There’s nothing good about stress – multiple studies show that stress is associated with weight gain, cardiovascular issues, and countless other health problems. But taking time to chill out can be hard, especially when you’ve got a packed schedule and more responsibilities than you care to think about.
Sometimes, herbal remedies might be able to help.
These seven herbs are all used to bust stress (but make sure to talk to your doctor before starting on an herbal stress relief program, as some can have problematic interactions with medications!).
This herb has been used for centuries as part of the Indian practice of Ayurveda. It is thought to influence neurotransmitters to improve memory, lower anxiety, and potentially even guard against Alzheimer’s disease.
If you plan on trying brahmi, make sure that you do not confuse it with the herb gotu kola, which sometimes goes by the same name.
2. St. John’s Wort
This well-known herbal anti-depressant is backed by numerous lines of scientific inquiry for treating mild to moderate clinical depression, which is often tied to anxiety and stress. The plant has been used for this purpose for over 2000 years and was described as a remedy for various health issues by Hippocrates.
Another herb used in Ayurveda, ashwaganha is most frequently used to strengthen the immune system after an illness.
However, studies have also looked at ashwaganha in terms of reducing anxiety and depression and boosting of overall mood and have found that it is often helpful in these areas, as well.
This ayurvedic herb works as an anxiolytic, or anti-anxiety remedy, by putting a stop to some of the physiological responses to anxiety. This, in turn, may help make the user feel less stressed while also avoiding some of the negative physical results of both long and short-term stress.
A strong antioxidant, jatamansi has shown to improve learning and memory in animal studies through a cholinergic effect on the brain. This same antioxidant effect is also thought to have a role in modulating stress.
In one study in mice, jatamansi was shown to significantly decrease the physiological markers of stress. While human studies have not been completed, jatamansi has been used in Ayurvedic tradition for centuries.
6. Valerian Root
Known as a sleep aid, valerian root can also reduce acute stress in smaller doses. One study found that in combination with St. John’s Wort, valerian root was more helpful in reducing self-reported levels of general anxiety than treatment with diazepam, a common anti-anxiety pharmaceutical. However, valerian root is not proven to be a long-term solution for generalized anxiety disorder.
Chamomile has long been used to soothe stressed individuals into sleep. Taking it as a nutritional supplement on a daily basis may help to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and a warm cup of tea certainly never made anyone more stressed.
Have you tried any of these herbal remedies for stress? What was your experience? If you haven’t tried herbs, what do you do to relieve stress?