Herbal Health Information on Anxiety

Anxiety may be caused by stress, tiredness, hormone imbalance, emotional exhaustion. However, people often say they have no stress or real worries but they suffer from bouts of anxiety. Sometimes people suffer anxiety after they have been through a traumatic experience even though this is now resolved. The body may be producing too much adrenaline which is circulating around the body with nothing to do but make you feel anxious. The symptoms include feelings of anxiousness, palpitations, increased sweating and poor sleep.

If stress is a factor then look at your lifestyle to see if there is anything you can change. It is worth sitting down and doing this with someone else as they may be more objective towards your lifestyle than you are.

Look at what you CAN change in your lifestyle rather than focus on what you can’t or what is going wrong. Try making small changes, such as joining a Yoga class, take time out for yourself, walk away from a stressful situation and calm down before going back to face it, handing a job over to anyone else to do, get a cleaner for the housework, take a holiday. ANYTHING!

Stress is not a problem to the body, providing the body has the ability to cope with it which to be fair, we are set up to do via our Adrenal glands. I am sure you have heard of the fight or flight response which either helps you to deal with a stressful situation or get the hell out of there. When the stress is overwhelming the adrenals get exhausted and the body fails to deal with stress well.

First thing to do is look at your diet. A body cannot keep going under any circumstances if it is poorly fed.

Eat three good meals a day:-

Consisting of nutritious foods such as fruit, veg, meat, fish, and a sensible intake of carbohydrates.

I rarely advise people take nutritional supplements, as I am an advocate of complete nutrition through eating sensibly, but the research on vitamin B complex to support the nervous system is overwhelmingly positive.

NOT CHOCOLATE which gives you a short term sugar boost and contains a feel good factor but does not last and may send you in to an emotional low when the blood sugar levels drop.

Drink WATER. At least two pints a day!

Caffeine in tea and coffee is the very worst thing for anxiety as it increases heart rate and may cause palpitations and will definitely prevent you sleeping well.

However, Caffeine is addictive so if you need to come off it, do it slowly, otherwise you will get headaches and feel pretty rough for a couple of weeks. I recommend reducing one cup a day in three day steps, remembering to substitute with water or non caffeine hot drinks such as Rooibos and Chamomile tea.

Exercise is a wonderful anxiety buster, so go to the gym or preferably do something in the fresh air; this will help to use up any excess adrenaline circulating in the body.


The main area which needs supporting is the nervous system.

St. John’s wort, which we saw on the shingle beach video, is a wonderful nervous system supporting and repairing herb as well as having anti depressant properties. Don’t take it if you are on any orthodox medicines.

Valerian is  great for calming both the body and mind and I usually mix that with Skullcap which is excellent at calming the brain down so that it does not go in to those mad thought loops at night when you are trying to get off to sleep.

Don’t forget the humble Chamomile which is very gently calming and helps you get a good night’s sleep and the lime flowers we saw growing in Pevensey church yard in the Pevensey walk video.

Growing in your garden you may have:-

Borage which also supports and restores the adrenals. This can be made into a tea.

Lavender which is great in an herb pillow to help with insomnia and the oil is wonderfully soothing in a bath.

Lemon balm which makes a very nice calming tea.

There are many ways of helping combat anxiety with herbs so do come and see me in my clinic if you would like help.

To find out more about the clinic click here or on the “clinic” tab at the top of the page

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist’Herbal Health Information