Stress can make you feel tense and when stress goes on longer term it can make you feel tired too. Pictured here is Avena sativa (oats). Read on to find out which herbs can help with stress. In my previous blog post we looked at some simple things that you can do help relax and ease tension. You can read that blog here.
The last blog post looked at how you can think about the herbal actions that will be helpful for you. Let us take a look at some of the herbs that can be useful.
Which Herbs Can Help With Stress?
The Herbal Relaxants
There are a lot of herbs that work as herbal relaxants. They help to make you feel more relaxed and less tense. Use this category of herbs to help you unwind and feel calmer. Here are 3 of my favourites:
- Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) is gently calming whilst being slightly uplifting and is not sedating. Lavender is quite a fast acting herb so use whenever you need help relaxing.
- Melissa officinalis (Lemon balm) is again a gentle and calming remedy but takes a while for its full benefits to be felt. This is herb is best taken as a fresh herb or as a tincture made from the fresh herb. I find lemon balm especially useful when your mind is very busy and will not switch off.
- Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower) is an awesomely beautiful plant that is very relaxing and slightly sedating. Great to use when you are very tense or anxious but can be a little sedating if you have fatigue.
The Nervine Tonics
These herbs help to nourish and strengthen a depleted nervous system. These are very useful when you have been under stress for a while. These are my top 3:
- Avena sativa (oatstraw or oatseed) has got to be the absolute best nervine tonic there is. Oats strengthen the nervous system and restore energy. They are exceptionally good to use when you are suffering from fatigue because of stress. I personally avoid using oats when someone is prone to anger because I find it can sometimes be a little too stimulating.
- Verbena officinalis (vervain) is also a particularly good nervine tonic, and quite similar oats. Vervain is especially useful when your mood is feeling a little flat. As a bitter tonic this herb also stimulates the digestion.
- Withania somniferum (Ashwaganda) is a nervine tonic and an adaptogen so is especially useful because of these two important actions.
The adaptogens are so named because they are believed to help you to adapt to stress. They are helpful if you have suffered very severe or prolonged stress and are suffering from fatigue as a result. Here are 3 that I love:
- Withania somniferum (Ashwaganda) is an adaptogen that is not stimulating and so can be used even when you are feeling tense or on edge.
- Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng) is a much more stimulating adaptogen and so is useful when there is fatigue and a boost is needed. I avoid this herb when someone is feeling very anxious.
- Schisandra chinenesis (Wu Wei Zei) is primarily a liver herb helping the liver work to process stress hormones such as cortisol. It is also considered an adaptogen by some and is used as an anti-fatigue herb.
When to Get Help
It really is best to get professional help when stress has made you feel anxious, is affecting your mood or is making you feel tired. Additionally, fatigue can have many causes. Therefore, it is important to see your GP if your fatigue is severe or lasts more than a couple of weeks. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression do not try and struggle through on your own, please seek help from a medical professional.
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Always consult a Medical Professional if you are taking any medications or have any diagnosed health conditions before taking herbal remedies. Always seek professional advice before using herbal remedies if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Do not take Lemon Balm if you have any thyroid problems or are taking thyroid medication. Siberian ginseng is traditionally avoided in acute illness such as colds and flu. Schisandra may affect medications that you are taking.
This article does not substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.