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


Herbal Health Information on Tiredness

Having a little nap in the afternoon or falling asleep in front of the T.V. in the evening is perfectly normal. It is waking up tired after a decent nights sleep and dragging yourself through the day that I am going to discuss here.

There are many causes for tiredness:-

Poor nutrition/poor digestion

Heart problems




Post viral

Chronic fatigue syndrome (M.E.)


I would advocate going and having a general check up and a blood test at your doctor’s before taking any other action. If the cause is easily picked up by a blood test, such as Anaemia, or possibly heart problems then it is easily dealt with by orthodox medicine.

If all the tests are coming back ok then there are several things you can do to help yourself through it.

A good diet is essential as you can’t run a tank on empty!

Make sure you get your fair share of:-

Complex carbohydrates such as whole grain cereals

Never snack on sugary foods to try and boost your energy levels if you are suffering from tiredness. What happens is the sugar is easily digested resulting in a sugar “high” in the blood stream giving you a short burst of energy. But if the blood sugar levels are high, the body responds by producing insulin from the Pancreas which removes the sugar from the blood and stores it in the cells either as Glycogen or eventually fat. This then causes the blood sugar to fall, resulting in more fatigue.

Fruit and Veg are both a source of complex carbohydrate and a source of vitamins and minerals which are essential for all body metabolism (chemical reactions)

Proteins, such as Eggs, Fish, Meat and Cheese.

Protein is essential for repairing any cell damage and also new cell growth. Adult humans do not need as much protein as we normally eat as we are no longer growing, but only repairing and regenerating. Children need a good source of protein due to their rapid growth. Any Mums out there will know the “I’m Hungry” mantra that starts the moment children open their eyes!

Despite the drive to encourage us to eat mostly chicken and fish, it is necessary to eat some red meat every week to ensure a good intake of iron.

Essential fatty acids. These are the omega oils about which there is so much talk. They are necessary for cell wall growth and repair. The body cannot manufacture one of these acids, linoleic, and it is a must, to have a source of it in your diet.

Fatty acids are present in oily fish and eggs, seeds pulses oils and margarines.

I know eating sounds like a bit of a mine field but don’t stress yourself about it, just eat a sensible balanced mixed diet and you will be getting all the nutrients your body needs.

This is one of the times that exercise is not a good idea. Your body usually knows when it needs rest, so let it repair itself and then think about the exercise when your energy levels have improved.

There are many Herbs which have tonic properties but it is not a good idea to get a boost of energy too quickly as you will want to rush around and do all the jobs you haven’t done for however long and this will cause further fatigue.

Slow but sure is the best approach.

If a patient visits me in clinic with tiredness I will, as usual, make sure their digestion is working properly. If you have read any of my other articles you will know that it is the “bitter” herbs that improve digestive function. These are herbs such as Dandelion, Burdock, Agrimony, Centaury and Yellow Dock, (only one at a time otherwise you will be sat on the loo forever) all of which we have seen on various Herb walks.

A good digestive system will ensure proper use of the food you eat.

The circulation needs to be working well to get nutrients to where they are required and metabolic by products away as quickly as possible.

Hawthorn is an excellent circulation herb as it supports the heart, at the same time as it increases blood flow to the capillaries.

Nettles and Yellow dock are good tonic herbs because they both contain minerals, especially iron.

Oat is also a tonic herb, supporting the nervous system to improve body functions.

For a month or two it is best to just use a combination of these nutritive and tonic herbs, before boosting energy levels with herbs such as Ginseng and Dong quai (known as ladies ginseng) these two herbs are adaptogens which return body function to normal.

You will find ready made preparations with combinations of these herbs in them or you are welcome to visit me in my clinic to have a tailor made herbal remedy prepared for you.

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