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How to Manage Stressful Holidays with Herbs
By Kristen Smith - December 09, 2015

How to Manage Stressful Holidays with Herbs

Ahh... Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year, right? Constant extra activities, higher susceptibility to illness due to more indulgent foods and busy-ness, extra costs for gift giving and potential financial stress, seeing family members who bring up mixed or negative emotions, hosting gatherings in our homes and wanting things just right... yep, pure bliss! Perhaps, just maybe, sometimes Christmas feels like the most stressful time of the year?  There's no need to go completely bah-humbug, though. Certainly the busy holiday season can raise stress levels, but with some helpful herbs, the Christmas holiday season really can feel like one of the most wonderful times of the year.

How To Manage Stressful Holidays With Herbs

Nervines: Helpful Herbs for Managing Holiday Stress

Along with common sense stress management approaches like sleeping enough, eating well, and getting some sunshine when you can, herbs offer wonderful ways to keep stress levels manageable. Nervines are a class of herbs that work on the nervous system. Certain types of nervine herbs can be particularly beneficial during stressful holidays.

Tonics

Tonic nervines work by strengthening and nourishing the nervous system overall. Though they may have a secondary effect of being relaxants or stimulants, their main work is to support the nervous system as a whole. Oatstraw is a tonic nervine.

Relaxants

Relaxant nervines, as the name implies, work by relaxing the nervous system. Very strong herbal relaxants are sometimes referred to as tranquilizers. Relaxant nerviness are best used with a holistic approach, taking into consideration the amount of stress one is under, how long the herb will be used, and what other actions the herb may have, and not used just for immediate tranquilizing properties. Chamomile is a well-known and beloved relaxant.

Antispasmodics

Antispasmodic nervines are able to relax the physical muscle tension that is often present during emotional stress. Certain antispasmodics have stronger actions on specific bodily systems or organs, as well. Peppermint is a antispasmodic herb with a special affinity to the digestive system. Adaptogens are another class of herbs that can help the body adapt to stress, though they are separate from the nervine category. These are best taken longterm and not during immediate needs.

Specific Herbs and Blends to Use During Stress

Along with the herbs listed above, many other herbs are excellent remedies to consider when managing holiday stress.
  • Lemon balm is a relaxant that also has antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and carminative properties.
  • Lavender is a relaxant that is also an antispasmodic and carminative.
  • Passionflower is a stronger relaxant that is also an antispasmodic herb.
Bulk Herb Store offers some excellent tea blends for times of stress, as well. One of these blends might fit your needs well when managing holiday stress! Imagine a stress-free holiday season where your nervous system is nourished and supported, and when stress levels begin to rise, you have a faithful herb or blend to turn to for extra support, leaving you free to enjoy extra time with those you love. That sounds like a pretty wonderful time of the year, doesn't it?
Is there an herb or blend of herbs you like to use during stressful seasons?
Reference
Hoffman, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Healing Arts Press, Rochester, Vermont. 2003.
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