Herbs are the most ancient medicine known to man, used extensively by all the major civilizations throughout history with written records sometimes going back thousands of years.
When Otzi the Iceman was discovered in 1991 on the Austrian/Italian border, where he had been lying buried deep in ice for 5,300 years, his personal effects were found to include medicinal herbs.
Herbs can be used, often to great effect, on almost every human condition and illness known. Today, one of the areas in which they seem to be particularly effective is that of stress relief with the findings from many clinical trials backing what ancient man knew all along.
Herbs that can help induce relaxation
Prolonged stress is far more serious a condition than many people think, having far reaching health implications which can lead to increased risk of heart attack and stroke, ulcers, diabetes and depression as well as lowering our immunity to a host of viruses, disease and bacteria.
The good news is that there are a host of easily available herbs that you can use to help your mind and body relax. Here is a list of herbs that I have personally found highly beneficial in inducing relaxation.
Traditionally used by the ancient Egyptians for easing the discomfort from overindulgence in food and alcohol, this plant can be used as an aid to digestion which is often aggravated through stress. Chamomile has been known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, mild astringent properties.
Additionally it offers mild tranquilizing effects and will aid restful sleep.
The best way to consume chamomile is in the form of herbal teas which are readily available at most organic health stores.
Tonics prepared from the roots of this plant will act as a general relaxant which will relieve stress, insomnia and anxiety. It has been used as a medicinal plant by Polynesian cultures for thousands of years.
This plant is one of the kings of the herbal medicine world, containing a huge array of compounds which work in a multitude of different ways to promote good health. Clinical studies have shown lavender to be a highly effective stress reliever and alleviator of insomnia especially when it results from stress.
4.) Lemon balm
There are many active compounds within this plant including terpenes which is known to have soothing properties and eugenol which will relax tension in the muscles. Studies have shown that it can be effective as a stress reliever and mood enhancer. Additionally lemon balm has powerful antioxidant properties as well as possibly acting as an antiviral and antibacterial medicine.
5.) Passion flower
The leaves and roots of this vine are used to produce anti-anxiety medicines shown to be as effective as highly developed pharmaceutical drugs and with none of the side effects. This plant will soothe, balance and act as a general tonic for overwrought nerves and for the relief of the sleep disturbances which occur as a result.
This anti stress herb is a member of the mint family and has a multitude of benefits for mind and body. It is a great tension reliever and works to relax the muscles and the mind.
7.) St John’s Wort
The benefits of this plant are now well documented and although there were some efforts made to discredit its efficacy, led mainly by the hugely powerful pharmaceutical giants, it has continued to grow in popularity simply because it is a wonder plant. It can be used for stress relief, anxiety disorders and depression.
This plant acts like a sedative and as such may cause some drowsiness. Studies have shown that this plant has an incredible two sided benefit – sedating where the patient is agitated and stimulating where the patient is fatigued thus bringing about balance and harmony. It is perhaps no surprise that one of the old folk names for this plant is ‘all-heal’.
There are many more herbs than are listed here and studies continue to uncover more and more proven benefits of using herbs for stress relief. Herbal remedies can be taken as tinctures, tonics, capsules or can be purchased in the form of herbal teas. Additionally, many essential oils derived from these plants are available for use in massage or for adding to bath water.