These days, it can feel nearly impossible to relax. With external stressors, heavy workloads, and constant access to information or stimulation, it seems harder and harder to find the time to unwind or to settle our minds when we have the time.
If you’re feeling overworked, overly tense, and unable to relax, finding ways to incorporate relaxing herbs into your day may be just what you need to calm your mind, center your spirit, and target tension.
Luckily, there is no shortage of soothing herbs or ways to enjoy them, and we’re sharing some of our favorites here at the Apothecary.
Why Choose Relaxing Herbs?
In times of stress, the body increases production of cortisol (also known as the stress hormone), which shifts energy away from other areas as the nervous system goes into protective mode. Chronic stress can make it difficult to unwind, as the body is constantly in fight-or-flight mode.
If ongoing stress keeps us in this state for long periods, we can experience inconsistent energy levels, reduced focus and memory function, difficulty sleeping, nervousness and agitation, and muscle tension.
We desperately need to relax during this time, allowing our nervous system to move out of overdrive so our bodies can shift back into equilibrium. But of course, it can be difficult to relax when our muscles are sore, our mood is sour, and our thoughts won’t stop racing.
Herbal medicines such as nervines and adaptogens can help break this cycle and support feelings of full-body relaxation. Nervines can help settle your mind, while adaptogens can support the body in managing stress and maintaining homeostasis even during difficult times.
Many of the herbs we’re looking at today fall into either of these two categories, providing unique wellness benefits and calming effects. Let’s get into it!
Ashwagandha or Withania somnifera is an adaptogenic herb and one of the most commonly used ones.
This popular nightshade family member has a rich history in Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional form of alternative medicine originating in India.
As an adaptogen, the many antioxidant-rich phytocompounds within the ashwagandha root can support the body in managing stress by engaging with feel-good neurotransmitters naturally occurring in the brain to support a calm mood and a good night’s sleep.
Studies suggest that over a few weeks, consuming ashwagandha tea or capsules can help soothe feelings of nervousness and tension.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is the main non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp. Because CBD is chemically similar to our naturally-produced endocannabinoids, CBD can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (the ECS) to help support the naturally soothing effects of relaxing endocannabinoids such as anandamide.
CBD oils, teas, and supplements can interact with our endocannabinoids to help calm feelings of mental stress, soothe tension, and support a good night’s sleep.
The effects of CBD usually kick in within 15 minutes to an hour, meaning it can provide fast relief when you feel overwhelmed. Taking CBD before bed can help settle the mind and support us in waking up feeling well-rested. CBD during the day can help soothe feelings of nervousness and maintain a positive mood.
Chamomile is considered a nervine herb with a pleasant and fruity scent popularly used in aromatherapy.
This flowering perennial’s yellow and white blossoms have a honey-toned flavor and are rich in antioxidants such as apigenin.
Apigenin can support a good night’s sleep by interacting with receptors in the brain that can help settle the nerves and encourage feelings of sleepiness, making this an ideal herb to use at bedtime.
Sipping on caffeine-free chamomile teas as you unwind for the night can help soothe the soul. A nighttime soak with the pure chamomile flower oils found in our gentle Slumbering CBD Bath Soak can help soothe muscle tension and prepare the mind and body for the kind of deep and well-rested sleep you’re craving.
Believe it or not, the root of this common garden weed has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. With fiber, bioactive polyphenols, and antioxidants such as beta-carotene, the dandelion root can support the body’s natural defense against oxidative stress and soothe feelings of mental stress.
Starting your day with dandelion root can help ground the soul and provide a jitter-free coffee alternative that can aid in keeping you alert while also soothing nervous thoughts.
This beloved spice not only enhances the flavor profile of your favorite Indian and Chinese dishes but has also played a role in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years.
Ginger root contains an active compound known as gingerol, responsible for the herb’s identifiable aroma, fiery taste, and antioxidant properties.
With over 14 known unique bioactive compounds, including gingerol and choline, ginger can help support cognitive function, soothe feelings of stress, and support neurotransmitters such as serotonin.
The dark-colored elderberries are revered for their ability to support the immune system. Elderberries can also support a feeling of full-body relaxation.
Elderberries, grown across the globe, are considered nervines that contain high fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidant-rich flavonols such as quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin. These flavonols can help support healthy blood circulation, which may play a role in easing feelings of tension and maintaining a positive mood.
The leaves, flowers, and tangy red berries of the hawthorn are all relaxing herbal remedies. A member of the rose family, hawthorn berries make delightful and antioxidant-rich jams, jellies, elixirs, and teas.
The vitamin B1 and choline content in hawthorn can support the body’s natural defenses against neurodegeneration. At the same time, the acetylcholine chemical can interact with the neurotransmitters of the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), a collection of nerves that soothes feelings of mental stress.
Hibiscus flowers are as pretty to look at as they are beneficial to consume. The dried hibiscus flowers create a wonderfully vibrant red tea, containing important nutrients and minerals such as fiber, phosphorus, anthocyanins, niacin, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.
With a sweet and tart flavor, hibiscus tea is easy to drink and serves as a useful nervine. The bioactive compounds within the flowers can help calm the nerves and soothe tension throughout the body.
With rosehip seed oil, nourishing organic aloe leaf, hibiscus flower extract, and soothing CBD, you can experience unparalleled relaxation from the outside in (literally!).
While not technically an herb, we couldn’t resist including this nutrient-rich plant byproduct on the list.
Honey comes from floral nectar and pollen, which is carried into bee hives and broken down into simple sugars by the beloved honey bees. Like many herbs, honey contains polyphenols and antioxidants that can help soothe feelings of stress within the body.
Honey can also support a healthy digestive tract connected to the central nervous system through the gut-brain axis. A happy gut can support a happy brain — and vice versa.
Snacking on our organic Lavender CBD Honey or adding it to your favorite calming herbal tea can open up a new world of relaxation.
As a member of the mint family, lavender is a sweet and floral smelling nervine that can help soothe your nerves.
The main aromatic terpenes in lavender, linalool and linalyl acetate, can support a calm mood by activating certain chemical receptors within the brain.
You can experience the calming benefits of lavender’s terpenes by incorporating lavender essential oil, a staple in our Unwind CBD Roller, into massages or aromatherapy, drinking tea made from dried lavender leaves and buds, or adding lavender flowers or oils to a soothing bath.
Another member of the mint family, lemon balm is a nervine that can help support feelings of alertness, uplift the spirits, and maintain a positive mood.
The phenolic compounds in this bright and cooling herb can support the body’s natural defenses against oxidative stress.
The refreshing and lemon-like flavor of lemon balm can be enjoyed fresh or dried and is a key component in our Sacred Smoking Blend and Sensualitea CBD Tea — both of which can soothe the spirit and open the heart.
Mint is also a cooling herb with a bright fragrance that can support healthy brain function and has been used as an herbal remedy since the middle ages.
The menthol in mint leaves may help soothe the body and support a good night’s sleep by supporting natural GABA production.
The stunning flower of the climbing passionflower vine can support restful sleep and support feelings of calm and balance. Like other nervine herbs, passionflower is believed to interact with neurotransmitters such as GABA to help the body naturally manage cortisol levels and settle the nerves.
You can use the dried roots, leaves, and flowers in tea blends or tinctures to support your pre-bedtime relaxation routine.
Need To Rest and Relax? We’ve Got You Covered
When life feels hectic and overwhelming, when sleep is evading you, and when your body is tense from stress, herbs can help you relax by soothing feelings of tension and supporting the body’s ability to manage stressors.
You can incorporate calming herbs into your daily routine with calming tea blends, convenient herbal supplements, gummies, essential oils for aromatherapy, or skin-soothing lotions and creams to help you feel refreshed and relaxed anytime and anywhere.
As always, make sure you are using herbal remedies as recommended and only from trusted sources. Double check with a healthcare provider if you are taking any other medications or have certain health conditions to ensure you aren’t at risk of any negative drug interactions or potential side effects.
Here at the Apothecary, our CBD and botanical blends are rigorously tested for quality, safety, and efficiency, ensuring you get the most out of your calming cannabinoids and herbs.