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Battle Stress With Herbs

7/1/2010 11:42:00 AM

Tags: Stress, Stress Relievers, Natural Remedies, Relaxation, Tips, Medicine Cabinet, Randy Buresh

R.BureshRandy Buresh (Registered Nurse and Herbalist), is the co-owner and founder of Oregon’s Wild Harvest. Oregon’s Wild Harvest grows, harvests and produces their own medicinal herbal products, many of which use the herbs grown on their certified Biodynamic® and Organic farm in Sandy, Oregon.

If there is a word that describes the average person in today’s busy, multi-tasking world, that word would be “stressed.”  It is nearly impossible to live without stress.  Stress comes to us in many ways, not only on an emotional level, but on a physical level, through our environment and exposure to pathological invasions, pollutants, and germs. 

While it’s probably impossible to avoid all the forms of stress responsible for our physiological responses, it’s quite possible to support the body’s biological reaction to stress. In addition to getting adequate sleep and exercise, and maintaining a healthy diet, all of which go a long way to reducing the impact of stress, there are herbs which can help. Yes, thankfully, there are ways to reduce the impact stress has on our bodies that do not involve alcohol, cigarettes or other common methods of dealing with stress:

• Skullcap is well known among the Cherokee and other Native American tribes as a strong medicinal herb. It is used to support healthy sleep patterns and feelings of well-being, and to reduce anxious feelings.

Skullcap 1
Native Americans used sullcap for mental health support.
Photo by Randy Buresh

• Kava is an herb that has been widely used for hundreds of years by native South Pacific Islanders. People who use kava on a semi-regular basis (2 to 3 times per week) report feeling a nearly immediate feeling of relaxation, without feeling drugged. Muscle tension melts away, and a state of peacefulness and contentment takes its place. Kava has been known to produce a feeling of mild euphoria in some people, and a more sociable disposition in others. Mental alertness is usually not affected by kava consumption, except when taken in high doses. However, drowsiness will often occur a few hours after kava is in the system, so it is best to take it in the evening a few hours before bedtime.

• St. John’s wort has been used for centuries to support mental health, in addition to other reasons. Today, St. John’s wort is generally used to support healthy sleep patterns, feelings of well-being and to reduce anxious feelings. Preliminary studies suggest that St. John’s wort might work by preventing nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing the chemical messenger serotonin. An analysis of the results of 37 clinical trials concluded that St. John’s wort is effective as a remedy to support mood.

St. John's Wort 1
St. John's Wort helps support mental health and reduces anxiety.
Photo by Randy Buresh

• Valerian has long been used to support healthy sleep patterns, general sense of well-being and to reduce anxious feelings. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is funding a study to examine the effects of valerian on sleep in healthy, older adults.

With a little herbal assistance, modified diet and adequate exercise, herbs can help provide mental support in times of stress. Herbal supplements such as skullcap, St. John’s wort, valerian, and kava work with your body in many different ways for a calmer, happier you. 

*Statements herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or health condition. It is also recommended that patients check with their doctors before taking herbs, to ensure that there are no contraindications with prescription medications.

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