5 Herbal Teas to Help Your Busy Life

September 2, 2015 at 1:00 pm


Everybody is busy, busy, busy these days. There just isn’t enough time in a day to get everything done. Things pile up and you feel overwhelmed, frazzled and STRESSED OUT!

The stress response is a natural and healthy reaction to any kind of demand. However, the purpose of the stress response is short-term survival, not long-term thriving. There are a myriad of effects of chronic stress on your physical and emotional health including poor digestion, constipation, high blood pressure, heart disease, low immune function, diabetes, low libido, migraines, anger issues, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and so on, and so on.

It is essential that you address the causes of your stress. If it is possible to change a situation, do so as soon as you can. If you can’t change the situation, what you can do is change your response to it. One of the simplest and most readily available ways you can do this is through drinking calming herbal teas.

Herbs that strengthen and improve the general functioning of the central nervous system are called nervines. Nervines are categorized along a continuum from the most stimulating to the most sedating. The nervine or nervines that would best address your needs depends on your symptoms. If you are experiencing anxiety, excitability and insomnia, you want to use herbs that are on the sedative end of the spectrum. Sedatives calm the mind and emotions and reduce anxiety. Tonic tranquilizers are the mildest sedatives; the next strongest are called anxiolytics; and the next strongest are called sedatives. Which level of sedation you require depends on your level of anxiety and excitability.

If, however, you are experiencing fatigue, lethargy and/or depression, you do not want to use heavily sedating herbs as they will add to your level of fatigue or depression. The type of nervine you need for these symptoms are called amphoteric nervines. These herbs are both calming and slightly stimulating to the central nervous system at the same time. They will act more calming if you are experiencing anxiety, or mildly stimulating if you are experiencing fatigue instead. It is best to avoid true stimulants such as black tea or coffee as these are not healing or tonic to the nervous system and will eventually make your symptoms worse.

The following is a list of 5 nervine herbs and their properties that are excellent to use during periods of acute or chronic stress. You can use just one or a combination of several. All of these herbs can be used long-term and are easy to find:

Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Properties: antidepressant, anxiolytic, relaxant, tranquilizer. Catnip isn’t just for blissing out your kitty. It’s actually one of the very best herbs for the treatment of nervousness, anxiety and other emotional symptoms.

Hawthorn leaf and flower (Crataegusspp.)

Properties: antidepressant, anxiolytic, relaxant, tranquilizer. Hawthorn is an excellent tranquilizing nervine. It is useful for the treatment of all manner of stress-related conditions including anxiety and insomnia. The berries also have similar properties and can be used interchangeably.

Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Properties: antidepressant, anxiolytic, amphoteric nervine, relaxant. Spearmint is an excellent amphoteric nervine for nervous exhaustion and depression characterized by fatigue. Peppermint can be used interchangeably and is slightly more stimulating.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Properties: antidepressant, anxiolytic, amphoteric nervine, relaxant. Rosemary is not just a culinary spice; it is amazing in the treatment of stress-related conditions, anxiety and depression that are characterized by mental and/or physical fatigue. It improves blood flow to the brain and is excellent for improving alertness, concentration and memory.

Passion flower (Passiflora incarnate)

Properties: anxiolytic, nervine, relaxant, sedative, tranquilizer. This herb is used when a stronger sedative action is required. It is calming to those who have higher levels of stress and insomnia. Combine it with other stronger sedatives, such as hops, valerian and wild lettuce in more stubborn cases of insomnia.

If your stress is mild to medium drink 2 – 4 cups of these herbal teas per day. In times of higher stress you can increase the amounts and/or make stronger teas.

Give these herbs a try and see how amazing they are at lessening the effects of your stressed-out life. If, however, they are not effective enough for your level of stress and overwhelm, I encourage you to seek out support from a qualified natural healthcare practitioner.

About the Author

Monika Ghent is a Registered Herbalist with the Ontario Herbalists Association and has a private practice in both Toronto and Vaughan, Ontario, Canada. Her website is www.dreamingwillow.ca. She also has a herbal school with her husband Michael Vertolli called Living Earth School of Herbalism (www.livingearthschool.ca) which offers general interest workshops and online classes, and certificate and diploma programs in Western herbalism and related fields of study.