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Medicinal Herbs for Anxiety

Medical Herbalist Alessa of Root For Nature shares some nourishing and practical natural remedies for immunity and wellbeing.

Medicinal Herbs & Their Common Uses

Many of us are feeling the strain over the global pandemic and could be suffering from what we are determining to be adrenal gland fatigue. This is where our adrenal glands are depleted to a low cortisol state from living in constant worry and heightened alert, leading to symptoms such as persistent fatigue, brain fog, and heavy moods. Alessa, a medicinal herbalist and founder of nature-based therapy program Root for Nature, advocates the use of botanical and modern medicine to counteract modern stressors. “There is a time and place for both healing modalities,” she explains, “it is simply a case of understanding when medicinal plants are the right choice.” When dealing with stress and anxiety, she states there is a large body of evidence that suggests the right plant and its correct application, can play a significant role in improving our mental health. In this series of questions with clients, Alessa outlines effective solutions to common ailments.

  • 01

    I am exhausted from the worry over this pandemic and I find myself overthinking a lot.

    Dried stinging nettle infusion is ideal to help recovery from prolonged periods of stress and nourish depleted adrenal glands. An infusion is made by steeping the dried plant in boiling water for a minimum of four hours (and up to 24 hours). Once cool, strain and enjoy over ice.

    For breaking a repetitive thought pattern and overthinking, blue vervain has helped a lot of people to focus and end the worry cycle. Blue vervain is a powerful penetrating nervine that creates a sense of calm while stimulating the release of dopamine and serotonin to lift moods. I recommend taking it in a tincture, as a small bottle is easy to carry around and take a few drops as and when needed.

  • 02

    Tips for anxiety caused by a recent breakup?

    Hawthorn and rose, both members of the rosaceae family, have been cherished for centuries as a restorative tonic for the cardiovascular system.

    Hawthorn tea or tincture is an ideal protocol for those suffering from physical and emotional trauma relating to the heart, according to various in vivo and in vitro studies. One aspect as to why this is such a potent plant for the heart is the flavonoid profile and antioxidant activity. Hawthorn has been noted to have a wide range of cardiovascular pharmacological properties including, but not limited to, anti-cardiac remodeling, antiplatelet aggregation, lipid-lowering and endothelial protection.

    Rose petals infused in honey for a week and spread over toast, a rosewater mist, or rosehip tincture are all ways to incorporate this healing ally to help soothe and mend a broken heart.

  • 03

    I feel frazzled and overly sensitive all the time lately

    A milky oats tincture is a wonderful ally to help bring balance and calm us in times when we are feeling raw and on edge.

    What exactly is milky oats? During a very short period of time (one to two weeks) after flowering and before maturing into the oat grain we know as oatmeal, oats produce a latex sap-like substance. This is often referred to as the milk, and it is this sticky white liquid that is harvested for its medicinal properties.

    Milky oats is extremely rich in minerals and also contains avenine and trigonelline, anti-depressive alkaloids that are among the reasons why it helps to calm and nurture an overstimulated nervous system.

    Milky oats is often crowned as the nervine of all nervines because it lends a hand in avoiding burnout by both calming us down and providing us with the energy to carry on with our day.

  • 04

    I am stressed and I am looking for something to help me sleep?

    Sleep is vital to our mental wellbeing. Stress and sleep deprivation are linked. One effect of stress is that it can lead to anxious, heightened emotional thoughts that can affect sleep quality and duration, throwing our circadian rhythm out of balance. Insufficient sleep can then make us more vulnerable to stress.

    The right medicinal plant can guide us back to a peaceful plentiful sleep while being non-habit forming, allowing us to wake up feeling fresh and alert.

    I recommend passionflower tea or tincture just before bedtime.

    Passionflower is a traditional herbal sedative, anxiolytic (anxiety-calming) and a popular aid for people who tend to have disturbed sleep due to stress.

    Several clinical studies have shown passionflower’s ability to increase inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) to decrease brain activity and calm the nervous system. By inhibiting neural activity, GABA facilitates sleep, reduces psychological stress, and chills us out.

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Alessa is a medical herbalist based in Madrid dedicated to exploring our kinship with medicinal plants.

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Instagram: @rootfornature