By the end of summer I usually feel like falling backwards onto my bed and never getting up again. I love my work so I tend to work longer hours and I love sunsets so I tend to stay out late too. I know for a lot of people this is hard because next month they’ll be starting school or Uni and that involves some serious work. It’s a good idea to spend August trying to re-coup a little energy. Work less, party less hard too. Reflect and relax. Fix yourself a drink and read a book. Book a massage. Take it easy.

To be sure you don’t crash when September roles in use some herbs to help support you. The long summer days are naturally stimulating because the sunlight affects our pineal gland. This means we are naturally alert for longer. The only trouble is we tend to stay active as a result. This has a net result of a gradual decline in our energy resources. Sort of like if you put your phone on to charge each night but pulled it out at 60% each time.

There is a wonderful group of herbs called Adaptogens that are brilliant for supporting the adrenals and helping us recharge our batteries. Unfortunately, a lot of the adaptogens aren’t native to the UK. This is mainly due to the fact they were researched by the Russians post world war two and they had the Eastern herbs to hand. They were looking for herbs that would help them make super-soldiers. Less prone to illness, weakness, mental fatigue and post-traumatic stress disease.

As you know, I like to focus on the herbs out in our back garden. So I’m going to offer up some native adaptogens for those in Europe.

Borage (Borago officinalis)

Borage gives you courage. That’s the saying.. among herbalists at least. This spikey little number grows everywhere I go it seems. It’s great for building up energy when you’re on a bit of a low. It’s a slow building affect so don’t expect a coffee replacement out of it.

Caution: not to be taken long-term by anyone with liver problems due to the pyrrolizidine alkaloid content. Nor during pregnancy. {EDIT 24/8/16 since I originally wrote this we have decided to raise our cautions about borage and the pyrolizzidine alkaloid content, it's currently recommended that you don't take it internally, at all, until we know more about their potential toxicity. This is because we now know the toxicity may not show up for years after consuming it. We hope Borage will be one we can re-introduce to the herbal pharmacopeia in the future}

Enroll in the Herbal Self-Care for Stress Management Course

Nettle Seed (Urtica dioica fruct.)

Nettles are well known for their iron and vitamin content but the seeds are often over looked. While the leaves are commonly used to build people up if they’re anaemic the seeds are great if lethargy arises from adrenal fatigue. This is when the adrenals have been used so much they’re not very good at doing their job. This isn’t easy to buy but there’s plenty about this time of year. Great to eat straight off a nettle plant, if you’re careful!

Oat tops (Avena sativa)

Before we knew about adaptogens Western Herbalists would have used nourishing tonics for the nervous system. These were herbs which helped repair damage to the nerves. When people say “his nerves are shot” we’re talking about someone who has had to endure so much stress they’re super-sensitive. This is exactly the kind of person that would suit oat tops. No cautions with this one unless people have gluten allergies as it’s often grown next to wheat.

By Natasha Richardson

Disclaimer: Please don’t use any herbs featured on this website for medicinal reasons without contacting your health practitioner first.