Originally published October 12 2012
Six medicinal herbs and spices that melt stress away
by PF Louis
(NaturalNews) Many stress and anxiety symptoms are similar: Tension, emotional instability, loss of focus, heart palpitations and breathing problems are some. Many often resort to smoking, alcohol consumption, comfort food binging, or heavy recreational drug use (not to be confused with medicinal marijuana).
The major difference is that stressful causal situations are usually known: Hostile work environments, deadline pressures, relationship issues, or money problems.
Simply removing the stressful situation or circumstances, leaving them behind, or just doing something to correct the condition allows one to return to a more relaxed sense of being.
Anxiety differs from stress because it's an overarching, vague sense of disaster that may consume someone's life force chronically, even though there is no obvious and immediate causal factor.
Anxiety disorder includes a nagging dread of an unknown future, general phobias, or post traumatic stress despite even apparently pleasant current circumstances. In today's upside down world, this is understandable.
Continual stress or anxiety builds up cortisone, which leads to a hormonal imbalance that results in serious health issues or chronic fatigue from depleted adrenals. Handling stress better or overcoming anxiety through exercise and/or meditation are becoming more popular.
Nevertheless, the question remains what to do when stress or anxiety inhibits even those fruitful activities? The usual pharmaceutical prescriptions and over the counter (OTC) remedies open a Pandora's box of undesirable physical and mental side effects, including exacerbating the conditions that were treated.
There are better choices, all natural and mostly without side effects. Keep in mind that the effects from herbal remedies, though effective, are not always as immediate as pharmaceutical medicines.
Six herbal remedies for stress and/or anxietySt. John's Wort is perhaps the most well known herbal remedy for anxiety or stress. It's been around for centuries and was widely used during the Renaissance and Victorian periods to relieve mental conditions. One recent study found it was as effective as Prozac for relieving depression.
It is a perennial flowering plant, and its extracts can be found in capsules, tablets, or tinctures.
Kava-Kava or kava root is a South Pacific herb that is very effective for moderate anxiety. Human studies have determined the kava root extracts to be as effective as pharmaceutical benzodiazepine drugs such as Valium and Xanax without side effects.
There is a rumor that kava root causes liver damage. But a 2001 Duke University study that determined kava root's strong efficacy also concluded it was safe for the liver.
Passion flower is a recognized, powerful nervous system relaxant. It's popular in the UK, and Germany's Commission E has approved it for nervous conditions, sleep disorders, and anxiety. It also contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Quite the package.
Tulsi or Holy Basil is another herb with a wide range of powerful health benefits that include relieving stress and anxiety. The monicker Holy Basil was coined by Ayurveda practitioners at least 5,000 years ago.
It is an adaptogenic herb, meaning it helps relieve what needs attention and is able to handle many stressors. It confers a State of Non-specific Increased Resistance (SNIR) that helps the body resist stress. Another great package.
Licorice Root helps the body handle stressful situations, normalize blood sugar levels, and boost your adrenal glands. It is also thought to stimulate cranial and cerebospinal fluid to help calm the mind.
Valerian root, chamomile, and lemon balm teas are often used to help calm restlessness and resolve insomnia. They also have mild anxiety or stress reducing qualities and are very relaxing. They can be used with any of these other herbs listed if there is still a problem getting a good night's sleep.
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