Stressful Times: 6 Herbs To Help You Soothe Stress Naturally

Feeling stressed? Aren’t we all! Thankfully, there are herbs that can come to our aid. These herbs help to soothe stress naturally and support our body through short- and long-term forms of stress. In this article, I’m going to share 6 different herbs that can help you soothe stress naturally. You can call upon these herbs individually to see how they help you on their own. You can also try some of them together in one of the 3 herbal recipes I’ve included in this article. Now before I tell you about the herbs and share the recipes with you, let’s first briefly talk about stress. Understanding stress is important because stress isn’t simply a mental state but something that affects your entire physical body. In a Nutshell: Stress in the Body Stress is a double-edged sword — meaning, it’s not always a bad thing. In fact, it can be a very good thing in certain situations. It can help us to react quickly, making a fast-paced decision, or even saving a life. However, for most of us living in the modern world, stress is an all too familiar companion. A companion that is often worn as a badge of productivity, and unfortunately, it’s damaging our body! You see, stress has an effect on multiple body systems. The primary systems affected by stress are the nervous and endocrine systems. These systems involve the brain, nerves, and various glands in the body. Once these systems are triggered, they, in turn, trigger other body systems, such as the digestive and cardiovascular systems. All these systems work together during times of stress to bring the body back to a balanced state. Our body is generally able to handle fluctuations in these body systems. However, when the body is under a constant state of stress, damage can eventually occur in these systems. Thankfully, there are plants that can come to our aid on a regular basis. These plants not only strengthen and tone these body systems but also soothe stress naturally as well. These benefits both assist the body to better handle the demands that stress puts on it. When it comes to using herbs to soothe stress naturally, there are several categories of herbs that are used. Nervines: Herbs that nourish the nervous systemAdaptogens: Herbs that support the body’s stress response as a wholeSedatives: Herbs that physically relax the mind and body Below, I’ll share a couple of specific herbs in each category and explain how they work for natural stress support. Using Nervine Herbs to Soothe Stress Naturally Nervines are herbs that have a direct effect on the nervous system. Most times, these herbs are nourishing in nature. When you look at nervines as a whole, this group of herbs can be further broken up into three other categories — tonic nervines, relaxing nervines, and stimulating nervines. When using nervines for natural stress support, herbalists typically only use the first two groups. Two of my favorite nervine herbs that soothe stress naturally are oats and chamomile. Both of these herbs can be used in a variety of ways and for long periods of time. Oats Milky oat (Avena sativa) tops (the immature seed of the oat plant) and oatstraw (what’s leftover after the mature oat seed is harvested) are both excellent for nourishing the nervous system, with milky oats being the stronger of the two. Milky oats are trophorestorative which means they are tonic-like to the nervous system, helping to restore normal function. This plant is also high in vitamins and minerals. Not only that but it’s specifically indicated during times of exhaustion and prolonged or chronic stress. Chamomile Chamomile (Matricaria recuita) flowers are a well-known nervine, but they differ from milky oats in that they are more of a relaxing nervine than a tonic nervine. Chamomile should be used during stressful times when you feel tense, irritated, or restless. Studies have shown it is very useful for those struggling with anxiety as well. Chamomile is often thought of as a children’s herb due to its gentle action in the body. But don’t let its gentleness make you feel less of it! It’s a potent herb that works well for even the strongest adults. Both oats and chamomile can be used in teas or tinctures to help you soothe stress naturally. Adaptogens for Natural Stress Support Adaptogens are a newer category of herbs. These herbs have always been around, but the term “adaptogens” is a modern term. This term defines specific herbs that work to support the body’s stress response as a whole. These herbs are non-toxic. They help the body manage stress responses triggered from a variety of sources, such as emotional, physical, or environmental stress, stress from illness, etc. They also help to bring the body back into a balanced state of health. Two of my favorite adaptogen herbs are licorice and holy basil. Licorice Root Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root is an herb I always have on hand. It has so many uses, and when it comes to stress, it’s invaluable. Licorice has a tonic effect on

Stressful Times: 6 Herbs To Help You Soothe Stress Naturally

Feeling stressed? Aren’t we all! Thankfully, there are herbs that can come to our aid. These herbs help to soothe stress naturally and support our body through short- and long-term forms of stress.

In this article, I’m going to share 6 different herbs that can help you soothe stress naturally. You can call upon these herbs individually to see how they help you on their own. You can also try some of them together in one of the 3 herbal recipes I’ve included in this article.

Now before I tell you about the herbs and share the recipes with you, let’s first briefly talk about stress. Understanding stress is important because stress isn’t simply a mental state but something that affects your entire physical body.

In a Nutshell: Stress in the Body

Stress is a double-edged sword — meaning, it’s not always a bad thing. In fact, it can be a very good thing in certain situations. It can help us to react quickly, making a fast-paced decision, or even saving a life. However, for most of us living in the modern world, stress is an all too familiar companion. A companion that is often worn as a badge of productivity, and unfortunately, it’s damaging our body!

You see, stress has an effect on multiple body systems. The primary systems affected by stress are the nervous and endocrine systems.

These systems involve the brain, nerves, and various glands in the body. Once these systems are triggered, they, in turn, trigger other body systems, such as the digestive and cardiovascular systems. All these systems work together during times of stress to bring the body back to a balanced state.

Our body is generally able to handle fluctuations in these body systems. However, when the body is under a constant state of stress, damage can eventually occur in these systems. Thankfully, there are plants that can come to our aid on a regular basis. These plants not only strengthen and tone these body systems but also soothe stress naturally as well. These benefits both assist the body to better handle the demands that stress puts on it.

When it comes to using herbs to soothe stress naturally, there are several categories of herbs that are used.

  • Nervines: Herbs that nourish the nervous system
  • Adaptogens: Herbs that support the body’s stress response as a whole
  • Sedatives: Herbs that physically relax the mind and body

Below, I’ll share a couple of specific herbs in each category and explain how they work for natural stress support.

Using Nervine Herbs to Soothe Stress Naturally

Nervines are herbs that have a direct effect on the nervous system. Most times, these herbs are nourishing in nature. When you look at nervines as a whole, this group of herbs can be further broken up into three other categories — tonic nervines, relaxing nervines, and stimulating nervines. When using nervines for natural stress support, herbalists typically only use the first two groups.

Two of my favorite nervine herbs that soothe stress naturally are oats and chamomile. Both of these herbs can be used in a variety of ways and for long periods of time.

Oats 
Milky oat (Avena sativa) tops (the immature seed of the oat plant) and oatstraw (what’s leftover after the mature oat seed is harvested) are both excellent for nourishing the nervous system, with milky oats being the stronger of the two. Milky oats are trophorestorative which means they are tonic-like to the nervous system, helping to restore normal function. This plant is also high in vitamins and minerals. Not only that but it’s specifically indicated during times of exhaustion and prolonged or chronic stress.

Chamomile 
Chamomile (Matricaria recuita) flowers are a well-known nervine, but they differ from milky oats in that they are more of a relaxing nervine than a tonic nervine. Chamomile should be used during stressful times when you feel tense, irritated, or restless. Studies have shown it is very useful for those struggling with anxiety as well. Chamomile is often thought of as a children’s herb due to its gentle action in the body. But don’t let its gentleness make you feel less of it! It’s a potent herb that works well for even the strongest adults.

Both oats and chamomile can be used in teas or tinctures to help you soothe stress naturally.

Adaptogens for Natural Stress Support

Adaptogens are a newer category of herbs. These herbs have always been around, but the term “adaptogens” is a modern term. This term defines specific herbs that work to support the body’s stress response as a whole. These herbs are non-toxic. They help the body manage stress responses triggered from a variety of sources, such as emotional, physical, or environmental stress, stress from illness, etc. They also help to bring the body back into a balanced state of health.

Two of my favorite adaptogen herbs are licorice and holy basil.

Licorice Root 
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root is an herb I always have on hand. It has so many uses, and when it comes to stress, it’s invaluable. Licorice has a tonic effect on the endocrine system and adrenal glands. It also has a regulating effect on the HPA axis and the immune system. Both of these systems play a role in the stress response. As a whole, licorice is indicated during times of stress where digestive ailments (like stress ulcers) and a weakened immune system (resulting in an increased chance of developing other illnesses) are common.

Holy Basil 
Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is an excellent herb! It’s indicated for periods of stress when you feel stuck or restless and don’t know what to do. At first, the herb has a stimulating effect that eventually leads to a very relaxed, grounded, and balanced feeling. Sounds perfect for getting a person out of a rut, right? I think so. Holy basil also helps create a sense of calm and focus — perfect for individuals who tend to worry a lot.

Both of these herbs can also be used in teas and tinctures. However, I personally prefer to use holy basil in tea form while using licorice in tincture form.

Using Herbal Sedatives for Natural Stress Support

When most people think of herbs for natural stress support, they think of sedatives. However, sedatives are rarely the first herbs that an herbalist uses when approaching stress. Sedatives are herbs that have a substantial relaxant effect on the body. They depress the nervous system to various degrees and help to produce a state of calm in many individuals. Herbal sedatives are mostly used in small doses and for short periods of time. This dosing guideline isn’t because sedatives are addictive like many pharmaceutical sedatives. It’s because long-term nervous system sedation isn’t good for one’s health.

With that said, two of my all-time favorite sedative herbs are passionflower and valerian root.

Passionflower 
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is for nervous, irritable individuals who are exhausted and find it difficult to relax. These individuals often have trouble getting their thoughts under control and falling asleep. This trouble creates a cycle of stress, leading to even more uncomfortable symptoms. If an individual is wound up and can’t focus, passionflower can increase a person’s concentration. It does this by cutting out excess thoughts that disrupt the ability to focus.

Valerian 
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a well-known mild herbal sedative that is often used to help a person who can’t sleep or suffers from headaches. Studies have also shown it to be very useful for persons with obsessive and compulsive behaviors as well. In most people, valerian creates a calming effect. However, in a small percentage of people, it can have the opposite reaction. Instead of relaxing the mind and body, it can excite it. Not sure how valerian will affect you? Test a small amount out on yourself (preferably before bedtime) to see.

I prefer to use both of these herbs in tincture form, but you can use them in teas also. Just keep in mind that valerian has a strong, perfumy scent and come often overpower a tea. Personally, I like the smell and flavor of valerian, but I am familiar with the strange flavors of herbs!