Crisp cool autumn scents, mysterious fog laden valleys, brilliant, colorful tree lined streets and walkways, remind me that it’s undoubtedly Fall. This is the time of year that most of us either anticipates with great joy and excitement in our hearts or silently tiptoe around in hopes that it will just pass us by. Our schedules become busier and our minds move faster creating disruption to our daily lives on physical, emotional and spiritual levels. The resulting unwarranted stress can lead to physical ailments which can further inhibit our ability to calmly complete our holiday check list and really, just enjoy ourselves and loved ones.
Utilizing herbal medicine can ease you through this time of year. Naturally speaking, plants have the ability to heal and transform both the mind and body simultaneously. Their energetic properties and chemical compositions will help in reducing your stress, calming your tension, aiding with digestion, boosting your immune system and lulling you into a deep restful sleep.
An important category of herbs which aid in both the health of the mind and your physical body are Adaptogens. Adaptogens regulate all body systems during times of stress creating space to more easily “adapt”. The right adaptogenic herb will determine where your body needs the most support and can regulate the hormones released, signals fired, and nutrients absorbed and processed.
Siberian Ginseng Eleutherococcus senticosus can be purchased in tea form, as a liquid extract, or a quick dissolving powder. This is a great preventative herb to take regularly this time of year.
Astragalus Root Astragalus membranaceus can be found in capsules, powder or in a liquid extract (tincture). This herb is fantastic for maintaining health and it is especially supportive to the immune system. This herb can be taken daily.
Nervine Relaxants are my absolute favorite category of herbal healers. These plants have chemicals which work directly to regulate and calm your nervous system. These herbs will reduce tension but aren’t meant to make you sleepy!
Holy Basil Occimum sanctum is most commonly found in tea form. Renowned in Ayurvedic medicine as a sacred plant and cure-all, Holy Basil will give you a gentle sense of serenity and uplift your spirits, especially in times of stress. Holy Basil tea can be consumed liberally throughout the day if you choose, or simply enjoy a glass of tea before bed.
Wood Betony Stachys officinalis is found in capsule form or in a liquid extract. This herb especially targets tension of the neck and shoulders, gently easing your muscular tightness.
Skullcap Scutellaria lateriflora is found in capsules, tea or a liquid extract. The benefits of this herb on your nervous system are endless. It helps to relieve actual nervous pains and ailments while also providing calming/tension relieving effects. Taking this herb will give you deep relaxation.
Oatstraw Avena sativa is found in a capsule form, liquid extract or in some tea blends. This herb provides nourishment for your nervous system. In the case of depleted and overworked nerves, this herb will help to rebuild your system and support regeneration while creating a sense of calm.
Lastly, I will discuss Hypnotics. Sleep is vital for maintaining health during stressful times, and yet achieving quality sleep can be quite challenging. The following hypnotic herbs will give you the deep sleep that you need.
Passionflower Passiflora incarnata is found in a capsule form, liquid extract or tea. Taking this herb before bed will not only help you to fall asleep but also to remain sleeping. Its potency will bring you deep relaxation and sleepiness.
California Poppy Eschschoolzia californica is found in capsule form, liquid extract or in some tea blends. Use this herb before bed to induce sleep or in any case of restlessness or tension headaches throughout the day.
Take care of yourself this holiday season inside and out and be sure to have a cup of Holy Basil tea before heading out to the Mall.
By Adrianna Vega
Owner of Sage Remedies located in Bellingham, WA
BS Herbal Science from Bastyr University