Stress is an integral part of the modern human lifestyle. Our professional responsibilities have increased, as well as the desire to live in prosperity. In larger cities, the pace gets faster and faster every year. These are only some of the factors that are a source of stress. We can try to avoid it and use relaxation techniques, but we have one more weapon that can help us: plants.
Plants can help us fight stress in many different ways. Just looking at them makes us feel calmer. Therefore, people exposed to long-term stress are advised to relax in nature. If we feel stressed, a trip to the forest or a walk in a city park may be a good idea. Having a home garden also has a stress-relieving effect. Some plants also have a calming effect due to the presence of specific compounds in them.
Among the plants with sedative properties that can help us fight stress, the most common are lemon balm, common hops, valerian, and passion fruit.
Lemon balm is a perennial plant that grows both in Europe and in selected regions of Asia and North America. We can easily grow it in a home garden or a pot placed on the window sill. The medicinal raw material of lemon balm is the leaves and leafy tops of shoots collected in the period preceding the flowering of the plant. The medicinal raw material consists of essential oil that contains, inter alia, flavonoids, tannins, as well as mustard seeds. The medicinal properties of lemon balm have been used for years to relieve nervous excitement. This plant is also used for various problems that accompany chronic stress, such as anxiety, insomnia, heart, and digestive disorders. A perfect way to use the valuable properties of lemon balm is to prepare an infusion. The essential oil obtained from lemon balm leaves is also used in aromatherapy.
Common hops are plants belonging to the cannabis family that grows in selected areas of Europe, North America, and Asia. Hops grow wild, mainly in damp forests, roadside roads, and thickets. The essential oil is the most important component of the plant from the point of view of medicinal properties. It is the source of flavonoids and sulfur compounds. In addition to essential oil, hop cones also contain waxes, choline, triterpene compounds, and tannins. Compounds contained in hop cones hinder the transport of stimuli to the central nervous system. As a result, common hops have a calming effect and also help you fall asleep. An important therapeutic property is also a diastolic effect, which reduces the tone of smooth muscles, as well as the intestines and urinary tract.
The medicinal raw material of valerian is the root and rhizomes, i.e. the underground stems of the plant. The healing properties of valerian were known many years ago and were very popular in folk medicine. To this day, it is one of the plants that is most often used for sedative purposes. Valerian root is also a source of compounds that help fight nervous sleep problems.
The calming effect of the medical passion was discovered as early as 1867. Its calming effect is mainly due to the presence of beta-carboline and maltol derivatives. These compounds occur in relatively small amounts, therefore the action of passionflower is delicate. Products based on it can also be used in the treatment of insomnia and neurotic conditions.
Lemon balm is classified as a honey plant. Fresh herb is used by beekeepers to rub a new hive, which facilitates the nesting of a new swarm in it. That is why lemon balm is also known as “beekeeper”. In ancient Greece, it was believed that lemon balm was a nymph, which was then turned into a bee by Zeus.
Plants play a vital role in fighting long-term stress. Keep in mind that short-term stress is positive. However, if it lasts too long and becomes chronic, it carries the risk of developing diseases, including the cardiovascular system. Long-term stress very often also leads to sleep disorders or headaches, which effectively reduce the quality of life. When looking for effective methods to fight stress, it is worth paying special attention to plants. Remember that not only medicinal raw materials obtained from selected plants can be helpful. Fighting stress can also include the relaxing activity of caring for plants and being around them.
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