Natural Remedies for Stress

We all feel it. Some of us work under it constantly. Stress is a big part of most people’s lives. The question is, how do we deal with it?

Like any other aspect of our lives, there are good and bad ways of dealing with stress. The problem with bringing up bad ways, however, is that it tends to make people feel more stressed by adding guilt to the equation. We won’t go there.

What Is Causing Your Stress

Stress isn’t always caused by a tragedy, and not all stress is because of bad things. They all do the same thing to your body, however. Stress releases “fight or flight” hormones. These allow you to concentrate and perform better, with clear thought and a lot of energy. That’s great for an emergency. Unfortunately, running on that full time is not.

Just as it’s not good for a car engine to be revved to its highest rpm for several days at a time nonstop (not that it would), it’s not good to run the body that way. In the human body, many things are affected by these hormones. For instance, cortisol output increases dramatically.

Great for the short term, but in the long term it adds to the expanding middle most Americans would like to see decrease. You don’t even have to add in comfort foods, the cortisol alone may be enough to create problems.

Defining your particular cause(s) of stress is half the battle of resolution. It’s very easy to be so busy dealing with stressors that defining them gets lost. However, if you know what they are, chances are good you can find a way around them or someone who can give you a hand. Just knowing the problem may give you breathing space.

Herbs for Stress

Here are a few herbs that may be useful in dealing with stress. They should be part of an overall program, rather than a means by themselves. Please be aware that all of these herbs can cause drowsiness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how you will react.

Chamomile: This is a soothing tea with a taste somewhat reminiscent of apples. It is generally considered safe enough for children, though you should always consult your pediatrician before giving children under 14 an herbal preparation.

Jasmine: Of all the herbs I’ll mention here, jasmine is the strongest. In fact, it is the strongest sedative on the “safe” list. If you’ve ever had tea at a Chinese restaurant, you have probably had a combination of jasmine and some form of black or green tea. Because it is stronger than the other herbs, it might be wise not to let anyone under 18 use it unless directed by a health care provider.

Passionflower: This herb is between chamomile and jasmine in strength. The leaves, flowers and stems can be used. I prefer the flower, as it smells and tastes better. Like jasmine, it can act as a sedative.

Lavender: People who use aromatherapy love lavender. The scent is thought to both soothe and relax. Having used it for that purpose, I agree. The flowers and leaves can also be used in a tea that may help relax.

If you are taking any medications, it is always wise to check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure the supplements you wish to take don’t have bad interactions.

Imelda Despres

Imelda Despres is our writer for the Baby, Health and Beauty categories. She was a nutritionist for 5 years before joining the team. When she's not researching, she enjoys weekend getaways with her family at the lake.

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