Facing a difficult week? Struggling with a long-term anxiety disorder? No matter its form, anxiety can take its toll on your health, productivity, and lifestyle. Meditation and yoga can be powerful tools to address stress and anxiety, but what you eat has a monumental impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing as well. You can’t go wrong with plant-based, superfood dinners, but sometimes, you only have to look as far as your garden for natural remedies.
These four herbs are known for their anti-anxiety properties and can be incorporated into your diet to help you relax and manage stress.
Anxiety’s kryptonite. One of the most well-known herbs on this list, it’s been used for thousands of years to calm everything from an upset stomach to insomnia. It can make you drowsy, so it’s best before bed.
Try it: as a tea (add about 1 tbsp. of dried chamomile to a cup of boiling water and steep for five minutes) or in your bath (sprinkling the dried herb into bathwater can help with skin conditions).
It couldn’t be a list of anti-anxiety herbs without lavender. Found to be as powerful as lorazepam in treating both generalised and persistent anxiety, it can also aid the respiratory system, treat migraines, and protect against diabetes.
Try it: as a supplement (80 mg per day), as an oil (try a few drops on your pillow or yoga mat), or even in bed (placing the dried herb into your pillow or sleep mask can promote a more restful night).
Similar to lavender, some studies have shown that passionflower can work as well as oxazepam for treating anxiety. Typically mixed with other beneficial herbs, such as lemon balm, it’s believed to stimulate GABA in your brain, promoting natural relaxation.
Try it: as a tea (place about 1 tsp. of dried passionflower in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes; drink three to four times a day) or an oil.
Ashwagandha is an herb with history. Used since ancient times, ‘Indian ginseng’ is used to combat stress, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating by reducing the amount of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the body. It is also known for its many other healing properties, including stabilising blood sugar, improving memory and reaction time, and boosting the immune system.
Try it: as a capsule — 600 to 1,000 mg. It is recommended twice daily
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