Traditional plant-based healing practices utilizing herbs to treat illness and promote overall health have been employed since ancient times. So when the stress of everyday life overwhelms, turning to herbs with well-documented calming properties is a natural and healthy way to ease your overwrought mind. The following seven herbs have shown a penchant for encouraging restfulness and calm.
Lavender: There is a reason that many bath products whose labels bear the word "calming" are lavender scented. Lavender is one of the most well-known and readily available herbs with proven calming benefits. Place dried lavender blossoms into an organza bag and tuck under your pillow for a natural path to a restful night's sleep.
Chamomile: Another commonly available herb with the widely touted ability to help manage stress is chamomile. Known by health experts to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, chamomile is a great first line of defense against stress. Brew up a steamy cup of chamomile tea to soothe frayed nerves.
Lemon Balm: Promising research suggests that lemon balm can reduce some symptoms of anxiety, like excitability and nervousness. Lemon balm and mint tea is delicious iced or hot, especially when sweetened with just a drizzle of honey. Side note: Lemon balm lip cream is also a great treatment for cold sores, outbreaks of which can be symptoms of stress.
Rose: Dried or fresh rose petals have been used as bath additions since ancient times. Adding a handful of rose petals to a bath does more than just take the pretty factor up about ten notches. The natural oils in rose petals, when released into the bath, can moisturize and nourish the skin, and the calming scent released by the steaming bath is sure to soothe frayed nerves. Additionally, rose tea has also been praised as a relaxation aid.
Catnip: Catnip tea is noted for the calming effect that it can have on the body. Brew up a cup of tea from the leaves to lower stress and anxiety levels. It's also a good way to soothe a troubled tummy, something that unfortunately goes hand in hand with anxiety for many.
Valerian: One of the less commonly known herbs on the list, valerian has a long history of use for the treatment of nervous tension. There are records of valerian's use in medicinal applications dating back to at least the times of the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome. This herb can be especially useful to treat insomnia, yet another common side effect of stress. Create an herbal tea by pouring boiling water over chopped, dried roots.
Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha has been historically used to treat everything from the common cold to arthritis owing to its ability to increase immune system functionality and help the body to cope with stress. Simmer the dried or fresh root in boiling water for 5-15 minutes to create an infusion, cool, and sip slowly to unleash the calming benefits.
A final word of caution: If you are pregnant, breast feeding, or have any known health issues, you are advised to consult with a medical professional before beginning any herbal wellness routine. Some herbs can interact with over the counter and prescription medications, leading to undesirable side effects, so take that into advisement and contact your doctor with any questions.