5 Herbs and supplements to relieve stress
Dr. Lisa Kearney, ND
s we enter the 3rd year of the COVID pandemic, more and more people are coming to me asking about herbs and supplements to help ease their stress and anxiety. It seems that living in a stressed out state has become the new norm for many people, and it is beginning to wear on their nervous systems. Luckily there are many herbs and supplements that can help. Here are some of my favorites.
The herb ashwagandha is an adaptogen, meaning that it helps your body adapt to stress. That also means that it helps rebuild tired adrenal glands after long periods of anxiety and tension. I love this herb because it helps you to relax, and when taken over time, it helps to increase your vital energy. It can be taken in the morning to help ease daytime stress and taken at night as a gentle sleep aid.
Phosphatidyl serine (PS) is a supplement that helps to decrease cortisol in the body. Cortisol is the “stress hormone” that makes you feel anxious and jittery. I like phosphatidyl serine because it also can be used to improve memory and concentration.
This amino acid is found in green tea and is responsible for its calming effects. L-theanine has been shown to increase alpha brain waves, which help you enter a state of relaxation, promotes creativity, and improves cognition and mood. I often recommend L-theanine in chewable tablets for panic attacks because they can be absorbed more quickly.
Gaba is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning that it decreases firing in the brain and can help to calm down the nervous system. I like to use Gaba with patients that feel “strung out” or “wired” and are having a hard time getting their bodies out of the fight or flight response. Gaba may lower blood pressure, so use caution when taking it and ask your doctor before using if you are taking blood pressure lowering medications.
Passionflower is a beautiful herb that can be taken day or night to help calm your mind. The specific indication for this herb is for thoughts that keep circling around in your head and causing you distress. It helps to calm the mind and stop the racing thoughts. I like to use it with people that wake up in the middle of the night with a lot on their mind. Some people are very sensitive to this herb so make sure to start with a low dose and then increase as needed. Do not use if you’re pregnant.
I hope these supplements can help ease your stress and make your day a little brighter. As always, make sure to check with your doctor or naturopathic doctor before adding any of these supplements to your routine.
Lisa Kearny, N.D.’s hours at Rebecca’s vary each month. For February 2022 she will be here Saturdays 12-6 and Mondays 12-8 for free 15 minute consultations or assistance in the aisles.
For these and other supplements, come in to Rebecca’s or visit our online store.
Top photo of ashwaganda leaf by Bankim Desai on Unsplash