herbal medicine

look after your liver


It’s the Burton Health Christmas party this Saturday (yippee) and as you may have already gathered, I’m rather fond of the occasional glass of wine or 2 (+). So what am I going to do to protect my newly detoxified liver?

I’m quite prone to sluggish liver function so I do a few things every day to help it out such as drinking dandelion tea and doing warm water and lemon or ACV in the morning. But over the Christmas and New Year period I’ll be giving my liver extra love, in the form of herbal medicines, to ensure it can keep up. Read on to find out a bit more about your liver and how you can help it function at its peak.

Did you know that your liver cleans your blood, processes nutrients, makes hormones, regulates blood sugar and stores many vitamins and minerals? Busy little organ!

Here are some symptoms that may indicate that your liver function is not up to scratch:

  •   Indigestion, reflux, bad breath
  •   Bloating, constipation or feeling sick after a fatty meal
  •   Slow metabolism or weight gain
  •  Feeling angry, irritable and unable to concentrate
  •   Headaches, tiredness, waking between 3am-4am
  • Acne, rosacea and dry skin
  •  PMS, period pain, tender breasts

Did you find yourself nodding your head as your read that list?

Thankfully there are a few daily practices we can start up to help to cleanse our liver so that it can perform at its peak:

  • Start the day with a glass of warm water and ½ a fresh squeezed lemon or 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Eat bitter foods such as rocket, endive, kale and spinach
  • Drink dandelion root tea
  • Eat broccoli sprouts, garlic, turmeric and grapefruit*

*If you are taking medications, please read the label or consult your health care provider before including grapefruit as it is contraindicated with some medications.

And of course, give your liver a rest every now and then by having alcohol free days, cutting down on coffee, using chemical free skin products, and eating organic, unprocessed food where possible.


There are herbs and nutrients that you can use to specifically protect and improve the function of your liver. Dandelion, St Marys Thistle (milk thistle), Turmeric, Schizandra, vitamins A, C and E, selenium, zinc and glutamine are just a few of the key liver helpers.

Your Naturopath will be able to advise you on the best herbs and supplements to take during the silly season.


And remember, while you’re at your Christmas and New Year functions, moderation is the best way to avoid a hangover ,as well as alternating your alcoholic beverages with water.

Sneaky tip: soda water in ashort glass with a piece of lemon/lime looks just like vodka and soda – drink these to avoid attention from your colleagues (you’re welcome).

Taking liquid herbs



I love using liquid herbal medicines in my clinic because they are individually designed on a client by client basis and there is the potential to work on a few conditions with one bottle of herbs which keeps patient costs down and also means less supplements to take each day.

The one and only down side to liquid herbs is the taste! Ohh man can it be bad! Even I have to psych myself up to take some of my mixes and the really yucky ones will be taken followed by a lot of complaining and face pulling!

The feral taste of liquid herbs is the main complaint I hear in my clinic (others include the size of the tablets and the taste of the powders). The great thing is that my clients persevere and continue to take their herbs despite the taste. Why? Because they work! Plain and simple, no other explanation needed.

Liquid herbs are cost-effective, quickly and easily absorbed and really work so for this reason I will often tell my clients to just ‘suck it up’ and take their herbs. Really, it’s a moment of displeasure for a big gain and, if you have ever done a tequila or sambuca shot, I’m sure you can take liquid herbs!

And the good news is, the longer you take them the easier it gets! Often a big part of what we don’t like in liquid herbs is the ‘bitter’ flavour. This is because the western diet is greatly deficient in bitter foods so we are not used to the taste. Once we wake up the bitter taste buds the herbs are quite easy to take.

Other tips for taking your herbs

1.       Take them as a shot
Don’t pour your dose of herbs into a 200ml glass of water and force yourself to scull the whole thing! I advise my clients to measure out their herbs and then fill the rest of the measuring cup with water and get it down quick, like a shot.

2.       Use warm water
One of my clients told me that this makes them a whole lot easier to swallow.

3.       Use pineapple juice
I don’t like mixing my herbs with juice because it just makes the juice taste bad. But some people find them easier to take this way.

4.       Wash them down with a glass of water with lemon juice
This will help to get the aftertaste out of your mouth

There are other options like glycerine and special flavour mixes that can be purchased from the herb wholesalers to add to the formula but I don’t believe in using these so I don’t stock them in my clinic. I know, I’m a big meanie!
Certain herbs, like those used to improve digestive function, actually need to be tasted. The bitter taste is what gets your digestion started so there is nothing gained by covering the taste up. Plus I don’t want to waste space in the formula with a flavour improver instead of using a valuable herb. And, I hate it when people try to mask an unpleasant flavour. I can always taste the real flavour underneath and it just makes the whole experience a lot worse. So I believe that the flavour of liquid herbs should be embraced!

Now, I don’t want to totally turn you off using liquid herbs.  Some people actually like the taste and I have to admit that I will sometimes take a mix and find myself saying “ohh yummy” afterwards! To me, Liquorice is delicious and cramp bark is pretty good too! I always tell my new clients how bad their herbs are going to taste and really make them sound like the worst thing ever and I am often pleasantly surprised when they come to their next appointment and say “the herbs were fine, I don’t mind taking them at all”.

So I guess the message is, we’re all different and our taste buds are different too but if you persevere with your herbs, you should get used to the taste.
And if not, whinge enough and your naturopath will probably give in and order you tablets instead but remember, this will probably be more expensive as you’ll more than likely need a few different tablets to cover the different actions of the liquid herbs.


Do you have any secret tips for taking liquid herbs? Please share them with us in the comments box below 

Becoming a truer you

I recently answered a call out for an article that asked "What have you given up to make your life better?" My answer was about my journey to becoming the best version of myself and giving up worrying, shyness and fear in order to achieve this. The process to become my best self will never end. There will always be something to work and improve upon but when I look back at who I was 3, 4 or 5 years ago I see a completely different person and I love how much I have changed! This is not a physical change and its not something many people would notice. This change has been within me and it was a change that I wanted for so many years.

So, answering this call out got me thinking that I really should share this very personal story because being a Naturopath is much more than just advising on diet and supplements. For me, being a naturopath is about helping people to truly be themselves and I often share snippets of my story with clients who I think will benefit from hearing it, but this is the first time I have actually written it down and shared it properly. I really hope that it helps anyone who feels a little lost and out of touch with who they are or like me, if you know who you are but just have trouble expressing it and being comfortable in your own skin.

Who I was - Shy, self conscious, fearful, day dreamer, worrier, judgemental, insecure.

I was pretty good at keeping all of that negative stuff to myself. And I was still a nice person and happy and functional and normal! I just wasn't me. I knew who I was inside but I didn't feel like I was being that person on the outside. I haven't actually changed at all. It's just that now I have cleared a lot of the mental rubbish and I can allow myself to just be me without worrying if people are judging me.

I think judgement was my main issue. I knew that I judged other people and I just expected that everyone was judging me. I think this fear of being judged all started when we emigrated to Australia. I was 9 years old and I guess I didn't really like being teased about my accent or about saying words 'wrong'. I lost my English accent pretty quickly just to fit in and I suppose to stop nasty kids from telling me to go back to my own country. I can still vividly remember the day in year 5 when I did a topic talk and afterwards in the questions and comments time a girl in my class said "It was very good but its actually viiiitamin (Aussie pronunciation), not vitamin (English-ly pronounced)." Even though the teacher told her that there are two ways to pronounce vitamin I still felt silly knowing that all of the kids had been sitting there thinking I didn't know what I was talking about.

Its amazing that little things that happen when you're a child can so significantly impact your adult life. I used to be so self conscious and shy that talking to clients in the waiting room or being in social situations where people were listening to me talk would turn me bright red and nervous. As soon as I felt myself going red I'd try to end the conversation and pretty much run away. It got to the point that I'd be saying in my head "don't go red, don't go red, don't go red" instead of concentrating on what I was saying or doing.

I was fine around my close friends but when I came to meeting new people or mingling with my boyfriends friends I would be so nervous before hand and worried about what I would have to talk about that I would feel sick and really not want to go out at all. I felt embarrassed about starting conversations or about jumping in to a conversation that someone else was having so I would pretty much just not say anything unless someone specifically asked me a question.

I had a hundred and one fears including public speaking (obviously), the dark, bridges, tunnels, trucks, ships, pipes, lifts, cockroaches, apple stickers, going red, introducing myself in class, well anyway, I can't remember them all but you get the gist!

I would also worry about things that hadn't happend and find myself in deep day dreams about these negative scenarios (things like a loved one dying) and then feel so guilty that I'd even thought about it! I thought there was something seriously wrong with me. I knew it was just a fear of those things happening that had me day dreaming about them but I just couldn't understand why I couldn't stop myself from doing it!

My transformational journey

When I started my naturopathic studies I also began a journey to improve myself and I decided a few years ago that I was on a mission to become the best version of myself.

My transformation started very slowly and has sped up significantly in the last three years. I tried a lot of different modalities to clear my clutter and if you're inspired to start a journey to clear your own clutter the best piece of advice I can give you is not to give up. If you try one thing a few times and don't see any changes, try something else. Everything I have used over the past few years has worked. And I actually think the combination of modalities has made the transformation stronger.

The first thing I noticed that made a significant change was Bach Flowers. We had to choose one to take for an assignment so I took mimulus for 'known fears'. After a few months I noticed that I no longer ran to my room after turning the lights off at night, all of a sudden one night I went 'hang on? something's different?!' and realised that the house was dark but I was WALKING to my room! Crazy! The other thing I noticed was that I was able to actually kill a cockroach instead of descending into a full on panic attack! I still hate cockroaches A LOT but its nice to know that if I'm home alone and one comes to visit, I can deal with it if I have to.

Then, as part of my studies I started using Homoeopathy and was seeing a great Homoeopath and Astrologer in Sydney, Michael Neil, who taught me a lot about myself and helped me calm down in public situations.

For a while I worked in a clinic with a Hypnotherapist. I think I had about 3 sessions with her and I found it quite amazing. She would get me to identify the negative thought patterns and replace them with positive or constructive versions. After the session I would know what we had worked on but I couldn't, for the life of me remember what the negative sentences or thought patterns were!

And of course I've used a lot of Herbal medicine and Nutritionals for my nervous system and adrenals. Magnesium, B vitamins, Withania, Codonopsis, Lavendar, Oats, Rehmannia, Liquorice, Passionflower, Magnolia, Rhodiola and so many more! Luckily for my clients, all of this experimenting on myself has lead me to find the stress and anxiety supplements that really work. So the same tablets, powders and liquids that I've taken are still available in my dispensary today.

The two things that have made the most significant change to my emotional wellbeing are Kinesiology and Energetic Healing.

First the Kinesiology with Barbara Smith helped me to stop worrying about being judged and this stopped me from turning red and going silent in social situations. I still blush from time to time and I'm still pretty reserved but I can now comfortably and confidently be myself and converse with people naturally.

Then the Energetic Healing with Sarah Binet has allowed me to let go of the unnessesary worrying and story creating and has freed up my mind for greater things! I don't get lost in elaborate day dreams, I don't worry all the time and I just feel so... me! I am going to be working with Sarah for quite a while I think as there are many more layers to get through but so far the changes have been amazing!

When I look back over the past couple of years I can see such a huge transformation in myself. I am happier, more comfortable in my own skin, open and accepting. I'm not a different person, I'm allowing my true self to shine through instead of worrying what people will think! I am a better person and a better practitioner because I have released my insecurities. And now I get to help other people on their path to find their truest self and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world

Laura Burton today - happy, content, true, present and still a work in progress!

Herb Profile: Passionflower

This week I’m profiling Passiflora incarnata commonly known as Passionflower.

This is such a beautiful, calming herb that I commonly use in sleep formulas or anxiety mixes.

Its actions include reducing anxiety, reducing muscle spasms, decreasing nervous tension, and inducing sleep.

We naturopaths and herbalists use passionflower to help people get to sleep and stay asleep, reduce irritability or anxiety, reduce headaches and period pain, to help support people withdrawing from drugs and alcohol, to aid asthma and coughing, as well as for people who get an upset stomach when nervous.

I find that passionflower works wonderfully in sleep mixes for both adults and children and it can also be taken as a tea.

Passionflower should not be used in pregnancy (unless under the close supervision of your herbalist or naturopath). And as with all herbal medicines and supplements it is always best to get advice and recommendations from your Naturopath if you think passionflower might be the herb for you