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Sunday, June 22, 2014

HERBS to Alleviate STRESS, TENSION and INSOMNIA

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Herb remedies to relieve tensions and stress help promote natural sleep, while others help repair the nervous system. One formula/herb may work for some and not others. If one doesn't work, try another. 
Junk food, caffeine, salt and sugary foods also heighten stress and tension, you need to reduce/eliminate these to aid the body's recovery. Eating late at night can be the source of discomforts, nightmares, restless sleep (insomniacs should cut down on salt) and resulting stress.


Herbal teas to relieve stress can include:

Catnip
Catnip (relieves 'congestion' of emotional tensions).  Cats get frisky when they eat this plant, yet humans find it relaxing.  The leaves and flowering tops are strongly antispasmodic, antitussive, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, slightly emmenagogue, refrigerant, sedative, slightly stimulant, stomachic and tonic.  Catnip has a long history of use in alternative medicine, being employed especially in treating disorders of the digestive system and, as it stimulates sweating, it is useful in reducing fevers.  The fresh juice is used as an emmenagogue (to promote menstruation). Mild catnip tea  is used to relieve colic in babies, restlessness and nervousness, and is very useful as a mild nervine for children.  Stronger tea relieves fevers due to colds and flu as well as calming the stomach and preventing nauseau and diarrhea.  The fresh young shoots are good in spring salads and rubbed into meat for flavor.  Applied externally or added to the bath it is good for skin irritations.  Catnip oil is great for aroma therapy.  A strong infusion can be used to repel fleas from carpets or the fur of animals.  An extract from the leaves (called Nepatalactaone) has herbicidal and insect repelant properties.

Hops
Hops (used in pillows to treat insomnia), are perhaps best known for their use as a bitter agent in brewing beer.  But hops are also a nerve sedative and hormonal agent.  Because they promote stomach secretions, bitter herbs are good digestive tonics. The bitter principles in hops are particularly useful for indigestion aggravated by stress or insufficient stomach acid and for gassiness and sour burping.  Research has shown that hops also may help the body metabolize natural toxins, such as those produced by bacteria.

Hops contain plant estrogens; its estrogenic constituents make it useful in treating menopausal complaints, such as insomnia and hot flashes.  You may also use hops for anxiety and nervous complaints or for indigestion and cramps resulting from anxiety.  Use the tincture or tea before bed to relieve insomnia.

Vervain
Blue Vervain leaves and roots (good for nervous conditions and headaches), are a valuable alternative medicine used as an antidiarrheal, analgesic, anthelmintic, antiperiodic, astringent, diaphoretc, emetic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, vermifuge, and vulnerary.  It is useful in intermittent fevers, ulcers, pleurisy, scrofula, gravel, easing pain in the bowels and expelling worms.  A very strong infusion is emetic (induces vomiting). As a poultice it is good in headache and rheumatism.  An infusion of the plant is a good galactagogue (increases breast milk) and used for female obstructions, after-pains and also taken as a female tonic.  The infusion is used to help pass kidney stones and for infections of the bladder.


Eleuthero
Eleuthero (Ginseng relative exceptional for treating insomnia), is a medicinal herb that offers a wide range of health benefits.  Although it is also referred to as "Siberian ginseng," eleuthero does not belong to the same family as "true" ginseng, which includes Korean and Asian and American ginseng.

Eleuthero also falls into the category of herbal adaptogens, whose healing energy boosts one's resistance to stress.  Students stressed by exams often take this herb, as it also promotes mental resilience and jogs the memory. It helps reduce the effects of physical stress on individuals overworked, subject to heavy physical activity to the point of debilitation and physical exhaustion - Eleuthero addresses impotence, rejuvenates, enhances endurance and strengthens the body.  It aids in convalescence by strongly stimulating the immune resistance; fight infection by drinking eleuthero tonic regularly as well as maintaining general health and mental well being.

Rosemary
Rosemary herb parts (soothes/relieves nervous insomnia, mental fatigue and simple or congestive headaches), whether fresh or dried, are a rich source of minerals like potassium (an important component of cell and body fluids, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure), calcium, iron, magnesium.  Fresh Rosemary leaves are a good source of antioxidant vitamins; Vitamin C containing about 22mg per 100g, about 30% of RDA.  The vitamin is required for the collagen synthesis in the body.  Collagen is the main structural protein in the body required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones.  The essence of rosemary can be taken in the form of an infusion, a wine, a tea or as a spirit. The aromatic herb can also be used for a bath - it is extremely stimulating and a bath with the essence of rosemary late evening may prevent one from sleeping in the night.  The leaves contain stomachic properties (aids digestion), and is often used as hair tonic (with regular use prevents baldness).



Fu Ling
Anise Seeds
Mugwort









Mugwort: an excellent nervine for uncontrollable shaking, insomnia); Marjoram: relieves headache/insomnia); Anise: (½tsp in cup of warm milk, let stand for 5min then strain) at bedtime prevents insomnia and nightmares; Skullcap: excellent for all nerve disorders; Valerian: calming and sedating for emotional disturbances and pain; (Red) Fu Ling: best for nervous and restless conditions - treats hyperactivity in children; and one of my personal favorites Bupleurum: renown for treating stress-related ailments, restores balance, helps adrenals adapt to stress and strengthens liver, stomach and intestines so you feel more able to cope with tensions, thus relaxing the nerves and conserving energy so you live and sleep more comfortably.
Marjoram


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