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Anti-Stress Herbs: Staying Calm and in Natural Balance

Stress has become one of the main common denominators we humans share. Work-related, ego-related, relationship-related… however stress serves itself up, it affects our mental and physical states, depriving us of our ability to be clear, healthy, optimistic individuals. On a physical level, one of the most debilitating effects of stress is how it depletes the immune system by preventing the body from absorbing nutrients, lowering our resistance to illness. Anxiety, depression, fear, and anger are some of stress’s psychological manifestations. Headaches, migraines, heart palpitations, digestive upsets, and muscular pain are just a handful of the physical symptoms associated with stress.

Though allopathic medicine offers an enormous choice of stress relievers, most of them have side effects of some kind, and many people suffering from chronic stress can become addicted to the relief and often the euphoria they provide. On the other hand, herbal remedies come from a natural medicine cabinet filled with stress relieving plants that rarely cause side effects. Herbs prompt the body to release tension in a healthful manner while helping the system regain its natural balance.

Chamomile

chamomile1 Anti Stress Herbs: Staying Calm and in Natural BalanceThere are several types of chamomile, including bodegold, sweet false chamomile, wild chamomile, and German chamomile, all of which have a mild yet effective sedative action. Dried chamomile flowers have been used throughout the ages: the ancient Egyptians worshipped them and the ancient Greeks actually considered them sacred. A sedative, relaxant, and anti-depressive, the herb is used to relieve insomnia, headaches, nervous indigestion, menstrual cramps, and appetite loss. Because it contains essential volatile oils and flavonoids, it is also effective in treating gastritis, flatulence, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Peppermint

peppermint1 Anti Stress Herbs: Staying Calm and in Natural BalancePeppermint is a lovely aromatic herb that calms the mind, soothes the nerves, and reduces headache pain. It is also used for nausea, depression, and anxiety and can help uplift the mood and dispel mental fatigue. Peppermint contains menthol, menthone, and menthyl esters along with manganese, iron, magnesium, calcium, folate, copper, potassium, vitamins C and A. and omega 3 fatty acids, which help to fortify the immune system. Peppermint oil is often used in aromatherapy to reduce symptoms of stress. Peppermint leaves can be brewed as tea and sipped to calm the nerves [more on Peppermint].

St. Johns Wort

st johns wort1 Anti Stress Herbs: Staying Calm and in Natural BalanceSt. Johns Wort was considered a popular medicinal during the Middle Ages when healers used it to calm and fortify the nervous system. The herb is especially good for calming symptoms of anxiety through its ability to lower stress levels.

St. Johns Wort continues to be acknowledged for its ability to alleviate depression. In Germany allopathic doctors prescribe it as a viable and thoroughly respected alternative to anti-depressive drugs [more on St. Johns Wort].

Valerian Root

valerian Anti Stress Herbs: Staying Calm and in Natural BalanceChronicled in the medicinal tomes of the early Greeks and Romans, valerian root is a powerful antidote to symptoms of anxiety and restlessness. Containing powerful sedative properties, the herb is helps induce sleep. During the 16th Century, Valerian was used to treat insomnia and nervous conditions and it continues to be an excellent alternative to conventional drugs.

Hawthorne Berries

hawthorn berries Anti Stress Herbs: Staying Calm and in Natural BalanceKnown for their ability to build cardiovascular strength, hawthorne berries also help to calm the heart when stress levels elevate. In this regard, they are able to regulate high blood pressure and calm hyper respiration. Hawthorne berries are considered adaptogens, which by definition assist in balancing body and mind.  Additionally they are high in anti-oxidants, helping to destroy the free radicals caused by environmental toxin and stress.

Feverfew

feverfew Anti Stress Herbs: Staying Calm and in Natural BalanceThe ancient Egyptians and Greeks used feverfew to relieve the pain of migraine headaches.  This herb contains substances called parthnolides, which help to regulate the body in its reaction to stress by lowering serotonin and prostaglandin levels in the brain.  These are chemicals that cause headaches due to their inflammatory effect on blood vessels. As feverfew is an anti-inflammatory, it is an excellent choice for reducing the pain that is a result of stress.  Additionally the herb helps to alleviate stomachaches, arthritis pain, and other similar discomforts [more on Feverfew].

Willow bark

willow bark Anti Stress Herbs: Staying Calm and in Natural BalanceHippocrates prescribed willow bark for pain relief way back in the 5th C BC. Willow bark contains a substance called salicin, which helps reduce pain by inhibiting the neural transfer of pain signals. Recognizing this factor, the Bayer aspirin company used willow bark as part of its starting formula in the 1890s. White willow bark is commonly used, but purple or crack willow bark are actually more potent choices. The beauty of using willow bark for reducing anxiety and pain is that it is not irritating to the stomach as common aspirin can often be.

Oat Straw

oat straw Anti Stress Herbs: Staying Calm and in Natural BalanceOat straw tea is an excellent antidote for depression and nervous exhaustion due to its ability to nourish and calm the nerves. It can be used to treat insomnia and eliminate headaches and is an excellent choice for quelling menopausal symptoms by strengthening the endocrine system. Additionally oat straw is good for reducing eyestrain.

Note: If you are on medications, consult with your healthcare professionals before using herbal remedies.

 

Related recent articles from other OWC member experts:

 

Dr. Holly Lucille http://www.onlinewellnesscommunity.com/blog/2010/12/hemorrhaging-health-%E2%80%93-comparing-wealth-and-wellness/

 

Dr. Trevor Cates http://www.onlinewellnesscommunity.com/blog/2010/12/managing-stress-and-staying-healthy-through-the-holiday/

 

OWC Research Staff – Nutrients, Herbs and Natural Stress Therapies: http://www.onlinewellnesscommunity.com/blog/2010/11/stress/

 

Dr. Tricia Pringel http://www.onlinewellnesscommunity.com/blog/2010/11/depression-and-anxiety-whats-really-going-on/

 

Article Reference Sources:

Naturo Doc:

http://www.naturodoc.com/library/herbal/herbs_4_stress.htm

Mother Nature:

http://www.mothernature.com/Library/Bookshelf/Books/15/20.cfm

Alternative Healthzine:

http://www.alternative-healthzine.com/html/0300_2.html

My Country Garden: Oat Straw

http://www.mycountrygarden.net/hgarden/oatstraw

Herb Wisdom: Hawthorne Berry

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-hawthorn-berry.html

A Modern Herbal: Valerian http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/v/valeri01.html

Holistic Online:

http://www.holisticonline.com/stress/stress_aromatherapy.htm

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