There’s no way around it – life can be stressful. And too much chronic stress isn’t good for your mind or for your health.
How do you cope? One powerful, natural remedy that just might help is herbs.
Humans have been using herbs for many thousands of years. Now modern science is proving what our ancestors knew all along: some of them really do work.
Some stress can help you, by driving you to heightened alertness or intensity of focus. But too much stress can cause serious damage to your health — from contributing to weight gain to damaging your heart and making you look older. Stress can also affect how you feel physically and mentally.
Plus, chronic, or lasting, stress is linked to every chronic disease because it lays the foundation for inflammation and other health ailments.
You can’t avoid all the stress in your life but you have more power over your stress than you may realize.
Why Herbs Can Be An Easy and Effective Solution to Fight Stress
For centuries, people in many cultures around the world have used a variety of herbs to fight stress. And, as you’ll see below, science is beginning to prove the remarkable powers of some of these plants.
Efirin, Tulsi, or Holy Basil — An Adaptogen Herb You Can Take Daily to Help Your Body Respond to Stress
Adaptogens promote balance in many systems of your body. Remarkably, they can calm you down and boost your energy at the same time, without over-stimulating you.
While some adaptogens work quickly, most work over time and have cumulative benefits. Some people take them daily for months before getting the full effects.
Efirin (Yoruba name) also known as holy basil or Tulsi or “the queen of herbs,” is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, and is a member of the mint family.
This plant is a powerful antioxidant. While people have used it for a variety of treatments, it’s most significant potential might be for stress-relief and relaxation.
People who take it often report that it gives them a calming energy and a general sense of well-being.
Efirin has also been found to help regulate your blood sugar and support heart health.
In traditional healing systems, people have often taken this herb over a lifetime to increase vibrant health and longevity.
What Science Says About Efirin/Holy Basil
In a 2012 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the international, peer-reviewed journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 158 highly stressed individuals received either a placebo or holy basil.
After six weeks, the holy basil group reported improved symptoms of general stress 39% more than the placebo group.
Symptoms, such as frequent feelings of exhaustion, forgetfulness, and sleep problems decreased significantly. And participants reported no adverse effects.
Another 2008 study published in the Nepal Medical College Journal involved patients with generalized anxiety disorder. Researchers found that 500 mg of holy basil twice daily significantly reduced anxiety and associated stress, depression, and inattention in participants.
Further evidence is mounting that tulsi can address physical, chemical, metabolic, and psychological stress. It has been found to protect organs and tissues against chemical stress from industrial pollutants and heavy metals and against physical stress from prolonged physical exertion and exposure to cold and excessive noise.
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends tulsi for people who have post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Getting specific, the Center recommends 400 milligrams of tulsi daily to help fight stress and to support adrenal health.
How to Use Holy Basil in Your Life
Use it regularly to help balance your body and support its response to everyday stressors.
Some ways to use this herb
• As a tea
• In cooking (Did I hear someone say pepper soup?)
• As a capsule or tablet
• In a powder form
According to herbalist Rosalee De La Foret, tulsi may have an antifertility effect. Therefore, pregnant women or couples who want to conceive shouldn’t take this herb.
Next up is:
Curcumin — An Herb Component That Can Boost Your Mood and Help Offset the Impact Stress Has on Your Body
Curcumin is the most active compound in the turmeric root. You’ve probably heard about the vast range of health benefits curcumin and turmeric can provide. In fact, here are 600 reasons turmeric may be the world’s most important herb.
But you may not be aware that this magical herb can help relieve stress and anxiety.
What Science Says About Curcumin
Amazingly, curcumin has been found to reverse harmful brain changes induced by chronic stress.
Human studies are also showing its potential to fight stress. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology showed that taking 500 mg of curcumin twice daily, with fenugreek, considerably reduced stress, anxiety, and fatigue while significantly increasing the quality of life in people suffering from extreme occupational stress.
In another 2015 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, 400 mg of curcumin was given to healthy adults aged 60 to 85. Only one hour after a single dose, participants scored better on tasks requiring sustained attention and working memory. Continuous use for weeks improved scores on working memory and mood, including general fatigue, calmness, and contentedness.
And it can even help with PMS. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in 2016 in Neuropeptides, Curcumin was found to reduce anxiety experienced by women with PMS and to significantly reduce PMS-related emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms.
How to Use Curcumin in Your Life
Curcumin is generally considered safe to take indefinitely. But unfortunately, the body isn’t able to absorb it and make use of its benefits very efficiently.
Some people eat turmeric with black pepper and a fat source, such as ghee or coconut oil, as has been done traditionally in India for many centuries to boost bioavailability. But many people find it easiest to achieve optimal levels with curcumin supplementation.
The Food Revolution Network recommends making use of a micelle liposomal delivery mechanism because it’s been found to increase bioavailability by up to 185 times.
Important Considerations About Herbs
Herbs can be surprisingly useful in helping you to reduce your stress at home and at work. But you can’t use herbs to singlehandedly make up for a lack of sleep, poor diet, lack of exercise, or being stuck in toxic relationships.
So, if you’re experiencing negative effects of stress, it’s important to consider not only how to recover but also what you can do to best minimize the factors that are causing you stress.
In herbal medicine, herbalists often use multiple herbs in combination with each other to achieve greater effects. You can find tea blends to reduce your stress, or you can make your own.
And keep in mind that sometimes, herbs can occasionally trigger side effects and interactions with prescription drugs. This online database can help you to find interactions between drugs and natural medicines.
A Final Word About Using Herbs to Reduce Stress
Take time to find natural stress remedies that work for you and that are backed by science. You’ll be taking action to help your body, mind, and spirit feel calmer and better able to respond to the inevitable challenges life brings.
Knowing how to use the right herbs can make a very real difference in your quality, and even quantity, of life.
Let us know in the comments. How do you use these or other herbs to help relieve stress?