Herbs To Help You Relax
Certain herbs, like CBD, can be used for their relaxing benefits. For this list I've chosen herbs that I personally use when I need to destress at the end of a long day. None of these herbs are going to give you a "psychoactive" effect, or immediately make you feel your ultimate zen. Even the stronger herbs on this list only offer mild sedative effects.
Aways consult a doctor before taking any herbs on a daily basis. If you want to explore these herbs more in depth, I recommend talking with a naturopath or an herbalist!
This may sound counterintuitive, but catnip actually has the opposite effect on humans than it does on cats. Catnip aids in settling your nervous system, which can help calm the physical sensation of nerves in the stomach. The calming effects of catnip will be best utilized when paired with other similar herbs. On its own it may not bring an immediate feeling of relaxation. Catnip is available as a dried herb, in a tincture or capsules.
Chamomile is one of my go-to herbal teas for most situations. Chamomile flower is naturally caffeine-free and is gentle enough that it can be consumed daily. Chamomile soothes an upset stomach, and can help make you feel more at ease. Chamomile is very mild, and will blend well with most dried herbs. Plus chamomile can improve the taste when blended with bitter tasting herbs! Chamomile is typically brewed as tea, but you can also add it to an herbal bath to soothe the skin.
Kava is one of the more recognized sedative herbs on this list. Kava does have some additional medicinal properties, but in general people drink kava tea as a way to promote relaxation. It can have a mild muscle relaxing effect, and has been used to help soothe occasional sleeplessness. This particular herb tends to be a bit stronger than chamomile or catnip, so test it alone before you add it to other tea blends. Kava is available as a tea, tincture, capsule, or in some bottled beverages.
I feel like no relaxing herbs list is complete without lavender. Lavender is well known for it's unique scent, and has long been a staple in aromatherapy. Lavender is most often used for its therapeutic scent, but you can also drink lavender as a tea. The effects will be very mild, but it's a great addition to any tea blend. Lavender is also very soothing to the skin, so add it to your next herb bath!
5. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm has mild sedative properties, that works especially well when mixed with other similar herbs. Like its name, lemon balm has a fresh lemon scent that tastes mild and pleasant. This particular plant has long been used to help alleviate anxiety and help promote restful sleep. Lemon balm is best brewed as a tea, mixed with other herbs.
6. Oat Straw
Oat straw is a very mellow herb, which is often used as an ingredient in a number of tea blends. Oat straw is gentle restorative to the body, and can help soothe the nervous system. It is often brewed as a tea, but it also can help alleviate enflamed skin. Oat straw is naturally high in calcium, iron, and other minerals. This is a great herb to have on hand in your pantry for internal and external use.
7. Passion Flower
Passion flower is another herb with gentle sedative properties. Passion flower is typically blended with other herbs to help promote relaxation. This particular herb is most effective when its used over a long period of time. Drinking passion flower once on its own will most likely not give you strong effects. Talk to your naturopath if you're interested in learning more about taking passion flower over a long period of time. They will be able to instruct you on how much to take, and how often. Add it to a tea blend, or take it as a tincture.
Skullcap is one of my favorite herbs. I always like to keep a batch of homemade skullcap tincture on hand to take before bedtime. I have found skullcap to have some of the strongest sedative effects than anything else on this list. I don't take it daily, but I have it on hand for when I'm having trouble sleeping. I find it helps gently relax my mind and body. Skullcap can be brewed as a tea mixed with other herbs on this list. You can find skullcap as a dried herb, tincture, or in capsules.
Valerian root is often used as a natural sleep aide, because of its sedative properties. Valerian can cause feelings of drowsiness, which is why it is often used before bed. Valerian is one of the stronger herbs on this list, so its best to learn more about it from a professional before taking it regularly. Valerian is not pleasant tasting, so you can take it as a tincture or capsule.
Relaxing Tea Blends
A number of these herbs on this list will work more effectively when paired with other similar herbs. Before you add all 9 together at once, you should start by trying them by themselves. This way you can get a sense of how each herb makes you feel so you can see which ones you like the best. Herbs like passion flower, chamomile, catnip, and oat straw are very mild and can be added to just about any blend. Chamomile will improve the taste of other not so pleasant herbs, and will help make your tea gentle on the stomach. I don't recommend blending kava, skullcap, and valerian together at once. If you are having a lot of trouble sleeping, you should speak to a naturopath to find what herbs will work best for you!