We all experience stressful and anxious situations from overwork, illness, or even relationships. There are many examples. This is why it’s important to know the top herbs for stress, anxiety and insomnia as well as mild depression.
When these conditions continue for some time, it can throw us off balance, affecting the nervous system and taking a toll on our overall wellbeing. Fortunately, there are herbs useful for calming and relaxing us as well as helping us cope.
Medicinal herbs can be used over an extended period of time for chronic conditions, but they can also be preventative. Herbs help keep us centered by supporting and strengthening the nervous system.
The following top herbs for stress, anxiety, insomnia and mild depression are all very safe to use. It’s most relaxing taking them as a tea. However, they can also be taken as a tinctures.
Chamomile is what is called a nerve tonic. A nerve tonic feeds and strengthens the nervous system. It’s helpful for nervous stress, anxiety and even insomnia making it great to drink before bed. It’s a mild sedative so it can be taken for long periods of time. In fact, it’s so mild, it’s a very safe remedy for children’s colic. Even though it’s quite gentle, it certainly doesn’t mean that it’s less effective, even for adults.
Lemon balm is also a nerve tonic and a mild nerve sedative helping to ease tension. It works by directly relaxing the nervous system, soothing both nerves and muscles. It’s also helpful for general exhaustion. Fresh lemon balm leaves are one of the best tasting herbs with a refreshing lemony flavor. The dried herb is just as effective medicinally, however, most of the flavor is lost.
Lemon verbena also has a wonderful lemon flavor even once it’s been dried. It’s similar in action to lemon balm in that it’s a mild sedative to sooth nerves and reduce anxiety. It can also be taken for insomnia.
Lavender is a favorite herb for stress and nervous exhaustion, especially for stress related headaches. It’s a mild antidepressant. It can be used in tea, but be careful not to use too much as the flavor of the flowers can be overpowering. Lavender essential oil can be used externally as an aromatherapy remedy. Be sure not to use the essential oil internally, only the dried flower should be used in tea.
Linden, also called basswood, is another well-known remedy for stress and anxiety, especially if there is any irritability or restlessness involved. This calming herb makes a wonderful tasting tea and is sometimes added for its flavor alone. The parts used are the flowers along with the bracts.
St John’s Wort
St. Johns wort is a very effective remedy for tension, anxiety, chronic fatigue and irritability. It’s well known for use in cases of mild to moderate depression, most notably, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The flowers are bright yellow, reminiscent of the sun, bringing light where needed. While St. John’s wort is very safe, a knowledgeable healthcare professional should be consulted if you are taking antidepressants. It can also interfere with the effectiveness of certain pharmaceuticals.
Passionflower is not only stunningly beautiful, it’s a wonderful calming, relaxing herb. Use it for anxiety or panic attacks. Many consider it one of the top herbs for stress. It also helps to induce sleep for cases of insomnia.
Oats are one of the best tonic herbs for building and strengthening the overall nervous system. It has relaxing qualities but is also energizing at the same time, making it useful for nervous exhaustion. Use it for overwork, anxiety or where the nerves are irritated. Ideally the fresh milky tops are used, however the dried fruits and stalks can be used as well.
Another one of the top herbs for stress, anxiety and insomnia is scullcap. Scullcap works well for many common stress-related situations, especially if there is exhaustion involved. It can help to revive the system. Scullcap can also relax tense situations such as headaches and menstrual tension. The leaves and flowers of the plant are used.
Hops are helpful for both restlessness and anxiety. They’re a mild sedative and one of the best herbs for insomnia. Since they are also used for digestive issues, they’re the perfect remedy when tension is affecting the ability to digest well. The hops flowers are very bitter so better taken as a tincture than a tea.
To learn more about using herbal medicine, check out these online herbalism courses.