Herbs for Stress
The modern world most of us live in is very counterproductive to the thriving of our minds and bodies. Our adrenal systems (think "adrenaline") are flung all around and up and down, putting our nerves on edge and our minds into overdrive. We stay up late into the night, drink caffeine to bring us up and alcohol to bring us down, sit all day in fluorescent lit cubicles, are overexposed to flashy TV and social media, don't get enough natural sunlight, and barely take a full minute to breathe and calm down. Ideally, we would leave this cycle and return to a more natural state, but who can do that on a whim? For now, I've gathered some of my ultra reliable concoctions for remedying stress and anxiety, all of which are used for blocking stress receptors in our cells, just like unnatural benzodiazepines/anxiety medications do. (I was prescribed these in the past and decided to go the natural route, please talk to your doctor before making any major changes!). You will notice both immediate and lasting results and instead of negative side-effects like depression and inability to operate heavy machinery, you will get all natural mental clarity, gorgeous skin, a better night's sleep, clean energy, strength, and endurance. Here they are:
Ashwagandha: This is my number one. My everything. I don't know what I would do without it. Ashwagandha, aka Indian Ginseng, is one of nature's most powerful adaptogens. Adaptogens are substances renowned for blocking stress receptors and calming nerves, and are some of the most prescribed herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. I take two teaspoons of this per day (one in the morning, one in the evening) in smoothies or just stirred into cold water. Ashwagandha has been proven to relieve stress, and certainly has for me. It helps me breathe more deeply without thinking about it, stops me from overthinking into oblivion, helps me think more clearly and logically, and makes me happier and more pleasant each day. The more days in a row I take it, the better. After three weeks I would say, you feel complete bliss. But even 15 minutes after taking it the first time, I felt calm and collected. In a 60-day study in 64 people with chronic stress, those in the supplemental group reported a 69% average reduction in anxiety and insomnia, compared to 11% in the placebo group. (Source). You can get my favorite organic bag here on Amazon.
Passionflower: This is the overthinking moneymaker. I stir this into hot or cold water when I need to calm down for a good night's sleep. This stuff will knock all those unnecessary thoughts right out ya brain so you can rest. I don't really get it, but it does. Native Americans have used passionflower for hundreds of years as a remedy for gastrointestinal issues related to stress, for generalized anxiety, depression, inflammation, and for insomnia. I would say take 1/2 a teaspoon in the evening about an hour before bed. It tastes so floral and yummy too! This is the one I get.
Holy Basil: This is another highly prescribed herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Holy basil has an amazing calming effect that is almost instant. It makes me feel very at ease in the way Ashwagandha does, but also famously helps with pain and inflammation. I most notably have mental clarity and serenity when I take one teaspoon of this per day. The effects are immediate. Also notable benefits for people have been reduced acne, less forgetfulness, and increased sexual desire (probably due to overall reduced stress). I got mine here.
Maca: Coffee notoriously gives me jitters and makes me feel anxious, especially if I have a little too much. In deciding to reduce my intake of caffeine, I had trouble finding something that gave me a comparable amount of energy in the morning without negative side effects. The best thing I've found is Maca root powder. Maca is another adaptogen, so it helps your body deal with incoming stress, but it also gives you amazing, lasting energy and endurance. Many even swear by it's strength providing capabilities. Hence the many maca body building supplements (don't be scared ladies, you're not going to get uber buff from a teaspoon of maca). It also tastes pretty good! Kind of like malted milk. This is the one I get.
If you guys know of any adaptogens you've used and had success with, please share in the comments xoxo