5 Simple Herbs For Stress (And Other Hot Tips)
Stress is an inescapable part of being human. While you may hate it, short-term stress can increase your resilience and is essential to survival. Chronic stress, however, can become detrimental - this is where you start to see problems with your memory, resilience, digestion and immunity.
Here at Wild Dispensary, we like to turn to nature for help. The following herbs for stress are well known for their nervine and mood-supportive actions. They’re simple yet powerful steps to manage your stress levels. We hope you find these herbs and tips useful.
As always, we acknowledge that sometimes you may need extra support from medication, so always discuss your needs with a health professional.
1. Saint John's Wort
Saint John’s wort is a well-known herb for stress. It has supported nervous systems and physical nerves for thousands of years. It is a relaxing nervine that can soothe anxious feelings and tension. It has been researched extensively as an antidepressant and is used worldwide for mild to moderate depression. Multiple clinical studies have confirmed its antidepressant actions and the fact that it has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants.
Saint John’s wort can be very helpful with chronic stress as it allows your body to relax and supports the production of ‘feel good hormones’, which you need when you’re feeling frazzled. The effects build over time, so it's wise to take this herb for stress every day as a supportive factor when you’re feeling stressed. Some people opt to take a ‘course’ of Saint John’s wort through winter when they need that extra support.
You could try our Mood Boost if you need an easy and effective way to start taking Saint John’s wort.
🌿Related: The 5 Most Powerful Mood Boosting Herbs
2. Lemon Balm
Where Saint John’s wort may take a while to take effect, lemon balm is a herb for stress that can work quickly. This simple herb is a well-known nervous system-supportive plant that is used traditionally to support feelings of anxiety and help with sleeplessness (which can easily occur when you are stressed).
Lemon balm helps with the feelings of irritation and restlessness that come when you feel you are stressed. It can help calm an upset stomach, which is often the case when you are stressed, as your body focuses on the stress, not your digestive system. We’ve paired lemon balm’s quick-acting support with Saint John’s wort in our Mood Boost to help you easily get through your day (or night).
Another very well-known herb for stress, and one that should be at the top of your list for supporting your body and mood through a stressful time, is chamomile. This plant is known for soothing all parts of the body. It can help the mind and gut and even helps with menstrual pains and PMS.
Chamomile helps support the GABA production within your brain and helps with rest and sleep. It helps to modulate your stress response throughout the day and is a safe plant that can be used as a herb for children and with most medications.
A chamomile tincture or glycetract is what we recommend for stress support. While herbal tea is lovely and calming, when under pressure, you need a bit more support, and tinctures have higher active constituents.
This less commonly known herb for stress is a highly valued plant used to help increase endurance and productivity and support depression and fatigue.
Rhodiola is an adaptogen, and recent research has shown that its properties come from its action on the central nervous system. It acts on the HPA (hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal) axis, affecting cortisol levels, which in turn helps to reduce stress.
It helps to support multiple organ balance, meaning it can help support balance, reduce inflammation and provide energy when you are fatigued. It is also high in antioxidants, which can help with your cognition and memory.
This plant has an affinity for your brain and works as a neuroprotective, supporting mental function, which declines when you are stressed. Bacopa is another antioxidant herb for stress, which helps combat free radical damage in the brain, works as an anti-inflammatory and adaptogenic, while supporting immune modulation.
It also helps support blood flow to the brain and GABA and serotonin production, which helps your mood and stress levels. With so many great benefits, it's one of our go-to recommendations if you're looking for herbs for stress.
Other things to consider - as well as herbs for stress
When you are stressed, you need extra nutritional support. Nettle is full of vitamins and minerals in an easily accessible and absorbable form. Taking nettle daily in times of stress can help fortify the body and work as a tonic to support health in all areas (like your immune system). We use nettle in our Daily Boost Tonic - which is a delicious way to introduce nettle into your diet.
Oats - yes, we are recommending porridge. Oats are a nervine, and herbalists often recommend milky oats or green oat tinctures for stress relief. But oats as a food can support your body as well.
When you are stressed, it is easy to reach for the sugar, wine and carbs, but sadly they won’t help. The things that will help are fresh, whole foods and water. Stress makes everything feel harder, so start with small changes:
- Porridge cooked in milk with peanut butter (extra protein)
- Smoothies with protein powder and greens
- Eggs on sourdough or grainy toast
- Snacks that are protein rich; cheese and crackers or hummus, nuts etc
- Reducing your caffeine intake or switching your coffee to decaf or 50/50 (50% decaf), which you can find easily in your supermarket now.
- Don’t forget your fats! Avocados, olive oil, ghee - add it to all the things. Your brain needs fats to function, and if you are under stress you need more support. So add good fats to your meals and snacks.
Supplements For Stress
Supplements can play a big part in how you work through stress. So, as well as considering the herbs for stress that we mentioned, try some of these supplements as well.
Vitamin C - Your adrenals require vitamin C to produce your stress hormones, so if you aren't replacing the vitamin C you're burning through, you're more prone to getting sick. Consider a multi zinc and vitamin C powder that you could have once a day or a lipospheric vitamin C.
Magnesium - You need magnesium for many chemical reactions within your body. It also helps support sleep and recovery. Try taking magnesium amino acid chelate or citrate (it's easier on your digestive system) morning and night to support your nervous system. Green leafy vegetables are high in magnesium so include them in your diet.
Activated B complexes - Activated B complexes can help support your energy levels, especially if you are exhausted from stress. Please take them with food, as they need food to be accessed and utilised properly.
Essential minerals - Most of the soil our food grows in is mineral deficient. You can buy concentrated mineral drops that you can add to your water that can help support your body.
We know that stress is a complex topic. We also know that times are tough and stress is so common now. The cost of living is rising, the world feels uncertain, and everyday demands can be overwhelming. We understand, and we feel it too.
Our hope is that these supplements and herbs for stress will help you get back on track. Or at least give you the energy to try and make some changes that will benefit your health.
As always, we are here if you need us. x