Moss of the Woods Botanical Jewelry Unique jewelry for the avid nature nerd! At Moss of the Woods, we strive to create wearable art that celebrates the beauty and complexity of the natural world. Resin pendants with preserved botanical specimens recalling vintage museums and herbariums. All of my handmade resin pendants contain sustainably collected specimens from the local New England forests. Every piece has a story.
Despite being commonly known, Chamomile is not just a benign little flower that tastes sweet in your cup, it packs a powerful medicinal punch. Chamomile should not be thought of in terms of what specific diseases it can be used for, because there are too many uses to list, nor is is helpful to only think of what herbs can ‘do’. After reading though my favorite herb books, I summarize the actions of chamomile as being:
Relaxing nervine for states of tension
Aromatic and bitter for regulating digestion
Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy
Safe, tasty and suitable for everyone, including babies, children, pregnant women and the elderly
Matthew Wood says that “The fresh preparations preserve the oils, so they are more relaxing, the dried preparations are bitter and promote secretions to the stomach, G.I. and liver.”
Here are some of the chemical constituents present in chamomile and their generalized actions (mostly from Wood, but also from Simon Mills, David Hoffmann and Chanchal Cabrerra)
5 Herbs that Calm Anxiety WIthout Making you Sleepy
The University of Maryland Medical Center states that passionflower has shown in a few studies to work as well as some of the benzodiazepine medications that are usually prescribed for treating anxiety.
A four-week double-blind study, for example, compared passionflower with oxazepam. Results showed oxazepam worked more quickly, but by the end of the study period, both treatments were shown to be equally effective. Bonus—side effects like daytime drowsiness were fewer with passionflower.
A second study also showed that passionflower helped ease symptoms like anxiety, irritability, agitation, and depression in participants going through withdrawal from an opiate drug addiction.
Dosage: Try one cup of passionflower tea three times daily, 45 drops of liquid extract daily, or about 90 mg/day.
A 2010 multi-center, double blind randomized study of lavender oil compared to anti-anxiety medication lorazepam found that both were effective against generalized and persistent anxiety. Bonus — lavender had no sedative side effects.
“Since lavender oil showed no sedative effects,” researchers stated, it could be an effective and “well-tolerated alternative to benzodiazepines” to treat generalized anxiety. An earlier 2000 study found similar results.
Dosage: Try about 80 mg/day of the supplement, or use the oil as an aromatherapy solution.
3. Lemon balm
Though usually found in combination with other herbs, lemon balm also has anti-anxiety powers on its own.
Research published in 2004, for instance, gave participants a single dose of lemon balm extract (300 mg or 600 mg) or a placebo, then measured their mood after one hour. The higher dose resulted in reduced stress and improved calmness and alertness. Even the lower dose helped participants do math problems more quickly.
Dosage: Use in aromatherapy, try 300-500 mg of dried lemon balm three times daily, 60 drops daily, or 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of dried lemon balm herb in hot water for a tea four times daily.
A 2012 double blind, placebo-controlled study gave participants either placebo or a capsule containing 300 mg of high-concentration full-spectrum ashwagandha extract, twice a day. The study lasted for 60 days. Those taking the ashwagandha showed significant improvements. Even the levels of the stress hormone cortisol were substantially reduced in those taking the extract. And there were no serious side effects.
In an earlier 2000 study, ashwagandha had anxiety-relieving effects similar to those of lorazepam.
Dosage: Typical dosage is 300 mg standardized to at least one to five percent withanolides, once or twice a day.
This one isn’t really a herb — it’s a water-soluble amino acid, but it’s gotten such good research behind it we had to include it here. It’s found mainly in green tea and black tea and is also available as a supplement.
Studies have found that it acts directly on the brain, helping to reduce stress and anxiety—without causing drowsiness.
Research from 2008, for example, found that those participants taking 50 mg of L-theanine a day had a greater increase in alpha (relaxed brain waves) activity than those who took a placebo.
An earlier 1998 study found that 200 mg a day lead to increased alpha-brain waves and a relaxed, yet alert, state of mind.
A later 2011 study found that it was also associated with reduced anxiety, and was well tolerated and safe for participants.
Dosage: A typical cup of black tea contains only about 25 mg of l-theanine and green tea only about 8 mg. While a cup of tea may be calming, if you want more potent effects, try a supplement, about 200 mg a day.