Monday, December 29, 2014

FARMACY: 7 ANTI-STRESS HERBS




As much as I am a complete elf when it comes to the Holiday season, I still feel drained from the hustle bustle of all of it in the end. I end up feeling something like this. In order to lighten my brain back up and increase mental flow, there are a variety of herbs I reach for during such fatiguing times. These herbs not only soothe anxiety but fine-tune your brain + body to fight against the damage of stress. Brain waves are toned + the body is put into a deep state of rejuvenation . . .


1 ST. JOHN'S WORT | I just recently made an extremely potent bottle of this as a tincture and fell into the most dreamy sleep the other night after taking it. St. John's Wort is a great herb if you experience issues falling asleep if taken thirty minutes to an hour before rest. This makes it a perfect replacement for sleep-aids, which might drop you into sleep but completely wreck havoc on your body's sleep cycle. Such is the case even with melatonin, which is not a sleep hormone but a hormone with a variety of physiological functions. It should not be used as a sleep-aid, which is a topic I will delve into in another blog post coming up soon . . .
2 ASHWAGANDA | This is one of my go-to herbs as well as an Ayurvedic favourite. It is one of the most potent adaptogens and it helps the body cope with not only stress but the physiological ailments that often accompany it such as backaches, menstrual problems, and insomnia. It's also rich in minerals that deeply support the thyroid and sleep cycles.
3 ASTRAGALUS |Another herb that I recently made into a powerful little bottle of tincture, Astragalus is key for times of stress and muscle support + bone maintenance. This support makes it a perfect herb to take to recover the body not only from the tension of the Holiday season but also from athletic activity. According to Taoist traditional medicine, this is one of the most powerful Qi tonics available to strengthen the overall system, metabolism, immune response, + promote homeostasis of all the body's functions.
4 LEMON BALM |I used to grow lemon balm in a big pot over the summer and loved putting it into fresh, summery salads. So, I was ecstatic when I learned the stress-reducing + memory-boosting properties of this herb with the exorbitant amounts of it that I was consuming. Summery salads are not the only way to enjoy this herb, though. A simple tisane of it along with some fresh mint leaves is the perfect Holiday meal antidote. It helps alleviate indigestion, bloating, + promotes a restful sleep with which the previous two problems can interfere.
5 MUCUNA PRURIENS |I have so much love for this tonic. I made hot cacao with it every single day during finals, enjoying its caramely + earthy notes.  I believe it was one of the few things that supported me through the hectic times. It is a bio-available source of L-dopa, which is an amino acid that forms into the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. It elevates the mood, boosts memory, + regulates sleep patters. It tames + soothes the nervous system in such a powerful way that it is even used as a treatment for Parkinson's disease. 
6 REISHI |I have previously written about this magical mushroom [not that kind!] in immunity posts such as this, but Reishi is also a favourite of mine to combat daily stress. This mushroom is often referred to as the "Mushroom of Immortality" as it fights free radicals + regulates the body's response to stress. It also is touted to have the ability to open the heart, soothe the spirit + nerves, promote grounding, + increase spirituality. 
7 CHAMOMILE | Often consumed in tea form, chamomile is one of the most common and safe options to relieve stress. I find two teabags of chamomile to be the easiest way to wind-down after a long day before I slip into bed. I love this tea as it also has tulsi in it, which is another potent healing herb that literally puts me into a higher level of meditative + relaxed level of consciousness. Pure bliss . . . 

Photo via Pinterest, source unknown