5 Soothing Herbs for Peace and Calm
by Valerie Lull
First published on the blog for the American College of Healthcare Sciences
Feeling overwhelmed lately? Perhaps you feel stressed out and frustrated. Stress is a natural side-effect of life. Some stress is good for us; it can relieve boredom and keep us on our toes. But it can easily get out of control.
Everyday life is filled with stressful situations, so it’s important to have tools that promote calm and peace.
Herbs and essential oils are exceptional when used to combat the little stresses of everyday life and promote peace and calm. So, if your cat threw up, or the baby cried all night, or any of the hundred little frustrating things that happen during the day, there are several soothing essential oils and herbs for peace and calm.
1. German Chamomile Matricaria recutita
Chamomile is very popular for its calming properties. It has been used for decades to help promote peace and relaxation. It can help you get a handle on a stressful situation.
German chamomile Matricaria recutita (L.) has a pleasant apple-like scent. It can be prepared as a delicious tea or taken in capsule form. One research study examined its calming effects on patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) with positive results, although it was concluded that more research studies are needed. An old folk remedy recommends stuffing a pillow with chamomile.
You’re sure to enjoy chamomile’s relaxing aroma. Chamomile M. recutita tea can be safely used for children and babies in small doses, but consult your pediatrician first.
2. Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus
Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus (Stapf) is a fragrant herb that can be soothing on frayed nerves and has traditionally been used to promote calm. It has a lemony flavor that is used extensively in Asian cooking. The use of lemongrass in aromatherapy can encourage inner peace and relaxation.
3. Passionflower Passiflora incarnata
Passionflower Passiflora incarnata (L.) is a beautiful botanical. The fruit is often used in cuisine, but the flower, leaves and stem have mild soothing qualities on the body and mind. It is native to South America and has traditionally been used to induce calm and take the edge off a stressful day. It is also fantastic to promote healthy sleep patterns.
Passionflower P. incarnata tea is a wonderful way to prepare this herb and experience its soothing properties.
4. St. John’s Wort Hypericum perforatum
St. John’s Wort Hypericum perforatum (L.) is one of the most popular botanicals used to promote an uplifted, healthy mood. Since stress and mood go hand-in-hand, a healthy feeling of happiness can calm you down…naturally!
It has been said that St. John’s Wort “brings the stork,” but the Herb Research Foundation says these fears are unfounded as this herb has been used in Europe for centuries with no report of unwanted pregnancies.
It is recommended to use St. John’s Wort H. perforatum extract three times per day standardized to 0.3% hypericin at 300 milligrams.
This herb can be taken as a tea, a tincture, a capsule, or in pill form. Do not use St. John’s Wort H. perforatum if you are taking antidepressants. If you are using Indinavir—a component of antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV—do not use St. John’s Wort as it is also contraindicated.
5. Green Tea Camellia sinensis
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention green tea Camellia sinensis (L.). Popular in many health and wellness circles, green tea is traditionally used for its soothing effects. Green tea contains L-theanine, which has been studied for its potential calming properties.
Feeling strung out? Have a break and take a few minutes for yourself, relax, and sip the warm tea. Those few minutes may be all it takes to help re-focus and revive.
Some herbs interact with prescription drugs, so be sure to discuss any herbal preparations you use with your healthcare provider or registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild (AHG). Be especially careful if you are pregnant or nursing.
What are your “go-to” herbs for peace and calm? Tell me your favorite in the comments.
About the Author
Valerie B. Lull, author of Ten Healthy Teas, is an herbalist and wellness coach. At the age of 45 she was diagnosed with Diabetes and staying in good health became her passion.
She studied at the American College of Healthcare Sciences in Portland, Oregon. Valerie has always had a passion for staying healthy and for the health benefits of teas and the various ways they can be prepared.
Valerie’s passion for tea started in childhood, when she experienced a traditional-style teatime with her Canadian relatives.
Valerie’s new book, Glorious Garlic! is now on Amazon. Check it out.
You can read her “Healthy Life” column on the 4th Monday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.