Have you ever brushed against a rosemary plant (Rosmarinus officinalis) or rubbed some leaves between your fingers to release the pungent and relaxing aroma? Rosemary is just one of the many herbs you can easily grow in your garden or in containers to add to recipes or add sprigs to bouquets of flowers for an aromatic mood lifter.
The lavender herb (Lavendula angustifolia) is often called “the workhorse of herbs” and is highly effective in lifting moods, reducing anxiety and irritability, helping minimize bouts of insomnia as well as helping balance your immune system. Lavender likes a dry area, as it is native to the Mediterranean, so plant lavender where you can limit the water it receives. You can brew lavender in tea or place it in a diffuser to relax you at bedtime.
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) actually has a natural hormone that can relieve stress symptoms. It’s a great substitute for cortisone, can help fuel your adrenal glands and aids in balancing blood sugar levels. Drink it in tea form.
Another great way to relieve stress with a tea is the herb passion flower (Passiflora spp.). It’s a very mild sedative which may help you get a good night’s sleep and is also used for reducing stress and anxiety – and the flowers are beautiful.
Kava (Pipa methysticum), an herb grown mainly in the Pacific islands, can be effective at relieving symptoms of both depression and menopause. I encourage you to check the literature on the effects of this herb on the immune system.
Blue Vervain (Verbena hastate) has been used since ancient times to cleanse the liver, balance hormones in women and reduce cravings for sugar. It can help you calm down and reduce stress for those who experience it in the neck and head areas.
If you haven’t heard of the herb ginseng (Panax spp.), you may have been living under a rock. It’s a go-to herb for reducing anxiety, promoting energy, fighting depression and helping your memory.
Are you plagued by headaches? Consider the herb wood betony (Stachys officinalis), an herb used since ancient times for reducing anxiety and tension. Wood betony tea can help you focus on what’s important in life.
Herbs have been used since ancient times for reducing symptoms of stress. Please remember, I’m a gardener, not a physician. For medical conditions, seek medical advice from your health care practitioner. Why? Some herbs don’t mix well with prescription medications, so before you brew up herbs for medicinal purposes, do the proper research to find out how they may interact with anything you’re taking.
Herbs make a great addition to any garden or container space and can usually be grown easily. Online resources and books offer hundreds of ways to use these valuable plant additions. An herb garden was a necessity during times when over-the-counter medications weren’t available. Now, you can enjoy cultivating herbs in containers if you don’t have a garden space.
It is time to start planning your garden – whether in a bed or a container. You may decide to add some herbs this spring. To me, simply planting herbs helps reduce my stress and I always look forward to enjoying the glorious aroma of rosemary around my home. You may too!
Susan B. Mead is a master gardener and an award-winning author. Her latest book is available on Amazon and is titled Don’t Go through Life Naked: How to Clothe Yourself in God’s Power.