asparagus stimulates kidney function and is a good diuretic it helps to reduce the fluid retention and swollen joints. It is mildly laxative and anti-inflammatory, and has long been used as an aphrodisiac. It contains vitamin A, needed for good eye health and Inulin, a prebiotic food which encourages good bacteria like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli that are associated with better absorption of nutrients, lower risk of allergy, and lower risk of colon cancer. Saponins also found in Asparagus have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and are associated with improved blood pressure, improved blood sugar regulation, and better control of blood fat levels.

The high levels of silicon help keep hair and nails beautiful too.

 WOW a super food indeed and sooo tasty.

FIONA TAYLOR MSc Medical Herbalist

01295 738609                                                      www.fionataylor.org.uk                                                                                                 



May-Flower or Hawthorn

posted 8 May 2014, 11:42 by Fiona Taylor

Hawthorn (Crataegus)

The May tree or Hawthorn is the only plant to be named after the month in which it flowers. Traditionally Hawthorn would have been in flower for May day as up until 1732 when the Gregorian calendar was introduced May day was 13 days later.
Rich in Folklore this plant was said to bring sickness and death if brought into the home, this may have been because it smelled like the plague with which it has long been associated. Scientists discovered that trimethylamine which is present in hawthorn blossom is one of the chemicals given off by decaying animals. As corpses would have been 'laid out' in the house for several day before burial this would have been a familiar smell and may account for the plague connection.
Christ's crown of thorns was said to be of Hawthorn.
Hawthorn (Crataegus) has for centuries been used to as both a food and a medicine. The Greek physician, Dioscorides, in the first Century AD. extoled the virtues of Hawthorn for heart problems. Todays herbalist agree and Hawthorn is used as a heart tonic.
Modern medical herbal research has found this observation to be true. 


Very confused beans!

posted 30 Oct 2013, 06:46 by Fiona Taylor   [ updated 21 Nov 2013, 01:41 by David Quinney ]

I found these runner beans growing in the compost heap.
It has been very warm but it's not spring!

Making Winter Cordial what a cosy way to spend a wet autumn morning! The Recipe is very simple as you can see

posted 21 Oct 2013, 06:30 by Fiona Taylor


                           WINTER CORDIAL




          Rose hips


(You can use any of all of the above)

3-4 sliced lemons


Wash the fruit and put into a large saucepan with the sliced lemons.

Cover with water and slowly bring to the boil. Allow to simmer very gently for 15 mins. Cool and strain through muslin (double muslin if you have used rose hips)

Squeeze well to get all the liquid. Measure the amount of liquid. Add 3LB (1.3KG) of sugar and 2oz (56g) citric acid for every 3.5 pints (2L).

Stir until dissolved then store in plastic containers in the freezer.Keep in the fridge once defrosted and use within 1 week.

NOTE make sure the liquid is cold before you stir in the sugar and citric acid or you will have winter jelly!




Bedtime Reading!

posted 19 Oct 2013, 03:16 by Fiona Taylor


These two fascinating books explain the science behind the actions of plants used for centuries to treat viral and bacterial infections, with references to up to date research from around the world. Stephen Buhner bridges the gap between traditional knowledge and evidence based research. Just in time for the winter cold and flu season.

I just can’t put them down!


I am testing twitterfeed

posted 18 Oct 2013, 10:51 by Fiona Taylor

This is a test

Grapes Galore!

posted 11 Oct 2013, 08:13 by Fiona Taylor

With a bumper harvest of grapes this year I am going to try making
winter cordial using grape juice in place of water and sugar.

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