Ger's Monthly Update Only Natural

Taxing times ahead ???

Since the issue of adding VAT to the cost of natural health supplements came to a head before Christmas both Health Stores Ireland (representing independent health stores) and the IHTA (representing the companies that supply us) have been doing their best to inform you our customers and the powers that be, who can chose whether or not to implement this tax, about its basic injustice. Right now the Vatman has spoken and the news is not good. The official line is that the upper rate of vat (23%) will be applied to ALL but a very small number of food supplements from March 1st. If you’re reading this you, like 80% of people in this country, are likely to use food supplements to protect your and your family’s health. That money will come out of YOUR pocket. Here’s a resume I read recently of the story so far:

“The Revenue Commissioners have announced 23% VAT on all food supplements (this includes vitamins, minerals, fish oils, probiotics etc) from the 1st of March 2019.  Revenue Commissioners proposed to the Minister of Finance, Paschal Donohoe, that VAT be introduced for food supplements in the 2019 Budget and they had deferred to the Minister for his opinion as to what that rate should be.

Minister Donohoe chose not to engage with Revenue and did not provide guidance thereby paving the way for the introduction of 23% VAT early 2019.  Minister Donohoe has the power to issue a 0% VAT ruling if he wishes to or is made to do so by public opinion. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan reversed the 23% VAT ruling on herbal teas in 2014 – so the minister has this power if he wishes to do so.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar launched the Government’s Healthy Ireland 2018 plan last year, and now anyone who is proactively looking after their health will have to pay 23% more for their food supplements. This is going to affect over 80% of the population in Ireland.  The HSE urges all women who could become pregnant to take Folic Acid, whether or not they intend to become pregnant. They also recommend Vitamin D for everyone from babies to the elderly. There are over 915,000 people in Ireland living with Arthritis and many of these people would use food supplements to help ease their symptoms.

The sugar tax was introduced last year and this only applies to fizzy drinks. The bag of sugar in the supermarket will still have a zero VAT rate. So, the sugar you buy in the supermarket will have no VAT, but the food supplement you buy to look after your health will have 23% VAT.Please make contact with your local TD and let them know how you feel about this and we can try and get this tax on health reversed, you can also email Minister Donohoe at paschal.donohoe@oireachtas.ie.

If you are wondering who your local TD’s are, you can click the link down below and this will give you the names and email addresses to make contact with them. https://www.whoismytd.com/ “

Stop this VAT
Happily much has happened only in the last week. Thanks to Labour’s Brendan Howlin the issue was finally given a proper airing in the Dáil. Since then the story has been covered by several national and regional newspapers and Matt Ronan, Health Stores Ireland’s official spokesman on the matter, has been interviewed on numerous radio stations around the country. It now seems that Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe won’t be able to pass the buck after all. For this reason it’s even more important to keep momentum behind our campaign in February.
If you want to add your voice you can do the following :
Sign a physical petition in Only Natural.
Sign online at stopthisvat.ie
Contact your local TD directly by email or phone or visit their constituency office in person (in Wexford we need Paul Kehoe and Michael D’Arcy on side!).
Put your name and address on a postcard to one of these two TDs in Only Natural and we’ll do the rest.
If you don’t want your efforts to support your own health as naturally as possible to cost more in tax, or worse still to be unaffordable, the time to act is NOW.

Soothe that cough naturally

Coughing season is upon us but fortunately there are many remedies in nature’s armory to soothe these minor but annoying irritations. Coughs are basically divided into ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ classifications.

Dry coughs

This type of cough is super irritating to deal with because there is an incessant tickle in the throat that causes you to cough constantly. Sometimes the force of dry coughing makes you gag and it is almost always worse at night.

A dry cough is typically caused by an infection in the upper respiratory system as a result of the common cold. Post nasal drip can exacerbate symptoms and a “chesty cough” or “mucus cough” may follow as the cold progresses.

Dry cough is accompanied by symptoms of:
Nagging tickle in the throat
No mucus or phlegm
The chest feels clear with no or little wheezing or congestion
The cough sounds dry and can feel painful
Cough is worse at night or when laying down
Muscles of the chest and back may feel sore from the force of constant coughing (a good massage can help loosen up muscles and restore comfort).

coughing

How to Stop a Dry Cough

1. Hydration
First and foremost is hydration! Keeping the soft tissues of your throat well hydrated will help with some of the irritation and tickling sensations you experience with a dry cough. Drink plenty of water, herbal tea, or consume brothy meals to keep yourself hydrated.

2. Demulcent Herbs
Taking demulcents (herbs that promote moisture in soft tissues) is key to soothing incessant coughing. Herbs like marshmallow root, slippery elm, linden flower, licorice root, and violet are excellent for soothing a dry cough quickly.

3. Anti-Spasmodic Herbs
Anti-spasmodics are natural cough supressants, so they’re key to getting a comfortable night’s rest if you have a tickly dry cough when lying down. These herbs include California poppy, valerian root, mullein, thyme, and red clover.

Wet Coughs

Wet cough is accompanied by symptoms of:
A heavy, boggy feeling in the lungs
Copious amounts of phlegm and mucus
Mucus that is clear, white, green, or brown
Wheezing or difficulty breathing
Worse in the morning

How to Stop a Wet Cough

The best way to get rid of this type of cough is to keep expectorating and keeping the lungs as clear as possible.

1. Hydration
Once again, it’s important to keep up your hydration levels no matter what type of cough you have, including a wet one. Drinking enough water, herbal teas, or drinking broth will ensure that expectoration is as easy as possible. Without enough hydration, you will quickly find that your coughs are less productive and that the mucus may be thicker. I know it sounds gross, but this is why you need to stay hydrated!

2. Expectorant Herbs
Taking herbs that will encourage the lungs to release mucus is going to be the fastest way to get rid of a chesty cough. Herbs like elecampane, ginger root, bee balm, hyssop, osha root, horehound, and usnea are all excellent for helping you get that mucus out of your system. Try making a strong ginger tea and drinking it throughout the day while taking the other herbs as tinctures in a little bit of water for best results.

Eating spicy foods is another great way to help expectorate stubborn mucus, so be sure you add some cayenne pepper to your diet.

Aromatherapy for Coughs

Massaging with or inhalation of essential oils can be helpful for coughs too (don’t use massage during pregnancy and check if on medication such as for high blood pressure).

For wet coughs, you want to use essential oils that are high in keytones like camphor and thujone and those high in cineol are amazing for breaking up congestion and mucus.

Essential Oil Aromatherapy

These essential oils include: Eucalyptus radiata, Rosemary, Hyssop, Camphor, Thuja, Coriander.

For dry coughs, you would want to use essential oils with anti-spasmodic qualities.  Some great antispasmodic essential oils include: Basil, Tarragon, Dill, Fennel, Anise, Rosemary.

To use these essential oils, you can either add a couple drops of each to a personal nasal inhaler, a diffuser, or add 1 drop of each to 1/2oz of carrier oil and use it as a massage oil for the chest and back.

Our favourite ‘off the shelf’ cough remedies include:
Comvita marshmallow cough remedy for dry coughs
Comvita mullein cough remedy for wet coughs
Irish Botanica Botanical Cough Syrup for all coughs even persistent, hard to shift ones
Otosan ForTuss Cough Syrup for treating dry and wet coughs, it is suitable for adults and children from the age of 1, it creates a protective layer giving fast relief
Bee Health Propolis winter mixture soothes coughs and stimulates the immune system
New Era Combination J is a tissue salt remedy in tablet form which CAN be used during pregnancy or with medication
Herbs include California poppy, valerian root, mullein, thyme, and red clover. I personally have used valerian with great results!

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