Happy Spring! With the temperatures climbing, we’re finally out of the Polar Vortex here in the Northeast. I could not be happier for this shift. However, as with every change that occurs in our lives, there is stress associated with it.
With April being Stress Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to assess the pressures we feel in our lives and introduce new tools to help us cope. Stress is mental, emotional, and/or physical tension related to change. Any change, whether wanted or unwanted, sudden or subtle, recurring or long-term, can cause imbalances in the body.
Change is truly the only constant, but we all react to stress differently. Here are 4 herbs that mitigate the effects of stress in specific ways, such as through your digestive tract or nervous system. Choose the herb that best suits where your stress manifests.
- Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – If you’re like me, then your stress goes straight to your digestive system. Chamomile’s nervine and digestive aid qualities make it a wonderfully gentle remedy for stress related digestive issues such as nausea, cramping, gastritis, indigestion and flatulence. Matricaria recutita can be taken as a tincture or standard infusion: 1 tbls dried herb to 8 oz fresh boiled hot water.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Sleepless nights are not only a symptom of stress, but exacerbate it. Among its numerous health benefits, Lavandula angustifolia is an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, nervine, sedative and aromatic herb that alleviates symptoms related to your stress-induced insomnia like headaches, nervousness, fear, anxiety and hysteria. Drink the dried herb as a tea or put a few drops of the essential on your pillow.
- Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata) – Versatile with a long-standing traditional use as a nourishing tonic to the nervous system Scutellaria galericulata will support and offer comfort and relaxation through your stress and anxiety that may rear its ugly head as high blood pressure, exhaustion, insomnia, arthritis, neuralgia and muscle tension. Enjoy as a tincture or infusion.
- Oat Straw (Avena sativa) – For stress that causes mental exhaustion leading to depression, oat straw will be your ally. Avena Sativa is the grass of the same plant from which you get your oatmeal. Its nutrients and constituents make it an excellent herb for rebuilding burnt out nerves and helping with depression, anxiety, exhaustion and overall weakness. It is best enjoyed as an overnight, cold infusion.