Dealing With Stress
Using Herbs

dealing with stress using herbs

In dealing with stress we might first need a definition of stress.

Simply put, stress is how the body responds emotionally, physically and behaviorally to a stressor. A stressor is defined as any agent that is the cause of stress.

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:

  • California Poppy
  • Catnip
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Balm
  • Oatstraw
  • St. Johns Wort
  • Skull Cap and
  • Valerian

 I will try to identify each for your convenience.

dealing with stress with california poppies
  • California Poppy. In dealing with stress using the California Poppy is described 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 agitated 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. dried herb with 1 cup boiling water for herbal tea. 
  • 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 toxicity.
dealing with stress using chamomile tea
  • 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 stomach aches or a too full feeling. Use it externally in a bath combined with rose petals and lavender for relief of stress. Taking this bath before bedtime will help you sleep. 
  •  You can also use 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. 
  • Caution: *If you are allergic to ragweed or any of the daisy family, use chamomile with care.
  • dealing with stress using lavender
  • 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.  The bottle or a bag of lavender flowers is easy to carry with you. 
  • Caution: *Do not take any essential oil internally. People with gallstones should avoid taking lavender and it shouldn't be used in early pregnancy. Also be careful with it if you have low blood pressure.
  •  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!
  • dealing with stress with lemon balm
  • 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 over the leaves 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 sores. 
  • Caution: *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.
  • dealing with stress using oatstraw
  • 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.
  • dealing with stress with st. johns wort
  • 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. 
  •  Drink this 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Caution: *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.

  • 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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