If you have been feeling increasingly stressed out and more anxious as we move into the Holiday season, you are not alone. Millions of people suffer from ongoing anxiety and panic attacks that can be crippling at times. One of the most important things to do when you are feeling deeply anxious is to take some time to examine why these feelings are coming up. Perhaps it has to do with working in a stressful environment or having a challenging home and family life. Or perhaps it has to do with eating too many refined processed foods and drinking too much coffee. Exploring these underlying causes are essential for ultimately relieving the anxiety.
Working on these underlying anxiety issues can be strongly helped by taking herbs as well. One of the things I recommend is creating an herbal medicine chest for your anxiety. One of the best ways to start creating an herbal anxiety medicine chest is to purchase twelve looseleaf herbs that can be your “go-to” for strengthening your nervous system and for when things are getting rough.
Here are my twelve top looseleaf herbs for helping people with chronic and acute anxiety issues. I also offer suggestions on how much to buy and the cost of each from Mt. Rose Herbs. https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/catalog/herbs. (I am not affiliated with Mt. Rose- just love their herbs- very high quality.) This amount of herb can last a family quite a long time (6 months to a year).
Linden (8 oz- 11.50)- a gentle and tasty relaxing nervine that can be used by most people regularly. It has a slight diuretic effect.
Rose petals (4 oz. 11.25)- a lovely relaxing and gentle aromatic herb that can add texture and flavor to any formula.
Oatstraw (8 oz 5.50)- a tonic nutritive herb that will help strengthen the nervous system and can be added as a base to many formulas. It can also be taken in larger amounts and has little side effect potential.
Skullcap (4 oz. 6.75)- a gentle relaxing nervine that will help you to feel calmer and strengthen your nervous system.
Holy Basil ( 8 oz. 7.50)- An “adaptogen” with many properties that is very helpful for strengthening the nervous system and reducing anxiety. It can be a little strong tasting for some, especially if it is steeped for too long. Works well in formulas. Avoid if taking blood thinners.
Licorice (4 oz. 4.00)- A sweet ally that helps mellow and blend strong tasting herbs and is strengthening and “adaptogenic”- helping people to manage stress more easily. Avoid if you have high blood pressure.
Kava (4 oz. 7.25)- A very strong and potent calming nervine and antispasmodic that will help relax tight and rigid muscles and act as a sedative. Only for adults and avoid if there are liver issues or when taking pharmaceutical sedatives.
Passionflower (4 oz. 4.00)- a nice and strong nervine that helps induce relaxation, calms the nerves and can be helpful for those with insomnia.
Cramp Bark (4 oz. 11.00)- a strong antispasmodic and nervine that can be helpful for PMS related tension as well as any other stress related tightness and rigidity. It is also calming and should be used infrequently. Avoid while taking pharmaceutical sedatives.
Hops (4 oz. 11.00)- A bitter flower (strobile) that can be very helpful for anxiety that also has a digestive component. It will help “move” stuck energy and is very helpful for inducing drowsiness and relaxation. This is a little strong tasting for a number of people and it can be helpful to mix this herb with tastier herbs (licorice, rose petals)
Catnip (4 oz. 4.25)- A nice gentle nervine that can be used by kids and the elderly with minimal likelihood for side effects. Catnip can be helpful for anxiety mixed with a headache, nervous tension and an upset stomach.
Chamomile (4 oz. 7.25)- A commonly known classic relaxing nervine that can be taken by most anyone, including those on psychiatric drugs. It is gentle and calming and many enjoy it singly.
If you bought all these that would cost 91.25$. I encourage you to test each of the herbs out singly as “simples” to get to know the flavor and character of each herb. You can also start making teas for yourself and friends in “formulas”. Here are some ideas for four formulas to help with anxiety.
Daily Strengthener and Stress Buster: In one quart of hot water, add
2 tablespoons Oatstraw
1 tablespoon Scullcap
1 tablespoon Holy Basil
2 teaspoons Rose Petal
Let steep for ten minutes and then decant and drink throughout the day.
For Gentle Relaxation: In one pint of hot water, add
1 table spoon of linden
1 teaspoon spoon of catnip
1 teaspoon of chamomile
1 teaspoon rose petals
Let steep for ten minutes, then decant and drink 1-2 cups as needed.
For Stronger Relaxation and for Help with Getting to Sleep: In one pint of hot water add
1 tablespoon hops
2 teaspoons linden
2 teaspoon passionflower
1 teaspoon licorice
Let steep for ten minutes, decant and drink one to two cups in the evening.
For Muscle Tension, Strong Anxiety, Acute Symptoms of Panic and for Sleep:
1 tablepoon of kava
2 teaspoons of cramp bark
1 teaspoon of licorice
Put ingredients in pot with pint of water. Boil and then let this simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Then decant and drink. You should be left with about a cup to a cup and a half of very strong tasting tea.
These are all just some ideas. By playing with these herbs you may find some favorites and may want to mix and match herbs in formulas that best suit your taste. Relax and enjoy!
You can also find me at the Facebook group Herbs for Mental Health.