About RTÉ Television
The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Herbal Relief For Stress And Fatigue with Ciara O' Meara

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

As the days are shorter and winter sets in many of us may be feeling fatigued or stressed which tends to cause issues with our energy levels. Ciara is here to show us some ways of relieving fatigue and stress.

Ciara O Meara - Medical Herbalist
I have a long standing interest in natural medicine. From a young age I found myself allergic to antibiotics, this prompted a proactive approach to preventative medicine, ensuring that through diet and exercise I was always doing my best to stay healthy. I completed an honours Science degree in University College Dublin in 1997 followed by an MSc in Medical Genetics at Aberdeen University. I then spent a number of years working in the field of academic research in areas such as The Human Genome Project at Oxford University, UK, and on Cancer reseach at Cancer Research UK. It was during this time that I took up a yoga practice and further cultivated an interest in holistic medicine.

First hand experience of successfully using herbal medicine  prompted me to pursue an interest in the subject. I soon realised that this interest was part of a much broader, richer and complex area of natural medicine which required dedicted study to appreciate both its subtlties and power. To deepen my knowledge on the subject and aquire the ability to confidently use it as a health professional I completed a four year degree at Westminster University in London.

This University is a long established centre for excellence in the training of medical herbalists. Its facilities encompass a central London clinic for herbal medicine where members of the public can avail of treatment. This is where I completed 500 hours of clinical training as part of my degree, treating members of the public from young to old with a range of illnesses. This was an integral part of the educational programme, in the interests of maintaining a high level of safe practice. This training included differential diagnosis of illness up to a high standard of training clinically on par with that of a GP.


For many people fatigue can be followed by a period of stress, in order to counteract this preventative measures can help.

High blood pressure can be part of the body's reaction to stress. Hawthorn berry strengthens the heart muscle without raising the blood pressure. It also has a relaxing effect on the central nervous system and is useful in preventing cardiovascular illness.

It can be taken as a tea or a tincture
To make a tincture:

. 200 g of the fresh berries in 600ml of vodka or whiskey (whiskey is better)
. Leave in a dark cool area for 10-14 days, shake daily
. Strain through a muslin cloth
. Label and store
. Take 5mls morning and evening

This herb is traditionally used as a tonic for nervous exhaustion. It is useful for invigoration particularly where this has led to loss of libido in both men and women. Also particularly useful for stressed out students.
This can be taken in capsules or tincture and can be bought at your local health food store.

Long term stress can in some people lead to insomnia and anxiety. Valerian is very useful for those who have such sleep problems. As well as this it relaxes any tension in the stomach and can also be useful in relieving tense muscles in the body.
Best taken at least 2 hours before bed to help with insomnia.
This can be taken in tablet or tincture form available in your local health food store

Both Chamomile and Lemon balm are relaxing digestive remedies which also has a calming effect on the central nervous system. Chamomile is particularly useful where stress may affect the digestive system leading to indigestion or acid reflux.
Both herbs are very gentle yet effective and are ideal for children, given as a tea or mixed with a small amount of apple juice for palatability!

To make
. Infuse equal parts lemon balm and Chamomile for at least 10 minutes
. Drink freely throughout the evening or day for relaxation

Bee Pollen
This is an excellent nutritive and tonic supplement to include for those who are stressed out or recovering from long term illness, or just plain overdoing it.

Pollen contains 21of the 23 known amino acids, many of the B vitamins, Vitamin A and numerous minerals. It also contains powerful anti-oxidants which are said to help with stress induced premature aging. 

It is useful for building up the immune system and helping the body to cope with stress. Particularly useful for athletes and those who train competitively.

Epsom salts contain magnesium sulphate which is absorbed through the skin, in a bath, it draws toxins from the body, sedates the nervous system, reduces swelling, relaxes muscles. Add a couple of drops of essential oil of lavender or clary sage for extra relaxation.

Avoid if you have known high blood pressure condition


For more information on Ciara please visit .

Locations of Ciaras clinics are,

Midland Centre for Natural health
Mitchel Street, Nenagh
Co Tipperary


The Herbal Clinic
Suir View
Cathedral Street
Co .Tipperary

For More Information On Herbalists
Visit the Irish institute of medical herbalists -