An interview with Dr Marianne Ferreira by Dr Hannah Norton

HN: I’m Dr Hannah Norton, representative of the Homeopathic Association of South Africa. The festive season is upon us, and with us here today we have Dr Marianne Ferreira to take us through some aspects of health and keeping healthy over the holiday season. Dr. Ferreira, around this time of year one can hear mention of the terms ‘stress’, ‘adrenal fatigue’ and ‘burnout’. Could you please take us through some of the aspects of these conditions that can affect people at this time of year?

MF: This is a very common thing that we hear about; it’s something that most of us, if not all of us, have on a daily basis or on a regular basis. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just depends on the type of stress, the duration, and also how we deal with the stress. 

Stress, in general, will trigger different aspects of our bodies. It will target the adrenals, and then also the sympathetic nervous system. Most of us have heard of the terms ‘cortisol’ and ‘neurotransmitters’ and things like that—that is the majority of the hormones and things that we are working with. 

If we have an increased amount of time with stress, we go into the next phase of adrenal fatigue. This is where we tend to get people who say things like: “I’m so tired”, “I’m losing my hair”, “I’m gaining weight”, “I cannot sleep”. They’re getting very anxious and depressed; they tend to struggle with food cravings and things like that. 

If this is the case, we will then test the cortisol levels and the neurotransmitters to determine where exactly you are in your stress phase. After that, if we don’t take any note and we don’t do anything about that, the individual could go into burnout. This is where we don’t want to be. The individual then becomes completely exhausted; they don’t want to do anything; the cortisol levels and the neurotransmitter levels are very low. But, there are a few measures that we can take to prevent getting there, because none of us wants to be there at all 

HN: And what sort of nutritional and lifestyle factors can be addressed in order to prevent and hopefully assist with this burnout risk?

MF: Yes, absolutely. Lifestyle changes help immensely. The first thing that comes to mind is having some nice exercise. Another benefit of exercise is that it will generally this will force us to go outside, it gets us some nice fresh air and sunlight, it helps with breathing. But I don’t just mean having cardiovascular type of exercise—things like yoga or pilates also help a lot because they have a lot to do with our breathing. And it just calms you down, even though you are getting a nice workout too.

Other lifestyle factors include increasing your water, and getting enough sleep is very important. Diet is a very big thing as well. Having a diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and just a balanced diet in general is very good. Decreasing your sugar intake, your refined foods and processed foods, caffeine and alcohol is also a good idea. 

You can also choose to supplement your dietmethylated B vitamins are very good, Vitamin C, omegas, magnesium is good just to calm you down, adaptogenic supplements and things like that help us to cope a little bit better and not to get to that stage where we don’t want to be.

HN: From the homeopathic viewpoint, we understand that treatment is individualised and catered to the individual struggling with burnout or struggling with adrenal fatigue, but are there any remedies that show a predominance in the application for this condition?

MF: Yes, we do have a few remedies that we prescribe. Like you said, it is individualised and we would work from with the patient’s own presentation, but one that jumps out at me is Nux vomica. Nux vomica has a high affinity for the liver and things like that. We generally see it used for a type of person like the businessperson who has a lot of stress. They have deadlines to meet, and they tend to go towards stimulants just to get through the day, and often they cannot sleep. That remedy always jumps out at me for things like this, but I would generally say just look after your liver your adrenals as best as you can. 

HN: Thank you so much, Dr. Ferreira, for being with us here today and for your valuable input and time. And to all those viewers out there who might be considering a homeopathic approach the management of the health of this holiday season, I’m going to encourage you to navigate to the practitioner search page on the HSA website ( to locate a practitioner near you. 

We at the HSA wish you a happy healthy holiday season with homeopathy, the wellness profession.

[WATCH] The full interview on our YouTube channel.

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