Last time in part 1 of A Basic Guide to Herbal Remedies, we talked about the basics: herbal actions, the properties by which herbs work.
Now it’s time for the fun part! Blending together powerful herbs to create remedies for common ailments that we ALL feel burdened with at some point or another.
Here at Tranquility Labs, we talk about anxiety a lot. With nearly 40 million adults in the US suffering from anxiety, it is fair to say that this ailment is one that definitely affects everyone in some way or another. Whether it be stress, panic, or phobias, there are many many herbal blends that combat anxiety and its many complex symptoms.
For this section, we will be working with adaptogens and nervines.
Adaptogenic herbs increase the ability of the body as a whole to cope with and respond to stress. While nervines directly affect the nervous system to ease anxiety. So with them combined, think a total mind and body calm.
Passion Flower and Scullcap Calming Tea
This is a tea I make for myself or loved ones when feeling anxious and tense. Passion Flower (adaptogen) is fast acting and has been proven to effectively treat General Anxiety Disorder, while not hindering work performance or causing excessive drowsiness. Not to mention it has a very pleasant taste.
Skullcap helps calm worried thoughts, and nourishes the nervous system to allow for inner peace. Skullcap combines perfectly with Passion Flower to relieve tension and anxiety.
To prepare this tea, steep 0.5 to 2 g (about 1 tsp.) of each dried herb in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes; strain and cool. Drink 3 to 4 cups per day, either hot or cold.
Kava Root Tincture
Kava is a very strong nervine and when used, it has the ability to ease anxiety and bring about an instant state of calmness. This herb is great for phobias or those times when you’re dealing with sensory over-stimulation. It also has muscle relaxant abilities; So if you find yourself in high anxiety situations and it feels like your entire body is being affected, kava is the herb to reach for. As I’ve mentioned kava is very strong so it shouldn’t be used for extended periods of time, use as needed and no longer than 3 months.
To make the tincture (herbal extract):
- Fill a mason jar ½ way with dried herb (2/3 way full with fresh herb). Chop dried herb well before mixing. *if you’re using dried herbs, you want to add a bit of water to loosen the botanical matter and muddle the herb before adding it to the mason jar
- Pour liquid mixture over the herb and completely cover to fill the jar.
- Label container with date, ratio of glycerine to water (i.e., 75% glycerin to 25% water), and herbs used.
- Agitate daily for 4-6 weeks.
- Strain with cheesecloth, bottle, label!
Glycerites have a shelf life of about two years and should be stored in a cool dark place to preserve the potency of the herb. To yield a stronger tincture, vegetable glycerin can be replaced with a high grain alcohol like Everclear. Alcohol tinctures can last up to 5 years, however glycerites taste a whole lot better.
Tinctures are wonderful to have in your arsenal of herbal remedies because they are so easy to take and can even be added to teas for a healing boost!
Green Tea Extract
Another one of my favorites for anxiety and stress is green tea extract (nervine). Yes, green tea. I know you may be thinking that during times of high anxiety anything caffeinated should be avoided, and that is correct. However this powerful herb, depending on your source, has only trace amounts of caffeine in it! For example our Tranquilene contains less than 1 mg of caffeine per two-capsule dose, while still supplying you with 76 mg of the extract.
Green Tea extract is key when it comes to managing anxiety. L-Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, is well known for its physical calming traits. It increases the activity of GABA, a neurotransmitter (natural messenger in the brain) that promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety. It also stimulates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that contributes to confidence and a sense of well-being. I could go on and on about the numerous benefits of green tea extract, but the proof is in the pudding.
You can also make your own green tea extract. Just make sure the tea leaves you’re using are decaffeinated!
For this one I like to make infusions – which are just teas brewed for longer periods of time and are therefore are more concentrated.
- Simply fill a mason jar about a quarter of the way full with decaf green tea leaves. *if using fresh herbs fill the half way
- Fill the jar with boiling water and cover. You want to let it steep for at least a half hour. I like to steep overnight.
- When your tea has steeped enough, simply strain and enjoy throughout the day, either hot or iced. *for an extra calming kick, add a few drops of that kava tincture!
Even though we’d all like to be able to whip up herbal remedies and have everything on hand and ready, it’s not always realistic given our busy modern schedules; being aware of these herbs and the options that you have, is a step in the right direction!
Tranquilene, our best seller, contains several of these herbs mentioned and many more key anxiety fighting ingredients. Learn more here.
So there you have it! A few home recipes for your own anxiety-fighting arsenal. Adaptogens and nervines are like the yin & yang of healing herbs and truly work together to allow for a more harmonious and complete remedy for anxiety.
Please stay tuned for parts 3 and 4 for more recipes to help with symptoms associated with lack of sleep, inability to focus and concentration, poor mood, and more! In the meantime, for even more tips and ingredients to help control your anxiety and stress naturally, click here to download our FREE ebook, The Natural Guide to Anxiety-Free Living.