On any given day, you probably have something you could feel stressed about. Perhaps it’s the fact that your car won’t start in the morning. Or maybe your boss is sending you emails, demanding that you double your workload.
Whatever it is, life has a nasty habit of throwing these curveballs at you, and it is not always clear how you should punch back. Most of us live our lives in a somewhat blasé fashion, not listening to what our bodies are telling us. We know that we feel rushed off our feet, but we rarely take stock. After all, stress is something that just happens to you, right? If you ask most sages, gurus and wise masters, they’ll tell you otherwise – stress is a choice, they will say. And the path to enlightenment recognizes that basic fact.
But what if you don’t have an opportunity to spend months of your life in a monastery, imbibing ancient wisdom? Are there no other options?
It turns out that the secret to stress reduction could lie in run-of-the-mill, garden variety herbs. Nothing special – just the type of plants you’d find growing in practically any vegetable patch.
Which Herbs Can Help?
Ancient Greek philosopher and medic Hippocrates said that food should be medicine (and medicine, food). He advocated people eat more oats as a tool to reduce the amount of stress that they feel.
Oats, though, aren’t the kind of thing you can grow in your garden.
Fortunately, people have been taking herbs too for stress – around 60,000 years according to the archaeological evidence!
Interestingly, about half of all modern medicines have their origins in herbs. Plants have an uncanny ability to create compounds which then exert unique effects on the human body. And some of them are excellent for stress reduction.
Take kratom, for instance. This herb is shown to induce feelings of contentment and relaxation, even in people who feel highly stressed. There are numerous types of kratom, each of which has a slightly different chemical profile.
Or what about ashwagandha? Recently Examine released a massive article on the ground up root and its ability to reduce perceptions of stress. Researchers believe that it is an adaptogen, meaning that it helps to return the brain to a state of rest. Daily consumption may help keep people calm for long enough to shrink the amygdala (the stress center of the brain) and make future episodes of tension, panic, and anxiety less likely.
Skull cap is another herb you might want to consider. This herb is often mixed with passionflower to create a potent concoction. People have been brewing for hundreds of years to see them through the worst times, such grief.
Other popular herbs for stress reduction and sleep aid include hops and Valerian. St John’s Wort is another popular herb, but people mainly use it for depression, not stress.
Even if you don’t feel stressed, eating herbs is probably a good idea. They bring a host of essential health benefits over and above regular fruits and veggies.