Herbal Health Information on Peptic/Duodenal Ulcers

I am writing about this as a special request from a friend.

However it is important that these are properly diagnosed. Don’t just assume you have ulcers because you have pain in your stomach!

Ulcers can develop in the stomach, where they are called Peptic ulcers or in the duodenum where they are called duodenal ulcers. Both are caused by erosion of the gut lining by stomach acid or by a bacteria called Helicobacter.

The doctor can do a simple breath test for Helicobacter which can be treated with antibiotics.

Erosion by stomach acid is more difficult but can be treated with herbal medicine.

Symptoms include gnawing pain around the stomach which is relieved by eating in the case of stomach ulcers or made worse half an hour after eating for duodenal ulcers. Nausea, vomiting and appetite loss may also be symptoms.

Stress plays a major part in the excess production of stomach acid so if you are suffering stress look at ways in which you can reduce this.

Look at what you can change in your lifestyle even it is something small such as join a Yoga class, take time out for yourself, walk away from a stressful situation and calm down before going back to face it, can you hand a job over to anyone else to do, get a cleaner for the housework, take a holiday. ANYTHING!

The lining of the gut is covered with a membrane which is normally intact and across which digested food gets transported into the blood stream to be used around the body.

There are many foods which can aggravate the gut lining causing inflammation and an area vulnerable to attack by stomach acid.

Diet unfortunately needs to be fairly bland if you have a stomach ulcer. Any high fibre food or spicy food may irritate the stomach. High protein foods such as eggs meat and fish will increase the secretion of acid in the stomach as acid is produced to initiate protein breakdown in the gut. So eat protein in moderation and never eat a meal late at night.

I remember my auntie having a Stomach Ulcer, years and years ago and being told to eat little and often up to six times a day. That is still good advice for a Stomach Ulcer today!

Alcohol will also aggravate the stomach lining and there are some orthodox medicines which can aggravate the stomach lining. The best and probably most widely used of these is Aspirin. If you are on orthodox medication that you think may be irritating your stomach then the doctor will advise you about changing or coming off it.


The approach is to:-

Protect the stomach lining

Reduce inflammation

Heal the damaged lining

Reduce stress if this is a factor

To protect the gut lining we use herbs high in mucilage such as Marshmallow, Slippery elm or Meadowsweet.

To reduce inflammation Meadowsweet or Echinacea

To heal a damaged lining there is nothing better than Marigold

If there is a suspicion of Helicobacter still being present then it is worth putting in an herb with anti bacterial properties, such as Myrrh.

Anti stress herbs are Chamomile, Passiflora, lime flowers and Skullcap.

Valerian, the classic anti stress herb is too strong for many people’s stomach and can cause stomach ache so I do not prescribe it for stomach ulcers.

So a typical herbal tincture for gut ulcers may be:-





Lime flowers

These are mixed together in equal amounts and 5mls of the resulting mixture taken in a little water three times a day BEFORE MEALS.

You may find an over the counter preparation for ulcers but do make sure it is a licensed product which has been tried and tested.

If you would like more help with your health then please visit me in the clinic.

The clinic information 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 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