5 Herbs to help reduce stress and anxiety:
1. Licorice Root contains a natural hormone alternative to cortisone, which can help the body handle stressful situations, and can help to normalize blood sugar levels as well as your adrenal glands, providing you with the energy necessary to deal with the stressful situation at hand. Some claim licorice stimulates cranial and cerebrospinal fluid, thereby calming the mind. As a soothing tonic, drink it warm as in a tea.
2. Passion flower is considered a mild sedative and can help promote sleep. Passion flower also treats anxiety, insomnia, depression and nervousness.
The parts of the passion flower plant that grow above the ground can be dried and steeped for tea. Otherwise, passion flower is available as a tincture, capsule and even as a juice.
3. Kava Kava, an herb from the South Pacific, is a powerful muscle relaxer and analgesic. Kava Kava is also effective at treating depression and anxiety associated with menopause.
Kava Kava is very easily found as a capsule in the supplement section of any grocery store.
4. St. John’s Wort has been more effective than Prozac, according to a recent study, in treating major depressive disorders.
St. John’s Wort is most often taken as a capsule or tablet. It is often combined with valerian root when insomnia or restlessness are accompanying symptoms.
5. Lavender is the workhorse of herbs. It is effective at reducing irritability and anxiety, promoting relaxation, a sense of calm and sleep. It is also a powerful anti-bacterial agent, and can work to balance hormones and stimulate the immune system.
While lavender can be consumed in a tea, it may work best as an essential oil that is breathed in by way of a diffuser.
Herbal Teas that help reduce stress:
• Teas of chamomile, basil, marjoram, or basil help ease stress. Use about 1 ounce fresh herbs (half of that if dried) for every 2 to 3 cups water.
• A tea of elderberry flowers is considered relaxing to the nerves and is sleep inducing, too. (Caution! Avoid if pregnant.)
• For insomnia, drink bee balm which acts as a mild sedative, calming the nerves and aiding sleep. Take an infusion of 2 teaspoons chopped leaves in 1 cup boiling water.
• Drink rosemary tea to alleviate melancholy or depression.
• Valerian tea (or capsules) is a natural sleep aide. In infusions, 1 ounce of the roots in 1 pint boiling water is a common recipe, consumed by wineglass as needed. (Caution: Too high a dose may lead to negative side effects!)
• First, do not eat your final meal late in the evening, and keep the meal light.
• Eating lettuce with your dinner is supposed to be calming, helping you to sleep and have pleasant dreams. Some say you should not have vinegar with your lettuce.
• Mandarin oranges are soporifics, so consider adding them to your evening meal to help insomnia.
• Raw onions are also used to induce sleep.
• Trying to remain relaxed but alert? Some studies suggest that the smell of apples, apple cider vinegar, or spiced apples have this effect. The right smell can make all the difference.
Massages and Rubs
• Massage the temples with lavender oil.
• A warm bath with a couple of drops of chamomile oil aides sleeping. Add a slash of lavender oil for a relaxing aroma.
• For a relaxing body rub, soak equal parts finely chopped dandelions, burdock (roots and/or aerial parts), yellow dock, and lobelia in 1 quart rubbing alcohol for two weeks. Apply externally.
• Strew lavender in the linen closet to scent your bed sheets with this mildly narcotic herb.
• Try putting a few drops of lavender oil in your nose—gently, with a cotton swab (Q-tip).
• Sprinkle infusions of dill on your pillowcases and quickly iron them dry or fluff them in a clothes dryer.
• Dill will also lull cranky babies to sleep. Add dill infusion to the bath, sprinkle on a baby’s blanket, or use as a hair rinse.
• Sage is considered a “ghost medicine,” used to prevent nightmares. Strew it on the floor or in the bed.
• Keep in mind: Not every fragrant herb is suitable for a good night’s sleep. Some can have the reserve effect. You may wish to consult a herbalist.
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