The causes of stress are so many that we will not even attempt to list them, but they
can include everything from death and marital stress or finances, to work conditions or
dogs barking or even the weather.
Many ideas of dealing with stress are discussed on the page, "Stress Relief," but
on this page we are going to discuss some of the herbs that build or rebuild a healthy nervous
system, thereby helping us in dealing with stress. We will discuss:
May I just say that the company I have been using for many years to purchase my dried herbs from is Mountain Rose Herbs. They carry all of the herbs we will talk about today in dried form and many of them in capsules and tinctures. I will try to identify each for your convenience.
- California Poppy. In dealing with stress using the California Poppy, Mountain Rose Herbs describes it as follows: "California poppy is most often employed to provide restful
sleep without the side effects of benzodiazepine drugs such as Librium, Valium, and Xanax.
The advantage of California poppy is relief from tension without morning grogginess, nausea,
vomiting, or constipation."
California Poppy is used when you have aggitated nerves and pain.
- Combine it in equal parts
with Blisswort and Sage for deep nerve trauma.
Though this particular species isn't addictive as some of its cousins, it is a bigger herb than you would normally use as a preventive or
tonifier in dealing with stress. To use it in this way, you might combine it with other herbs.
- 2 parts Lemon Balm,
1 part California Poppy, and
1 part Oatstraw is a nice blend.
Use 1-2 t. herb with 1 cup boiling water for herbal tea.
Mountain Rose Herbs also carries this in capsules and tinctures.
- Catnip. Catnip is a very safe herb. You can use it with children when dealing with stress without concern.
It, as well as most of these herbs, is loaded with minerals that help with stress. It helps calm
us down when we are stressed and is a tonic herb so we can't take too much of it. It is very much
like Valerian, working with many types of stress, but without the smell or the probability of
- Chamomile. When dealing with stress don't forget Chamomile. It is an herb
which will quiet and support the nervous system and help you relax and give relief from any kind
of stress. It is full of flavonoids and has a cooling and relaxing effect.
It is used for anxiety and depression, insomnia, and loss of appetite, as well as promoting a
gentle entry into sleep. Use it internally as an herbal tea.
- Combine in equal parts with oatstraw.
A nice herbal tea blend for gas complaints is
- 1 part chamomile,
1 part peppermint,
1 part caraway seeds and
1/2 part angelica.
Use 1 t. per cup of hot water. This herbal tea will sooth the gastrointestinal
tract and stimulate digestive activity, making it useful for stomachaches or a too full feeling.
Use it externally in a bath combined with rose petals and lavendar for relief of stress.
Taking this bath before bedtime will help you sleep.
You can also use the chamomile infused oil to rub on areas holding stress
or tension, as well as arthritis. It is soothing and calming and can actually help relieve spasms.
Roman and German Chamomile varieties can be used interchangeably.
Chamomile can also be purchased in tinctured form from Mountain Rose Herbs and is also available in many herbal tea blends such as "Quiet Child Blend" and "Fairytale Blend".
*If you are allergic to ragweed or any of the daisy family, use chamomile with care.
- Lavender. Lavender is one of those herbs that everyone loves even if you are not dealing with stress. Who doesn't
own a bottle of lavender essential oil? It is easy to grow, the flowers are beautiful and smell
wonderful and one of it's actions is anti-depressant. Lavender helps balance extremes of emotion and
can be used to soothe and promote natural sleep. Someone once called it "a hug in a bottle."
If you grow your own lavender, without pesticides of course, you can use it in tea, to cook with,
to make pillows with or use in the bath.
You can't make essential oil without expensive equipment so
just buy a bottle if you don't already have one. You can rub the essential oil directly on your
temples for headache or put a little on your wrist to smell when dealing with stress, that releases endorphins!
The bottle or a bag of lavender flowers is easy to carry with you.
Mountain Rose Herbs has dried organic lavender flowers as well as many herbal tea blends which contain lavender flowers. "Blossoms of Health Blend" and "Fidnemed Nighttime Blend" are only two of many.
- Lemon Balm. This wonderfully fragrant herb is good for so many things, but in
dealing with stress it is great.
It's fresh lemony taste and it's calming tendencies are
manifesting themselves to our stressed out world, and people like it. It is very effective in bringing
soothing relief to the nerves and in lifting the spirits.
The mildly sedative tea eases headaches, vertigo, nervousness, indigestion and nausea. Lemon Balm is used
for excessive anxiety or depression that effects the functioning of the heart leading to heart pains
or other problems such as palpatations or an irregular heart beat. Lemon Balm reminds us that it's
not really so bad and takes away any depression that might be happening.
When dealing with stress, Lemon Balm has a relaxing effect and can help with spasms in any part of the body. Used with the
flowers of the herb Linden it helps reduce elevated blood pressure often caused by stress.
Herbal tea can be made by using
- 2 T. of Lemon Balm, dried and crumbled, or 1/8 cup of fresh leaves.
Pour water that has been brought to boiling and steep for 10-15 minutes.
For stomach problems combine lemon balm with peppermint.
For nerve pain and insomnia combine
lemon balm with valerian.
Lemon Balm infused oil
can be used as a gentle massage oil to help with depression and nervous tension. This also helps
bronchitis and asthma.
Warm it and use it as an ointment. Make it into a salve and use it on bug bites and cold
You can purchase Lemon Balm as a dried herb or in a number of herbal tea blends such as "Easy Day Blend" or "Fairytale Blend." It is also in a combination capsule of St. John's Wort and Lemon Balm.
*If you are on thyroid medication don't take lemon balm internally in food or drink. It is strong enough
to totally mess up your medication. Don't use in early pregnancy.
- Oatstraw. If you use oatstraw regularly it promotes and restores a strong nervous system
and endocrine system for dealing with stress. It lovingly strengthens a weakened constitution and gives you an overall calmness
and centeredness. How great. Drinking an infusion of oatstraw daily is an easy way to gain these benefits.
Besides that it is high in calcium, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin B complex and fiber.
As anti-depressant and a restorative nerve tonic, oatstraw is wonderful for people who experience
stress, exhaustion, nervous breakdowns or grief. It is also used to treat genital herpes and shingles.
Whoever thought a little cup of oatstraw infusion daily
could do such wonderful things.
Add milky oat tops to your oatstraw infusion and enjoy even greater
stress relieving benefits.
Using 2 quarts of oatstraw infusion in your bath is an ancient remedy for
those with a bad case of nerves.
Mountain Rose Herbs carries oatstraw as well as oat tops, which is the top taken off of the oatstraw - and they blend wonderfully together - as well as "Fairytale Blend" and "Happy Man Decoction Blend", and in a tincture.
- St. John's Wort. When dealing with stress, St. John's Wort tempers emotional discomfort, lifts depression and calms
the nerves. Like some antidepressant medications, it raises the serotonin in the brain and enhances
the activity, using this neurotransmitter to help regulate your mood.
Use one dropper of St. John's
Wort tincture when you feel like you are standing on the edge and could easily be pushed on over.
It is safe to repeat this dose several times an hour if you need it. St. John's Wort nourishs and
strengthens your nerves and helps you with immediate needs as well as strengthening your nervous
system for future stress.
The fresh flowers are best for making anything from St. Johns Wort. They grow in the middle of
summer. If you can't get the fresh flowers dried ones are the next best thing.
- Use 2 t. dried
St.John's Wort to one cup of water.
Allow to steep for 10 minutes for a nice cup of herbal tea.
A nice tea blend is
- 1 part St. John's Wort,
1 part Lemon Balm and
1 part Valerian.
herbal tea before going to bed each night for several weeks to calm overwrought nerves, lift
depression and help you fall asleep more easily.
Because it is great for nourishing and strengthening your nerves you can use St. John's Wort
infused oil to deal with stress causing extreme nerve pain for things like hitting your thumb with a hammer. It will bring
fast relief. It can also be used for pain from old wounds or surgeries and for relief from sunburn.
The tincture is also used to disinfect wounds and on burns.
It can be purchased in dried form as well as in capsules and tincture from Mountain Rose Herbs. They also have a combination capsule, "St. John's Wort/Lemon Balm."
- Skullcap. Skullcap is an anti-spasmodic nervine which works with the central nervous
system as a relaxant and restorative for dealing with stress. It works well for most nervous system malfunctions. Skullcap
is wonderful for releiving premenstrual tension. Not only does skullcap sooth and relax the nerves
but it induces sleep.
It has been used to wean people from drug use and is used to treat
epilepsy. I love the way it supports exhausted nerves caused from mental and physical exhaustion
and allows you to have a good nights sleep. Skullcap quiets emotional confusion and helps you come
up with creative solutions.
Skullcap can be purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs in dried form, capsules, and tincture. It is also found in the "Happy Tummy Blend" and the "Moon Ease Blend" of herbal tea, as well as others.
- Valerian. Valerian is famous for two things. It is a calmative and tranquilizer and it smells
like stinky gym socks. A list of ways valerian is used for dealing with stress include anxiety, calming restless minds,
headaches, menstrual cramps, back spasms, restless legs, easing tension and insomnia - especially
the time required to fall asleep, without drowsiness or grogginess in the morning.
It can be used internally - the best preparations are made using the fresh root although the
ariel parts can also be used. A tincture or capsules are usually used but an infusion can also be made.
If you choose to make an infusion, grind your valerian roots in a blender and make a nice mush,
place it in a quart jar and fill the jar with warm water. Steep it for a day or overnight.
Do not boil as you normally do with roots
as some of the constituents will boil away at relatively low temperatures. Infused oil can also be used
externally as a liniment.
*Many herbalists say that valerian root should not be taken for more than a couple of weeks at a time
or it can cause withdrawal symptoms when stopped abruptly.
Valerian comes in dried form, capsules, a tincture, and a combination capsule, "Valerian/Passionflower."
The list of herbs we can use to help when dealing with stress goes on and on. You really don't need them all. You really just need to find the ones that work for you. Using a gentle nourishing herb such as oatstraw as a daily infusion will strengthen your nervous system and help you avoid problems before they start. That's the best!
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