Herbs to help with stress
Between work, spending time with friends and family, and keeping everyday life functioning, there’s little time left over to relax. In fact, many of us may feel guilty about ‘doing nothing’ because there is always something that still needs to be done. This constant on‐the‐go lifestyle can be very stressful and although stress is something that we all experience at some point in our lives, long term stress can be harmful and increase an individual’s risk of developing a variety of diseases.1 While some forms of stress are unavoidable, there are ways to help minimize its negative effects on your physical and mental health. Here is a list of top herbs that may help you:
- Sensoril – a Withania extract has been used in India for hundreds of years. It works by helping the body to resist the effects of physical stress, such as running a marathon, or psychological stress2 such as preparing for an important meeting or presentation.
- St John’s Wort – is a flowering herb used to relieve low mood, anxiety, fatigue and loss of appetite. It contains two chemicals, hypericin and hyperforin that act on chemical messengers in the brain and regulate mood. Although the plant isn’t indigenous, it’s now grown as a crop with Australia producing 20 percent of the world’s supply.3
- Valerian – is commonly used to reduce stress, anxiety and sleeplessness. The part used is the root and it’s more effective when taken over time. So it’s not unusual if your healthcare professional requests that you continue taking it for several weeks to ensure you receive the maximum benefit.4
- Siberian Ginseng – has a long history of use for increasing energy, longevity and vitality. Siberian Ginseng is also considered to be an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body to cope with mental and physical stress.5
- Avena Sativa – (Wild oat) is well known for its nutritional value. What’s less well known is that in western herbal medicine it’s used for the relief of nervous exhaustion and stress, as well as to increase energy levels and support the nervous system during these times.6
- Korean Ginseng – (Panax ginseng) has been used in Chinese medicine for over 2000 years to relieve stress, invigorate the body and as a tonic.7 Chemicals called ginsenosides contained in Korean Ginseng promote brain activity and may improve brain function, poor memory, insomnia and anxiety,8 making it a great herbal supplement for anyone living a busy modern lifestyle.
- Chamomile – is one of the most popular herbs in the Western world. The dried flowers have been used as a medicine for thousands of years and may be made into tea, tablets, capsules or oil. It is most commonly used for the treatment of stress related symptoms such as anxiety and sleeplessness.9 Try a soothing cup of Chamomile tea before bed to ensure a good night’s rest.
- Lemon Balm – is a lemon scented herb indigenous to southern Europe. It helps to reduce stress related symptoms such as anxiety, as it possesses mild sedative and tranquilizing effects.10 It can be made into a tea or taken as a tablet or capsule.
- Hops – are the seed cones from a climbing plant called Humulus lupulus. They are widely used in the manufacture of beer and traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to aid in relaxation, anxiety and stress relief.11,12 While we don’t recommend drinking beer for its hops content, taking a supplement may help keep you calm on those really tough days.
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Published February 12, 2014
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