Several vitamins and herbs have been shown to relieve stress, calm, and promote overall health.
During times of stress, the nervous system uses extra B-complex vitamins and vitamin C.
If you are the type to “eat and run”, it is likely that you’re not getting proper nutrition. I have found B vitamins to be a great aid to stress relief, and take a B multiple regularly. B vitamins allow the brain to maintain healthy mental and emotional balance, and proper levels of B vitamins defend the body and mind against stress. In fact, some studies have shown deficiencies in vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid can contribute to depression.
B vitamins are easily lost in refining and cooking; they can also be washed from the body by coffee, tea, alcohol and heavy perspiration. Vegetarians and vegans need to pay special attention to their B intake. Physically stressful conditions can also deplete the body of B vitamins. B vitamins are particularly important for the nervous system. Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) provides energy and strengthens nerves. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) jump-starts metabolism.
The first indications of riboflavin deficiency include tiredness and poor concentration. Vitamin B3 (Niacin) ensures our energy supply. It helps in the creation of healthy brain and nerve cells. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) helps reduce stress, and is part of a co-enzyme that enables the body to take energy from food. It is also required to maintain proper communication between the brain and nervous system and to produce certain stress hormones. Other B vitamins also aid in supporting the immune system and other vital functions of the body.
A study conducted on laboratory animals at the University of Alabama suggests that doses of vitamin C may help prevent illness by reducing the production of stress hormones, which tend to suppress the immune system. The study, presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society and reported in the Medical Tribune (8/24/99), found that stress hormones could be limited by vitamin C. The immune response which is often compromised by stress, however, could be maintained by Vitamin C.
There are many herbs that may help to relieve stress and calm your nerves.
Hops Humulus lupulus
Hops is reported to have a calming affect on the body, and has been used to relieve gas and cramps because it soothes muscle spasms.
Chamomile Matricaria chamomilla
You’ve no doubt heard of the soothing effects of Chamomile tea. Known for its calming effect on smooth muscle tissue, Chamomile has been a popular remedy for menstrual cramps, nervous stomach, and other common ailments related to stress.
Marshmallow Althea officinalis
Often used for gastrointestinal disorders and throat/chest irritation due to cough and colds, Marshmallow has also been reported to have a calming effect on the body.
Passionflower Passiflora incarnata
Known as one of nature’s best tranquilizers, Passionflower is reported to relieve muscle tension and headaches, nervous insomnia, emotional upset, and muscle spasms caused by stress.
Valerian Valeriana officinalis
This herb has been dubbed the "Valium of the 19th century" and is recognized worldwide for its relaxing effect on the body. In Europe, Valerian is actually prescribed to treat anxiety. Unlike many anti-anxiety drugs, this herb has few unpleasant side effects and is not addictive. It is important to not combine this herb with alcohol, however, and to not exceed the recommended dosage.
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