Herbal Stress Relief for Adults and Children

Herbs have been used by the human race throughout history. Herbal stress relief is usually very effective for both adults and children. It is definitely worth giving the herbs listed below a try. You may well find that they help you to reduce your stress and make you feel better.

There are several different forms of herbal preparations. You can find herbal teas, you can make decoctions from dried herbs, you can buy herbal capsules, tinctures, fluid extracts, and you can also find herbs mixed with vitamins and minerals in a variety of formulas designed to help you relax.

If you decide to try using herbal stress relief, it is important to be consistent and use the chosen herbs for sometime. They are usually quite gentle in action on the body and need to be used regularly for you to see the results.

Herbs are available in one or more of the following forms:

Dried herbs
These can be used to make herbal tea by pouring hot water on a teaspoon of the herb, either loose in a mug or teapot, or in an infusing spoon or tea holder on a chain. This is an easy an pleasant way to obtain herbal stress relief.

Dried herbs can also be used to make an infusion. An infusion is made by putting 30mg (1oz) of the herb into a glass or china container with a tight fitting lid, pour on 500ml (20fl ozs) of boiling water and leave to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain the liquid and allow to cool. Take one cup three times a day, before meals.If you are using hard plant parts such as roots, seeds, bark, etc then you will need to make a decoction. This is done by using the same amounts of water and herbs as for an infusion. Use cold water rather than hot, allow the herbs to soak for 10 minutes, then bring them to the in an enamel, stainless steel or heat-resistant glass pan. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the herbs to steep for a further 10 minutes. Strain, cool and take one cup three times a day before meals.

Tinctures are coloured herbal extracts made with alcohol. They are very effective for extracting the nutrients from herbs and keep them in a stable soluble form which allows for optimal for absorption and assimilation. Tinctures make sure that the less stable ingredients, which are often lost in heat treated and dry extracts, are retained. These ingredients are very important for increasing the health benefits of herbs. If you are sensitive to, or do not wish to have alcohol, you can remove the alcohol from the tincture by pouring boiling water onto the dose and leaving it for a few minutes. This will make all the alcohol evaporate.

Fluid extracts
Fluid extracts are very similar to tinctures except that they are three to four times stronger, so you need to use less. They are also available without alcohol which is useful to those who prefer not to have alcohol. Taking herbal stress relief herbs as a fluid extract means you will feel the effects fast!

Capsules, tablets and formulas
You can obtain herbs in capsule form, which are just the plain powdered herbs put into a cellulose capsule for ease of use. These are just as good as tinctures and fluid extracts.

Tableted herbs will contain other ingredients used to make the actual tablet. These ingredients can interfere with the action of the herb, so I don’t recommend them.

There are many herbal stress relief formulas available on the market, containing herbs combined with other ingredients designed to promote relaxation. Many of these are in tablet form and so care is needed in selecting a formula which is right for you. If in doubt consult a qualified herbalist or nutritionist.

Below is give a list of herbs known for their relaxation inducing effects:

Valerian (Valeriana) – is a very helpful form of herbal stress relief if you suffer from tension and anxiety, or have a tendency to get easily over-excited and/or hysterical. It is very calming but is unlikely to make you sleepy (although I wouldn’t suggest taking large quantities and then driving) and you can use it without any worries about getting addicted to it. If you have trouble sleeping, try taking valerian an hour or so before you go to bed. If your body gets so tense that you experience pain, taking valerian can help to relieve the discomfort.

How to take: The part used is the root. Tea, tincture, liquid extract, capsules. Caution: It is best not to use Valerian for long periods of time or at very high doses as this could cause headaches, dizziness, muscle spasm or palpitations. Also, if you are taking sleeping tablets, or have liver problems, do not take Valerian.

Hops (Humulus lupus) – Hops work as a central nervous system relaxant. This makes them a very helpful form of herbal stress relief if you suffer from insomnia and the stress states caused by not getting enough sleep. You can buy hop pillows which work very well because hops work on the smell centre in the brain which directly affects the limbic system which is the most primitive part of our brain and affects all our basic needs including sleep and relaxation. Hops help to relieve tension and anxiety and are helpful in reducing restlessness. Hops have a strong muscle relaxing effect so if being stressed gives you headaches, indigestion, stomach pains, palpitations or a nervous cough, then taking hops, especially in the form of a tincture, could prove very helpful for you.

How to take: The part used is the flowers. Tincture, liquid extract, capsules.Caution: Do not use if you have a tendency towards depression or with sedative drugs or alcohol.

Lemon Balm (Melissa) – Lemon balm is known for its ability to calm nervousness and agitation and to help with sleep problems. It is also an antispasmodic, so helpful with stomach cramps, headaches, etc. It makes a delicious and fragrant herbal stress relief tea. It is very easy to grow, if you have a garden.

How to take: The part used is the leaves. Tincture, liquid extract, tea, infusion.Cautions: Do not take if you have thyroid problems or glaucoma. Do not take during pregnancy.

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – Chamomile is a mild relaxant and sedative. A cup of chamomile tea before bed can help you to fall asleep easily and sleep well. Like lemon balm, it also has anti-spasmodic properties. This is a wonderful tea for children. It can be slightly bitter so sweeten it with a little honey if you like.

How to take: The part used is the flowers. Can be taken as tincture, liquid extract, tea, infusion.

Passion Flower (Passiflora) – Passion flower is extremely useful if you suffer from long term insomnia. It can be taken over a long period of time. It helps you get to sleep, sleep well and wake up without any of the heavy feeling of some sleeping tablets. It has a generally tranquillizing effect. It can help to relieve restlessness, irritability, nervous stress and anxiety and can also be used where great tension is causing spasms in the body as it is also an antispasmodic.

How to take: The part used is the flowers. Can be taken as dried herb, tincture or liquid extract. Caution: As with all herbs do not use in pregnancy without consulting your doctor first.

Oats (Avena Sativa) – Not usually something you would think of as a herb, oats are very nourishing and help with recovery from physical and nervous exhaustion. They have even been found to reduce long term depression. They have mild sedating and mind relaxing properties.

How to take: Can be eaten as porridge, or in the form of a tincture or liquid extract.Caution: Do not use if you have an allergy to gluten. The tincture and liquid extract may cause headache if taken in large quantities.

To buy herbal stress relief herbs online:

In the UK try www.purplesage.org.uk.

In the USA try http://www.herbco.com/t-about.aspx

Return to Nutrition and Stress from Herbal Stress Relief

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