How to Use Herbs For Relaxation – A Complete Guide
I think most of us could give a list of the most relaxing herbs that we can grow, but we wanted to understand how best to use them to help us to relax. At the moment we can all benefit from natural relaxation and herbs are just the most powerful way to achieve that.
Herbs can be used dried in teas, or as bitters added in one drop at a time. You can also use bitters in a bath to relax and unwind stresses, as well as scented bath salts. You may like to include turmeric muscle rubs for deep relaxation. The act of growing herbs can also add to mindfulness.
Herbs have so much more to offer than you might have thought and we look at ways to grow herbs and relax as well as using them in the laundry for your bedding. We love to grow our own herbs, but we also follow the process to dry them and use them in every day items.
How to Use Herbs In Relaxation
- Growing herbs outside releases serotonin – By growing herbs you can increase your time spent outside and exposure to vitamin D which in turn helps your body to release the all important serotonin. No need to push yourself to get a sun tan or burn, but the act of being outside with the sunshine will be enough to help.
- Mindfulness from connecting with nature – The mental health charity Mind have some wonderful examples of using gardening to help you reconnect with nature. Check out their examples for building a community of gardeners here. That connection alone can bring about a relaxed state, relieving anxiety levels and stress.
- Physical activity from light gardening keeps us active in the day to help our Circadian rhythm. This is the part of the body that tells us when to sleep and when to rise. Keeping this routine is helpful for a happy and healthy sleep pattern.
- Drinking Herbal Teas- whether you have dried your own herbs or bought a relaxing tea from the shops this can really help. Especially if taken as part of a mindfulness routine. Creating your own bitters can help you to create your own relaxing mixture. The even more magical way to enjoy your herbal tea is in the garden whilst watching what you have created.
- Having a nice long soak with essential oils or a scented salt scrub can really help you to unwind. When we do this make sure all of the usual distractions are taken care of. Perhaps a loved one takes the kids and the dog for a walk, rather than let them join you in the bathroom!
- Using Turmeric with olive oil to give a deep tissue massage can be a really good way to break down tension in muscles. Turmeric is a known anti-inflammatory and as such is believed to help reduce swelling caused by arthritis and any muscle injuries. Ideally you will have a trusted partner to rub this mixture on for you, it’s not quite so relaxing if you just ask a neighbour!
- Using a diffuser for essential oils whilst meditating can offer real relaxation. Even if you use one whilst you sleep at night it can prove very soothing and has a way of relieving your worries as well.
- By using essential oils in your laundry you can add lavender to bedding and really help to ease your sleep cycle. It is great to have those natural scents mixed in rather than rely on a chemical to recreate it for you. There are specialist shops that sell essential oils, but we will share a link at the bottom to amazons site as they have a lot of the same brands.
- Using dried sage for smudging can help you to refocus and attain a positive disposition. Sage is known for it’s antibacterial qualities and the cleansing nature is linked with mindfulness.
Growing Herbs Can Be A Mindful Activity
If you want to relax and enjoy your garden then growing herbs is the easiest way to do so as they can be among the least troublesome plants! If we want to grow herbs to later use in tea or bath tubs then we need to plan a little bit.
By growing lavender you are growing a wonderful relaxing herb that can be used in all sorts of ways to help you relax. Mostly though you are growing a herb that will invite bees and butterflies by the hundreds into your garden.
It is so relaxing to sit out with a cup of tea and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Dried you can use lavender in your bath just scattered or you can infuse it into a body scrub.
Am I the only one who wants to make a comment about how relaxing having a chamomile lawn is? English literature not being my strong subject, but I am sure there is a rude joke here somewhere?
Anyway chamomile is super easy to grow and some people even think of it as a weed.
This may well be true but at least Chamomile has learnt to cover an entire lawn. The idea of having a meadow is also very attractive as you will relax whilst watching the bees and wildlife bobbing in and out.
Realistically you can grow chamomile in pots or on the windowsill in containers. So you do not need the rolling countryside. Drying them for tea or bath time can be very straight forward and you will just need a dark and dry space to hang them up, preferably with some air flow.
Lemon Balm is easy to grow as it comes from the mint family. It can be a little bit of a bully in the garden and take over any space you offer it. However it has so many fabulous uses as it takes like a lemony mint. Therefore is perfect to use fresh in teas or as a little tasty extra in a herb salad.
As lemon balm is native to Europe and Northern America it really is easy to grow in pots or on a windowsill container.
Known to aid depression and sleep as well as anxiety, lemon balm is a bit of an all rounder.
Passion flower or Passiflora has been shown to help ease generalised anxiety issues. You can purchase passion flower extract that can be added to teas.
Very easy to grow up a sunny fence and passion flower loves to have deep roots. This is to prevent any adverse effects of extreme temperatures. We love ours, but so do our ex-battery hens who will steal any early buds so we may well have to fence it off at some point!
Relaxing Herbs For Tea
For herbal teas you can find an excellent range of ready made tea bags from lovely local health food stores. Even mainstream supermarkets stock a great range these days.
But what is to stop you making your own dried herb mix for tea? From my point of view, any hot drink that is not caffeine based will help to even me out. It is not just me either studies reveal the link between caffeine and increased anxiety levels.
Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world today and has become mainstream in its acceptance. However substituting caffeinated drinks for a lovely cup of herbal tea can take the extreme highs and lows away.
TOP TIP – If you like a sweeter tea, use local honey. That way you don’t have the sugar spike.
A good muscle relaxant is turmeric and we will be using it as a muscle rub in a moment, but before that you can have it in tea with cinnamon. Very relaxing and a well known anti inflammatory.
Making your own bitters
Bitters can be easily made and are a sort of tincture. In this case you will be mixing dried herbs, known for their calming qualities, with a pure alcohol. The alcohol then takes on the qualities of the herbs.
The recipe to follow allows for enough bitters to be used for a fair few months.
- 30g Dried Lavender
- 3 tsp dried Passion flower
- 180 ml alcohol – pure vodka 100%
- A pinch of Ginger
- The dried peel of a lime or lemon.
I remember doing something similar to this with off the shelf vodka and gummy bears when I was a teenager!
You will ensure that you have a thoroughly cleaned and dried mason jar. Then you can add your ingredients. Shake it every day then about two weeks later strain the alcohol into another clean jar.
A few drops is all it takes added to a herbal tea. Just be aware that if you are on prescription medication this could interfere with that, also the effects of alcohol are not for everyone!
Relaxing Herbs For Baths
The same herbs that make for relaxing oils and teas will also make for a relaxing soak in the bath.
The very act of setting aside time for yourself is hard. But if you can get all distractions away, soaking in the bath reading even a mediocre book can be invaluable. Even better if you can incorporate this to a bedtime routine, with a cup of herbal tea, before getting into lavender scented sheets.
Having a warm bath and then cooling off relaxes the muscles in the body. Using aromatherapy oils in the bath can help you to reach a relaxed state sooner.
Herbs For Muscle Relaxation
Start by mixing 2 teaspoons of turmeric with 1 teaspoon of warmed coconut oil. This will be a vibrant mix and one which you will need to avoid getting on the sheets. It stains and I cannot relax knowing that I have laundry to do as a result!
So make up just the small amount I have described and then work with a friend (close friend) to help each other relax. This video is great for beginners! So no pressure to be any good at it to begin with!
Herbal Essential Oils For Relaxation
Using an essential oil diffuser will allow the room you sleep to have a good humidity level as well as being scented.
The one below is available from amazon, along with several other types with individual features which will suit your families needs.
Oils To Try For Relaxation and a Better Nights’ Sleep
- Citrus / Bergamot /
Is Sage Smudging Relaxing?
Sage has known antibacterial properties so smudging seems a natural idea.
Smudging sage was originally an Ancient Egyptian idea and has come back onto fashion of late. By taking dried sage leaves and tying them together you are able to get a slow burn on it.
Releasing the anti-inflammatory properties as it goes. So with this technique we can achieve a more relaxed state of mind.
What Next For Ongoing Anxiety
These herbs all have properties known to help you relax and sleep. But this is not the end of your story. Fighting anxiety can sometimes mean more than just using herbs to relax.
Whilst using herbs for relaxation is very helpful, there should be no doubt that if you need further help then consulting a medical professional is absolutely the right way to go. By all means keep using the herbs we have spoken about here but do not try to rely on them alone. Take care of yourselves and I would love to think that we have helped in anyway.
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