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Helpful Herbs to Relieve Stress Symptoms


Looking for ways to combat the symptoms of stress?

We've compiled a list of seasonal medicinal herbs and recipes to help you through.

We were prompted to discuss this topic as an overwhelming schedule led to Maud's mishap in the kitchen (hence the blue fashion statement in the picture above!) and through conversations with colleagues and friends.

For all our fellow burnt-out friends, experiencing burnout is commonplace, especially at this time of the year and for those working in small social enterprises or charities caring for our communities and the environment.

As a small business, we are tempted to say yes to every job and opportunity and often go beyond to please our partners and clients however, it is important to remind ourselves to listen to our bodies and take care of our mental and physical health so we can continue doing what we do for as long as possible.


To promote wellness in times of pressure, we thought we would take this opportunity to share some tips and helpful herbs to help soothe our minds and bodies.


Ribwort Plantain Leaves

A wild herb perfect for a little TLC. This plant is an unsung hero with anti-inflammatory properties galore and 'considerable antioxidant capacity'. It can not only calm irritated and inflamed skin when applied topically but what's more, you can find it growing even in the city. It is effective in healing physical wounds (Zhakipbekov, Kairat et al, 2023), plus we find that the act of foraging can be pretty therapeutic in itself.


Recipe for Maud's speedy recovery cut healing salve


  1. Collect about 4 large leaves, rinse and hang up to dry using clothes pegs.

  2. Once dried, crunch the leaves into smaller parts and infuse them in 1/3 cup carrier oil (we used olive oil). Cold infusion- leave in a closed container on a sunny window ledge for about 2 weeks. Speedy Infusion- Heat the oil on low heat until warm add dried leaves and keep somewhere warm for a couple of hours. You want the oil to be warm but not hot.

  3. Seive out the bits through a piece of fabric or mesh

  4. Create a balm by heating up your infused oil with 1/4 tsp of wax (beeswax or soy wax) in a small glass jar over a bain marie (double boiler) until the wax has melted.


Chamomile

A natural herb that promotes relaxation, the chamomile flower has significant research behind it supporting its popularity as the perfect ingredient for a decent night's sleep. Findings suggest that it can alleviate symptoms of anxiety (Keefe, John R et al., 2016) and improve the sleep quality of individuals with insomnia. Dry flowers and keep them all year long in a cool dry place to have in a cup of tea. Maud recommends deeply inhaling the bottle of chamomile Roman essential oil as an effective remedy for shock and trauma.



Nettle

Naturally nutrient-dense, nettles contain vitamins C, K and B and minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium promoting overall health and wellness. Eating well supports resilience against stress and fatigue. Make a nourishing nettle tea blend and sip it throughout the day. Burnouts often come from a lack of iron, so add nettles to spinach in your recipes as nettles contain almost double the amount of iron than spinach!



Dandelion

Antioxidant-rich food can help to minimise the effects of stress on our bodies.

Tip: Add dandelion leaves and flowers to your Panzanella or salads alike.




Lavender

Commonly known to be effective for reducing muscle tension whether applied as a balm to skin, infused in tea or used simply as an aroma. Try this Lavender bath soak to rejuvenate tired muscles after a long day.




Lemon balm/wild mint leaves

Mint plants contain menthol which acts as a natural pain relief due to its cooling and numbing effects on applied areas, providing immediate and temporary relief for aches and pains including sore muscles and headaches (Eccles, R., 1994). Just crush and apply directly to the skin you can also include it in a balm by following the steps of the plantain salve (see above).



Spending more time outside:

Therapeutic foraging/ taking a walk in nature

Here's a little reminder to go outside and take the chance to explore your local green areas. We all need sunlight to be healthy and studies have even found that even walking in the wind and rain can bring health benefits (apparently the negative ions in the rain have been associated with enhanced moods. Who knew!). Research shows that trees can have a direct impact on our health lowering the heart rate and calming the nervous system so slow down and enjoy the signs of spring!


Remember to always patch test first when applying topically in case of allergy.

Only forage in small quantities, don't forget to leave lots for the wildlife and try to harvest away from sources of pollution.


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