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