The internet is a gold mine. And like every mine, you have to dig through mountains of dirt to find something of value. MOST information out there is half-baked, copied, misdirected or simply an outright lie. An Australian woman was recently charged for profiting for years with online advice and sales with a fake story of cancer. She was caught, millions more are not. Marketing over mindfulness is their motto: beware of self-proclaimed healers, those who try to sell simple products like turmeric, fruit extracts or pea protein for a lot of money. Pea protein costs just a few dollars per kilo, but sells for upwards of $60! Beware of most blogs and help groups – they don’t know you, they aren’t you.

With over 20 years formal education & clinical experience walking the talk with herbs & nutritional support, I’ve seen fads come & go, seen poor information, even the greed; have stocked & tried thousands of products. There is a little bit of new information out there, but only a very little – regardless of what the marketing or “research” says. What’s the latest and greatest today? Magnesium, anything with turmeric, maca, chia seeds… salvestrols in the last couple years. Methylation & Boron are newer ones. Use to be selenium, zinc, soy protein & genistein, going back further: colostrum, transfer factor, ambertose, micro minerals…. Blue green algae, pycnogenol or a slew of anti-oxidants blends, shark liver oil if we go back to the 90’s. Ever seen the book “Sharks Don’t Get Cancer” by I. William Lane? Well it turns out they do. But he was heavily vested in selling the products. Vitamin C makes waves going back to the 1960’s. Are cancer rates less? Heart disease? Diabetes? Dementia? Nueral disorders like MS or Dementias? Stress-induced problems? No. All increased or the same as far as I can see.

The best medicines are custom made to you and your specific needs. Sometimes a product does indeed come together like salt and pepper: Tried and true, years of safety, & a handful of formulas found on shelves around do fit that description. But you should have personal guidance to know which ones!

As a Master Herbalist with decades around nutritional medicine I can go over your current or intended regime with you in person. (Online or Skype consults may also be appropriate in certain circumstances.) Never be afraid to ask. And as someone who has spent this much time within both the supplement industry & patient care I have developed a few of my own favourites.

Please note, my ingredients will generally not be listed online. Why? Not because I am hiding anything. But because I often customise each of the dozens of formulas below for a patient personally. Your “Tense-Ease” blend may differ from your neighbour’s. They will be similar, but not the same. And that makes all the difference!


We hear these terms often – and we should. Because our lives are affected and interlaced constantly with what goes on within us, around us, and between us. Traditional Medicines are not afraid to say so. You might hear strict “science” types thumb their noses at “new age” terms like Mind/Body. But anyone who does so is thick – while purposely ignoring both the reality around them, and their own studies. Did you know one of the most common uses for Prozac today (brand of SSRI anti-depressant) is for chronic pain? Why? Because chronic pain leads often to depression. Body/Spirit connection. Or we’ll use an athlete without chronic pain, but an injury that takes them out for the season: How does this affect mood, behaviour, their outlook? What if they missed a periodic competition like Commonwealth Games or Olympics or long-term lucrative contract? Body/Mind, Body/Spirit… How does a depressed person hold themselves? How do they stand sit or walk? What happens to their fitness, their eating patterns, their activity level…? Spirit/Body connection. Does diet and activity affect the mind? Of course! I could list a thousand “scientific” links which say so, but they are useless in the hands of actual experience.

My favourite example though is simply tears: something emotional triggering something physical, pneuma to soma. Maybe it’s grief, but I hope it’s joy. Either way we are interlaced.

So a better term than “alternative” therapy is simply Holistic Medicine: We look at the Whole body, including the mind, including the spirit. In Chinese the traditional word for the physical heart organ could also mean mind, spirit, awareness, brightness in the eyes, joy, lustre. The same is true of every organ and tissue of the body. When we say “liver” sometimes we mean the organ, other times we mean the temper or quality of sleep. When we say gall bladder sometimes we mean the organ, other times we mean ability to make decisions or courage. We can treat emotional problems physically. We can treat physical problems through counsel and behaviour. Traditional Medicines had it right when they linked it all together. Western allopathic methods fouled the air with ignorance when they separated them. In their defence, I know plenty of good medical docs who counsel and comfort, and plenty more who would if they knew how or had the time.


Acupuncture has strengths and weaknesses just like every form of therapy. Improving the brain is a definite strength – from stroke recovery to mental calming. But needles alone might only provide a push that needs to be further driven to the final destination  

  5. SMILE 3

Part of my “Easy” product line, Tense-Ease™ is a balanced blend of East and Western knowledge. The amino acid Taurine, a variety of magnesiums, mixed with herbs long used for anxiety, nervousness and irritability. Designed to not just quell symptoms, but strengthen a fatigued system. Can be used for short-term episodic times (starting a new job, school exams, mild insomnia…) or for deeper conditions by adjusting dosage and combining therapies.

THE “SMILE” SERIES smile-fingers

3 formulas created to help soften the blows of an active and stressful life. Bad things happen, but they don’t have to stick. True happiness cannot be found in any bottle of course, but these combinations can help put a smile on the face of both young & old. Crafted using traditional wisdom with current supporting research – plus crucial patient feedback over many years. Includes mimosa, a plant who’s Chinese name translates as “everybody happy”!

From 2003-2010 I ran a busy clinic near one of the largest army bases in the United States. This was when soldiers by the thousands poured into Iraq or Afghanistan. Countless loved ones remained behind, and in the early months to years of fighting communication could be extremely sporadic: no internet, Skype, FB or instant messaging. A senior base counsellor & patient of mine asked if I could help de-stress & uplift some of those left behind – including herself. In those years… I saw wives who’s husbands were maimed or killed. I saw soldiers with PTSD and other torment. I saw their children failing in schools due to the stresses of war on family. The overwhelmed docs handed out prescriptions and sleep aids like sweets to children. Even if effective, most did not want to take them – it was depressing to be on antidepressants for them. This is where I came in, where I helped, and with countless little tweaks based on research, patient input and observations, made these formulas…

  1. SMILE (original) ~ for mild depression and depressive episodes. Safe for long or short-term occasional use 
  2. SMILE TOO ~ geared more for anxiety, heart palpitations or restless sleep than the original formula. Designed to help correct the problem, correct the need for medication according to traditional Chinese medical philosophy methods. Differs from TENSE-EASE by being less potent in the short term for some, but more effective in the longer term.
  3. SMILE 3 ~ for combination conditions such as anxiety with depression, mood swings or menopausal symptoms

Please note, these herbal medications are not intended to replace life changes and/or professional guided counselling where necessary. I work in-house with both whanau and Western psychologists, and happy to assist with referral… 🙂  I also assist with lifestyle & philosophical counselling personally.


  • Memory and Brain Fog
  • Stroke Recovery
  • Concussion
  • Studying
  • Dulled thinking from chronic illness or lack of sleep
HEAD EASE (both chronic and acute formulas)
  • Head Pain
  • Eye Irritations
  • Neck Stiffness
  • Sinus Issues

Please see my specialties page about how I can help treat headaches. If you’d like to fill out this questionnaire and forward to or bring to your appointment it would also greatly help

headache patient intake


nearly as many formulas as body bits

LIVER-EASE (summer & winter blends)

What an amazing industrious organ! And with my liking for beer & wine that is a good thing. A filter, energy store, & digestive organ rolled into one, it is crucial we keep it in good working order. In TCM it also regulates menstruation, emotions of frustration, workings of the brain… Every company has a Liver product or “detoxifier” of sorts, but to be fair there is scant difference between them. Also, there is little focus or balance in them. So why be like them? My blends vary according to season. Do you eat, sleep, exercise and have the same activities in summer as winter? No. So why should products not reflect that too? They should. Chemist and health food shops contain certainly a few gems – yet also piles of rubbish.

My Liver product is different because it does NOT contain milk thistle or silymarin (one of the active compounds in milk thistle herb). Instead these are more of a support blend to cool and clear liver heat or inflammation. In this regard, the product may be used for

  1. excess drinking
  2. indigestion from greasy or fried foods
  3. eye strain
  4. certain headaches
  5. long-term gall stone complaints
  6. irritable moods
  7. irregular periods or PMS… and more
  8. gastric reflux or other digestive issues

To take the same product regardless of seasonal changes makes no sense. Why don’t I use milk thistle? Well, I do stock some good practitioner only varieties. But there is something vacant from the internet and good-intentioned people out there selling liver detoxifiers and cleanses. Namely, how can a product Do Harm. If something can be good, it can be bad. What is not mentioned is that milk thistle can interrupt normal liver metabolic functioning. What does the liver do? Plenty. One chief thing is metabolising medications. If the body is in “cleanse” mode, important medications can be improperly metabolised – making them….? No one actually knows. Less potent? More potent? Disrupting time-release patterns? And in cleanse mode it can prevent a person from absorbing certain nutrients or other supplements, possibly affecting cholesterol processing as well… No one knows. And that is bad medicine.


Overuse of prescription antibiotics is a serious subject. More & more GP’s send people home without them. New Zealand is actually quite ahead of the curve in this regard, but sometimes doctors unfortunately feel pressured to give their patients something – by you the patient! But know there are good and quite strong “natural” alternatives. Don’t scoff. The first repeatable manufactured antibiotic we commonly consider to be penicillin – made from bread mould. Berberine is a famously potent chemical found in dozens of plants with decades of biochemical in vitro & in vivo works. But it is just one of many known helpers.

These two formulas can address bacterial complaints, yet also viral or fungal. A significant number of chronic sinusitis sufferers have fungal infections in addition to or instead of bacterial overgrowth. Numbers vary between 10-30% based on region and population. That is a huge proportion of people considering sinus problems are one of the top reasons patients visit their GP. Skin irritations, H.pylori in the gut, insect bite or sting complaints, even minor gall bladder stone attacks (cholecystitis) or shingles may benefit from one of these formulas.

NECK EASE  (Both Chronic & Acute Blends)

May be used in conjunction with OTC and most prescription pain medications if needed. Please contact me for questions or concerns.

BACK EASE  (Both Chronic & Acute Blends)

A traditional blend to support muscle integrity and relaxation of low back and core muscles. Next to proper stretching, I find herbal medicine the single best answer to chronic niggling back pain, after an acute injury has settled (through acupuncture and osteopathy if possible!) Our ancestors worked much harder than us, often labouring hours in the dirt, building things by hand, traveling by foot or on the back of an animal. Their knees and backs would ache, they would be of utmost concern to take care of. This formula is modified slightly from its original 1800 year old recipe. It still works today…

KNEES EASE  (Chronic Only)

For ongoing joint problems & the accompanying fatigue that goes with dealing with that discomfort. Keeping active, getting good bodywork like acupuncture, massage & osteopathy for joint health is crucial too. Yet ongoing, it astounds me how many people either take nothing to help support their joints, or give up too soon before finding something right for them.

Not just for existing complaints, Arthro-Ease can be taken FOR PREVENTION! Are you in training for a competition? Getting back to the gym after time away? Find it hard to exercise on the knees, hips or ankles due to carrying too much weight? Trying a social sport for a change? All these are great reasons to support yourself before getting injured.

SHOULDER EASE (Both Chronic & Acute Blends)

Comes in juice (liquid extract) and capsules – which you can drink with the juice of your choice.

In TCM arthritis can be classified into a few different pathologies, including hot, cold, damp, moving… or a combination of these. With herbal medicine we aim to counteract the adverse temperature, ease pain and increase circulation to improve mobility.  Acupuncture has also been shown in studies to ease both acute and chronic joint pains, including Osteoarthritis.



SLEEP EASE (capsules) & SCHIZANDRA ZZZ (liquid)

When I started practise years ago in Hawaii I was shocked at the number of people who suffered insomnia – either trouble falling asleep or getting to sleep. And Hawaii is not exactly known for its high stress lifestyle. There are many facets to sleeplessness, including lifestyle, work and environment, but one thing that remains constant is our need for deep sleep.

If you’ve had ongoing issues or anticipate a rough patch ahead, call in. Sleep apnea also addressed in combination with acupuncture, digestive herbs and lifestyle advice.


For restless sleep, troubled or overly active dreams, including night terrors in children. Also for that groggy waking after a night’s sleep but still feeling unrested.




Traditionally reserved for aristocracy, Emperors and Queens. Now available to you. A gorgeously designed formula to help tame a jumping mind, nourish the heart, calm the spirit. Well known for producing vivd dreams. May be taken short or long-term.