Alternatively Speaking: Beautifying your body

Alternative medicine expert Natalie Marx answers your questions on remedies for excessive body hair, varicose veins.

Legs (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Q. Dear Natalie, Please help me to rid my facial hair. I am a thirty four year old female and have excess body hair. I am most embarrassed about the hair on my face. Shaving only makes it worse. Are there any herbs that can help reduce or get rid of the hair?
A. Despite women being embarrassed to share this symptom, it is one of the most common complaints that I see in my clinic today. I recommend that you ask your family doctor for a blood test to check your hormone levels. Excess hair growth is very common among women who suffer from PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
I have had wonderful results treating women with the herb saw palmetto. It is used to treat a variety of conditions, predominantly hair loss and hormonal imbalances. Saw palmetto has anti-androgenic properties and is often used as an herbal remedy for hormonal imbalances and PCOS. I suggest taking twice-daily a dose of 160 mg of saw palmetto. As always, check with your health practitioner before using herbal remedies for medical conditions.
Black cohosh is also very effective and is often indicated for hormonal imbalances. Black cohosh helps treat excess hair growth due to its antiandrogenic effects. The recommended dosage of black cohosh for excess hair is about 30 mg two times per day.
A simple tip is to increase the amount of spearmint tea you drink. In the Journal Phyotherapy Research (May 2007) it suggests that spearmint can be a viable herbal alternative to anti-androgenic treatment for mild cases of excess hair. Try to drink at least one cup a day.
The results of another clinical study published in Reproductive Biomedicine Online (Oct 2008) prove that inositol significantly reduced excess hair in women who took this supplement. You can find inositol (a form of vitamin B3) in a number of foods including brown rice, nuts and peas. Once again, a blood test from your doctor will help indicate which vitamins and minerals you may be deficient in.
Q. Are there any vitamins or specific nutritional advice you would give for someone who suffers from varicose veins?
A. Varicose vein sufferers need to ensure they consume vitamins that help to ensure their vein walls stay strong and flexible. Vitamin C works particularly to assist in the formation of two connective tissues called collagen, used to make skin, and elastin, which allows your skin to stretch. Vitamin C also works to prevent vein walls from bulging if they come distended with blood. Always make sure that you have an adequate supply of certain B vitamins in your diet, especially vitamin B3 since it is beneficial for combating varicose veins by improving blood circulation in your veins and arteries. The vitamins B6, B12 and folate work together to remove excess homocysteine from our blood, reducing our risk of aggravating and even developing varicose veins.
I highly recommend including Vitamin E in your diet to prevent varicose veins by promoting healthy blood flow throughout your veins. Vitamin E works to prevent platelets from sticking to each other, which may lead to clotting. Finally I suggest a supplementation of the trace mineral copper alongside magnesium and calcium. The copper plays a very important part in keeping varicose veins at bay since it is involved in the structural formation of collagen and elastin.
Don’t forget there are some very simple yet important exercises to help reduce the pressure on your veins. You can begin by getting off your feet and raising your feet when you sit or sleep. Performing an exercise that puts your legs high in the air, such as the lying on your back with your legs leant against the wall, feet in the air, or what is known as a shoulder-stand in yoga can additionally reduce vein stress by ameliorating blood through in the entire leg. You can keep your legs elevated for as long as is comfortable. Most importantly just try to keep moving to increase overall fitness and to get your legs moving and greatly improve the symptoms of varicose veins.
Q. Can you tell me what are the health benefits of cranberries and are there any side effects?
A. Cranberries are famously known for their effective way to keep urinary tract infections at bay. Cranberries contain several chemical compounds known as phytonutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, containing both manganese and vitamin K.
Cranberry juice is often manufactured with sugar due to its rather acidic and bitter taste, so watch out for too much sugar or artificial sweeteners! Cranberry juice actually works to prevent UTIs by preventing bacteria from attaching to the walls of the bladder. In the same way, cranberry juice can also help prevent cavities caused by bacteria forming plaques on tooth surfaces. There have also been several studies on the potential effects of cranberry on cancer.
In the "Journal of Nutrition" (2004) it shows that cranberry extracts decreased the growth and metastasis in the lab of breast, lung, skin, colon and brain human tumor cell lines. Suffering from side effects from cranberry juice are rare, although as with everything, it should be consumed in moderation. Due to its high acid content, consuming large amounts could irritate heartburn.
This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments. This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions.  For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.
Ask Natalie: If you have a health query and would like an alternative answer then email Natalie with your question at
Natalie runs a clinic both in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem offering a wide range of natural treatment. Healing is achieved using homeopathy, reflexology, massage, flower remedies and nutritional wisdom. To make an appointment please email
Someone Once Said: ‘He who cures a disease may be the skillfullest, but he that prevents it is the safest physician.’ Thomas Fuller