You know the saying “stop and smell the roses”? While you’re used to the saying’s symbolic context – that we should never let life pass us by – there are literal benefits to many of the flowers and herbs found in nature as well. The mere aroma of some flowers has been proven to reduce mental and physical stress, while others require ingestion of some form or another. Regardless, it seems that if you’re looking for new methods of relaxation, you might not have to look farther than your garden.
Let’s get the controversial one out of the way first, shall we? The mere mention of cannabidiol oil can make a person perk up or cringe, depending on which side of the marijuana legalization fence they’re on. However, this just goes to show the general misunderstanding surrounding cannabis and hemp. Simply put, cannabidiol oil contains only trace amounts of THC, meaning you can’t “get high” from using it. However, it has been shown to alleviate signs of physical and mental stress and anxiety, among many other debilitating conditions. However, because it’s such a taboo topic, clinical studies on cannabidiol’s effectiveness are currently fairly scarce.
Ginger is one of the more ubiquitous herbs on this list. Not only can it be found in capsule form at your local health store, but it also is used in many different foods and drinks you may come across incidentally. Ginger has been proven to combat physical symptoms of anxiety, such as nausea and dizziness (remember when your mom used to give you warm ginger ale when you were home with a stomachache?). However, too much ginger can be dangerous if too much of it is consumed – especially for pregnant women or people taking blood-thinners. When in doubt, consult a doctor before ingesting ginger to alleviate stress.
Chamomile not only works well to alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety, but it also helps cure insomnia, as well. The recommended usage of chamomile is as a tea, of which you can drink two to three cups on a daily basis. Of course, since it is usually used as a sleep aid, you’d want to drink chamomile tea in the hours leading up to bedtime. Like ginger, chamomile can also negatively affect those who are pregnant or taking blood thinning medication.
Like chamomile, passion flower has shown to reduce anxiety and insomnia. It also combats general unease and nervousness that manifest in the form of nausea. Passion flower comes in a variety of forms, from teas and juices to tinctures and capsules. Once again, pregnant woman should stay absolutely clear of passion flower, as it has been proven to cause contractions within the uterus.
The use of St. John’s Wort is well-documented throughout history. Before the use of modern medicine became more…well, common, St. John’s Wort was used to treat mental disorders from mild anxiety to full-blown depression. In fact, it’s been shown to be more effective than Prozac when combating disorders revolving around depression. When combined with valerian root, St. John’s Wort can also help with restlessness and insomnia. However, St. John’s Wort has many contraindications, so take special care when using it.
I saved this one for last, because if you’re even remotely interested in herbal remedies you likely know all about lavender. Not only does lavender promote mental and physical relaxation, but it also balances your body’s hormones and stimulates the immune system. Lavender is best used as an essential oil (its aroma will definitely fill your house), but it also can be used as a tea. One thing to keep in mind is that lavender can cause hormonal problems in pre-pubescent males, so avoid using it if you have any young boys in your home. Otherwise, lavender can be incredibly effective in reducing anxiety, insomnia, and depression.
Featured photo credit: Chris Gin / Lavender / Flickr via farm8.staticflickr.com
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