Herbal Remedies for Stress

Many, many years ago, herbs were relied upon for treatment and cure of all types of ailments. Tried and true herbal remedies were passed along through the generations. But with the dawning of the “miracle of modern medicine,” herbal treatments took a backseat to the wonders of science. While modern medicine certainly did have some miraculous effects, the ability to patent and therefore make money on a cure further pushed less profitable herbal medicine into the realm of the “old wives tale.”

But in recent years, herbal medicine has made a dramatic comeback and is gradually being used in combination with traditional medicine, resulting in a kinder, gentler, more sensible approach to health care. Many doctors are finding that the use of herbs in some cases is actually more effective than the traditional treatments, giving them greater options for treating their patients.

The one drawback to this recent return to herbal remedies is that there are currently no controls to assure the quality of herbs on the market. Suddenly there is a flood of different brands and herbal blends on store shelves and the consumer has to proceed with caution. It is truly a situation of “buyer beware.”

For example, take Echinacea and Golden Seal. These are two very effective herbs for the treatment of various infections. You would think that buying a blended capsule of the two herbs would be the way to go, but first check the label. While Echinacea is a relatively inexpensive herb, Golden Seal is not. Therefore, many herbal blends will be heavy on the more inexpensive herb with only trace amounts of the more expensive one. You would be better off in this case to buy the two herbs individually.

This is only one small example of the ways an uninformed consumer can be misled. There are also some far more serious considerations if you are on a prescription medication or if you are pregnant or nursing, for example. Don’t assume that if it’s on the store shelves it can’t hurt you. While there are some herbs that are highly beneficial during pregnancy, there are others that could have devastating effects on an unborn child. Do your homework before you use any herbal remedy. Read books, check reliable internet sources, talk to your doctor and if he or she is not open to the idea of using herbal remedies, look for a homeopathic or holistic physician to advise you.

Having said all that, let’s get to the matter of stress. Remember, if you have a medical condition or are on any prescription medications, check with your doctor before using herbal remedies.

The following is a list of the most effective herbs for dealing with the effects of stress. I have included links to in-depth descriptions of each of the herbs, including therapeutic uses, dosage information and potential side effects.

Kava kava, a member of the pepper family, is considered to be an excellent anti-anxiety herb. Read “Kava: Powerful Anti-stress Herb” by Dr. Michael Tierra L.Ac., O.M.D., Founder of the American Herbalists Guild at www.planetherbs.com.

Passion Flower, the leaves, stems and flowers of this plant are used as a mild sedative. Read about Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) at http://botanical.com.

St. John’s Wort, has become widely known for its effectiveness in treating mild to moderate depression, a common effect of stress. Read “Herbal Relief for Depression: St. John’s Wort (Hypericum) at www.all-natural.com.

Valerian, valued for its use as a mild sedative and sleep aid. Read “Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)” by Steven Foster at www.herbalgram.org.

Chamomile, a mild tasting and sweet smelling flower, useful as a mild sedative, relaxant, depression aid and stress reliever. Read all about the many uses for chamomile in “What Chamomile Can Do For You” by Diane Kennedy Snyder at www.chamomiletimes.com.

All of the above references are wonderful sources of information on herbs in general. If you wish to expand your search for information on any of these herbs, I recommend that you further explore these sites as a starting point.

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