Herbs for STRESS

Stress is in­evitable, but con­stant stress can wreak havoc on the ner­vous sys­tem. Use calm­ing herbs to main­tain emo­tional equi­lib­rium.

Herbs & Superfoods - - Herbs For Sleep & Stress -

Anx­ious, ir­ri­ta­ble or down­right fraz­zled? Boost your mood and al­le­vi­ate stress with calm­ing nervines (plant remedies for the ner­vous sys­tem). Herbal nervines have a re­lax­ing ef­fect on the ner­vous sys­tem and can help to soothe ten­sion and bring a sense of calm. Their ef­fects range from gen­tly calm­ing to strongly seda­tive, and they can be es­pe­cially help­ful to those who reg­u­larly ex­pe­ri­ence stress or anx­i­ety. Gen­tler nervines in­clude cat­nip, chamomile, laven­der, lemon balm, passionflower, skull­cap and St John’s wort. All can be taken in the form of herbal teas or tinc­tures. Stronger, seda­tive nervines in­clude hops, va­le­rian and ver­vain.

Gen­tle nervines are mild but still ef­fec­tive at de­liv­er­ing a dose of calm. Con­sum­ing them ear­lier in the day is help­ful for in­di­vid­u­als who are fre­quently stressed or ir­ri­ta­ble. They keep the ner­vous sys­tem from be­com­ing over­ac­tive, and can lead to a more re­laxed evening, which in turn may lead to a bet­ter night's sleep.

A tis­sane, or tea, is a pleas­ant way to take these gen­tle nervines. The world’s most pop­u­lar herbal tea is chamomile ( Ma­tri­caria re­cu­tita). While chamomile has an­tibac­te­rial, an­ti­fun­gal, an­tivi­ral, anti-in­flam­ma­tory and an­ti­spas­modic prop­er­ties, it’s best known for its use as a mild seda­tive. It helps to al­le­vi­ate stress, anx­i­ety, in­som­nia, stom­ach cramps, men­strual cramps, flat­u­lence, di­ar­rheoa and in­di­ges­tion.

Be­cause chamomile is a gen­tly act­ing herb, it’s suit­able for chil­dren and ba­bies. It’s es­pe­cially use­ful for sooth­ing fussy ba­bies and calm­ing down tod­dlers. When taken as a herbal tea, it helps with night­mares, ir­ri­tabil­ity and rest­less­ness in chil­dren and ba­bies, es­pe­cially when teething or when they’re suf­fer­ing from measles or chick­en­pox.

For adults, es­pe­cially the el­derly with acid re­flux, heart­burn, bowel spasms and any stress-in­duced gas­troin­testi­nal symp­toms, chamomile with laven­der and a lit­tle va­le­rian taken as a tea is es­pe­cially help­ful.

To grow chamomile in your gar­den, all you need is a free-drain­ing, sunny spot.

To dry your own chamomile flow­ers to make teas and tinc­tures, snip off the fully opened flower heads right at the start of flow­er­ing and lay them on a sheet of paper in a warm spot out of di­rect sun to dry. When they are com­pletely dry, store in an air­tight con­tainer.

Make a tea by in­fus­ing 2g-8g of the dried flow­ers in freshly boiled water three times daily. Steep for 10-20 min­utes.

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