Herbs for Relaxing

One of the goals in our modern society is to eliminate the stress which causes us to have a hard time relaxing or getting to sleep. No matter, if you live in a big cosmopolitan capital or in a small town, all of us experience stress at one time or another, making us feel overwhelmed during a busy day or experiencing apprehension over the outcome of a particular event.

It may be just a temporary stage, as the stress and agitation during the holiday season, or the worries and anxiety caused by an upcoming job interview, but those events adding extra pressure to our days makes it useful and almost mandatory to use relaxing herbs.

Valerian, skullcap, kava kava, hops and many others have been used for a long time with the purpose to calm the spirit bringing peace to the mind, in fact some of them, such as valerian, Lemon Balm leaves, orange leaves or orange blossom have been used as home remedies for ages to improve children's sleep by mixing an infusion of the herb with sweetened warm milk.

It is also known that some delicate aroms of herbs induce to relation and placid dreams. One of those herbs is Sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata), a native herb to North America as well as Europe, also known as sweetgrass, holy grass, buffalo grass, vanilla grass, or Zubrovka, considered as a sacred plant and used in peace and healing rituals.

Sweetgrass leaves are dried and made into braids and burned as vanilla-scented incense. The long leaves of sterile shoots are used by Native Americans in making baskets, while the coumarin content of the herb or the fragrance is used as incense and in making perfume. Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils taken from plants, flowers, roots and seeds for healing and relation purposes.

Infusion of relaxing herbs is the most common and cheap method of extracting the medicinal compounds of herbs when used as an intake for easiness. Infusions are the simplest way of extracting herbs active principles by dropping them in hot water or boiling the herb slowly as in decoctions.

An infusion is prepared as a regular tea to extract the volatile compounds of the herbs. Flowers and leaves of relaxing herbs can be used in infusions as single herbs tea or blending and mixing them. Although it may be drunk hot, warm or cold, experts advise to drink them as hot as you can, and sweetened with honey if possible.

Decoctions require more time and are particularly useful when using the roots of the herbs, barks or fruits, because they are thicker and less permeable than the aerial parts of the relaxing plants, and do not liberate their active principles by simple infusion or just liberate it partially.

In decoctions it is necessary to simmer the parts of the plant in boiling water in order to extract all their medicinal compounds. It is advisable to cut or break into small pieces the plant materials, and use a lid over the simmering pan to avoid loosing volatile constituents. After cooling down and separating the solid from the liquid, decoctions can be taken hot, warm or cold as regular infusions.

If you cannot turn your mind off and you need to relax, one of the herbs successfully used to help you recover the tranquility and inner wellness is the passion flower, a Native American herb. The passion flower is most effective in the alcohol extract form, because a few drops of this herb in tea, milk or water are enough to get results.

The Extract of relaxing herbs can be combined with other extracts, such as passion flower with Scullcap and/or Kava, and it is best to take a dose 1/2 to 1 hour before bed and then again just at bedtime for this intranquility condition. In insomnia conditions, a Chinese combination of Ginseng, Reishi and Fu Ling, all in equal parts taken twice a day with meals may solve the problem.

Relaxing herbs like Valeriana and Passiflora incarnata (passion flower) may be helpful in pain relief after traumatic injury, or when a patient become tense and less tolerant of pain for any other reason. In fact a naturist remedy in this case is Dr. Bach's Flowers.

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