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 Depression

Depression may be caused by stress, tiredness, hormone imbalance, emotional exhaustion and lack of sleep.

Symptoms vary for different people but may include, feeling low, poor self esteem, insomnia, headaches, lack of motivation and lack of confidence.

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, handing a job over to anyone else to do, get a cleaner for the housework, take a holiday. ANYTHING!

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.

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, coffee and coca cola, is the very worst thing for depression

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.

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.

Exercise will help, so go to the gym or preferably do something in the fresh air. I know this is easier said than done as many people suffering from depression have a lack of motivation. Take it in easy steps. Try and do one thing a week for yourself such as go for a walk in the countryside (short walk will do), join a dance class or SING! Or anything that takes your fancy. You will be really pleased at the result and the feeling of self achievement.


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.

Passiflora I have talked about in its own little article. It has mild sedative properties and is a relaxant as well as supporting the nervous system.

Skullcap is a tonic nervine as well as being anti spasmodic and relaxing. I use it because it is the only herb I know, which, due to its relaxing nervine properties, stops the brain going in to overdrive and thinking all those horrible “loop” thoughts when you are trying to get to sleep, such as, the shopping list or what activities the children have the next day or what shall I wear to my daughters wedding, or the amount of work piling up in the in tray, etc etc etc.

Orthodox medicine for depression raises the serotonin levels in the brain and I have found a tincture of St. John’s wort, Skullcap and Passiflora has a similar action whilst at the same time repairing the nervous system and restoring it to normal function.

You may find an over the counter preparation with these herbs in, but do make sure it is a licensed product which means it has been through rigorous trials.

One other herb I want to mention to repair and restore the nervous system and as an anti depressant is Oats. As an herb it is the oat straw that is used which can be taken as a tincture, or a bowl of Porridge every morning will help.

Growing in your garden you may have:-

Borage, an uplifting herb 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 soothing tea.

Vervain has nervous system and alterative (changing to normal) properties and can be drunk as an uplifting tea.

There are many ways of helping combat depression 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


Pevensy castle walk….lime flowers

Beach walk…………..Chamomile

Herbs and health

Lime flowers


St john’s wort

Herbal Health Information on Headaches

I am assuming here, that you have been to the doctor and eliminated anything serious.

That usually leaves tension headaches which are brought on by unconsciously clenching the muscles in the shoulder which are attached to the back of the head. This then pulls the muscles in the head causing them to pull, resulting in headaches. There are other common causes of headaches such as eye strain, tooth pain, viral infections, neuralgia, sinus infections, arthritis and dehydration.

What I am going to talk about here is the tension headache as the others all need dealing with in their own right.

Stress is a factor in tension headaches so look at the stress article and see if you can reduce the amount of stress you have.

Become conscious of what you are doing with your shoulders. If you find yourself constantly hunched up over the computer or whatever you are doing here is a little yoga exercise you can do three or four times during the day:-


Close your eyes, sit comfortably, legs uncrossed and feet slightly apart, relax your hands on to your lap.

Breathe normally, but count how long it takes you to breathe in and breathe out. Do this for about a minute.

Lift your shoulders up to your ears as far as you can, without causing yourself pain, whilst you are breathing in.

Slowly relax your shoulders back down whilst breathing out.

Do that for a couple of minutes and it will make you aware of your neck muscles so that you will get to know when you are tensing them up and be able to relax them.

The whole exercise only takes three or four minutes and is easily done sitting at your desk.


No Caffeine

No Caffeine

No Caffeine

I hope you get the message!

And drink at least two pints of water a day (not juice or hot drinks, just water)

P.S. caffeine withdrawal is dramatic and will give you headaches so come off it slowly, substituting it with herbal teas.


The aim is to help you relax.

Crampbark, which we saw on the West Rise marsh video, is a wonderful muscle relaxant taken internally as a tincture. Both Passionflower and Pulsatilla are calming and relaxing as well as being nervous system supporting herbs.

Lavender oil in the bath or as a rub for the shoulders is relaxing and soothing.

Essential oils must always be diluted, so measure out 10 mls of any base oil, such as Grapeseed, into a container. Add 5 drops of lavender oil and there you have a muscle rub.

If you would like to visit the clinic for more help please click on the Clinic tab

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist

View Clinic details here

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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