Stress. We’ve all experienced it at some point. And many of us live with it on a daily basis. Stress, and its cousin, anxiety, affect millions of people and are linked with increased risks for diseases like heart disease and cancer. They’re also linked with reducing sleep quality, stunting cognitive ability, and lowering immunity. Arguably, stress is the #1 health threat that we face today.
No wonder that the “stress management” industry is worth several billion, and growing. People are desperate for a way out, for something that can offer relief from the daily strain, worry, and tension. Unfortunately, many of the products and services on the market today simply aren’t effective, or could potentially create other issues down the line. All matter of gizmos and gadgets, along with unregulated supplements, dominate the industry, but people still aren’t getting relief.
A holistic approach
I think it’s important to acknowledge that stress and anxiety relief must be multifaceted. A holistic approach with good quality herbs, mindfulness techniques, and healthy boundaries is best, when tackling these complex issues. Most people have an intuitive understanding of what makes their stress feel worse, and what makes it feel better, particularly when it comes to things like caffeine, sleep quality, meditation, and exercise.
But what about the herbs? There are thousands of them out there these days, and it’s perfectly understandable to feel confused on which ones are effective, or which ones suit your needs. In my many years of working in the health field, I have tried and tested probably over a thousand different products, and was honestly disappointed in most of them! However, there are some great herbs that have been shown to be useful against stress and anxiety.
Personally, I enjoy a mix of topical and internal herbs. The average person can cover their stress bases with just a few high quality products. No need to break the bank on dozens of bottles of this and that! Here are my two top choices for naturally quieting your stress and anxiety:
An herb of growing popularity, ashwagandha is a traditional Ayurvedic medicine for those suffering from burnout, adrenal fatigue, and everyday stress. The sweet and musky-smelling roots are typically used to make tinctures, ground up to make capsules, or sometimes simmered to make strong teas. I prefer the tincture form of this herb, as it’s easily absorbed and tastes good!
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen, with a special affinity for the adrenal glands. Unlike many other adaptogens which are stimulating, ashwagandha has a more calming effect and can be used any time of the day. It is also wonderful at rebuilding the immune system after periods of illness or weakness.
2. Deep Heat Salve
If your muscles hold a lot of tension, like mine do, then you will love the Deep Heat Salve. This natural herbal topical penetrates into muscles and tissues, offering a wonderful relaxation with an invigorating scent. I used to use IcyHot a lot when I was younger, but it’s no comparison to this salve (especially because this one is non toxic!), with its unique blend of herbs designed to improve blood flow and tissue repair, while calming inflammation.
Plantain, arnica, calendula, mullein, marshmallow and other plants quiet angry tissues, while cayenne, white oak bark, and ginger boost circulation. Add in herbs like St. John’s wort and skullcap for calming, wormwood and black walnut for antimicrobial action, and top it off with cooling menthol crystals, and you’ve got a powerhouse salve. Rub this into sore muscles and joints, or into your tense neck and shoulders for deep relief.
Ultimately, we all know that stress is here to stay. It’s highly unlikely that our world will calm down or slow down any time soon. So, it’s up to each of us to prioritize our self-care, invest in our stress-reduction habits, and utilize the right herbs and natural supplements when we need them. These two formulas make a great support team for anyone dealing with stress and anxiety.