How do you get enough energy to sustain yourself all day? 

A huge number of my patients have low energy as part of their list of presenting complaints when they first see me. There are several ways to improve the situation, often they are trying to get more energy by using caffeine or sugar to jump-start the system but unfortunately over time that just doesn’t work. So, we reduce or remove both of those stimulants and look at adaptogens instead.

Adaptogens are herbs that help the body to work better when it is under stress. The term first came about in the 1950s from some research carried out in Russia. In actual fact, in traditional medical systems, we have been using adaptogenic herbs for millennia; we just didn’t call them that. One that I like particularly for promoting energy levels is milk vetch (Astragalus membranaceous) which I find slowly and sustainably improves stamina, rather than giving a short, fast hit that needs to be paid back later. 

One of my other favourite adaptogens is ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) which comes from the Ayurvedic tradition. I use a lot of it in my clinic for people who are dealing with chronic stress, anxiety, and poor sleep. Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil is another herb that is useful here and both tulsi and ashwagandha are becoming more available now in products you can easily pick up to try – like herbal teas. 

So, if you want to have a boost of energy, avoid taking caffeinated drinks and try some herbal teas instead. If you want to know which herbs can make you feel calmer or more energised, download my free guide 5 Ways to Supercharge Your Next Cuppa. 

What does happiness mean to you? 

Happiness means many different things to each person, but one thing that it requires on a chemical level is enough feel-good neurotransmitters swimming around the brain. A good source of B-vitamins is vital and herbs like oatstraw (Avena sativa) can be helpful here. Mood enhancers like lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) help where anxiety is a problem; rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) where the mood is low and concentration is poor and skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) where there is irritability and overwhelm. 

The ability of the plant kingdom to support us in our quest for energy and happiness is boundless. With self-care, and the right herbal preparation – aromatics, tinctures, teas or just being amongst the plants in their own environment – there is a wealth of support out there if we take the time to explore. 

If you have an underlying health condition or take prescription medication it’s always best to check in with a medical herbalist for advice before buying over-the-counter remedies. You can find your local medical herbalist at www.nimh.org.uk/find-a-herbalist or email me.