The quickening pace of modern life can leave many of us feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Often, anxiety feels like an overall sense of uneasiness, tension, or restlessness. The body receives these feeling states as a potential threat, which triggers a cascade of stress hormones. This activates a fight-or-flight state in our nervous system and spikes our adrenalin and cortisol, impairing our digestion and contracting our breath.
Chronic anxiety and stress states strain the adrenal and pituitary glands and, over time, contribute to health disorders, weight gain, and feelings of constant fatigue + eventual burn-out.
Our breath is one of the best tools for shifting the body out of an anxious state, and it’s available to us at any time. Taking mini breath breaks or using guided meditation throughout the day does wonders for alleviating anxiety.
Herbs are also a wonderful option for anxiety and serve as gentle remedies for everyday ailments. There are several supportive options, so try a few out and see what works best for you. (Be sure to speak with a holistic practitioner prior to taking or combining herbs, especially if you’re on a medication.)
1. Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm is a gentle nervous system relaxant that’s a wonderful option for anxiety. Lemon balm tea can be sipped all day and it supports digestion by helping to reduce gas and stomach discomfort.
How to use: Try as a tea or infusion and sip daily.
Chamomile is a calming nerve relaxant that helps with nervousness and irritability. It is also helpful for sleep and a great herbal option for children.
How to use: Enjoy as a tea.
3. Oat Straw & Milky Oat Tops
These nutritive herbs act as gentle nervine tonics which relax and nourish the nervous system. Through long-term use, oat straw can increase strength and stamina and ease anxiety from stress and exhaustion.*
*Avoid with celiac disease.
How to use: Sip tea or infusions daily.
4. Holy Basil (Tulsi)
Holy Basil (also known as Tulsi) is an adaptogen, anti-stress herb, and immune tonic that balances blood sugar and helps relieve anxiety and depression. Holy Basil promotes a relaxed state and is used widely for meditation. It also helps improve resilience and recovery from stress.*
*Avoid with blood thinning medications and during pregnancy.
How to use: Try as a tincture or tea/infusion daily.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen used to increase vitality and longevity. This gentle nervine tonic is used to ease stress and anxiety, improve mental function, and restore health to the nervous system.*
*Avoid during pregnancy and lactation.
How to use: Try as a tincture or powder 2-3x per day .
Skullcap is a nervine tonic used to ease stress and anxiety. When taken long term it can help to relieve ongoing nervous system tension. Skullcap improves mood, reduces oxidative stress, and supports cognitive function.
How to use: Try as a tincture or tea before bed.
Passionflower is a mild sedative and a hypnotic, which aids the body by relieving tension and anxiety. It is also a powerful ally for insomnia as it supports deep and restorative sleep.
How to use: Best taken at bedtime in tea or tincture form.
8. Valerian root
Valerian root is a sedative, and nervine tonic that assists the body with stress-related disorders, insomnia, and pain relief. Valerian supports a deeper night’s sleep and can act as a gentle laxative for some.
How to use: Best taken at bedtime in tincture or capsule form.
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