Relaxing and restorative herbs will always help chronic stress or conditions caused or influenced by stress will require a multifaceted response and are best treated by seeing a herbalist who can formulate a unique prescription to address all aspects of the condition.
Caution: Please note that the advice given in these notes is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice and treatment. Always visit a fully qualified medical herbalist or G.P. for diagnosis. If you are pregnant, have an existing condition or are currently taking medication consult a medical herbalist to see which herbs are appropriate for you to take.
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
This herb has a relaxing and gentle sedative effect on the nervous system. It is generally suited to those who feel emotionally agitated, if you are prone to anxiety related palpitations and if you tend to stay awake worrying about things that aren’t worth worrying about. Also good for stress related headaches. Take as a tea or tincture on a daily basis.
Oats (Avena sativa)
I recommend oats for those suffering nervous exhaustion and those who may be feeling depressed. They will help to nourish and build you up. Also good for those who have problems with sleep, especially waking early. Take as a tea or tincture.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
Chamomile is a mild nervous sedative and it’s calming effect on the digestion can help those who get a ‘funny nervous tummy’ when stressed. It is a lovely herb for children who are prone to stress or hyperactivity. Take as a tea or tincture. Use 2-3 drops of essential oil in the bath or in an oil burner to disperse to the room.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon balm is another herb that is useful for a nervous stomach. Those suffering from insomnia or sleep disturbed by anxiety dreams or nightmares will usually benefit from a little lemon balm. It lifts the spirits and good to have when you are feeling cold and miserable. It is best taken when just picked and a fresh cup of tea made. So if you have a spare pot or garden, definitely one to grow at home. When in need of a little clarity and uplifting while working, combine it with some peppermint tea.
Lavender (Lavendula officinalis)
Lavender is well known and studied for its sleep inducing properties. Put a few drops on your pillow to induce sleep. Those suffering headaches or migraine triggered by tension will benefit from 3 drops in a little carrier oil massaged into the temples or the base of the neck (avoid contact with the eyes).
Cat mint / Cat nip (Nepita cataria)
A wonderful herb to gently relieve nervous tension. This is another nice herb for nervous children. When tensed, children often complain of tummy pain and are restless, often physical signs of emotional disturbance. I find this herb to be nice and cooling if you feel hot tempered when stressed. Drink as a tea.
Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata)
This is a real ‘switch off ‘herb. For those who can’t get off to sleep due to over-thinking. This is a good herb to take if you suffer from a tremor when anxious or restless legs when you go to bed. Take it with Valerian and Skullcap to induce sleep. It is also useful when taken in conjunction with Valerian to reduce high blood pressure.
Take as a tea or tincture or add a strong infusion to the bath.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Valerian will ease stress-related headaches and help to induce sleep. Those who tend to get colicky pain or who have IBS symptoms exacerbated by stress will benefit from its antispasmodic effects. This is a very useful herb in the treatment of stress-related high blood pressure. This herb will have a quick calming effect in those suffering from panic attacks.
Note: Valerian does not suit very firey and hot tempered people and in these cases may actually have an opposite effect. If you feel very irritated and quick to fly off the handle when stressed, it may not be the herb for you. Taken easily as a tincture or in tablet form.
Rose (Rosa damascena)
Rose is gently sedative and has an uplifting light fragrance. This is a herb traditionally used in states of anxiety and depression related to grief.
In addition herbs that will help you adapt to stress, restore balance to the adrenal hormones (adrenaline, cortisol) and protect the immune system will all help to deal with stress and associated conditions. Consider; Ashwagandha, Gota kola, Astragalus and Ginseng.