Yesterday I went for coffee (see the recent blog - I am now upping my intake, though only of the straight black variety - no milk, no sugar) with a friend whom I hadn't seen for a month or so. And when she walked into the cafe I was nothing short of amazed.
She has had chronic endometriosis for years now. So badly that the pain is often intense, and she has consulted every doctor, and taken every pharmaceutical drug that they have recommended. She has had operations to remove the endometriosis, and laser treatment too. To no avail - it just keeps spreading. She is often in pain and her stomach at times swells up, becoming hard and rigid. The whole thing is very frightening and with the threat of an operation to remove much of her stomach looming over her head, she was understandably desperate for a different approach, and prepared to put the time in to experiment.
Endometriosis affects around 1 in 10 women. It is hormonally driven and cells that would normally line your womb escape and begin to thicken elsewhere in your body, often attaching to the outside of various organs. In photographs, it looks like ivy, climbing where it shouldn't and spreading as it goes. It brings great discomfort, swelling, scarring and and often intense pain with it. If it spreads to your fallopian tubes it can cause fertility problems, and it can also travel to begin smothering your bladder and bowels, your ovaries and vagina. Usually, as menopause approaches and hormones shift, the levels of endometriosis reduce, but the damage it has left in its wake remains.
Today, however, she looked transformed - literally. She used to have dark areas under her eyes, and - there's no other phrase for it - tired looking bags. They had entirely vanished. Her skin was glowing and best of all, she told me, her stomach had changed dramatically, no more taut hardness, and the pain had gone. She was positive the internal scarring was breaking down and disappearing. She was booked in for her annual scan which would prove it and had high hopes.
When we had last had coffee, I had suggested two or three holistic health options that make a difference for internal scarring. Some of them worked for external scars too. You never know which remedy will work best for which problem until you try but the best thing about natural options is that they have no side effects of any kind unlike their pharmaceutical friends.
I am going to side track here slightly. Personally, I never understand why they talk about 'side effects'? The brain fog, aching bones, strange rashes and multitude of other happenings that often accompany the pills and prescriptions your doctor will give you can most definitively be described instead as 'effects'. And never nice ones. Particularly when, as sometimes happens, those effects are worse than the condition the pills were meant to be curing! Natural remedies rarely have any, and often heal a condition equally, if not more effectively, than the drug equivalent.
Many of us have been scarred in one way or another along the way. Have you damaged yourself somehow? Broken bones or burnt yourself badly? Cut yourself with a knife that's left a jagged scar? Have you been in an accident or had an operation? You may have damage internally or externally, and probably both. The odds are your skin in that area no longer looks the same, and may even have a noticeable reminder of the trauma.
Scars can affect you physically - they often hurt months and even years later when the skin hasn't fused quite as it should. And they can affect you mentally - particularly if they are prominent and noticeable. One of the after effects of surgery too, is the development of lesions and scarring that can cause anything from mild discomfort to stabbing pain. Your doctors may tell you that it's just unfortunate and something you have to live with, but there are numerous holistic health remedies that can prevent the problem, or even resolve it after the fact.
So, what do you do about it?
For internal scarring
If you were ever force fed castor oil each morning as a child you will still remember how horrible it tastes. And probably have steered well clear of it ever since. But think again, because castor oil is a wonder worker. My 96 year old ex-father-in-law took a tablespoon (I know!) every morning with his breakfast for years, and was physically and mentally as 100% on the ball as he had ever been. He put it down entirely to castor oil.
Castor oil comes from the seeds of the castor tree (ricinus communis) which grows in India and East Africa, and in some parts of the Mediterranean. The seeds are cold-pressed, and the resulting oil is slightly sticky and with a consistency similar to liquid honey. It is super high in essential fatty acids (Ricinoleic, palmitic, linoleic, stearic and oleic acids) and because of that, and because it absorbs rapidly into the skin, it is also a master scar healer. It seems to break down internal tissue damage and stimulates the production of collagen and elastin. Experiment. Massage a little oil into the area of scarring for 3 or 4 minutes each evening before you go to sleep and observe. Take a photograph when you first start the routine to remind yourself. It's always hard to remember accurately a couple of months later.
These are nature’s secret scar battling solution. Don't get confused by the different enzymes; these are not the digestive enzymes, but the systemic ones. We should all naturally have a certain level of enzymes in the body, but from the age of 27 they start declining. By the time you are 40 most of them have been used up. When, for whatever reason your levels are low, your repair 'protocols ' go out of balance and you get an excessive build-up of something called fibrin.
Fibrin layers itself onto damage anywhere in your body and is what causes scar tissue to build up. It's also what is behind the plaque that builds up in your arteries and the clots that slow the flow of blood through your blood vessels as you get older. Systemic enzymes are the warriors that go into battle against the fibrin, dissolving the scars and destroying any excess amount of fibrin. If you take enzyme capsules for long enough, your scar tissue will gradually disappear. It's all a question of time. The longer you have had the scarring, and the thicker the tissue build up, the longer it will take to fade away. Serrapeptase is the enzyme you want. Not only can it survive the acid of your gut, but it eats up old scar tissue without harming the surrounding living tissue. Whatever you do, be patient, and don't give up.
For external scarring
This is my favourite scientific potion of all time. Developed by a group of plastic surgeons to help their patients recover from surgery, HealGel combines the ingredients they found most effective for skin rejuvenation and healing. It includes silicone, which is an essential for scar prevention and mending. Relatively inexpensive for the power it packs, this is the cream that made the unfortunate large, red lump that grew on my chest randomly and out of the blue, disappear entirely after two weeks of applying it just once a day. No scar of any kind and you can't tell there was ever a problem. And my doctor said it was just one of those things that would never go away. Thank goodness I didn't listen, and thank goodness for holistic health!
Blue Cyprus oil
Used by the Australian aborigines for centuries, this is an unusual essential oil with healing properties. It is also the only tree-based essential oil that is bright blue in colour. It comes from the Northern Cyprus pine native to Australia's Northern Territory and when rubbed on to scar tissue twice a day over a period of several weeks, the damage gradually dissolves. Make sure you use a carrier oil, like coconut or castor oil, to apply it. And it doesn't seem to matter how old the scar is, it just takes slightly longer for it to disappear.
But, inside or out, massage is the key.
Once you have recovered from an operation or injury, it can take up to a year for your damaged tissue to settle. Regular massage of the area afterwards will make all the difference to the end result. Start about three weeks after surgery and rub gently, clockwise and anti-clockwise for a few minutes at a time every day, gradually increasing pressure and eventually aiming to lift and move the skin the skin around, and the area underneath. This way you prevent the build-up of fibres and lesions that form the knots and bumps that are so much harder to get rid of years later.
Which was the one that worked for my friend? The answer is - castor oil. She made a choice and stuck to it faithfully. Every night before she went to bed, she rubbed castor oil faithfully into her stomach, and massaged it in for 5 minutes afterwards. The result, five weeks later - a flat stomach, no swelling and no pain.
But all the others work too... so give them a go and let me know which works for you. And any photographs of before and after also gratefully received.
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Written by health advocate Sara Davenport, founder of one of the UK's leading breast cancer charities, Breast Cancer Haven. With over twenty years' experience in holistic health, Sara's digital dose of wellness teaches you to listen to your body, tweak your lifestyle and improve your health.
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