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5 Science-Backed Herbs That Will Help Reduce Your Stress

herbs for stress

According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. And more than 75 percent of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.

Ashwagandha Root

Its name means “the smell of a horse” and is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic Healing, most known for its restorative and rejuvenating benefits. Ashwagandha is known to help strengthen the immune system and is highly effective in reducing stress and anxiety by lowering cortisol levels and mimicking GABA inhibitory neurotransmitters. Throughout the years, medical researchers have done over 200 studies on its healing benefits and have found Ashwagandha:

  • Protects the immune system
  • Helps combat effects of stress
  • Improves learning, memory, and reaction time
  • Reduces anxiety and depression without drowsiness
  • Reduces brain cell degeneration
  • Stabilizes blood sugar
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Anti-inflammatory and analgesic
  • Anti-malarial
  • Enhances sexual potency for both men and women
  • Promotes new nerve growth

A typical recommended dosage is 500-1000mg and is usually taken in pill form or in powder form with honey.

Studies on Ashwagandha: Study #1, Study #2, Study #3

Passionflower Extract

Traditionally used by the Native peoples of America as a mild sedative, passionflower has not been studied extensively, but existing reports suggest passionflower may be used to combat:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Pain
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD)

Because of limited study, proper dosage has not been determined but 400mg capsules taken twice daily has been used safely.

Studies on Passionflower: Study #1, Study #2, Study #3

Lemon Balm

A member of the mint family and considered a calming herb, lemon balm has been used to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease discomfort from indigestion since the middle ages. In one study, it was found that rosmarinic acid, an active ingredient in lemon balm, has potent GABA-T inhibitory properties; GABA-T being a common target for anxiety relieving drugs. Lemon balm’s healing effects include:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Eased Insomnia
  • Relief from nausea and indigestion
  • Relief from menstrual cramps

Lemon Balm can be taken in tea, tincture, or capsule form and safe dosage ranges from 300-600mg, 3 times daily or as needed.

Studies on Lemon Balm: Study #1, Study #2, Study #3

The next two are not actually herbs, but amino acids.

L-Theanin

One of the main active ingredients found in green tea, L-Theanine helps to promote relaxation without sedation. It blocks glutamate receptors in the brain, glutamate being responsible for sending signals between nerve cells. L-Theanine has also been shown to significantly increase activity in the alpha frequency brainwave, indicating that it’s able to relax the mind without causing drowsiness.

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves brain function
  • Protects heart and blood vessels
  • Antioxidant
  • May heal stomach ulcers

L-Theanine tends to be taken in 100-200mg dosages.

Studies on L-Theanine: Study #1, Study #2, Study #3 

5-HTP

5-HTP is an amino acid naturally produced by the body used to create serotonin. Low serotonin levels are associated with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, weight gain, and more. Increasing 5-HTP levels, and subsequently, serotonin levels, can have many varying benefits including:

  • Helping reduce stress and depression
  • Aiding weight loss
  • Easing symptoms of fibromyalgia

Safe dosage for 5-HTP ranges from 50-100mg. It can be taken at higher dosages but may cause adverse side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or stomach pain.

Studies on 5-HTTP: Study #1, Study #2, Study #3

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