8 Plants With Amazing Anti-Anxiety & Relaxing Benefits
Cultures around the world have been using medicinal plants for millennia. If you struggle with anxiety and stress, which often impact sleep, herbs may help. Always check with your doctor before trying any supplement for medicinal purposes, and know that these are not regulated. Even so, most herbs are safe and beneficial. Try them to soothe your mood, relax a stressful mind, and get a better night’s sleep.
How to Use Herbs
You can find herbal supplements in pill or powdered form, but a great way to get the soothing effects by steeping them in tea. Some herbs are easy to find in tea form, like chamomile and passionflower.
Others you can make into a tea using the dried flowers or leaves. Steep your herbal blend in boiling water for several minutes and enjoy before bed. You can also find extracts of herbs to add to teas and other drinks and oils for aromatherapy.
Herbal plants for relaxation
Most people find the smell of lavender soothing, and traditionally it has many medicinal uses. These include treating burns, infections, and even neurological conditions. Studies show that lavender oil reduces anxiety disorder symptoms and improves sleep.
Usage: You can use lavender as an essential oil or in dried & fresh flower form.
Recipe tips: Create a soothing pillow spray. Combine 4 tablespoons witch hazel with 16oz filtered water in a spray bottle. Add 50 drops of lavender essential oil in a shake to mix. Spray over your pillow for better sleep.
Chamomile has a pleasant and mild, apple-like aroma. It has long been associated with calm and relaxation, and modern studies have proven it. A study from 2016 found that using chamomile extract daily for 12 weeks resulted in a significant reduction in generalized anxiety disorder symptoms in participants.
Usage: You can use it as essential oil or dried flowers.
Recipe tips: Try a chamomile herbal tea to help you unwind. Simply pour hot water in a teapot or a mug over 1-2 tsp dried chamomile flowers. Stir in a small spoonful of locally-sourced honey for a treat.
Also known as linden and basswood, tea made from the bark, leaves, and flowers of the lime tree can reduce anxiety. Lime tree old folk favorite for anxiety that may really work. Some studies show it can reduce anxiety, possibly because it resembles GABA, the brain chemical that induces relaxation.
Usage: Dried flowers is the most common usage. You can find essential oils as well.
Recipe tips: Lime Tree is famous as an herbal tea. Follow the same steps to steep as chamomile tea. This tea is great to wind down in the evening.
Passionflower tea may help you sleep because it reduces anxiety. One study even showed that it worked as a natural anti-anxiety medication for patients about to have dental work done. Passionflower may work because it boosts levels of the brain chemical GABA.
Usage: Dried flowers, essential oils & flower essence.
Recipe tips: You can drink passionflower as a herbal tea like lime tree & chamomile. For a great moment of total relaxation, make yourself a nice bath with passionflower bath salts. In a bowl, mix 1⁄2 cup Epsom salt, 1⁄4 cup sea salt, and 1⁄2 cup Passionflower (dried or fresh). Add to a warm bath, and enjoy!
Valerian root is another ancient remedy for insomnia. It may be effective, like passionflower, by increasing GABA levels in the brain. Often combined with passionflower for a potent pre-bed tea, valerian root eases stress and anxiety.
Usage: Powdered valerian root, capsules, essential oil, dried valerian roots. Be careful about dosage.
Recipe tips: You can take capsules of powdered valerian roots to reduce anxiety (don’t use more than recommended). You can also make relaxing herbal tea by adding some chamomile and verbena (1⁄3 each).
Flowers of the orange tree have a delicate, orange-like aroma that may help you relax and sleep better. Try an orange blossom extract, which studies have found is more effective than some other herbal remedies and prescription benzodiazepines at reducing anxiety related to poor sleep.
Usage: The most common are orange blossom water or orange blossom essential oil.
Recipe tips: For a great relaxing moment try an orange blossom bath. In a bowl, mix 3 cups warm milk (ideally organic almond, coconut or goat milk), 4 tbsp of honey, and 1⁄3 cup orange blossom flower. You can also add drops of jojoba oil to make it even more hydrating. Pair this soothing mix with a special bath-time meditation.
Lemon balm is related to mint, another relaxing plant. Lemon balm is another herb that boosts GABA levels, helping to induce relaxation and reduce anxiety. It may also help with insomnia and depression.
Usage: Mostly dried leaves.
Recipe tips: Lemon balm is a great plant to add to other dried herbs for relaxing herbal tea. It goes particularly well with valerian root.
Also known as oat straw extract, this herbal supplement comes from Avena sativa, the same oats that make oatmeal. The extract is made from the stems and leaves. Studies indicate that flowery oats could reduce anxiety, stress, and depression because it blocks a specific enzyme, PDE4.
Usage: Dried flowers, powder.
Recipe tips: Adding some flowery oats to your daily beverages is a great tool to feel better throughout your day. Another way to use flowery oats is by making a bath. In a bowl, mix 1⁄2 cup of powdered milk (goat, coconut or whole milk), 1⁄2 cup of flowery oat, 2 tbsp of dried aloe vera, 4 tbsp of dried flowers (optional) (roses, hibiscus, calendula) and 20 drops of lavender essential oil (optional). Pour 1⁄2 cup of this mix into your bath and save the remainder for next time. Enjoy.
Old folk remedies have been around for hundreds of years, often because they work. Many herbs can soothe your mind and get you ready for bed with less anxiety. Try teas or extracts and make them a part of a healthy sleep routine along with Relax Melodies meditations and soundscapes.
Remember to always look at recommendations of usage and dosage before using essential oils and dried flowers dried herbs.
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