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Herbal Formulas for Stress

January 04, 2018

Are you wondering if herbs can really relieve your stress? The answer is yes. Herbs work for stress in a variety of ways.

Nervine herbs support nervous system health. Some act similarly to calming brain chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, or GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid).

Other nervines are good sources of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which soothe the nerves and aid sleep. Nervine herbs tend to work quickly to relax the body in stressful moments.

In contrast, herbal adaptogens or tonics support the endocrine system and help you become more resistant to the effects of long term stress.

Adaptogens defend against stress effects like fatigue, poor performance, memory issues, burnout, or lowered immunity.

For stress protection, adaptogens work best when combined with traditional nervines and allowed to build in the body for a few months.

Herbal Tonics Calm Acute Stress & Protect Against Chronic Stress

1. Stress Daily Tonic

is your go-to formula to help protect the body from daily stress. Stress Daily is designed to support the nervous system and improve your body’s natural resistance to stressful moments.

It’s a great choice for people who feel their stress physically (think muscle tension, digestive symptoms or general uneasiness).

This adaptogenic formula definitely has a building affect. You will naturally become more resilient to stressors the longer you use it.

Stress Daily Tonic features:

  • Ashwagandha: The great, peaceful ashwagandha, is a nervine and adaptogen. It helps to calm the nervous system while rebuilding overall health. Ashwagandha is one of the single most important herbs for relief of burn out. In one study, ashwagandha even balanced levels of cortisol, linked to chronic stress.
  • Skullcap: Skullcap is a traditional nervine that calms your mind and body down in stressful moments. I find it is especially helpful for nervous agitation that shows up as moodiness or irritability. In one study, skullcap eased mild anxiety and improved mood without affecting energy or cognition like common anxiety drugs.
2. Calm Mind Tonic

Calm Mind Tonic is a good choice to help calm a “stressed out,” or anxious mind. Herbs in Calm Mind address mental stress, encouraging focus and clearer thinking.

I love this formula to relax after a long day of intense mental work. (I think it has a mild meditative effect.)

I also use it on days when it’s tough to get going on a task. It calms and quiets worries, so you can work or play more effectively.

Calm Mind features:

  • Bacopa: Long valued as a supreme Ayurvedic adaptogen, bacopa is a fabulous herb to sharpen memory and improve concentration. Early research shows it benefits children with ADHD. Bacopa is also found to help cognition and reduce mild anxiety in older people.
  • Lavender: Calming lavender is regularly used in aromatherapy in massages or baths to relieve stress. It also works well in small amounts in an herbal tea or extract. Research out of Florida shows lavender lowers anxiety and pulse rate in nursing students preparing for stressful exams. Other research finds it supports nervous system health and mood after childbirth.
3. Serenity Now Spray

Serenity Now spray is your best bet to help calm the nervous system quickly in an intense, stressful moment. Serenity Now combines fast acting nervines to calm strong emotions and stress quickly.

I use this formula (just two sprays) before traveling or performing stressful tasks (like public speaking). It’s also a fabulous formula for when you need a moment of calm from a chaotic household.

Serenity Now features:

  • Kava kava: Kava Kava has been safely used by South Pacific Islanders for over 3,000 years. As a mild muscle relaxer and pain reliever, it helps to normalize physical symptoms of stress like muscle tension, pain or headaches. You can feel the effects of kavaright away. It works quickly to encourage a calm, relaxed mental state. A variety of studies confirm kava supports stress relief, and reduces mild anxiety.
  • Holy Basil: I find holy basil has a grounding effect for people dealing with a stressful situation. Research finds it supports normal cortisol levels and natural blood sugar balance. The essential oil eugenol in holy basil has been found to promote clear thinking and calm nervousness.

Using herbs is a fabulous way to soothe stress, so common in our modern lifestyles.

The more you use herbal nervines and adaptogens, the more your body builds resistance to everyday stressors.

Additionally, consider approaches like EFT meditation, which greatly help, especially for people under long-term stress or dealing with nervous exhaustion.

 

References:

Aburto-Gill, S. (2014). Herbs To Help You Heal, Volume 2
Brock, C., Whitehouse, J., Tewfik, I., & Towell, T. (2014). American Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora): a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study of its effects on mood in healthy volunteers. Phytotherapy Research, 28(5), 692–8.
Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23878109
Calabrese, C., Calabrese, C., Gregory, W.L., Leo, M., Kraemer, D., Bone, K., et al. (2008, July). Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine,14(6), 707-13. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18611150
Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012, July). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine; 34(3):255-62. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439798
Dave, U.P., Dingankar, S.R., Saxena, V.S., Joseph, J.A., Bethapudi, B., Agarwal, A., et al. (2014, Spring). An open-label study to elucidate the effects of standardized Bacopa monnieri extract in the management of symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. Advances in Mind Body Medicine, 28(2):10-5. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24682000
Kianpour, M., Mansouri, A., Mehrabi, .T, & Asghari, G. (2016 March-April). Effect of lavender scent inhalation on prevention of stress, anxiety and depression in the postpartum period. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 21(2),197-201.
Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27095995
Page, L., (1997) How to Be Your Own Herbal Pharmacist.
Volz, H.P. (1996) The anxiolytic efficacy of the kava special extract WS 1490 using long-term therapy. Quarterly Review of Natural Medicine, 185, 2-6. Retrieved from http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbclip/122/review42026.html
Whitaker, J., (2015, December). Lavender oil benefits: Reducing stress and depression. Retrieved from http://www.drwhitaker.com/lavender-oil-benefits-reducing-stress-and-depression/