I’ve written before about some fantastic plant allies for dealing with panic attacks that are also helpful for day-to-day anxiety and tension—though some of these botanicals may be a bit too sedating when you’re trying to shave off some tension and relax but stay focused during your work day. Below are herbs and essential oils for chilling out while staying sharp.
Herbs For Anxiety
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
- Sipping chamomile throughout the day may ease anxiety, irritability, and restlessness.
- Higher doses, such as a cup of chamomile tea all at once, may be more sedating and are better suited to the evening.
- Chamomile is safe for children (and pets!).
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
- Lemon balm is a relaxing, delicious tea that can be sipped all day long. And it smells great…do some aromatherapy while drinking the tea.
- Studies (and tradition) show it also may improve cognition, so you can be both calm and productive.
- Avoid regular use if you have hypothyroidism.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
- Peppermint has some similar properties, but I think spearmint tastes better.
- Spearmint (and peppermint) has long been used for stress and tension.
- Regular use was found to improve memory and daytime alertness while improving sleep in elderly folks.
- Spearmint is especially helpful if your stress manifests in digestive symptoms (chamomile and lemon balm are also good for a stressed out belly).
Milky Oat Tops (Avena sativa, Avena fatua)
- Yup, those oats. But these are harvested when the oats are big, fat and green. The “milky” part of their name refers to the sap found at this stage of seed development.
- Oat tops not only are helpful in the moment but also are a great long-term nervous system tonic.
- Oat tops work great for nervousness, tension from burnout, and irritability.
- Oat tops can lift moods, too.
Essential Oils For Anxiety
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Lavender is seemingly ubiquitous, but don’t let its commonality fool you—it’s supremely useful.
- Lavender is relaxing without being sedating.
- It helps you keep your focus.
- Lavender species such as Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia) and Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas) have somewhat different chemistry and effects.
Lemon (Citrus limon)
- Don’t have a little brown bottle of lemon essential oil? Not to worry, simply peel a lemon!
- If you wake up feeling tense and anxious about your day, use a drop on a washcloth in the shower before doing anything else.
- Uplifts mood, reduces tension, and improves focus.
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
- Frankincense is an aromatic with an ancient history.
- The scent of frankincense is grounding and relaxing.
- Multiple components of frankincense resin benefit brain function.
- Frankincense blends really well with both lavender and lemon.