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Our caffeine and sugar culture

Written by Morón de la Frontera Katie Pande

Here we will discuss some home truths about sugar, coffee and caffeine including its origins, evolution of use, craving behaviours and, last but not least, herbal solutions for battling our pre-disposed need for stimulation.

We all seem to love something sweet and something stimulating. But are they any good for us? We have all heard about the concern about how much sugar we eat and drink. Some drinks contain up to 20 teaspoons of sugar. And what about caffeine? Highly caffeinated drinks such as coffee and ‘energy drinks’ are also controversial and their potential impact on our health are a hot topic.

I want to discuss some home truths about sugar, coffee and caffeine from its origins, to how it became a habit leading to addictive behaviours and, last but not least, some herbal solutions for balancing our pre-disposed need for stimulation.

Katie is a qualified Medical Herbalist, and member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH), currently practicing in Shaftesbury. Katie holds a BSc (Hons) in Herbal Medicine and a BSc (Hons) in Plant and Environmental Biology.

Her decision to study herbal medicine was sparked whilst she was studying for a degree in plant biology in Scotland. She spent the summer of my 2nd year in Egypt undertaking conservation work and, unfortunately became ill. No conventional medicines proved effective, and it was only after taking advice from the local Bedouin ‘medicine man’ that she started to recover. She has since deduced that this miracle plant was a relative of the Thyme family. It made her aware of how plants have the power to support whole communities by becoming sources of food, shelter and, most importantly, medicine. It was this experience that encouraged her to embark on a second degree in herbal medicine.

Katie is passionate about herbs because they stimulate the body’s natural healing ability. One of the most important philosophies in herbal medicine is not to mimic the natural regulatory processes of the body but to stimulate these processes so that the body can then heal itself. In today’s society it can be difficult to regain our connection to nature and the earth: The incorporation of healing plants into our daily lives can help us reconnect with the earth and also encourage our body’s natural rhythms which can become somewhat lost in the workings of the modern world. Katie believes that true healing is rooted in enabling the individual to reconnect to themselves and helping them to understand the health of their whole body.

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