Everyone is affected by varying degrees of stress and anxiety. Too much stress causes fatigue, may lead to panic attacks, and is dangerous to health. Serious stress such as a job loss or death of a loved one can become life threatening. Herbs can help prepare the body for stressful times. Herbal remedies can also be used to relax the mind and body giving a rest from stress and anxiety.
Medicinal herbs can help protect during times of stress. For best results, also try meditation, massage, reflexology, music therapy, and other alternative medicines. Everyone is different and what does not work for one person, will do wonders for the next person.
Aromatherapy is often used to relieve stress. Lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang essential oils are good choices. Use in a diffuser, in massage oils, and warm baths for best results. Try inhaling lavender essential oil for uplifting the spirit and getting rid of depression.
For example, the smell of cinnamon and apples can relieve anxiety. It's hard to be anxious while sipping cinnamon tea while remembering grandma's cozy kitchen or mom's apple pie.
Neroli essential oil, made from orange blossoms, is known for its calming effects. Combine neroli essential oil and lavender essential oil with almond oil and use in soothing massages. This treatment will calm even the most severe case of nerves. Angelica essential oil is noted for its ability to aid in relaxation. Just a sniff of the vapors can help.
Another essential oil useful for treating anxiety is rose essential oil. When damask rose oil is combined with sandalwood or patchouli the calming effect is remarkable. Use in a lotion, massage, or warm bath for best results. Some people find that ylang-ylang is an aid to relaxation. Others might choose chamomile. It takes some trial and error to find out what works best for each individual. Extreme panic attacks may require professional help. See the Anxiety and Depression Society of America for more information.
Causes of stress include drug addiction, alcohol dependence, lack of sleep, overwhelming personal problems, depression, sudden change of lifestyle, allergies, chronic illness, mineral depletion, noise pollution, overcrowding, and poverty.
Symptoms of stress vary among individuals but may include losing interest in activities, creases in the forehead, clenched jaws, constipation, diarrhea, weight gain, weight loss, mood swings, crying spells, becoming short-tempered, tiredness, anger, insomnia, paranoia, panic attacks, anxiety, sadness, chronic head and neck aches, high blood pressure, lowered immunity, upset stomach, skin disorders, kidney malfunction, frequent infections, asthma, heart disease, mental problems, suicidal thoughts, and nervous breakdown.
The body is designed to handle stress but sometimes it needs help. Good nutrition is vital to controlling the harmful effects of stress. Protein and mineral rich foods are good choices for helping the body to overcome stress. Vegetables, whole grains, seafood, soy foods, fresh fish, carrots, brown rice, eggs, and sprouts can greatly benefit the body in stressful times. Adding brewer’s yeast, toasted wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and molasses to the diet is also recommended.
During times of extreme stress, it is good to support the adrenal glands with green drinks, calcium supplements, vitamin C supplements, ginseng and honey tea, astragalus, ginkgo biloba, or licorice extract. Other herbs to try include valerian, wild lettuce, bee balm, passion flower, catnip, rosemary, lemon balm, and chamomile.
Stress is immediately reduced when having a good laugh (watch a funny movie or search the internet for humorous jokes). Regular deep breathing exercises, meditation, prayer, aerobic exercise, listening to favorite music, visiting with friends, short vacations, creative hobbies, and celebrating family traditions can also bring relief.
If the workplace is stressful, learn to delegate some responsibilities whenever possible. The world will continue even if a few things are left undone. Learn to live in the here and now. You can’t change the past and the future has not arrived yet. Appreciate life as it is happening and worries will usually fade away. As they say, “Take time to smell the roses.”
Instead of coffee, try chamomile tea. Never eat on the run, while working, between meals, or while watching television. Mealtime should be a relaxing time so that food can be properly digested.
Anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, tension, stress, depression, insomnia, and nervous disorders are common in today's society. In many cases the underlying cause is fear. Fear of failing, fear of poverty, fear of being alone, fear of the future, fear of change, fear of disease, and fear of dying cause stress and many other negative symptoms. I have found the best way to overcome fear is to rebuke it. Rebuke fear -- refuse to give it a place in your life -- then use herbal remedies for relaxation and healing.
Prolonged anxiety depletes the body of its natural tranquilizers. Bad diet and poor eating habits contribute to the problem. Add in polluted air, contaminated water, pesticides, environmental hazards, sedentary lifestyles, and the nightly news. It's no surprise that people are nervous and experiencing more panic attacks than ever before.
Nervous disorders have many and varied symptoms depending on the individual. Inability to relax, mood swings, headaches, heart palpitations, sadness or anger with no obvious cause, lack of motivation, irritability, and feelings of emptiness indicate the presence of a nervous disorder.
Some herbs are especially suited for treating the symptoms of anxiety and stress. Skullcap, passionflower, hawthorn, St. John's wort, valerian, wild lettuce, ginseng, licorice, wood betony, lavender, lemon balm, bee balm (mornada), chamomile, black cohosh, Jamaican dogwood, oat straw, rosemary, barley grass, catnip, lobelia, dandelion, parsley, nettles, evening primrose, peppermint, bee pollen, and watercress are considered useful in the treatment of nervous conditions and panic attacks. The choice depends on various factors including what is available.
Aromatic herbs and essential oils affect our emotions. Rosemary might be useful in stabilizing mood swings. Bee balm and catnip might aid in getting restful sleep. Valerian, lemon balm, skullcap, or passion flower would be a good choice for the treatment of sudden panic attacks.
* Do not take essential oils internally. Always consult with your healthcare professional before taking any herbal remedy especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription medicines.
"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling, herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
* Note - the information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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