Feeling stressed, tired or irritable? 

What can you do if you are deep in the mid-year, mid-winter drag?

A herbal tonic called Rhodiola rosea is a natural pick-me-up to help you cope with feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and down.

Rhodiola has been used for hundreds of years in many different cultures for its anti-stress, anti-fatigue and antidepressant properties.

A 2016 review of the scientific studies on Rhodiola found evidence to support its use with people who have:

  • stress induced depression
  • depressive disorders.

(Amsterdam & Panossian, 2016).

I’ve put loads more information on Rhodiola below or if you’d like to talk about if Rhodiola could help you with fatigue, low mood or feeling overwhelmed please contact me on (02) 4968 2157.

Sonia x


Rhodiola rosea in more detail

Who was Rhodiola trialled on?  

  • 146 people with diagnosed major depressive disorder in 2 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.
  • 714 people with diagnosed stress induced mild depression (diagnosed as asthenic syndrome or psychoneurosis) from 7 open-label studies.


How does Rhodiola work? 

Rhodiola has been found to produce a variety of mediator interactions with several molecular networks of neuroendocrine-immune and neurotransmitter receptor systems likely to be involved in the pathophysiology of depression.


Is Rhodiola safe? 

The scientists also found Rhodiola was well-tolerated with a favorable safety profile.

As a trained herbalist I do however caution if you are trying to fall pregnant, are currently pregnant or lactating unless you are under the care of a trained herbalist you are best not to use Rhodiola.  I also caution my caffeine loving clients that Rhodiola in combination with caffeine may cause unpleasant side effects.


I’ve not heard of Rhodiola before – tell me more about it!

Rhodiola rosea is commonly referred to as Golden Root or Roseroot and grows in dry sandy ground at high altitudes in the arctic regions of Europe and Asia. The freshly cut root has a rose-like odour that has led to its botanical name and one of its common names. The root has been used for centuries in the traditional medicines of Russia and Scandinavia.


Give me the bottom line, what did the scientists conclude about Rhodiola?  

Rodiola demonstrated multi-target effects on various levels of the regulation of cell response to stress, affecting various components of the neuroendocrine, neurotransmitter receptor and molecular networks associated with possible beneficial effects on mood.


Amsterdam, J.D. & Panossian, A.G. (2016). Rhodiola rosea L. as a putative botanical antidepressant, Phytomedicine, 23, 770–783. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2016.02.009


Hashimoto’s or Graves & still tired, sick & depressed?

Vitamin D levels are often low in Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism as well as Graves hyperthyroidism.  

Unfortunately low ‘sunshine vitamin’ levels mean possibly a higher risk for a whole host of problems including:

  • depression
  • osteoporosis
  • inability to resist colds and ‘flus.

So simple fix right? Spend more time lolling about in the sun!  Continue reading “Hashimoto’s or Graves & still tired, sick & depressed?”

Hypothyroid, not yet medicated, but need to feel better?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s) is the most common autoimmune disorder in the world affecting more than 10% of females and 2% of males causing hypothyroidism with fatigue, weight gain / difficulty losing weight, infertility, constipation, depression, anxiety and panic attacks, dry skin, dry hair, hair loss, swelling and more.

A study was completed on women in their 30‘s whose lab tests were showing a slowing of thyroid function because of Hashimoto’s but they were not yet bad enough to need medication – medically these patients are said to be ‘sub-clinically hypothyroid’ (Nordio & Pajalich, 2013).   It’s important to acknowledge that whilst lab results may not have not declined enough to support medication the person could be experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of a slow thyroid (Davis & Tremont, 2007). Continue reading “Hypothyroid, not yet medicated, but need to feel better?”

Healthy, delicious, fast lunch

Keeping on track with my 2016 goals gets hard when I’m time poor!  What I need is a quick and healthy meal to help me stay alert, calm and full throughout my busy afternoon while lovin’ my liver.
Challenge accepted!
Carrot & Beetroot Salad (with thanks to Everyday Cookbook)
1 carrot
2 beetroot (raw)
½ green apple
¼ red onion
Blitz together in food processor / Thermomix 3 secs (speed 5 for Thermie lovers).
Dump into large bowl & take 1 serving for lunch. Cover tightly and enjoy the rest with dinner.  I don’t find I need a dressing with this salad as the beetroot, carrot, apple and onion all get very moist when you process them together.
This salad is paleo, AIP (autoimmune paleo/protocol), thyroid friendly, Mediterranean diet friendly, low calorie, low fat… let’s face it this salad should join the UN it crosses so many different diet boundaries!
I add a tin of Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon to this meal to boost the protein, calcium, essential fatty acid content and most importantly for me personally balance my blood sugar levels so I stay energised and calm all afternoon!
wild alaskan salmon_sonia mcnaughton naturopath herbalist
I drain the tin into a sink and with a fork mush the bones into the salmon flesh so they become one with the salmon.
Making the salad and adding the salmon takes only a few moments so really most of my 5 minutes is spent cleaning up!  I rinse the food processor bowl and drain it on the sink and pop my leftovers in the fridge.  I also had time to spare to take a quick pic & upload to Facebook 😉
For more quick and healthy lunch ideas check out my Facebook page: SoniaMcNaughton.Naturopath or make a time to see me (02) 4968 2157 at Mayfield Medical Connection.
Do you have a healthy ‘go-to’ lunch idea you can make in less than 5 mins? I’d love to hear it!

The Goldilocks Hormone Keeping Your Heart Beating

Heart cells can only use a biologically active thyroid hormone (T3) that is not commonly tested nor prescribed in Australia.  If you do not have the correct amount of T3 getting into your heart an alarming array of signs and symptoms can develop with fatal outcomes.

Drs’ Klein and Danzi in the American Heart Association publication, Circulation* claim:


“low T3 is a strong predictor of all cause and cardiovascular mortality” and that T3 is a stronger predictor than age, poorly regulated fats or malfunctioning heart muscle.


Too much T3 in hyperthyroidism and Graves can be just as fatal as too little in hypothyroidism and Hashimotos.

Does the discussion leave you confused? Let’s do a quick thyroid recap: Continue reading “The Goldilocks Hormone Keeping Your Heart Beating”

What’s a naturopath to do when she gags at the thought of salmon?

4 years studying naturopathy indelibly imprinted the seemingly endless health virtues of the humble fish fillet on my brain.  The only problem was I had never been introduced to a piece of fish that was not battered and deep fried that didn’t make me gag!

I outed my loathing of all edible aquatic life forms in a class only to be scorned like cream-bun on the Biggest Loser.  How could a naturopath not love fish?

A fellow mature age student, Amanda, sidled up to me one day and furtively whispered the words that changed my life….. “my fussy five year old will eat salmon if I put it in baking paper, drown it in soy sauce, poke a garlic clove in it and then wrap it up like a birthday present ”.  

Challenge accepted!

Continue reading “What’s a naturopath to do when she gags at the thought of salmon?”

Energy-Boosting, Craving-Busting Snacks

Busting Cravings
Busting Cravings

Do you find you are looking for something to pep you up to get through the day?  Is the diet coke / coffee and chocolate afternoon snack more than the occasional go-to food?

I was talking fatigue and craving-busting strategies with my gorgeous friend Leah who is a mum to 2 active boys (3yo & 18months), a professional singer

Leah & Luke
Leah & Luke

with a busy performing schedule and a part-time student.  Leah was asking me for snack ideas that were portable, affordable, healthy and most important of all helped her juggle all her daily balls…. challenge accepted. Continue reading “Energy-Boosting, Craving-Busting Snacks”

Fighting Fatigue, Boosting Energy

Feeling fatigued is a wide-spread problems for about 20% of our population who possess so little energy their exhaustion interferes with their ability to enjoy a normal life (9).

Are there evidence-based solutions that boost your energy that don’t leave you crashing and worse-off?

The simplest, natural treatment for fatigue is rest and sleep. Sadly this solution is often not possible or effective in cases when the lack of energy is caused by an underlying health problem, medication, or chronic long term stress (9).

Thankfully there are a wide range of solutions that are effective, affordable and easy to implement.

For a quick overview of the fatigue busters check out the mind map below.  For more detailed information I’ve included the evidence-based rationale behind each of the strategies. Continue reading “Fighting Fatigue, Boosting Energy”

Tired, teary & sluggish?

Feeling tired, teary & sluggish?  Can’t lose fat or gain muscle? 

You might have one of the most common chronic disorders – hypothyroidism. 

A whopping 5% of the total population have hypothyroidism and as you age your risk increases.  In your 50’s and 60’s 10% of the population have hypothyroidism.  Plus it’s more common in women than men (2, 3).  Continue reading “Tired, teary & sluggish?”