The Best Natural Ingredients to Totally Zap Stress Away
Published June 24, 2022
To say that there are few of us who haven’t dealt with our fair share of stress would be an understatement. But just because stress is so common (read: totally and utterly unavoidable) doesn’t mean that methods of counteracting it are any less so. Now, while you may have your go-to list of stress relievers that you turn to in times of need – a killer workout, some yoga, a good book – one of the best ways to nip stress in the bud, if we do say so ourselves, is to tackle it with nutrition. Specifically, we’re all about channeling the power of some strong herbal ingredients that have long been used to help keep stress at (a totally relaxed) arm’s length. Here are a few of the ones that may be the most essential when it comes to natural stress relief.
As an adaptogenic herb – i.e.. an herb that helps you adapt in the face of stress – this Ancient Ayurvedic ingredient has long been turned to for its calming, stress-alleviating properties. Basically, ashwagandha can help modify cortisol levels (win) and balance excitatory neurotransmitters (double win).
Found naturally in tea leaves, this amino acid has been found to stimulate alpha waves in your brain that in turn help keep your mind focused and relaxed. Kind of like ashwagandha, L-theanine lowers the levels of excitatory and stress-causing chemicals in your brain, while simultaneously boosting the chemicals that calm you down.
Having been used for centuries in traditional medicine in Russia and Scandinavian countries, this adaptogen is known for its ability to increase natural resistance to stress as well as to help boost energy levels. It’s also been known to help boost general strength and mental performance. (Okay, we’re sold.)
Nicknamed “the heart herb” due to its use as a natural remedy for high blood pressure and stress, hawthorn has a strong connection to keeping stress levels in check. Some of its most common usage has been in Middle Eastern medicine, where the herb has been used to help alleviate nervousness and sleep problems, two things we are (unfortunately) kind of familiar with.
This is an adaptogenic Indian herb that is most popular for its stress-easing and mood-improving qualities. In addition to boosting the performance of stress-coping responses in the brain, bacopa has been known to improve memory and fend of inflammation. So even if you’re looking for stress relief, it’s safe to say a couple extra benefits aren’t too bad.
Lemon balm can have a mild sedative effect when taken in large doses, but even at a smaller scale, this centuries-old herb can boost mood and minimize stress. Plus, the added boost in concentration that lemon balm boasts definitely doesn’t hurt.