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A natural winner

A natural winner

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When Annabel Croft experienced a throbbing pain in her side and began to faint regularly, she made an appointment with her doctor. “An X-ray showed there was a benign cyst on one of my ovaries and that I would probably need an operation to remove it,” she recalls.

Eighteen months on and despite not having any surgery, the cyst and the pain are gone. Annabel was treated with homeopathy.

“I’d been using homeopathic remedies for sports injuries and to improve my health for three years,” says Annabel, 40, a former Junior Wimbledon champion who now works as a TV presenter and tennis commentator.

“Then a friend told me that she knew of a homeopath, Hilery Dorrian, who would be able to treat the cyst naturally. This seemed like a better option to me than going through with an operation.”

During a consultation Hilery, who runs a clinic in Redhill, Surrey, analysed every aspect of Annabel’s physical and emotional health and prescribed a natural remedy known as agnus castus, which comes in tablet form as well as a tincture.

It comes from berries of a plant called vitex agnus castus, which has been used to treat gynaecological problems for

2,500 years.

“The extract works by acting on the pituitary gland to balance hormonal fluctuations,” explains Annabel. “It’s used to treat symptoms of PMS, painful periods, the menopause and polycystic ovaries.”

Hilery prescribed a tiny amount of agnus castus a day and said the cyst would take between eight and nine months to shrink.

“Gradually, I noticed that the throbbing pain I’d been suffering subsided and I was no longer passing out,” says Annabel. “After a year of taking the remedy, my symptoms – and the cyst – had gone.”

Annabel’s faith in homeopathic treatment is not shared by everyone. A few weeks ago, a group of senior doctors and scientists sent a letter to primary health care trusts (PCTs) arguing that there is no evidence that it works.

It came a year after 13 leading lights in the medical industry urged PCTs not to waste funding on what they described as unproven complementary treatments.

Now, the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, of which the Queen is patron, faces closure after funding was reduced. Her Majesty may not be pleased. She carries 60 vials of alternative remedies whenever she travels abroad.

“I’m convinced that homeopathy is effective,” says Annabel. “If the facility to give patients a choice of homeopathic treatment is withdrawn, it would be tragic.”

Dr Peter Fisher, personal homeopath to the Queen and clinical director of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, agrees. “More patients are rejecting the drugs they are prescribed because they don’t work for them and are asking for something more natural,” he says.

Annabel first tried homeopathy when she suffered a torn knee ligament. “I find that arnica, an extract from the mountain plant arnica montana, is particularly good for bruises and sprains, relieves pain and is anti-inflammatory,” she says.

It has also boosted her recovery from a debilitating virus. “From feeling like death and truly believing that I might never eat again, I felt well enough by the evening to get up and tuck into a roast dinner,” she says.

Annabel, who is married to former America’s Cup yachtsman, Mel Coleman, uses some homeopathic plant extracts on a daily basis. “As a child I was prescribed antibiotics for various infections. This had an adverse affect on my liver so now I take liver powder everyday to detoxify it.

“I’ve always been proud of my long, dark hair, but over the years, it became drier and less glossy. For the past year, I’ve taken hemp seed oil, which is rich in fatty omega acids. My skin is glowing and my nails and hair are as healthy and strong as when I was 20.”

She also credits homeopathy with regulating her menstrual cycle. “By taking agnus castus everyday, I’ve managed to balance up my hormones.”

Now that she’s heading towards more changes and the menopause, she says, “I want my body to be completely in

tune. I’m putting in the groundwork now.”

She also favours alternative medicine when it comes to her children, Amber, 13, Charlie, 11. and nine-year-old Lily.

“The only time I’ve ever given antibiotics to any of them was when Charlie developed a bad infection in his toe. At other times, although antibiotics were prescribed, I’ve chosen not to give them to my children. As a result, their immune systems are much stronger.

“Last year, my 13-year-old godson broke his collar bone, so I suggested a homeopathic remedy to take orally,” she says. “His injury mended so quickly that his doctor was amazed.”


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