Herbal Health Information on Acid Indigestion

A burning feeling in the throat, pain, wind, abdominal discomfort and nausea can all be symptoms of acid indigestion. Indigestion may be indicative of a gastric or duodenal ulcer so it’s best to get it checked out with the doctor.

I know I do harp on about diet but really if you suffer indigestion then you must look carefully at your diet.

Acid indigestion is caused by the overproduction of stomach acid, produced to digest high protein foods such as meat, eggs and fish.

High fat foods, high protein foods and stress will increase the amount of stomach acid produced.

So diet wise it is better to have a fairly bland diet until the acid levels return to and are maintained at normal levels. A large heavy meal will also increase acid levels and result in you being awake in discomfort for most of the night.


Bowl of porridge/muesli/ cornflakes or rice krispies with semi skimmed milk.

Do not eat high fibre cereals as the fibre may aggravate an already irritated stomach, especially if you have an ulcer.

Fruit and juices are high in acid so are best to avoid, apart from lemon juice which has an alkaline effect in the stomach.


Bowl of soup but not tomato, or a baked potato, or a sandwich, made with white bread low fat spread and chicken breast or lean ham. Sorry no cheese, which is too fatty.

If you want fruit, pears and bananas are fairly low acid fruits, low fat yogurt is ok but everything in moderation.


If you can have your main meal at lunch time that is much better for you than in the evening when the digestion is working hard but the body is also trying to shut down for the night

I won’t be too specific here but the usual meat and two veg is good. Make sure the meat is lean and your portion amount is not too big. No fry –ups and don’t add too much fat or oil into the cooking.

Spicy foods, especially Chilli containing foods need to be avoided as they may aggravate the condition.

Foods to avoid are:-



Fatty foods

Full fat cheese

High fibre foods

Acidic fruits and juices




Herbal Medicine aims to reduce stomach acid levels and coat and protect the stomach and gut lining as well as ensuring good production of other digestive enzymes so that the food is properly digested and the waste eliminated.

There is a plant called Meadowsweet, which I call a wonder herb, alongside Dandelion, Elder, Yarrow and Hawthorn.

Meadowsweet grows on the downs near us but really likes to grow near streams or rivers or on marshy land. It is a beautiful plant standing tall with cream coloured feathery flowers which smell of bitter almonds. Although I have seen it on our walks this summer, growing beside a stream at Shinewater Lake, I have not had time to video it, so that pleasure awaits us next year.

Meadowsweet is anti-inflammatory as it contains salicylic acid, an aspirin related chemical. It is acid reducing due to the Salicin content, the herbalist’s bicarbonate of soda and has protective properties due to its high mucilage content. Marshmallow root has high mucilage content so is also protective for the stomach lining in high acid conditions. Along with these two herbs it is important to make sure that the rest of the digestive processes are functioning well especially the breakdown of fats. For this purpose I would use, either Milk thistle, which improves liver and gall bladder function, or Chamomile, which improves digestive function and is a tonic to the gut. Chamomile is also calming and soothing for the nervous system and is an excellent herb for increased stomach acid if it is stress related.

You may find over the counter preparations of these herbs but make sure they are licensed products so that you know they have been through rigorous trials.

You are also welcome to visit me in my clinic for help. The clinic details can be seen by clicking here or on the “clinic” tab at the top of the page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

Herbal Health Information on Menopause

What I am about to say about menopause may surprise you:-

It is not an illness!

Rather look on it as a change, just like first starting your periods was a change in the way your body functioned.

I have helped so many women in my clinic get through menopause I feel it is a bit of a specialist area for me.

Having said it is not an illness, I of course know it causes many women serious distress, with many symptoms both physical and emotional.

Most common of the symptoms are hot flushes ranging from a few mild ones a day to 2-3 an hour with face redness and sweating.

Apart from the flushes, symptoms include, poor sleep, digestive problems, weight gain, depression, headaches and more.

My approach is to help people get through the menopause as easily as possible which means getting the body to accept this new way of functioning as normal and to prevent it trying to return to its youthful state which is the major cause of the symptoms.

There is a system in the body called the Endocrine system, consisting of the Thyroid, Adrenal glands and Ovaries or Testes, which are responsible for the production of most of our hormones.

It starts with the Pituitary gland situated just below the brain which controls the secretions from the Thyroid, Adrenal glands and Ovaries/Testes. These organs send messages to the pituitary gland and to each other to give a status update and messages from the pituitary control the output of the hormones produced in these organs.

When the ovaries stop ovulating (producing an egg) each month, the message to the pituitary is one of panic SEND REINFORCEMENTS I can’t manage on my own!

Unfortunately for us the area of the brain which controls the pituitary is right next to the temperature control area and any message which goes up there to stimulate the pituitary into action also stimulates the temperature control area. Hence the hot flushes. Who designed that?

It is completely wrong to try and increase the amount of oestrogen in the body in hopes of stopping the flushes. We need to get the body to accept the new lower hormone levels so that it is not sending panic messages around and about.

There is one herb I have found to help the body adjust to these new levels and that is Dong Quai. Which of course we have not seen on our herb walks as it is a Chinese herb. To help with the flushes I use the traditional herb, Sage, which we have not looked at yet, but we will visit an herb garden and have a look at soon in a video, so keep your eye on the walks section. Sage is not the be all and end all for hot flushes but does help to reduce them. There are other herbs for flushes such as Willow and Zizyphus but these need to be used under the supervision of a practitioner as they are not commonly available over the counter.

I often mix these with a liver herb such as milk thistle, to ensure the liver is metabolising hormones properly and calming herbs such as Passiflora or Motherwort.

St. John’s wort which we looked at in the shingle beach video is also excellent during menopause as a nervous system supporting herb, but remember cannot be taken if you are on any orthodox medicines.

Eat sensibly and cut out Caffeine containing drink and food (sorry, chocolate), drink plenty of water and you are going to hate me for saying this, but many many women report that alcohol sets off flushing horrendously.

Of course if you get stuck qualified Medical Herbalists are around to provide excellent support.

Linda Bostock

Medical  Herbalist

Herbal Health Information

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Yellow Dock (Rumex Crispus)

The root of this is used which contains glycosides, tannins, oxalates and minerals.

A really greedy, voracious weed and one you would shift heaven and earth to remove from your garden, but wow, what fantastic properties it has!

Yellow Dock

For a start, as it is a mineral rich plant, it is nutritious, containing iron and sulphur.

It is a bitter plant which stimulates digestive function, improves bile secretion, and is an alterative, encouraging the normal functioning of the body and a good lymphatic cleanser.

So I use it as a tincture in many mixes especially as a tonic herb and to improve a poor digestion.

It comes in the “never be without it” category on my shelves but needs to be used with respect, otherwise it may cause diarrhoea. In fact if I am putting yellow dock in a patient’s mixture for the first time, I do warn them, they may be sat on the toilet a bit more for the first couple of weeks.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

Yarrow/Milfoil (Achillea Millefoil)

The flowers and leaves are used which contain, flavonoids, volatile oils, lactones and alkaloids

This is the original wonder medicine. As I said in the video it does just about everything and at college, if we could not think of an answer to a question we would write “YARROW” it was bound to be right!


It grows so profusely on all kinds of soils and waste land that if we were ever in a situation where orthodox medicines were not available our first plant hunt would be for Yarrow.

It can stem the flow of blood from a wound, it is a diuretic and urinary antiseptic, has anti-inflammatory and anti rheumatic properties is anti viral, anti bacterial, a vasodilator(relaxes capillaries)  , digestive stimulant and protector, improves both gall bladder and liver function and is a gentle relaxant like chamomile.

I’m sure you get the picture!

Because of all these actions it is frequently used in many different mixes for digestive problems, lowering blood pressure, coughs, colds, arthritis, regulating  hormones, cystitis, stress and toning varicose veins. I’ve probably left out a few actions but I think that is enough for one plant to boast about!!!!!!

I would never be without it on my shelves.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/herbal Health Information

Marshmallow (Althea Officianalis)

Both the roots and the Ariel parts of this plant are used which contain high amounts of mucilage, flavonoids and tannins

Marshmallow in the Cuckmere Valley

The marshmallow has a history of over 2,000 years of use in European Herbal Medicine. It is known as a demulcent, meaning it soothes and protects mucous membranes. It is also antitussive (cough), is an alterative (restoring normal organ function) and diuretic.
It is used for all inflammation of the digestive system, lungs, kidneys and bladder. I forgot to mention the kidneys and bladder on the walk but marshmallow is my herb of choice to protect and soothe the bladder if a patient comes to me suffering from Cystitis.
In clinic I use it in mixes for irritating tickly coughs, irritable bowel, ulcers, and colitis, in all cases to protect and soothe the mucous membranes lining these two organs.
I have to say I was astounded at the rate it had spread along the river bank and pleased too, to know it isn’t likely to disappear from the Cuckmere. Plants are so vulnerable, a small change in conditions and they might not be growing where I last saw them and yet it seems they are also opportunists and if the conditions are good they will spread like mad. Thank goodness.

Linda Bostock
Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

Marshmallow Herb Walk Along The Cuckmere River

We often walk along the Cuckmere River, in East Sussex as it is one of the areas we can take Henry, our Red Setter, without cattle being around, although there are sometimes cows in the fields and we may have to do a bit of a detour, as cows seem to chase Henry and scare us. This is a video we made of that walk and of the rare Marshmallow plants that we found growing there. I hope you find it interesting.


Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist

Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris)

The whole herb is used which is humming with volatile oil, giving it its gorgeous smell. It also contains tannins

Thyme is strongly antiseptic and antibacterial; it soothes coughs and helps the lungs to cough up mucous.

Not surprising then that it is used for coughs, colds, sore throats and as a mouthwash for gum infections.


An excellent property of volatile oils is that once they hit the warmth of the stomach they start to, in effect, evaporate and fill up all the spaces in the respiratory system, disinfecting them on the way through.

The reason we add it to foods is because apart from tasting nice, it has good digestive aid actions.

Wild thyme growing on the downs is very small but you know when you are walking on it due to the heavenly smell.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

Burdock (Arctium Lappa)

The root is used which contains tannin, mucilage and inulin as well as iron, sulphur and B Vitamins.

This is another one of those weeds that robs the earth of all the minerals and so is a nutritive, blood tonic as well as having digestive system and liver cleansing properties. As it is a bitter herb, it stimulates digestion preventing the build up of toxins in the gut which may then get absorbed and cause problems in other areas of the body.


In clinic I use it as my number one digestion and liver supporting herb for all conditions requiring a cleansing action, such as arthritis, rheumatism, eczema, psoriasis and acne.

It is gentle, reliable and effective.

And yes it is that annoying plant with burrs as seed heads that stick to your clothes and the dog if you brush against them………we can’t all be perfect!

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information