You can repeat your affirmations, never miss a yoga class, and still fall into a funk from time to time. It’s not your fault. If you feel you’ve tried every solution and still can’t get your ‘overwhelm’ under control, it may be time to add some stress-busting herbs into the mix.
Herbs are one of the most overlooked ways to help people relax and learn to let go. They’re easy to take and come in many forms including capsules, teas, and tinctures. For those times when your thoughts are racing, your nerves are frayed, or you just want to take the edge off, make sure you have one or more of these herbal wonders in your stress management kit:
Goodbye anger, sadness, and irritability. Blue vervain is a powerful herb for calming the nervous system. Users with occasional anxiety claim that it can help quiet a restless mind and put agitated nerves at ease. Also, if you tend to hold tension in the neck and shoulders, Blue Vervain is the herb for you. The taste tends to be bitter, but blending the herb with lavender tea or a sweeter beverage may be enough to mask the flavor.
A powerful adaptogen, Ashwagandha has a long and rich history of therapeutic applications. Ashwagandha helps nourish and restore optimal nervous system function by normalizing mood and energy levels. This herb “adapts” its functions according to what your body needs. Mood lift? Check! Energy boost? Check!
Chamomile isn’t just for bedtime! This herb, along with lavender and lemon balm, all have restorative, calming effects on the nervous system, so drink it whenever you need a hit of relaxation.
The passion flower, or passiflora incarnate, is a medicinal herb that grows native to North, Central, and South America and produces tiny, berry-like fruit. Many herbalists commonly use passion flower as an aid for insomnia, nervous tension, and stress headaches. For anxiety sufferers, this dried herb won’t cause dependency or withdrawal issues, which are common problems with anti-anxiety prescription medications.
Another adaptogen with normalizing effects on the body, holy basil contains several anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-stress properties. Holy basil has played a prominent role in ancient medicine and is prized for its ability to support the body in times of stress and naturally cope with occasional anxiety and fatigue.
Grown high in the Andes mountains, Maca is a complete protein providing all of the essential amino acids that your body can't produce on its own. It’s also an adaptogen meaning it keeps things at normal levels in the body and helps your body respond better to stress. Try a maca supplement or mix maca powder into your daily coffee, tea, or smoothie. Maca has a rich malty flavor that combines well with cacao, another popular mood-booster.
Rhodiola rosea supports your sympathetic nervous system — the stress control center of your body. It’s yet another powerful adaptogen that works hard to help your body adapt to stress, calm anxiety, and regulate cortisol levels.
Most of these herbs come in a tea, tincture, powder, or capsule form, so choose the form that works best for you. You also want to make sure any herbal supplements you're taking come from a trusted source. Look for supplements that are manufactured in an FDA registered facility that adheres to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), and come with a money back guarantee. Although these herbs are considered safe for long-term use, always check with your doctor before adding any herbal supplements to your diet.
We all need a pick-me-up from time to time. It’s good to know that certain herbs can be potent medicine in our effort to go from feeling blue to feeling pretty amazing.
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