With thanks to Nelsons Homeopathic Pharmacy 16.6.2011:

Ex-Coronation Street and Bad Girls actress turned Comedienne and impressionist in The Impressions Show, Debra Stephenson, tells us about her childhood, her experiences with homeopathy and her heroines.

What have you been doing this year?

Last year was really busy with The Impressions Show and other bits and pieces like a few episodes of Waterloo Rd, so since I finished panto season (Peter Pan) in January, I’ve been taking it a bit easier. I’ve been at home with the kids and the dog in Poole, but I always stay busy and am working on new voices at the moment for a new series of The Impressions Show which starts filming in the summer.

Who is your favourite voice?

Davina Macall is one of my favourites, as a person and as an impression. She’s likes it too which is a big compliment! And Lorraine Kelly is such a warm and cosy person and her accent is fun to do.

What are your main passions in life?

Food! I love cooking, especially for the kids, they’re my passion too. Zoe is 4 and Max is 8. I also love the sea. And seafood! I think there’s a theme here! We live in Poole by the sea so we have amazing fresh fish in our household when my hubbie goes fishing (even though he doesn’t eat fish!!).

What has been your biggest challenge in life?

I think it is motherhood because it challenges me every day. I find it so enjoyable, but I do struggle to find the balance as a working mum. I’m lucky that my husband and parents are really supportive and between us, we make it work. I think the most enjoyable part of motherhood is the cuddles, but I find it so hard to not spoil them.

Have you always been an advocate of homeopathy and complementary health?

My mum was the manageress in a health food store when I was little so I’ve been surrounded by vitamin and mineral supplements, health food and complementary therapies for as long as I can remember. Mum used to bring home vitamins for me when I was a teenager and she gave me birdseed and carob for my lunch instead of crisps, which the other kids used to rib me about! She was also a huge supporter of the Natural Beauty without Cruelty movement, I reckon she must have been one of the first women to get behind it!

When was the first time you used homeopathy?

Homeopathy had always been on my radar, but the first time I tried it was when Max was born. He was crying a lot and we were worried as we didn’t know why. A friend recommended we see a homeopath – he asked lots of questions, not just about the crying, but other questions about my medical history, which I thought was a bit odd. I now understand that homeopathy is about the whole picture and what other influences may be contributing. I thought I’d get a remedy, but it wasn’t like that and the homeopath recommended a constitutional remedy specifically for Max – Kali Carb – which would treat him as a whole person rather than just the condition.

Have you used homeopathy during pregnancy*?

My second birth with Zoe, was at home. I was having such terrible pain so my wonderful midwife used homeopathy, but I was too busy to notice which remedy it was!

I also used homeopathy for Zoe, after a consultation with a homeopath, I was told that Pulsatilla was her constitutional type remedy. So when she showed signs of a cold or cough, I would reach for Pulsatilla.

*If you are pregnant or breast feeding, always consult your doctor or qualified healthcare practitioner before taking any medicines

What is the most useful homeopathic remedy you use?

Arnica – cream and pillules for shock if the kids fall over

Aconite to nip colds in the bud

Other summer holiday musts – Belladonna for throbbing headaches and Alsen alb for mild food poisoning or an upset stomach, I’d rather have a few remedies with me rather than worry about trying to see a doctor abroad.

Where do you get your remedies from?

Holland & Barrett.

What messages do you hope people will take away from your experience?

What I really like about homeopathy is my homeopath’s outlook and attitude, it is so positive and proactive, I really feel like I’m taking charge of me and my children’s health. I really like how homeopathy works as a lifestyle.

If you were to tell somebody one thing about homeopathy what would it be?

Homeopathy is worth a try!

Describe your diet and fitness regime?

I walk on the beach every day and go for a run on the beach sometimes. I’m quite a healthy eater, I don’t eat red meat but I do eat lots of fish, but I think I probably eat too much butter!

Do you have any vices?

Butter!!

What is your hangover cure?

I try not to drink too much! I don’t think there’s any such thing as a hangover cure, nothing works for me. Maybe comfort food?!

What do you like doing to relax?

I love food shopping in food halls. Back to the food theme!!

What are your plans for the future?

Next series of The Impressions Show should be scheduled for Autumn 2011.

Who do you admire most?

Marge Simpson is my heroine; she’s a style icon, a good mum and a brilliant wife!

What are your healthy must-haves?

Rescue Pastilles in my handbag

Arnicare Cooling Gel – I love arnica!

Tea Tree as an antiseptic

Plasters for the kids!

Echinacea

What are your beauty essentials?

Pure & Clear Wash and Wipes

Rescue Balm

Dermalogica Day Bright

Bourgois Bio-Foundation

Shuka Shampoo – sage and comfrey

Debra is supporting Homeopathy Awareness Week (June 14-21) to help increase understanding of the benefits of homeopathy and how it can be used alongside conventional medicine. To find out more about this natural system of healing, visit www.healthroughhomeopathy.com.