May 19, 2022 0 Comments
Like any good mom, Mother Nature’s always got a solution to offer us as we navigate through life’s tough times. When stress takes over, we can lean on her for support. That’s why for centuries people have turned to plants to help them cope. And we still do.
Using natural herbal remedies to help us keep calm and relaxed seems to be more and more popular every year. This is probably because life as we know it seems to get more and more hectic all the time. What’s more is that health has become top of mind for many, and people are searching for more ways to keep stress levels to a minimum.
Not to mention that the last couple of years has kept many of us from doing some of the things that makes us happy. With all of this going on, having options like natural herbs to boost our coping skills can be so empowering. (Always check with your doctor before adding a stress supplement to your regimen.)
You’ll notice if you visit your local health food store, the shelves will be well stocked with a variety of herbal options to consider. If you’re wondering which herbs might be worth trying to help you deal with stressful times, check out this list of seven of the most common.
The chamomile flower looks similar to a daisy and is part of the Asteraceae family. It’s most commonly found as a tea and is often blended with other calming herbs. There are two types, German and Roman, and they have similar properties and uses. Both plants have been used medicinally for sleep and stress support since the time of Hippocrates in 500 B.C.
Valerian is a perennial plant whose root has been used for stress relief and to treat insomnia, among other uses, for thousands of years as well. The name has often been confused with the drug Valium, but they’re not related to each other. The powdered root and extract are made into capsules, tinctures, teas, and are also blended with other calming herbs in pills. However, be careful not to mix valerian with St. John’s wort, kava, or melatonin because they don’t interact well.
Lemon Balm is an herbaceous perennial that is part of the mint family. It doesn’t have invasive roots like other mints, however. It has been used traditionally to treat toothaches, fainting, and anxiety. The official name is Melissa officinallis and was named because of the strong attraction bees have to it ("Melissa" meaning bee or honey in Greek). It’s often found in tincture form, but also in teas and capsules. Research suggests it can help to calm, reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
The Piper methysticum (“intoxicating pepper”) plant, known as kava, is mainly grown in the Pacific Islands. It has traditionally been made into a drink that was popular for its calming and euphoric effect and for other medicinal and ceremonial uses. Studies show that it can be used to help reduce anxiety and insomnia. Be careful though, kava has also been linked to liver damage in some studies, so it should be used with caution.
Lavender originated from the Mediterranean region and has been around since ancient Greek times. It has always been prized for its beauty, its lovely sweet flowery scent and its ability to calm and relax. As a hardy and versatile plant from the mint family, it’s found in so many products like cleaners, skincare, and food. Medicinally, it’s used to reduce anxiety, improve mood, help sleep and ease nervousness. Lavender is most commonly used as an essential oil in aromatherapy but can also be found as a supplement, which is suggested as the best choice to help with anxiety. And it’s also a wonderful addition to the garden.
The climbing vine called passion flower, or passionflower, is native to the U.S. southeast and Central and South America. It has been used by native peoples for its sedative properties and was brought to Europe where it was cultivated for medicinal uses. Though there isn’t much research, this herb is said to help with anxiety and sleep and is found in supplements and teas. It’s also used for other purposes, like ADHD, heart rhythm problems, pain and menopausal symptoms, but there isn’t a lot of evidence to support this.
It’s most well known as an ingredient in beer, but hops may also have benefits for anxiety, sleep, menopause symptoms and general restlessness. The plant is a vine that’s part of the hemp family, Cannabinaceae. The chemicals in hops have properties similar to weak estrogen and can also cause sleepiness. It’s often found in supplements combined with other calming herbs like valerian and passionflower.
Herbal remedies for helping you relax are not hard to find these days. Hopefully this list helps you pick one. You might need to try a variety before you find one that works for you, but at least you have some information to get you started. But also, remember to slow down every once in a while and give yourself a break. You deserve it!
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