Anxiety Su Bristow

It’s a recurrent theme, but it seems to surface particularly in spring (and in autumn and at Christmas), when things are in a state of flux, and your energy may be low after the winter.

Of course, anxiety arises for all sorts of reasons, but very often it’s linked with feeling out of control, out of your depth, out of your comfort zone. And yet, if you try to keep it at bay by avoiding situations where you’re out of your depth, your life gets smaller…and the anxiety finds something to fasten on to, just the same.

Herbs can often help

The herbal answer is to ‘feed’ your nervous system, helping you to become stronger and more resilient, able to rise to challenges rather than shrinking from them.

Licorice Su B

Liquorice comes in many shapes and sizes!


And there are plenty of herbs to choose from, from exotica like Withania and Liquorice to humble weeds like Vervain and Wood Betony.

Vervain Su B


Choosing the right ones can be a challenge in itself, of course. Valerian, for example, is a perfect anxiety-buster for some people, whereas for others it does nothing, or can even make things worse. That’s why buying an over-the-counter pill containing a mixture of traditional remedies is always a hit-and-miss business.

Patience is required to give time for the required herb to work

It’s my experience that patients who stick with the herbs, rather than getting bored after a few weeks and going off to try something else, will find over a period of months – and varying the herbal prescription – that their baseline gradually comes up; they can cope with more before they start to get anxious.

As someone said to me this week, ‘If I’d had all this to deal with this time last year, I’d have been on the floor!’ Depletion doesn’t happen overnight, and it can’t be corrected in a week or two either; but it can improve, slowly and gradually. There are no quick fixes, but there’s always hope.