Morning all my bohemians, health enthusiast, hippies and witchy friends,
Today I am smiling because the autumn leaves are in rays of golden, red, orange and green. Yes, fall has arrived along with the cool crisp of Tennessee!
For those whom may be wondering, "Hey, I thought the apothecary was in Miami, what's up?" Then I should remind you not all of our herbs grow in Miami, Florida. So, if we want happy and healthy plants, some need a slightly cooler climate.
Either way, while I am prepping for the final harvest of the year in Tennessee, I must admit my stomach is a little upset this morning -call it nerves, stress and a touch of emotional anxiety of the coming season.
So, I thought I would share some of my favorite combinations of infusions and decoctions for situational anxiety. All 22 of them to be exact! Call it giving back to all those stress balls like me out there. It is entirely free along with all my good vibes and love for you.
Before we get started, let me set some of the foundational terms and explanations.
First things first, we must address the disclaimer. I wrote situational anxiety in the headline because not all of the herbs should be taken for someone that is managing clinically diagnosed anxiety or generalized anxiety disorders. Like some western medicines, if you take these natural remedies on a daily basis they can cause more harm than benefit. The exception on this list for daily use are floral essence infusions and teas. Those are almost always safe -granted you do not have an allergy or additional health concern. So, consult with a physician or registered herbalist for those needs.
Second things second, I have written this article for someone who has dabbled some already in gardening or herbalism. If you don't know a term or jargon slang, please comment below, and I will definitely explain what it means further. There is no shame in asking questions, only those who are too prideful to not ask.
Herbs for Aiding in the Reduction of Situational Stress
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca): Motherwort is a perennial plant from the mint family. It is primarily used to prevent or stop bleeding. Yet, some individuals may use it for irregular heartbeat. This herb should only be taken under strict care from a professional for situational panic attacks.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): This is the most common and available herb that I reach for when stressed or battling a heartbreak. Sometimes depending on the level of anxiety I may harvest a leaf straight from the bush and eat it right there. I don't suggest this because you should inspect your leaves and wash them before doing such things. Lemon balm makes for a great tea or honey infusion.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata): Spearmint is a tasty and cooling herb for someone who is stressed out. Its cooling affect is better to use for those who are battling sweaty palms and nervous jitters than peppermint. Spearmint and peppermint are sister herbs and are used for a lot of the same applications, but spearmint is more cooling while peppermint can help keep us warm. In cases of grief and public speaking stage fright, I will give someone spearmint tea, brownies or a jam infusion.
Floral Essence & Leaves:
Skullcap (Scutellaria): Skullcap is a beautiful purple flowering plant that aids in situational stress caused by insomnia. The leaves are brewed as teas to bring alleviation to anxiety and convulsions whiles the roots may be ground into a fine powder for dysentery, high blood pressure, hemorrhaging, respiratory infections, and inflammation.
Lavender (lavandula angustifolia), Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata):: Lavender, Chamomile & Passionflower are a soothing florals safe to use on a daily basis in food or tea. Most individuals might grab a tea right before heading to bed or heading up on public stage. It has a gentle effect and may not work for everyone, but safe for children.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria): Meadowsweet is highly recognizable plant and known in folklore as brideworts. This was because once upon a time it was used as bridal garland. It has a sweet smell and pleasant taste. While meadowsweet has mainly uses for its flowers and leaves, most revolve around its use for pain reduction. This is because meadowsweet has salicylic acid. This definitely gives it added bonus for those who have acne that is treated with the chemical.
Hop (Humulus lupulus): Hops are the flowering of the hop plant. You may recognize the name from slang phrases like, "Let's get some hops!" when someone is referring to a night out drinking. Almost all beers on the market contain hops, and it may help you understand the affects these flowers have on the body. Most notable for reducing anxiety, pain and jitters, they will have the side effect of increased urine production.
Other Mentionable Options:
- Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
- St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
- California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
- Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
- Borage (Borago officinalis)
- Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba)
- Cowslip (Primula veris)
- Vervain (Verbena)
Trees & Scrubs:
Hawthorn (Crataegus): Hawthorn is one of the more powerful herbal remedies for someone counteracting a stressful situation. It is an herbal shrub & berry. I would not recommend for daily use if you are someone on a heart or circulatory blood pressure medication.
But for most it has been a great remedy during the onset of panic attacks or when I have lost loved ones. This is because it can help with hyperactive breathing. The berries on hawthorn are referred to as haws and are edible. Hawthorn's biochemistry contains flavonoid glycosides and tannins. Flavonoids help with vasodilation and opening up the circulatory system while tannins assist in the digestive tract. This combination works well with reducing the inflammation and tension built up during stressful times.
Hawthorn can give some individuals the feelings of "being trapped" or "tightness". If you are someone who is claustrophobic, it may be best to substitute hawthorn berries or flowers for the herb ashwagandha.
Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus): Chasteberry is a popular option for stress onset with menstruate. It is known with repeated use to help with aniexty as well as mood in women. So, next time your cycle comes around grab a few berries.
Mullein (Verbascum): Mullein is a tall and fuzzy herbaceous plant medicinally used as a tea for its leaves and flowers.
Roots & Rhizomes:
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Ashwagandha is a popular shrub used medicinally because of its roots. Some individuals will grind up the roots to use as powder while others will soak the roots in hot water for an herbal remedy tea. While ashwagandha is popular for reducing stress and depression, some individuals may take it for its fertility benefits in both men and women.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis): Valerian root is known as the sleep herb. It does not have a great taste, so for infusions someone might add a floral. We use it our own sleep oil with lavender and chamomile.
What herbs are you using for situational stress? Do you want us to go into more detail on the list above? Let us know in the comments or reach out to us via email.
- You may notice the Latin (scientific) names of some of these plants have the second part of their name as officinalis. Officinalis was a name given by Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy. Officinalis means having culinary or medicinal uses.