Natural Remedies for Stress Management
Life running you ragged? You’re not alone. Originally intended to keep us safe from predators, stress occurs when perceived threats trigger our body’s innate “fight or flight” response. Particularly useful when confronted with a charging elephant or hungry cheetah, this hard-wired reaction doesn’t do us any favors when we’re dealing with traffic or a demanding boss. We all know that a good night’s sleep, meditation and exercise can help. But who has the time?
From homeopathic European roots to adaptogenic Ayurvedic herbs to vitamin supplements you can pick up at any drugstore, here are GAYOT’s Favorite Stress Busters to help reduce anxiety, improve sleep, lift depression and balance your overall mood.
In addition to these great supplements, keep your immune system in tip-top shape with our best immunity boosters. For more ways to stay healthy and stress-free, take a look at GAYOT’s Guide to Health and Wellness for our tops picks on feeling great.
Rescue Remedy is a soothing blend of five herbs.
The herbs are clematis, Star of Bethlehem, rock rose, cherry plum and impatiens. Rescue Remedy is included in the line of Bach Flower Remedies, a group of 38 homeopathic, flower-based meds designed by Dr. Edward Bach in 1930s England. He came up with these alcohol-based antidotes for all kinds of negative emotional states, from fatigue to shyness. Rescue Remedy is his most well-known and prescribed anti-anxiety potion. You can find it in pretty much any health food store. Keep the small bottle handy and take a couple of drops whenever you’re feeling deadline pressure or facing family feuds!
Studies have shown that diets high in fish oil, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, can fight anxiety and aggression — road rage, anyone?
The best way to up your daily dose of omega-3s is to regularly consume oily fish like salmon, herring and anchovies, but if seafood is not your thing consider a quality supplement. According to studies, fish oil also fights inflammation, boosts the immune system and might even ease the symptoms of bipolar disorder and clinical depression.
Featuring everything from gynostemma leaf and schizandra fruit to Eucommia bark, this Dragon Herbs product boasts a whopping 15 Chinese herbs.
A who’s who of “super adaptogens,” the ingredients in this potent formula help your body adapt to physical and emotional stress. Although the term “adaptogen” is relatively new, its “adaptogenic” types of plants have long been a staple of Chinese, Ayurvedic and Native American medicine. When taken on a daily basis, Dragon Herbs promotes a soothing Zen-ness that makes it easier to deal with the pressures of everyday life. Added bonus: all of the herbs included also support healthy immune system function.
Rhodiola is a plant that has been prescribed in Europe for centuries to boost mental and physical well-being.
Also known as Rhodiola rosea, golden root and arctic root, it is considered an adaptogen, which means it helps your body adapt to stress, whatever form it may take. It is both an antidepressant and anxiolytic (anxiety-easing), so when you’re feeling down, it will give you a lift; if you’re feeling anxious, it will soothe frayed nerves. Still relatively unknown in the U.S., it was given to athletes in the former Soviet Union to enhance performance and has recently been gaining attention for its beneficial effects on regulating neurotransmitters. How does Rhodiola accomplish this? The root contains compounds called rosavins, which increase serotonine, dopamine and norepinephrine. Some people report a slightly amped-up, buzzy sensation upon taking it, similar to drinking coffee. Either way, we find it simply balances our mood when feeling stressed.
Valerian root has been used in Europe for thousands of years to fight the blues as well as anxiety and insomnia.
It’s also prescribed as a sleep aid in lieu of sedatives such as halcion and valium. In Germany, based on clinical trials and other studies, the extract is considered an official sleep aid, while here in the U.S., people are still dubious. The flowering plant has been used by healers from ancient Rome to Greece to India for its mood-lifting and anxiolytic effects. Unlike many other herbs, this one has to be taken for several weeks or months until positive benefits are experienced.
Natural Calm is a great stress fighter thanks to its combo of both magnesium and calcium.
In that sense, it works much like an adaptogen, calming tense muscles (magnesium) while exciting tired nerves (calcium). Stress can cause magnesium deficiency, and magnesium needs its partner calcium to help your cells, and thus your entire body, function properly. We found Natural Calm to be amazing after physical exertion, during PMS and heavy periods and when feeling anxious and irritable. The water-soluble magnesium in Natural Calm is ionic, thus readily available and immediately effective.
Feeling irritable and unbalanced?
Try vitamin B to soothe nerves, reduce anxiety and relieve fatigue and depression. Each B does a different job, from vitamin B12 for serotonin and melatonin production to mood-stabilizing B7. Other types include B2, B3, B6, B9 (folic acid). Vitamin B is found in whole unprocessed foods such as meat, beans and whole grains, but unless you eat a super balanced diet you may consider a good vitamin B complex to support the nervous system, beat stress and improve sleep.
Tulsi, also known as holy basil, is the most sacred herb of India.
In Ayurvedic medicine, Tulsi is used for balancing the chakras, or energy wheels, of the body. The nerve tonic fights stress and free radicals and also supports optimal respiratory function. Just like Rhodiola, Tulsi is an adaptogen, a metabolic regulator which harmonizes the whole body. You know that paradoxical feeling when you’re physically exhausted but your mind is spinning out of control? That’s where Tulsi comes in with its simultaneously calming and energizing effects. Added bonus: Tulsi is also high in disease-fighting antioxidants.
Sometimes stress comes in several forms.
There’s the physical strain on your body which causes tension and uneasiness. Then there’s the mindful stress, which can emotionally drain you. Eucalyptus essential oil is known for remedying the latter. In times of heightened mindful stress, it’s best to take a dab of this Radha premium therapeutic grade eucalyptus, place it in the palm of your hands and rub your hands together. Next, simply cup your nose with your palms and take deep breaths. Inhaling and exhaling this soothing eucalyptus fragrance can help keep your mind at ease and your worries at bay.
Studies have shown that drinking tea can calm the nerves and reduce stress.
But a recent study commissioned by an insurance company called Direct Line, found that it wasn’t just drinking tea that did the trick. While brewing up a cup of black, green, white or any other preferred blend, going through the ritual of putting the kettle on, waiting for it to come to a boil and steeping your tea is calming in and of itself. Now add The Republic of Tea’s ultra-soothing Serenity blend to the mix, and you’re in for a relaxing experience. Coupled with lavender, basil and matcha green tea, these loose leaves are guaranteed to slow down your hectic day and let you breathe a little easier.