Herbs for Stress Relief

By Val Silver

stress herbs

Herbs for stress relief have been effectively and gently helping people take the edge mental tension for generations.

Herbal anti-anxiety and calming remedies act as your allies against everyday distress in two ways. They either help you relax and calm down in the moment or they help your body adapt and cope in stressful times.  When used together they offer a broad range of support.  Some herbs have a relaxing effect and offer protection from the ravages of stress on your body over time.

How to Choose Herbs for Stress Relief

  • Stress herbs are generally quite easy and safe to use. However, certain ones can be contra-indicated for your situation and medications.  I highly recommend that you read the full profile for each herb (just search by herb name+herbal profile), including precautions for use, before choosing which herbs suit your needs. If you have a medical condition and/or take medication, please consult with your doctor before using herbal stress teas and remedies.
  • Match the specific benefits of the herbs with your needs. Find this information in the herbal profile. You can use just one herb or combine them. Many herbs for stress relief are readily available as combination remedies. Choose a single herb or combine them into capsules, syrups, tinctures, extracts, and my personal favorites - infusions and teas.
  • For best quality, it is usually preferable to use liquid tinctures and extracts rather than powdered herbs in capsules. Coarsely ground herbs properly dried and stored for teas are good. Tablets are generally the least desirable. The more an herb is ground, the less time it holds its benefits.
  • Choose a few favorites from calming herbs and adaptogenic herbs for in the moment relief and protection from the damaging effects of long-term distress. 

Types of Stress Relieving Herbs

There are two main types of herbs for stress relief. 

Calming herbs or Nervines work quickly to ease feelings of nervousness, stress and anxious feelings. They have a short-term positive effect on the nervous system. They include kava kava, lemon balm, chamomile, hops and more. They are commonly taken internally as teas, capsules, and tinctures.  Lavender is perhaps the best known and most loved aromatherapy stress herb.  For quick stress and herbal anti-anxiety relief, keep a bottle of lavender essential oil or a potted lavender nearby. Snip off a few leaves or flowers, roll them in your hands and inhale deeply. Lovely. 

Adaptogenic herbs act as a tonic. They support the organs and systems affected by stress and help your mind and body be more resistant during stressful times. It is safe to take adaptogens for long periods of time. It may take weeks or months to realize their full benefits. Herbal adaptogens include ashwagandha, holy basil, rhodiola rosea, schisandra and more. They are commonly taken as tinctures and capsules although some are good in tea and even as food.

How to Use Herbs for Stress Relief

Teas, tinctures and capsules are three convenient and beneficial ways to enjoy calming herbs. Tinctures are probably the most potent because the herbal constituents are extracted into alcohol and water. 

Some herbalists recommend tasting your remedy before swallowing to get the most benefit. Put some tincture on your tongue or break open the capsule. Pr put them in hot water as a tea. Tasting allows for a transfer of physical and energetic information from the herb to your body via your tongue. This mindful practice also creates more of a conscious connection, or partnership, between you and the plants.

herbs for stress relief

There is nothing like a sipping a soothing cup of hot freshly brewed herbal tea to take the edge off a stressful day. 

  • Practice mindful presence while making and drinking your tea to relax and center yourself. Give your full attention to the art of making and drinking tea. Enjoy a ritual of choosing your herbs, preparing them in a special cup, and savoring your brew. 
  • For a deeper level of support, drink infusions of healthy herbs to replenish much needed minerals, vitamins and water to shore up your adrenals during times of stress. When taken in sufficient quantity, certain stress relieving herbs offer more benefit than a few hours of easing tension. Oatstraw is a good example.
  • Pair your herbal tea or tincture with vibrational or energetic remedies. Some herbal remedies act specifically on your energetic body.  Flower essences are vibrational remedies that subtly  ease stress and anxiety due to mental and emotional aspects or personality traits. Rescue Remedy is popular for calming distress with emotional upheaval. Aromatherapy essential oils can work on the physical and/or energetic bodies. They smell heavenly and are quite versatile and effective as mild herbal anti-anxiety and de-stressing aids. Roman chamomile is known for promoting inner peace. Paired with a nice cup of tension taming tea flower essences and/or aromatherapy make for a wonderfully soothing combination.

Stress herbs play an important role in naturally managing feelings of stress and anxiety. Using a variety of your favorite herbs for stress relief can help you feel more relaxed and centered. Not only do they soothe your nervous system, they protect your mind and body from the ravages of distress, helping you be healthier and more resilient when challenging times come your way.

Source: http://botanical.com/site/by_you/herbs_for_relaxation.html

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