5 Soothing and Effective Herbs for Stress
Natural herbs for stress reduction are effective and almost always side effect free. Relieve stress and stress-related conditions naturally with these five plants.
Why Use Natural Herbs for Stress Relief?
Modern lifestyles are very hectic, and some of us are affected by the fast, stressful pace of life more severely than others. Between, work, family and school obligations, there is only so much we can do to reduce the sources of our stress. However, we can greatly reduce the effects of stress on our bodies and minds with healthy methods like exercise, meditation and plenty of sleep. Herbs for stress complement these measures perfectly.
Stress can lead to a wide variety of mental and physical health problems. There are many effective prescription drugs for treating stress-related conditions like anxiety, depression and insomnia. However, many of these drugs carry unwanted side effects that can affect your day-to-day functioning. Treating such conditions with effective herbs for stress can give you the relief without the side effects.
Maca is great for relieving stress, as demonstrated by animal studies. It has also been studied in humans. One human study found that maca increases overall well-being, significantly more than placebo does. This increase is at least partially due to the adaptogenic effects of the herb.
There are many other benefits to taking maca. It increases libido and libido-related sexual function. The sexual health benefits of maca are experienced by both sexes. Maca can also help soothe anxiety, promote healthy mood and help alleviate some symptoms of menopause.
All of these conditions are associated with stress, so it makes sense that maca, a stress-relieving herb, would help. Anxiety and depression, in particular, can even be directly caused by stress. Taking maca will improve your mental health, relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety, and reduce your risk of developing these mental health conditions in the future.
Eleuthero is known to science as Eleutherococcus senticosus and is sometimes colloquially known as Siberian ginseng. A member of the Araliaceae family, eleuthero is distantly related to the well-known Panax ginseng. Eleuthero, which is native to the Asian continent, has roots with medicinal properties.
Eleuthero, like maca, is a type of adaptogen. Taking it can help your body deal with stress more effectively. Because of the stress-reducing effect, eleuthero also has many other indirect benefits. Eleuthero's other benefits include:
- increasing exercise performance
- increasing fat oxidation
- reducing age-related cognitive decline
- relieving fatigue
- supporting the immune system
Lavender has been among the most popular herbs to calm and soothe for many generations. Native to the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean, it is now exceedingly popular worldwide. This popularity is not undeserved, as lavender has many effective uses for mental and physical health. Lavender can be used in the form of whole dried flowers, lavender oil or lavender extract. It can be taken by mouth, used as aromatherapy or applied to the skin.
So calming are the flowers of the Lavandula angustifolia plant that one study, published in the journal Phytomedicine, showed that lavender oil is just as effective as the pharmaceutical anti-anxiety medication Lorazepam. Not only is lavender is just as effective as prescription medication for treating anxiety disorders, but this herbal medicine carries additional advantages. Lavender doesn't carry with it the negative side effect of sedation, and it has no potential for drug dependence.
Other uses of lavender include treating alopecia, headache and skin conditions.
Passionflower, or Passiflora incarnata, is native to the Southeastern region of North America. It was used as herbal medicine by native peoples for a long time before the arrival of the Europeans, and now is grown and used throughout the world.
The extract of the passionflower plant is effective for stress-related conditions such as anxiety and insomnia, and it can also alleviate seizure conditions. It is believed that passionflower works by increasing your brain's levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which has a calming effect on your brain and nervous system.
It has been discovered in studies that passionflower is as effective as the pharmaceutical oxazepam for treating generalized anxiety disorder. Although passionflower took a bit longer than oxazepam to start working, it didn't impair people's job performance like oxazepam did.
Oatstraw is the stalk portion of the Avena sativa plant, the seeds of which are common oats. The seeds of the oat plant have been used as food and medicine for many hundreds of years, being very nutritious but also useful for alleviating skin conditions. Although perhaps less well-known, the stalks of the oat plant also have a use in traditional herbal medicine.
In folk medicine, oatstraw is thought to be useful for treating:
- fatigue, including chronic fatigue
- hyperactivity in children
- Parkinson's disease
Oatstraw has been little-studied by modern science, though many people who use herbal folk medicine find great success with it. It makes a great complement to other soothing herbs if you want to reduce your stress levels. You can take either powdered whole oatstraw or oatstraw extract by mouth.