Stress seems to have become an inevitable part of our everyday lives. Blame the super fast pace, extreme competition, demanding deadlines and long working hours which characterizes today’s corporate sector. Many people, in their efforts to keep up with this frenetic pace resort to stress relieving drugs. Like any chemical solutions available, these too will invariably harm the body on the long run. What many of us tend to overlook many a times is that mother nature has blessed mankind with natural solutions of her own which yield the bare minimum if not no side effects if used rightly.\r\n\r\nThere are 3 classes of natural herbs available which help to deal with stress in different aspects:\r\n\r\n1. Adapatogenic Herbs: These herbs regulate and balance the functions of the immune, hormonal and nervous systems thus helping to combat the various bodily changes that occur as a reaction to stressful situations.\r\n\r\n2. Nervine Herbs: These herbs deal with the damage caused by stress and prevents further influence.\r\n\r\n3. Tonic Herbs: As the name suggests, these function like a tonic to various organs and body systems.\r\n\r\nSometimes, naturally derived solutions do not have the instant effect as like their chemical components. But they are infinity better when it comes to harmonizing with your life in the long run. They are also extremely cost effective and can be taken in the way you like : in tea,pizza, stews, salads etc. And, too much of a good thing always gets in the way. so exercise moderation or stick to your physicians prescription.\r\n\r\n1 St John’s Wort (Hypericum formosum)\r\n\r\nSt. John’s Wort is a widely testified herb used to treat mild depression, anxiety and stress. The body secretes a hormone called norepinephrine when it is under stress. The pituitary gland which produces this hormone also secretes the body’s natural way of keeping it healthy and fit – the growth hormone. The production of the growth hormone is inhibited when the stress hormones are released.\r\n\r\nWhat St. John’s wort basically does is that it helps the pituitary gland to break down excess quantities of the harmful stress hormone and produce more of the growth hormone, thus helping to alleviate the stressed out condition of the body. This natural remedy is effective, as testified by various beneficiaries but it is best to consult with a physician if you want to use it on a long term.\r\n\r\nSt.John’s wort is found to work well by itself but can induce certain side effects like photo sensitivity and dizziness on interaction with certain other drugs. It should be noted that an overall lift in the mental state of a person occurs only about 3 months after the use of this herb. St. John’s wort lift the mood and can surely help you live a stress free life. The brand of this herb is best left to the physician as the dosage and concentration of ingredients are dependent on the patient’s needs.\r\n\r\n2 Sage (Salvia officinalis)\r\n\r\nSage is a commonly known herb that will help relieve stress by calming the nerves. It derives its name from the Latin word “salvare” which means ‘to save’. Meaningful to the context indeed! Research is continuously revealing the immense benefits of this simple herb as you read. Scientific proof exists for the ‘memory enhancing’ and clarifying properties of sage. It is also a very powerful anti oxidant.\r\n\r\nSage will literally save you from the mental and physical chaos your body is subjected to under stress. Sage ‘smudge’ is often smoked to make homes smell better and to give a general calming effect to its residents. Sage tea can be drunk once or twice a day to calm nerves and get a good sleep. Sage is also available in the form of tablets and oils.\r\n\r\nTo prepare sage tea, add a few fresh sage leaves, half a tsp. of sugar or honey, lemon juice and a small quantity of lemon rind. Simmer these ingredients in warm water and steep for 20 minutes.\r\n\r\nSage is considered safe in normal quantities but extended usage will result in a high level accumulation of a particular chemical ‘thujone'(found in sage) which is harmful to the body. Therefore it is appropriate to discontinue the usage of sage after a period of 4 months. Pregnant and lactating mothers are advised to stay away its use.\r\n\r\n3 Rosemary (Rosmarini officinalis)\r\n\r\nRosemary is primarily used to promote clarity of the mind and to relieve tension. The usage of this herb dates back to ancient times. Greek scholars used to wear rosemary on their head to help them think clearly and study well.\r\n\r\nThe leaves of rosemary are crushed to give an oil which is used for treatment. It helps to relax your muscles which constrict themselves during stressful situations. This itself will relax your body and provide relief. When your muscles are relaxed, the blood flow to your brain and eyes increase, thus resulting in clarity of thought. Moreover, Rosemary is a storehouse of a plethora of minerals and vitamins. To top it all, this herb is very easily available and is unbelievably cheap.\r\n\r\nThe undiluted oil of rosemary is not safe when taken orally. People suffering from seizures should stay away from this herb as it can make such cases worse. Overdoses can result in uterine bleeding, irritation, increased sun sensitivity and skin irritation.\r\n\r\nFor ‘stress buster rosemary’ tea, simply take 3 inches of rosemary and blend it in a cup of water for a few minutes. Strain and add a bit of stevia for sweetness.\r\n\r\n4 Dill (Anethum graveolens)\r\n\r\nEver wonder why highly stressed people have stomach ulcers? High stress kicks in too much of adrenalin into our blood stream and if this level stays for too long in the blood, our digestive system starts to work in an erratic manner. This leads to stomach ulcers. Dill is used specially for stomach and digestive deviations due to high stress. If you experience stress which makes your stomach flip, dill should be your fist choice.\r\n\r\nDill was known to the ancients for its digestive correcting, tranquilizing and calming properties. you can use a few drops of dill oil in your bath or use it to flavor your tea.\r\n\r\nThe dosage of dill depends largely on the patients level of stress and other health conditions. Therefore it is best to consult a physician.\r\n\r\nIt is unsafe to use dill in medicinal amounts if you are pregnant. This is because using dill may stimulate mensuration and thus result in a miscarriage. Not enough is known about this herb for lactating mothers. It is best to stick to nominal amounts. Fresh dill juice can also render your skin extremely sensitive to the sun. This will subject you more vulnerable to rashes and sun burn. Children, especially young children should stay away from using dill as an ointment for the skin as it seems to make tender skin susceptible to irritation and even bleeding.\r\n\r\n5 Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)\r\n\r\nThe Arabic word “tarkhun” is the root of this herb’s name, which means ‘ a little dragon’. It has been in use from ancient times for calming down hyper active children. Tarragon is perhaps best known as ‘mugwort’ and is said to promote calmness, balanced appetite and peacefulness without a feeling of being tranquilized. It also contains minerals which are low in a modern diet.\r\n\r\nFor stress relief, it is advised to take 5 milliliters of mugwort root tincture orally about 30 minutes before you take a nightcap. That should give you a good night’s rest.\r\n\r\nIf you take chemical blood thinners like Coumadin, do not use mugwort. Similarly, stay away from this herb if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have an allergy to hazelnuts or have a bleeding disorder.\r\n\r\nIt is best to consult with a physician for the use of this herb as it creates many allergic reactions in people who have allergies with any ember of the Asteraceae/Compositae family.\r\n\r\n6 Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)\r\n\r\nWith flowers as pretty as its name, chamomile was dedicated to the sun by the ancient Egyptians because of its curing power. It was known for curing many things like ageing, fever, sleeplessness, anxiety attacks etc. The flower head of chamomile is used for treatment. Especially in the modern times, people tend to over indulge in a particular food or practice. Chamomile is known to have properties to cure them of this over indulgence which may also lead to situations like over heating of body circuits, stress etc.\r\n\r\nChamomile works in the body to promotes good digestion, well being and relaxation. Of all the various kinds of chamomiles, the German chamomile is proved to be the most beneficial for stress. It is said to aid to to have a good sleep even if you have a history of various allergies. But stay away from using this herb with plants like ragweed, daisies, marigold etc.\r\n\r\nChamomile can be taken in as tea, liquid extract or as capsules. It can also be rubbed onto the skin in the form of an ointment. Chamomile can be taken in orally by adults and children. It is considered likely safe when taken for a short duration of time. U.S German chamomile also has a “Generally Recognized as Safe” status. But it is best for pregnant and lactating mothers to stay away from its use as much is not known about its interactions in such cases. Also, people with estrogen sensitive conditions like uterine fibroid, breast cancer, uterine cancer etc. should keep chamomile away.\r\n\r\n7 Red clover (Trifolium pratense)\r\n\r\nRed clover is a widely used source of a number of nutrients which includes calcium, phosphorous, thiamine, chromium etc and is known to soothe anxiety.\r\n\r\nPhytoestrogens, or natural plant estrogen is found in a very concentrated form in this plant. Both men as well as women can benefit from this herb as this hormone is found in both sexes. Recent studies have shown that this herb helps to alleviate the symptoms of schizophrenia, which is almost similar to the ones shown by a very stressful life. Apart from this red clover also acts on the arteries and blood, to lower cholesterol. Women suffering from post- menopausal and fertility problems also find good results using red clovers.\r\n\r\nFor stress relief, both the extract and the capsules are available in the market today. It is usually consumed in the form of tea.\r\n\r\nRed clover is considered likely safe when taken in orally in quantities commonly found in food but is likely unsafe when taken in orally in medicinal amounts. To stay on the safe side, pregnant ladies and breast feeding mothers should not use red clover as it can disrupt the hormonal balance due to its estrogen levels. People with protein S deficiency have an increased risk of blood clots formation.Therefore they are advised to stay away from it. Similarly due to a chance of increased bleeding, it is advisable to stop using red clover 2 weeks before and after surgery.\r\n\r\n8 Lavender (Lavandula)\r\n\r\nRenown for its aromatherapy uses, this herb is usually grown for fragrance, flowers and oils. A few drops of this aromatic oil in your bath can stimulate relaxation, relax your muscles, improve circulation and it has a very soothing smell too. Another way of taking in a whiff of the lavender’s soothing smell is to burn lavender essence candles at home.\r\n\r\nTaken in tea, it helps to relieve stress and anxiety. Add one or two tsp. of this herb in 150 milliliters of hot water and steep for about 10 minutes.\r\n\r\nIf you take in an overdose, you may experience strange symptoms like nausea, constipation, head ache, small pupils, inflammation etc. for which you have to consult your physician. Lavender oil when taken orally should be done with caution. Though extremely beneficial, it is potentially a danger when taken in an overdose. It should not be taken orally by breast feeding or pregnant women.\r\n\r\n9 Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)\r\n\r\nRhodiola rosea root is used for the treatment of fatigue and stress elevation. The usage of this herb helps to bring the level of hormones and neurotransmitters back to their normal levels. Rhodiola extracts may not be very easily available but the herb is easy to use and is effective.\r\n\r\nFor stress relief, tincture of the root extract can be taken as 40 – 60 drops three times per day. You can also make rhodiola tea by simmering one or two tsp. of dried and cut root in 8- 10 ounces of water and then steep for about 45 minutes before consuming.\r\n\r\nRhodiola is considered safe in normal dosages and has very low levels of toxicity. But lactating mothers, pregnant and mentally challenged people should stay away from consuming this herb. Normally, under mild dosages no side effects are seen from the sue of this herb.\r\n\r\n10 Gingseng (Panax ginseng)\r\n\r\nUsed by the Chinese as an energy drink, this adaptogen is a native of parts of Asia. It is also a very prized herb for it has innumerable properties. Gingseng supplements taken by men and women is found to reduce their stress levels gradually and give them strength to cope up with stress. It is also shown to improve memory and focus as well as remove fatigue and promote the well being of the body. The root of the herb is used for medicinal purposes.\r\n\r\nPanax Gingseng is possibly safe when taken in orally in medicinal quantities by adults for a short term but is not considered so on a long term basis. Pregnant women should not use this herb as it is found to cause birth defects in certain animals. Breast feeding women should stay away to be on the safe side. Panax Gingseng is Unsafe for infants and children. In these cases, gingseng has been related to poisoning. Don’t give this herb even to older children unless suggested by a physician. People with auto- immune conditions should keep away as it may make these conditions worse by boosting up the immune system.\r\n\r\n11 Holy basil (Tulsi)\r\n\r\nHoly basil is a adaptogenic herb which is used in a plethora of situations. It can be used as an anti septic, anti inflammatory agent, for stomach ulcers, as a pain killer etc. It has its origins in India and literally translates as “the incomparable one”. The leaves, stem and seeds of this herb are used for medicinal uses.\r\n\r\nThe best way to take in holy basil for stress relief is to make tea out of 2.5 gm of dried leaf powder in half a cup of water. It can be consumed once or twice a day. Simply eating one or two fresh leaves from the plant also helps to regulate body functions.\r\n\r\nLong term medicinal use of basil is often discouraged. Also, pregnant and breast feeding women should stay away from consuming commercial supplements of this herb to stay on the safe side. Side effects due to over dosage can include dizziness, trembling, hunger, fatigue etc. Holy basil may also slow blood clotting so it is advised to stop its use two weeks before and after surgery. It is also important to note that anti-coagulating medications have interactions with holy basil.