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Just about everyone experiences stress in their life. With some people, it is part of their everyday life. The body is capable of handling stress but if it is extreme or long-lasting, it can harm many organ systems, including the heart and immune system.
Drinking herbal teas can help treat stress and promote relaxation, but it is also important to identify stressors. Find ways to help eliminate the stressful source (for example, change jobs or seek counseling for family disputes). Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly to help keep the body strong during tough times. Eliminate or restrict caffeine and alcohol. Avoid refined carbohydrates and do not smoke.
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When drinking herbal teas, try one or more of the following:
- get some alone time
- take a warm bath
- add essential oils to your bath water (chamomile, jasmine and lavender oils are often used for relaxation)
- dim the lights
- keep things quiet or play soft, relaxing music
- close your eyes and visualize a calming environment
- do breathing exercises
Both Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and Chinese ginseng (Panax ginseng) support adrenal function. The adrenal glands control many body functions and play an important role in the resistance to stress. Both ginsengs are known to restore vitality, increase physical and mental performance, enhance the body's response to stress and help prevent negative effects of stress.
If your stress level is mild to moderate, the best ginseng is probably Siberian ginseng. If your stress level is great, Chinese ginseng may be the best choice.
To prepare a cup of ginseng tea, pour 1 cup of hot water over 2-3 grams of ginseng root (about 5-8 slices) or 1 teaspoon of ginseng powder. Cover and steep for at least 5 minutes.
Valerian and Passion Flower
Both of these herbs are believed to act similar to the drug Valium and other benzodiazepines. These drugs increase GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), a chemical in the brain that provides a calming effect. Valerian is more potent than passion flower. Both herbs are often used to promote sleep and soothe an upset stomach.
To prepare a cup of valerian tea, pour 1 cup of hot water over 1 teaspoon of dried valerian root, cover and steep for 10 minutes.
To prepare a cup of passion flower tea, pour 1 cup of hot water over 1 teaspoon of dried flower, cover and steep for 5-10 minutes.
Other herbal teas for relaxation include:
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Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (1998)
Tea Infusion: Ginseng Tea - http://www.teainfusion.com/types/ginseng-tea.html
Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/jackieandmike/2226258045/
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