All of us have been anxious at some point in our lives. As a working mother of two children, there are numerous occasions on a day to day basis, when I feel stressed or worried or find myself in a panic mode. It could be a a daily chore, meeting a deadline in office or my daughter’s exam stress, the first warning signal that my body gives me is that annoying pain in my neck threatening to move to a full blown headache. I know then that I need to relax. Having been averse to popping pills all my life, there are a few natural remedies that have worked wonders for me. Whether it is an anxiety attack or just causal nervousness, herbs have been known to have a calming effect. Below is a list of six natural herbs that provide relief from stress and anxiety.
Ginger is an aromatic herb that has long been used in traditional healing systems as a natural remedy for anxiety. The presence of Gingerol, an antioxidant, helps to counteract the harmful chemicals that our body produces when we are stressed. Stress can sometimes lead to an upset stomach since the production of stomach acids crucial for digestion gets hampered. Ginger comes to the rescue by stimulating the stomach acid production too.
How to use?
Enjoy a cup of hot ginger tea by boiling 1 teaspoon of chopped ginger in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Strain and add 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice for taste.
Chamomile has been used since ages by ancient Greeks and Romans as an herbal remedy for its calming effect. Recent studies have shown that chamomile is not only a relaxing herb but it also helps to reduce anxiety. Much of chamomile’s relaxing qualities are due to phenolics such as flavonoids, quinones, phenolic acids, and other antioxidant compounds present within the plant. It also helps to reduce stress related loss of appetite and headaches.
How to use?
Mix 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers in 2 cups of hot water and let it infuse for 2 to 3 minutes. Strain and enjoy. You can even add honey to sweeten it.
Ashwagandha is a rejuvenating herb that helps the body cope with physical and emotional stress. According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, ashwagandha helps to lower the levels of cortisol or the stress hormone. Cortisol levels can shoot up when a person is under stress. This causes other hormones and neurotransmitters to become unbalanced, leading to symptoms like anxiety, depression, and poor sleep. Regular intake of ashwagandha can make one feel less stressed and mentally calm.
How to use?
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of ashwagandha powder in a glass of warm milk and consume about half an hour before going to bed at night.
Brahmi has potent anti-anxiety properties. It is known to increase the levels of serotonin - a brain chemical that helps to promote relaxation. It has a unique ability to improve cognitive function as well as helps the body cope with stress. It induces a sense of peace and soothes restlessness. It serves as a mild sedative, but instead of dulling the mind it enhances mental clarity and focus.
How to use?
Heat 1/2 cup of milk or water and 1/2 tsp of brahmi powder for about 3 minutes. Let the mixture infuse for 2-3 minutes. Strain and sweeten with honey if required.
Lavender is a herb that has been used since centuries as a natural remedy for anxiety and nervousness. The most common use of lavender is in the form of lavender essential oil for aromatherapy. Studies have shown that a massage using lavender oil not only reduces anxiety levels but also instills positivity in the participants. Lavender is believed to act as a sedative in the centres associated with emotions in the brain, thereby reducing the feelings and stress and anxiety. It also reduces the levels of cortisol - the stress hormone.
How to use?
Add 2 to 4 drops of lavender oil in 2 to 3 cups of boiling water and inhale the vapours. You can also mix 1 to 4 drops of lavender essential oil with almond or olive oil and then use it for massaging or to apply it over the pulse points on your body.
Chronic stress may lead to inflammation and an increase in free radicals and oxidative stress. Tulsi enhances the level and activity of antioxidants which safely interact with these free radicals and fight their negative effects. Modern scientific studies suggest that Tulsi is effective in treating anxiety and stress. However, Ayurveda recommends using Tulsi on a regular basis as a preventive measure to help the body adapt to both psychological and physical stress and prevent the development of stress-related diseases.
How to use?
Combine 1/4 cup of tulsi leaves and 1 and 1/2 cups of water. Mix well and simmer on medium flame for 10 minutes. Strain and add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Serve warm. In case, you want to use Tulsi powder - boil 1 cup of water and pour it over 1/3 teaspoon of Tulsi powder. Let it steep for 20 minutes.Then, strain and add add honey if desired.
With over 7 years of experience in the organic industry, Priya is a strong believer of using healthy and natural alternatives. She passionately advises her friends, family and customers by sharing with them practical and easy ways to include healthy alternatives in their daily life.
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