Herbal Health Information on Warts and Verrucas

I am going to talk about Warts in general not specific types.

These are caused by the Pappiloma virus. The raised nodules of skin produced by this virus infection are called warts everywhere on the body except on the feet where they are called verrucas, all the same thing though.

A healthy human has virus and bacteria fighting ingredients in the normal skin secretions giving us a certain amount of protection to external invading organisms.

However we now wash our skin secretions off constantly through showering and hand washing which makes our skin more vulnerable to these organisms.

I guess it is useless to say try to wash less, so instead my approach is to build up the immune system internally so that the other body defences can fight off the invaders.

High doses of Vitamin C and Echinacea do the trick internally.

It is one of very few times I would advocate taking a Vitamin C tablet (at least 500mg strength). I have known very stubborn Verrucas which were about to go under the knife fall out after a couple of weeks of taking high doses of Vitamin C.

Echinacea is the all rounder for stimulating the immune system, especially the phagocytic cells which chomp up invading organisms.

When we lived in Slough I had a plant called Greater Celandine growing in my garden. Greater celandine also grew wild all around Berkshire and I am sure it had seeded itself in the garden as it is not a common garden plant.

The juice from the freshly picked stem of the greater Celandine is placed directly on the wart and works very like the orthodox silver nitrate. It is almost a magic cure but sadly only available if the fresh plant is around.

However, Thuja also has anti wart properties as it stops the growth of any abnormal cells. Thuja tincture can be dropped directly on to the Warts or Verrucas twice a day until it has cleared up. You are going to say “how long ?” well it depends on how long they have been there and how deeply they have grown in to the skin, but as a guideline I would say try it for 3 weeks and carry on if you can see the Wart or Verruca is diminishing.

The core of fighting off Warts and Verrucas is the immune system so if you want to know more about that have a look at the article on the immune system in the health section.

To visit me in the Clinic, click here or on the “clinic” tab at the top of the page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

Listen To Your Body

Our bodies are in a constant balancing act to maintain something called homeostasis. Homoeostasis is the correct balance of our internal body chemistry. To achieve this we have to provide ourselves with the right ingredients for all these chemical reactions to take place and that means eating and drinking a very well balanced diet.

You may think that the food cravings and odd fads we get are just quirks but I think the body knows best and we need to be more in tune with the messages it sends us.

Also it is easy to change and retrain the things that we think we are used to.

Let’s start with chocolate because it is most peoples favourite.

Chocolate craving is not as mad and bad as it sounds; chocolate has some very good properties. It is high in iron and also has a serotonin (antidepressant neurotransmitter) like action on the brain. But a chocolate bar also has lots of sugar so it is not a good idea to eat it in large amounts. A handful of dried apricots (unsulphred) will provide iron so these are a good substitute if you are craving chocolate and a walk in the fresh air will improve our feeling of well being.

People will often crave strange foods especially during pregnancy. It is the body’s way of saying it is lacking something and needs a bit of help. It is worth taking a little time to sit and think if you have been eating the right foods, getting enough exercise, relaxing and sleeping well.

Look at the food you are craving and research what it is in that food substance that you may need. You will probably be able to eat a more healthy combination of foods that will stop the craving.

There is also the possibility that the digestive system is not working efficiently for whatever reason and although you are eating a sensible diet you are not digesting and absorbing the food well. Try a little live yogurt everyday for a few days to improve gut bacteria which play a part in digestion. I do not recommend taking it for too long as there is a possibility that you will disturb the balance of the gut flora (bacteria) by putting too much “good” bacteria in there.

The message is a simple one…listen to the messages your body is sending you.

Eat a sensible diet

Drink water, not too much caffeine containing drinks


Relax/take time for yourself

Sleep a reasonable number of hours.

Have fun

If you have your health everything else is possible.

Linda Bostock

Medical herbalist

Herbal Health Information on Chickweed (Stellaria Media)

This is such a cute little plant with a tiny white star shaped flower that you would not normally bother to look at. It contains saponin glycosides coumarins and is a source of Vitamin C.  You can see it in the Herstmonceaux video.

All Herbalists will tell you it makes the best cream for Eczema because it is moisturising, soothing, healing and anti itch.

I do not use it internally but it is the base of all my Eczema creams.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information.

Herbal Health Information on Chicory (Chicorium Intybus)

I find it very interesting that plants growing in the same area have similar properties as shown in the Herstmonceux video. I guess it is obviously the soil type which supplies these plants with the same nutrients from which they make their active ingredients.

Chicory found near Herstmonceux

The root of Chicory  again contains tannin, which has astringent properties.

More interestingly, the root is still dried, roasted, ground and used as a coffee substitute, especially in France where many coffees also contain Chicory.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist

Herbal Health Information on Licorice

When I was training all those years ago we had a patient come to the training clinic in Balham who was suffering from a peculiar range of seemingly unconnected  symptoms including, fatigue, low motivation, general aches and pains, digestive disorders and the rest. We treated her for quite a few weeks to try and improve her general well being with no improvement. Then one of the other students had coincidentally been studying the endocrine system and reading about Adrenal exhaustion due to prolonged stress.

We discussed the patient’s symptoms and when she returned to the clinic asked her if she had been suffering from stress. She said she had but it was over now so had not mentioned it in her original consultation.

When we are under stress the adrenal glands, which are situated on top of the kidneys, produce adrenaline to help us cope with the stress. You have probably heard about the fight or flight reaction to stress which is actually a production of hormones, adrenaline being the major one, which either give us the ability to run and get away from the source of the stress e.g. BIG MAMMOTH chasing us, RUN! Or help us to stay and face the situation, e.g. BIG MAMMOTH chasing us but actually I would like some for my dinner so I will stay and fire a few stone arrows at it.

If the stress is continuous then the adrenal glands will produce adrenaline for a certain length of time, but then switch off. This is known as adrenal exhaustion and the body then cannot cope with either stress or day to day living. In most cases, the adrenal glands will recover on their own after a period of rest, but if for whatever reason they don’t, then they need help to be switched on again.

We changed tactics and treated this patient with a mixture of herbs to support the endocrine system and the adrenal glands in particular. Licorice was our herb of choice to treat the adrenal glands and it worked like magic (which is of course why herbal medicine had such a mystique surrounding it).Within a month she was back to her old self and full of energy. We kept her on the mix for another two months and then weaned her off after which she was able to maintain her own well being.

Licorice which can also be spelled Liquorice, before you all tell me I have spelled it wrong, is described as “the universal herb”. It has a long history of use by the ancient Chinese, Egyptians and Greeks for strengthening the body.

It is used as a cough remedy, has anti inflammatory properties, is an adrenal restorative, has anti stress, anti viral and anti depressive properties.it also regulates hormones.

This is not all the properties it has but I think it would just be showing off  if I wrote down any more.

Basically it is what is known as an alterative which means it restores body function to normal.

There is always a BUT and that is that if you have high blood pressure you cannot take Licorice as it also has an affect on the kidney blood pressure control mechanism. This will not affect an healthy individual but may affect the blood pressure of someone already suffering from hypertension.

Plants and medicine are so fascinating aren’t they?

If you would like to visit my clinic, to find out more, please click here or click on the tab at the top of the page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/herbal Health Information.

Herbal Health Information on the Immune System and Colds

The Immune system is the body’s internal defence armoury, which protects us from the millions of germs out there. There are so many factors in modern day living which can affect our immune system, resulting in people picking up any virus going and suffering recurrent colds and coughs.

Stress, poor diet, insomnia and any long term illness can all prevent the proper functioning of the immune system.

We really must look after ourselves. Put a bit of time and effort into YOU and the payback will be a healthier, fitter, happier, more energetic life.



You must eat it!

Porridge/ muesli/ any wholegrain cereal/ fruit/juice. Not all at once!


Salads or baked potato or sandwich some fruit if you didn’t have any at breakfast


Cooked meal with some protein foods such as meat eggs or fish /pulses beans for the vegetarians or just if you like them. Fresh veg although fresh frozen will do if you are busy. Some carbohydrate such as rice potato or pasta.

Always vary it though and make sure you do not eat too much of any one thing. For example don’t eat toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner. That’s three lots of wheat a day and the gut will not like digesting all that!

Loads of Vitamin C containing foods, which is all fruit and veg but especially citrus fruits and zinc containing foods which is oats, peas, pumpkin seeds, lentils and Oysters if you are feeling rich.

Zinc and Vit C help the body fight of viruses.

Drink water and not too much tea and coffee


Have a look at the article on stress to learn more, but briefly, make relaxation and switching off time for yourself. Dance, sing, read, watch a film, join a meditation or yoga class, anything that helps you to relax.

Exercise I can almost hear you groaning but this is really not an option. It gets the body in good shape to be able to cope with external and internal changes.

Alcohol and cigarettes also affect the immune system, so if you can reduce, it will help.


Echinacea is the Media’s herb of choice to boost the immune system which it does by raising the white blood cell count and increases the body’s own powers of resistance. It also has the ability to stimulate Killer cells called Phagocytes, that chomp up any foreign material in the body especially bacteria.

There is a problem with Echinacea though, in that many people are taking it constantly and bacteria are cunning little devils they have the ability to adapt and become immune to anything trying to kill them off. So Echinacea should only be taken,  EITHER when you feel a cold/cough coming on to boost the immune system and help the body fight the virus or bacteria OR for short periods of time to boost the immune system generally. About three weeks taking Echinacea is enough time to boost the immune system and then let the body take over. There are many over the counter preparations of Echinacea but make sure it is a good quality preparation with a licence, meaning it has been through a rigorous testing programme.

St John’s wort and elder flower have directly anti viral properties and elder is my herb of choice if someone presents with recurrent colds.

Never forget Garlic. I know some people won’t touch it because of the smell but eat as much garlic as you can in your food. It is the most astounding food for all kinds of conditions in the body one of them being to boost the immune system as well as having antiviral properties. As it is breathed out through the lungs, the volatile oils sterilise everything on the way up so it is a good cough and cold remedy.

If all else fails come and visit me in clinic! Click here for more information or at the tab at the top of the page

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

Herbal Health Information on Palpitations

An awareness of the heartbeat or a feeling of extra irregular heartbeats.


If there is no underlying cause then it may be caused by anxiety or diet both of which are easily remedied with herbal medicine.

Firstly, cut out all Caffeine. Caffeine increases heart rate and puts stress on the heart and nervous system, it absolutely has to go.

Caffeine is in:-




Coca cola

Many Boost drinks

If you have a high Caffeine intake you will need to come off it slowly as it is addictive and withdrawal from it causes quite severe headaches, so reduce by one cup a day every two days until you can come off it completely. Substitute it with water or if you can’t face that Rooibos or caffeine free teas such as peppermint.

Next learn to breathe properly.

It is important that each breath you take in fills the lungs properly and then each breath out gets rid of all the carbon dioxide produced during metabolism.

Either get a Yoga video which will teach you to focus on your breathing and teach you relaxation techniques or do this simple exercise.

Lie on the bed flat on your back if you can. If you can’t then whatever position you are comfortable in. Close your eyes and breathe normally.

Count how long it takes you to breathe in and how long to breathe out. Do this for about a minute.

Put both your hands, palm down on to your belly. Just concentrate on breathing normally. As you are breathing, your abdomen should be rising and falling gently because it is your abdominal muscles which are pulling the diaphragm down as you breathe in and relaxing as you breathe out. By putting your palms flat on your abdomen you can check whether you are using your abdominal muscles properly by watching your hands rise and fall. You can do this little exercise two or three times a day for about five minutes a time, but do not at any time force your breathing, this is just making you aware that you are breathing normally.


Herbs for palpitations brought on by anxiety fall in to two categories:-

Calming herbs

Passion flower is a gently calming herb which also supports the heart muscle.

Motherwort is calming, relaxing and also calms heart palpitations. I find it works well for women (hence the name I guess).

Valerian, (and see in Pevensey Castle video)this is a strong relaxant and calming herb but does not affect the way the brain functions so does not leave you with a woolly head. Smells like smelly feet though!!!!

Chamomile(see shingle beach video) is the most gentle of the calming herbs and the most pleasant tasting if drunk as a tea.

Lime flower is sedative, calms, supports the nervous system and has anti anxiety properties, also pleasant drunk as a tea.

Nervous system supporting and repairing herbs,

Oats are the best nerve restorative, as well as being a brain and heart tonic, I would never leave this out of a mix for panic attacks.

Vervain, is an excellent nervous system supporting and repairing herb with alterative (bringing back to normal) properties.

Scullcap, I have to admit to using this herb ALOT. It has just the best nervous system repairing and supporting properties as well as having the ability to calm the brain down and stop it going into the mad “loop” thinking mode.

St. John’s wort is (see shingle beach video) traditionally used as a nervous system repairing herb with antidepressant properties.

Unexplained palpitations respond well to treatment with herbal medicine so if you would like to visit me in the clinic for help, please see the clinic details which you will find by clicking on the Clinic tab at the top of the page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

Herbal Health Information on Cramps

Normal muscle activity involves contraction and just as importantly, relaxation of whichever muscle is being used. If the muscle does not relax after contraction, this results in cramp.

I am sure we have all been woken at night with a muscle in our calf tightened up and going into spasm resulting in us jumping out of bed and stamping around the room waking up anyone or everyone in the vicinity.

Avoiding cramps is all about diet. Muscle contracts and relaxes due to an exchange of Calcium /Magnesium through the tissue of the muscle wall. It is therefore essential that our diets contain a sensible intake of these minerals as well as all other vitamins and minerals.

This is the one and only time I advocate eating a good intake of dairy products, which provide calcium. (providing you do not have a dairy intolerance) Meat, fish watercress and spinach are also good calcium sources.

Magnesium is present in most foods, particularly meat, milk, eggs, seafood and nuts.

An example of a good mixed diet would be:-

BREAKFAST;- muesli or fruit or wholegrain cereals with  some nuts/ semi-skimmed milk/ fruit juice

(Dried fruits contain a high amount of iron.)

LUNCH:- tinned  tuna/salmon/sardines (tinned fish has a high amount of calcium),or eggs or cheese and salad

Or baked potato with low fat Cole slaw or baked beans or a sandwich made with wholemeal bread and a sunflower or olive oil margarine.


DINNER: – lean cooked meat of any sort. Remember lamb and pork has more fat throughout the body of the meat so the fat is harder to cut off when preparing it for cooking. Red meat at least twice a week. Eggs at least twice a week, for iron and mineral content.

Any vegetables you like and as much as you like.

Be careful that you do not have too much dairy though it comes with its own problems such as increasing catarrh production.

Try to get out of the habit of having pudding.

Drink plenty of water during the day and no more than three cups of tea or coffee, preferably decaff.

You know I am now going to say EXERCISE! This will open up lymphatic pathways in the muscles and ensure that lactic acid, produced as a by product of muscle function is removed efficiently.

No you do not have to be Mr or Mrs Super fit of the year but you do need to be exercising regularly.

20 minutes of walking a day or swimming twice a week or a dance class or whatever takes your fancy within your capabilities.  If you are less mobile then ask for some help from your Doctor who should be able to get you on to an exercise programme.


There are a few herbs which prevent the muscles going into spasm, the main one of which is Crampbark. You can have a look at it in the herbs and health section and also in the West rise marsh video. It does what its name suggests it does and prevents muscle spasm.

The other herb I would recommend is Goose Grass as this opens up the lymphatic pathways and ensures the removal of lactic acid.

It is unlikely you will find these as an over the counter preparation, but you should be able to get them as tinctures. Follow the instructions on the bottles.

If you need more help please do come and see me in clinic. You can find the clinic details by clicking here or on the “clinic” tab at the top of the page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

Spring Plants Revisited

Just the video now and I will write up notes and upload shortly. I’ve been a bit busy recently due to my daughters wedding and a play I’m in etc etc

Autumn Herb Walk around Herstmonceux Castle and Observatory

Hi Everyone, I had been complaining for ages that we had not seen any Oak or Horsechestnut trees in East Sussex. So off we went on a beautiful autumn morning to the grounds around Herstmonceux Castle and Observatory to some woods to see what we could find.

There is a brilliant Science centre on the old observatory site. The observatory was moved down from Greenwich when the lights from London got too much for the night sky and then the lights in east Sussex got too much from modern developments, so the observatory was moved and was eventually converted into a science centre which I think is way better than the one in London.There is still a working telescope there which you can look through on astronomy open nights.

Anyway to get back to the trees. My Husband, Mike, reminded me that most of the trees in the south of England were cut down for boat building. On top of that East Sussex was a smelting and brick making area and trees were cut down for the iron and brick kilns. That is the reason much of Ashdown forest is not actually forest but heath land.

We found Sweet Chestnuts, lots of Oaks with acorns and two large Horsechestnut trees at the end of the walk.

Acorns at Herstmonceux

Although I wasn’t looking for anything else we also saw Chickweed, Chicory and Beech trees. There are write ups on Chickweed, Chicory, Oak and Horsechestnut in the herb section.

The sweet chestnuts and beech nuts are a good food source but we did not have time to collect them. Actually I was surprised that the sweet chestnuts had grown to a reasonable size because we have had very little rain this summer and the beech nuts were yummy. I’m happy now I have seen Oaks and Horsechestnuts in East Sussex!

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information