Written by Jenny S, Guest Writer
With people becoming increasingly conscious about fitness, the popularity of medicinal herbs has dramatically increased. Believed to be a key to good health in ancient traditions, they contain various antioxidants and vitamins. Apart from improving your physical wellbeing, they are also beneficial for your mental health. As a result, herbs are an ideal choice to calm your mind holistically.
Many people lead incredibly fast-paced lives, and often don’t get time to unwind. In many cases, it leads to stress and anxiety, which gets exhausting or even overwhelming. Individuals often tend to get trapped in false and limited ways of thinking. Moreover, if left untreated, the condition can worsen.
So, if you’re searching for an organic option to relax and relieve stress, medicinal herbs are a great option. They possess the ability to positively impact the quality of your life.
All About Herbs
Herbs refer to fresh or dried green leaves of a plant used for its flavor, scent, or therapeutic properties. Health experts often recommend replacing excessive salt and sugar with herbs to enhance meals. Basil, oregano, lemongrass, and parsley are some of the common herbs used. While many relish their taste, they bring much more to the table than that.
They have played a vital role in numerous cultures since the advent of humankind. They have been used in religious ceremonies, preservation, cosmetic purposes, and food preparation apart from treating common illnesses. Herbs need to be chopped or crushed before use.
They have also made their way into homeopathy, a practice that incorporates a holistic, gentle way to deal with different ailments. Today, with increasing consumer consciousness, herbs have skyrocketed to popularity and are among the fastest-developing industries of the time.
Existing Treatments for Stress
Stress is a state of emotional or mental tension that often leads to underperformance. It is a natural reaction to precarious situations. However, if you’re someone struggling with chronic stress, you must take immediate action to improve your condition. If you fail to do this, it might lead to irreversible health issues. The condition then becomes challenging to manage as it requires time and effort. Therefore, it is essential to calm your mind to regain control of your life.
The growing number of reports of anxiety and stress among individuals has caused many to seek medical help as doctors often prescribe antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicines. Though effective, they might not be suitable for everyone as it has a myriad of adverse side effects. Some common ones are nausea, fatigue, appetite loss, constipation, and loss of sexual desire. Moreover, though they may provide quick relief, the effects are not long-lasting and may lead to symptom relapse.
On the other hand, medicinal herbs do not have any adverse side effects. Focusing on a more comprehensive approach, they can relieve you from unnecessary burdens and help you feel rejuvenated when you wake up. Read on to learn which herbs can aid in soothing your mind and how.
Herbs to calm the mind and relieve stress
With the loosening global restrictions on this substance, it has received a lot of research attention. It contains two primary active compounds which include:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (T.H.C.): It is the principal psychoactive component
- Cannabidiol (CBD): It is non-psychoactive and does not cause the euphoric high, unlike THC. Hence, it is safe to use.
Both of these compounds interact with your endocannabinoid system, but their effects differ significantly. You can buy cannabis online or from local stores.
Cannabis for Relieving Stress
Currently, there is substantial scientific evidence of medical cannabis being used to treat several mental health disorders. According to a study, it exhibits anxiolytic and antidepressant properties. This is on account of the several phytochemicals it contains. Here are a few ways of how cannabis can help calm your mind.
- The cannabinoids target several regions of the brain, including the hippocampus and amygdala. By changing the blood flow to these regions in the body, it regulates your emotional response.
- Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, often referred to as the ‘happy chemical’ as it helps regulate your mood and happiness. CBD present in Cannabis binds to the 5HT1A receptor of serotonin, improving your mood and calming your mind.
- Being in a continuous fight or flight mode could dysregulate your endocannabinoid system. It could also result in some physical issues – one of them being insomnia. CBD can boost the production of endocannabinoid receptors in your body. This way, it improves the quantity and quality of your sleep, making you wake up feeling rejuvenated and fresh.
Ways to Consume Cannabis for Stress
Cannabis is available in numerous forms on the market. Though all of them have similar effects, each takes a different time to provide relief. A few of them include:
- Topical products: Cannabis-infused massage oil, balms, gels, creams, and lotions have a topical application. They are useful for relieving stress, pain, and inflammation in specific areas.
- Edibles: Cannabis-infused edibles such as cookies, chocolates, gummies, etc. would be ideal for someone who finds the earthy taste of this substance unbearable.
- Capsules: Capsules are a discreet way of consuming this substance. If you’re accustomed to taking pills, this would be best for you.
- Isolates and tinctures are other conventional ways of consuming this substance.
You can choose the way that you feel is more convenient and comfortable as per your requirements. However, if you are taking other medications, consult your doctor before adding Cannabis to your wellness routine.
Earning the reputation of ‘the king of medicinal herbs,’ Ashwagandha is one of the essential herbs in Ayurveda. This small plant with yellow flowers is native to India. Also known as winter cherry, it belongs to the nightshade family.
It has been suggested by traditional healers as a ‘Rasayana’ to revitalize the body for an extended period. Pharmacological studies indicate that it’s a multipurpose herb. It is neuroprotective, sleep-inducing, and exhibits anxiolytic properties. One of the simplest ways of consuming Ashwagandha roots is in the form of tea.
Ashwagandha has garnered a lot of attention as a potential remedy for several mental health illnesses, including anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. It can enhance your overall well being while maintaining the endocrinological balance without causing any adverse side effects.
Ashwagandha for Stress Relief
Classified as an adaptogen, this popular herb can help regulate the physiological processes by various mechanisms, thus stabilizing your body’s response in stressful situations. The two main ones include:
- Your adrenal glands produce cortisol, often called the ‘stress hormone’ in response to stress. Scientific evidence suggests that supplementing with Ashwagandha regularly helps lower the levels of cortisol. Therefore, it improves the person’s resistance to stress and helps them remain calm in otherwise taxing situations.
- Anxiety, stress, and sleep have an unavoidable relation. Adequate rest helps improve your mental health. Ashwagandha is a natural sleep aid that contains Triethylene-glycol, a compound that induces drowsiness.
- This herb has a calming and rejuvenating effect over your Central Nervous System (CNS).
Many health experts consider this herb as an excellent natural alternative to medications.
Ways to Consume Ashwagandha
This herb is incredibly versatile, and one can consume it in several ways, which are as follows.
- You can mix powdered Ashwagandha with honey and warm milk to get a good night’s sleep.
- You can roast an ounce of Ashwagandha powder in a tablespoon of ghee and sugar. Eating it at least 30 minutes before breakfast will leave you energized.
- It’s also available in the form of capsules that you can consume according to your needs.
Used as traditional medicine since ancient times, ginger can be beneficial for your body. Its exotic spicy flavor is primarily on account of the ketones present in it, especially gingerol. Originating in Asia, people have used this for culinary purposes for thousands of years. With numerous remarkable health properties, including anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, one should not undermine its therapeutic potential.
Numerous cultures have embraced the healing powers of this perennial root. It has earned its rightful place in Ayurveda and homeopathy. Historically, doctors commonly prescribed it only for cold, flu, and gastrointestinal issues. Its stress-relieving properties were identified much later.
Ginger for Relieving Stress
Ginger has an abundance of antioxidants that protect your cells against free radicals. Gingerol is one of the primary active antioxidants known for counteracting harmful chemicals that the body produces in stressful situations. It can, therefore, lift your mood and leave you feeling calm. Apart from that, it increases the levels of two neurotransmitters- dopamine and serotonin. It is the deficiency of these chemicals that will often cause you to feel low and stressed out.
Moreover, on account of its warm scent, people often use ginger oil for aromatherapy. It reduces feelings of agitation, anxiety, and stress, which comforts and energizes your mind and body. Incorporating ginger in your health regimen can, therefore, improve the quality of your life.
Ways to Incorporate Ginger in Your Diet
- Many people consume fresh raw ginger. To enhance its taste, you can pair it with black salt.
- You can spice up your morning with a warm cup of ginger tea. Adding a little honey and lemon makes for a perfect winter beverage.
- You can easily make a ginger pickle at home. It multiplies its effects and can refresh your mouth.
People have been using Holy Basil or Tulsi for centuries because of its benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. Also known as the ‘queen of herbs’ or ‘the incomparable one,’ it is a fairly common plant in Indian households that is almost sacred, revered for its divine qualities.
Tulsi for Mitigating Stress
According to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative medicine, Tulsi exhibits antidepressant and anti-anxiolytic properties. Considered as a potent adaptogen, it can promote resilience and wellbeing. It works to balance the body by adapting to emotional, physical, and environmental stress.
A 2012 study suggests that regular use of Tulsi can help maintain healthy cortisol levels by mitigating stress. Moreover, it can help alleviate other symptoms as well, such as fatigue and sleeplessness.
Ways to Consume Tulsi
- If you’re eating raw tulsi leaves, make it a point to wash them properly and chew them thoroughly to release the phytonutrients.
- You can prepare tea by adding 1/4th cup of tulsi leaves into boiling water. Drinking a warm cup in stressful situations can help you calm down and unwind.
- Ayurveda suggests taking dried tulsi leaves with a spoonful of honey or ghee.
Chamomile is one of the most ancient flowering herbs known to man. There are various species of this plant, and it’s also the most researched. It has the potential to treat a wide variety of ailments, and its medicinal properties are the result of the numerous flavonoids and terpenoids in its flowers.
Among the flavonoids that chamomile contains, there is a very promising compound known as apigenin. It binds to specific receptors found in the brain and thereby helps reduce stress. So in case you’re having a hectic and burdensome day, this herb can help you enjoy a few moments of peace.
Many times, extreme stress and worry may lead to sleeplessness or insomnia. Chamomile acts as a mild tranquilizer and can work wonders in such cases. However, if you take other medications, it would be best to consult with a health expert before incorporating chamomile in your wellness routine.
Ways to Consume Chamomile
- People usually drink chamomile tea to calm their nerves before they go to bed. One can easily make this warm beverage at home by putting dried chamomile flowers into boiling water.
- German chamomile possesses a sweet and fruity scent on account of which people use it for aromatherapy. Inhaling this soothing smell helps your mind and body relax.
- You can add fresh flower heads to your salad and enjoy a healthy breakfast.
- It is also available in the form of a liquid extract or tinctures, capsules, and topical applications such as lotions.
Modern stressful lifestyles require appropriate management so that you don’t get trapped in a negative spiral of unwanted racing thoughts. The herbs mentioned above can help restore a healthy lifestyle with reduced stress. However, you must ensure to take them in the right dosage and consult your healthcare provider if you have any doubts.
So, what’s stopping you? Don’t hesitate and take a step towards improving your mental wellbeing with these useful herbs.