Everyone experiences anxiety throughout their lives. Anticipation of a plane ride, awaiting important news, or memories of a past event are a few culprits of unpleasant and sometimes crippling anxiety. When anxiety arises it can impair our judgment, prevent us from progress and cause us to wallow in doubt and fear. Negative behaviors and emotions fuel anxiety and strip us of our inner strength.
To constructively combat anxiety it is important to recognize what triggers our anxiousness. Unfortunately we may not know what triggers us until we're encountered with something in particular. People, places, things, words, and even smells are some of the more common triggers that can spark feelings of anxiety.
When I feel anxious or overwhelmed I turn to the plants for support. Herbs in combination with yoga, meditation and deep breathing help me to find a sense of calm when I need it the most. Here are a few herbs I incorporate into my day when stress and anxiety arise.
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) - A member of the mint family, Motherwort is known for its ability to calm anxiety, support the heart and soothe pain. It has long been given to pregnant women suffering from anxiety and mothers who experience postpartum depression. Although it has an affinity for the ladies Motherwort brings comfort to men, women and children alike. Motherwort helps calm muscle spasms, soothe pain, lower blood pressure and relieve rapid heartbeat. A tincture made from the fresh flowering tops of Motherwort is most effective and can be taken by the drop or dropperful. A dose of 10-15 drops has brought me almost instant relief from anxiety and nervousness. For severe anxiety or feelings of panic take one dropperful, asses how you feel and dose accordingly. The leaves and flowers of Motherwort can be steeped and drunk as a tea although the result is quite bitter. The tincture is much more pleasant and fast acting.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) - Lemon Balm is also a member of the Mint family and is highly regarded for it's uplifting lemony scent, delicious flavor and sedative properties. Feelings of stress, anxiety, mild depression, and melancholy can be put to rest with Lemon Balm. It's carminative action aids digestion by reducing gas and bloating and can soothe nervous disorders of the stomach. Lemon Balm is a wonderful brain tonic for children and adults. It improves memory, focus and the ability to store and retrieve information making it a superb remedy for Alzheimer's disease, Dementia and ADHD. Lemon Balm brings a sense of calm and restful sleep along with relief from tension headaches. I'm inclined to believe that the herbs which grow around you are the herbs needed in your life the most. Because we have an abundance of Lemon Balm growing on our property I have a strong relationship with her. I make a tincture of her fresh leaves in early to mid summer which supplies us with medicine throughout the autumn and winter. A tea can also be made from the fresh or dried leaves and drunk throughout the day.
Damiana (Turnera diffusa) - Damiana is a wonderful tonic herb for the nervous system as it reduces feelings of depression and elevates the mood. Damiana is pleasantly stimulating yet induces a feeling of warmth and relaxation to the body and mind. Damiana is commonly known as an herbal aphrodisiac and was drunk by the Mayan and Aztec peoples as a sexual tonic. Damiana can be helpful to victims of sexual assault as it calms anxiety and has an affinity for the reproductive system. Damiana is a lovely addition to any herbal smoke blend as it induces a state of relaxation and slight euphoria. Damiana propelled me to deepen my study of herbs and taught me to appreciate the subtle and profound healing power of plants. I enjoy Damiana as a tea when I feel run down by emotions and need extra comfort in my life.
Yoga - The word "Yoga" can be traced back to the Hindu and Sanskrit writings known as The Vedas. The Sanskrit root of Yoga is "yuj" meaning to connect or join together. Over the centuries yoga has evolved while it's origins as a highly spiritual and meditative practice remain. Although I'm not an expert on the history or teachings of yoga, it has helped me to regain strength and deeply connect to my mind, body and spirit. To learn more about the history of yoga, click here. Yoga incorporates a method of breathing known as Pranayama. This type of breath work allows our bodies to release stress, improve mental clarity and connect to our vital life force. A daily practice of yoga helps me to feel balanced, calm and grounded. Below are a few links to some of the teachers online that I enjoy.
Simple, healthy changes can have a huge impact on our lives and help transform how we deal with stress and anxiety. Although it is important to understand the root causes of our anxiety we must also know how to ease the symptoms of it when it arises. The above herbs combined with yoga are just a few of the ways I manage overly emotional times. My intention is to empower others with the above suggestions to take a more natural approach to deal with that which causes them anxiety and strife.
On line Yoga Classes
Yoga With Adriene - https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=yoga+with+adriene+
Five Parks Yoga w/ Erin Sampson - https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=five+parks+yoga
Heart Alchemy Yoga - https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=heart+alchemy+yoga
The Book of Herbal Wisdom by Matthew Wood