Herbal medicine is undergoing a dramatic resurgence as the health consciousness movement grows, as both a viable alternative to Western medicine and in response to increasing drug prices in the United States.
With the US listed as the most anxious nation in the world, it is no small wonder that more and more people are seeking out calming herbs to help stabilize mood and maintain tranquility and calmness. These grounding herbs assist biochemical and neurochemical production and balance in a variety of ways to install calmness, to aid sleep, and to reduce anxiety.
Herbs may be taken in capsule or tincture form, but one of the preferred methods is to brew a tea. Dosage may vary for different herbs, but generally one tablespoon of a dried herb – or two tablespoons fresh – should be placed into a tea ball or strainer to a cup of just-boiled water. Let your herbs steep for up to ten minutes, depending on the desired strength of your tea. Be cautious with herbs that may make you sleepy, like skullcap, and don't make your tea too strong unless you're ready for bed! If you are already taking medications, always make sure that your herbal treatment won't interfere or interact with your current prescriptions.
If you lack space (or a green thumb!) to grow your own herbs, you can order herbs and tools online.
Lavender is both easily accessible and easily grown, and has a wonderfully calming scent and flavor. If you are growing your own lavender, make sure you purchase seeds for the edible variety. Lavender acts as a mild sedative and tonic, and can soothe worn nerves or an anxious mind. It one of the best herbs for stress, and can be used any time of day.
Kava Kava* is another anytime herb that can be used for stress management and social anxiety. Like lavender, it is a mild sedative, but allows your mind to remain alert so you can continue functioning at work, school, or play. It assists with relaxation, and can also assist with symptoms of PMS and relieve menstrual cramps.
Passionflower is an excellent herb for stress-induced headache and general anxiety relief. Mainly the flower is used, and some parts of the plant above the root. Passionflower is ideal for relieving insomnia and restless sleep. Ideally, a professionally prepared passionflower extract should be added to a cup of hot tea or water.
Chamomile is an old standby when it comes to treating nervous symptoms of any kind. A calming and tonic herb, chamomile can be used both topically and internally to relieve anxiety, headaches, PMS, rashes and other inflammatory conditions, and can assist in recovery from cold and flu symptoms. Chamomile is easily obtained at the grocery store, and is remarkably easy to grow indoors.
Skullcap* is a potent herb that is excellent for all kinds of nervous conditions, including the treatment of insomnia. Skullcap is a stronger sedative than lavender or kava kava as well as a tonic, and should be used sparingly and in combination with other herbs. Skullcap can also be used to bring on a late menses, and as it is an emmenagogue, should be avoided by women who are or may be pregnant.
Valerian root*, like skullcap, is a potent herb for the treatment of insomnia and severe anxiety. A sedative herb, it is also used as a muscle relaxer, making it useful for stress-related or stress-exacerbated conditions like sciatica, fibromyalgia, or muscle spasms.
Most of these calming herbs can be used regularly to manage stress, anxiety, and other nervous symptoms. Utilizing herbs for stress can be an inexpensive and effectual method of managing stress-related symptoms.