Mother Nature’s cupboard: the most relaxing herbs
Chronic stress and anxiety are rife in modern life, with rates of moderate-to-extreme anxiety and depression up by 30.5% since 2013*. Users of prescribed and over-the-counter stress relievers may experience unwanted side effects, but fortunately, a bunch of readily available super herbs are also highly effective at relieving the symptoms of stress and anxiety. These botanical alternatives are 100 per cent natural, generally, have zero side effects and are safe to take regularly.
Not only does this wonder herb soothe the nervous system, it has been proven to be useful for relieving everything from anxiety and depression to insomnia. The most popular way to get your dose is, of course, to brew yourself a cuppa, and the act of taking time out of
your day to quietly enjoy a relaxing cha and reflect will bolster your state of herb-induced Zen.
This owes its calming effects to its unique ability to boost gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your brain. GABA is responsible for slowing down nerve impulses and people taking passion flower supplements have reported fewer confused, and more easily distinguishable, thoughts.
Compounds in this herb also work to increase levels of GABA in the brain, leading to feelings of tranquillity. It has been suggested valerian root could keep symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) under control, help support healthy sleep and reduce hot flush severity in menopausal women.
Famed for its stress-busting and calming properties, lavender is particularly effective when used as a sleep aid. It promotes deep sleep through encouraging healing and replenishment of the areas in the brain associated with mood, which are vital for staving off anxiety and encouraging a more relaxed mental state.
As well as helping to curb anxiety and stress, lemon balm can be called upon as a pain reliever, anti-insomnia treatment and an attention and cognition enhancer. This all-round superstar is best enjoyed as a daily infusion. Pour hot water over the leaves and leave to steep before reaping the rewards.