8 Plants With Amazing Anti-Anxiety & Relaxing Benefits
Cultures around the world have been using plants for millennia. If you struggle with anxiety and stress, which often impact sleep, herbs and plants may help.
However, you should always check with your doctor before trying any supplement for medicinal purposes, and know that herbs are not regulated. Even so, most herbs are safe and beneficial. You can try them out to soothe your mood, relax a stressful mind, and get a better night’s sleep.
You may even find some benefits from decorating your space with indoor plants like a snake plant or an aloe vera plant. There are many studies showing the benefits house plants have on mental health, anxiety and stress levels, and more.
Keep reading to learn about 8 herbal plants that you can use for your own wellness, along with the scientific-backed benefits that come from keeping house plants around you.
How to Use Herbs
You can find herbal supplements in pill or powdered form, but a great way to get the soothing effects is by steeping them in tea. Some herbs are easy to find in tea form, like chamomile and passionflower.
Others you can make into tea using dried flowers or leaves. Steep your herbal blend in boiling water for several minutes and enjoy it before bed. You can also find extracts of herbs to add to teas and other drinks and oils for aromatherapy.
Herbal plants for relaxation
Most people find the smell of lavender soothing, and traditionally it has many medicinal uses. These include treating burns, infections, and even neurological conditions.Studies show that lavender oil reduces anxiety disorder symptoms and improves sleep.
Usage: You can use lavender as an essential oil or in dried & fresh flower form.
Recipe tips: Create a soothing pillow spray. Combine 4 tablespoons witch hazel with 16oz filtered water in a spray bottle. Add 50 drops of lavender essential oil in a shake to mix. Spray over your pillow for better sleep.
Chamomile has a pleasant and mild, apple-like aroma. It has long been associated with calm and relaxation, and modern studies have proven it.A study from 2016 found that using chamomile extract daily for 12 weeks resulted in a significant reduction in generalized anxiety disorder symptoms in participants.
Usage: You can use it as an essential oil or as a dried flower.
Recipe tips: Try a chamomile herbal tea to help you unwind. Simply pour hot water in a teapot or a mug over 1-2 tsp dried chamomile flowers. Stir in a small spoonful of locally-sourced honey for a treat.
Also known as linden and basswood, tea made from the bark, leaves, and flowers of the lime tree can reduce anxiety. The lime tree is an old folk favorite for anxiety that may really work.Some studies show it can reduce anxiety, possibly because it resembles GABA, the brain chemical that induces relaxation.
Usage: This sleep aid is most commonly used in dried flower form. You can find lime tree essential oils as well.
Recipe tips: Lime Tree is famous as an herbal tea. Follow the same steps to steep as chamomile tea. This tea is great for winding down in the evening.
Passionflower tea may help you sleep because it reduces anxiety.One study even showed that it worked as a natural anti-anxiety medication for patients about to have dental work done. Passionflower may work because it boosts levels of the brain’s chemical GABA.
Usage: Dried flowers, essential oils & flower essence.
Recipe tips: You can drink passionflower as an herbal tea like lime tree & chamomile. For a great moment of total relaxation, make yourself a nice bath with passionflower bath salts. In a bowl, mix 1⁄2 cup Epsom salt, 1⁄4 cup sea salt, and 1⁄2 cup Passionflower (dried or fresh). Add to a warm bath, and enjoy!
Valerian root is another ancient remedy for insomnia. It may be effective, like passionflower, by increasing GABA levels in the brain. Often combined with passionflower for a potent pre-bed tea, valerian rooteases stress and anxiety.
Usage: Powdered valerian root, capsules, essential oil, dried valerian roots. Be careful about the dosage.
Recipe tips: You can take capsules of powdered valerian roots to reduce anxiety (don’t use more than recommended). You can also make a relaxing herbal tea by adding some chamomile and verbena (1⁄3 each).
Flowers of the orange tree have a delicate, orange-like aroma that may help you relax and sleep better. Try an orange blossom extract, whichstudies have found is more effective than some other herbal remedies and prescription benzodiazepines at reducing anxiety related to poor sleep.
Usage: The most common are orange blossom water or orange blossom essential oil.
Recipe tips: For a great relaxing moment, try an orange blossom bath. In a bowl, mix 3 cups warm milk (ideally organic almond, coconut, or goat milk), 4 tbsp of honey, and 1⁄3 cup orange blossom flower. You can also add drops of jojoba oil to make it even more hydrating. Pair this soothing mix with a special bath-time meditation.
Lemon balm is related to mint, another relaxing plant. Lemon balm is another herb that boosts GABA levels, helping to induce relaxation and reduce anxiety. It may also help withinsomnia and depression.
Usage: Mostly dried leaves.
Recipe tips: Lemon balm is a great plant to add to other dried herbs for relaxing herbal tea. It goes particularly well with valerian root.
Also known as oat straw extract, this herbal supplement comes from Avena sativa, the same oats that make oatmeal. The extract is made from the stems and leaves. Studies indicate that flowery oats could reduce anxiety, stress, and depression because it blocks a specific enzyme, PDE4.
Usage: Dried flowers, powder.
Recipe tips: Adding some flowery oats to your daily beverages is a great tool to feel better throughout your day. Another way to use flowery oats is by using them in a bath. In a bowl, mix 1⁄2 cup of powdered milk (goat, coconut, or whole milk), 1⁄2 cup of flowery oats, 2 tbsp of dried aloe vera, 4 tbsp of dried flowers (optional) (roses, hibiscus, calendula), and 20 drops of lavender essential oil (optional). Pour 1⁄2 cup of this mix into your bath and save the remainder for next time. Enjoy.
Old folk remedies have been around for hundreds of years, often because they work. Many herbs can soothe your mind and get you ready for bed with less anxiety. Try teas or extracts and make them a part of a healthy sleep routine, along with BetterSleep meditations and soundscapes.
Remember to always look at recommendations of usage and dosage before using essential oils, dried flowers, and dried herbs.
How houseplants can help anxiety and overall mental health
You can use plants as dry flowers, teas, or essential oil to help with stress and anxiety, but you did you know there are benefits from just keeping indoor plants around?
Strategically placing stress relief plants throughout your living or working space can improve your air quality, mental health, and help relieve stress.
Here are four specific ways houseplants can help:
- Reduce stress. There are studies that show when interacting with plants, systems in our body get suppressed that normally get activated when we receive distress signals. In short, plants may reduce stress through their ability to suppress our autonomic nervous system.
- Recharge us. There’s a theory known as the Attention Restoration Theory. The idea is that spending time outdoors, looking at nature, or even indoor plants can help give us an opportunity to restore ourselves and rest and reflect. Studies show that plant-induce restoration may be possible. It could restart positive emotions and increase our ability to be attentive and our productivity and creativity.
- Boost productivity and sharpen attention. One study that followed students working in a computer lab found that they were less stressed and worked 12% faster when indoor plants were nearby. Another study found that students who studied in a room with live plants, compared to those who studied in rooms with pictures of plants and fake plants, had a better ability to concentrate and be attentive.
- Therapeutic. Interacting with plants may be therapeutic. Researchers have used horticulture therapy in the past to increase well-being in people experiencing dementia, depression, and anxiety.
Stress-relieving plants are a great way to design your space and reap some wellness benefits. From their ability to relieve stress, recharge us, and improve our productivity and attention span, there are many things to appreciate about plants.
Whether you choose to use plants to create something that helps you unwind easier or smell better. Or, if you decide to simply decorate your spaces to improve your wellness, there’s an unlimited amount of plants and ways for you to enjoy the benefits of house plants that reduce stress and anxiety.
You could decorate and improve air quality with a snake plant, aloe vera plant, or your own favorite indoor plant. Feel free to take charge and use your creativity. Find your favorite stress-relieving plants and use them to improve your living environment, air quality, and mental health.
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