The Power of Herbs

During this time of the semester students are faced with a lot of stress and anxiety, well, using herbs may be the way to relieve those overwhelming feelings.  

“I had my first anxiety attack last semester and didn’t know how to react or respond to it,” Taylor Moreno, a psychology major at HSU, said. “I wasn’t sure if I should have gone to the health center or gone home to rest.”

Amelia Fulbright, an herbalist at Moonrise Herbs, says herbal medicine is life changing and empowering and believes it opens up the doors to an enhanced life.

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Photo by Victoria Nazario

Herbs that help reduce stress and anxiety

Ashwagandha root, withania somnifera, is great for exhaustion and helps the body hold composure for when the world is asking a lot of us, according to Fulbright.

Ashwagandha has a very pungent aroma to it, which can make it bitter and intense if you drink it alone, so it can be blended or used as a tincture. Ashwagandha also works on the adrenals and nervous system by regulating chemical signaling, which could help reduce stress and anxiety.

Tulsi, ocimum tenuiflorum, is another herb that is used as a daily tonic to help strengthen the immune system. Tulsi encourages one to stop and take a deep breath.

Fulbright believes that this is key for stress in general, and knowing when we need to stop and take a deep breath is important for managing stress. Tulsi is also great for dissolving mental fog, specifically when associated with smoking a lot of marijuana.

Passionflower, passiflora incarnata, is a nervous system tonic, which means it is going to help soothe and fortify the nervous system, which can easily get fried if one is constantly studying or staring at a screen. Passionflower is also indicated for a chattering mind. It helps soothe the nerves and mind, so that one could get a peaceful night’s sleep. Fulbright believes that sleep and hydration is critical to maintaining health and balance, so indirectly passion flower helps with stress and anxiety.

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Photo by Victoria Nazario

How to use herbs

“The medicine of making tea is stress relieving in itself,” said Fulbright. “The act of making tea causes you to slow down from your day and take the time to nourish yourself, but in all reality if you have to be in class in 10 minutes, take a tincture.”

You can drink the herbs, or take a tincture. A tincture is when herbs are steeped in alcohol, which extracts the medicinal components of the herb. It is essentially an alcohol tea, but the concentrated version, according to Fulbright.

Tinctures can be made with most herbs and are really great for students because you could have it in your bag and they are very easy to use on-the-go. According to the website Herb Lore, it is best to take tincture drops directly under the tongue, as this gets the herb directly into the bloodstream.

“One of the best things we could do for ourselves is to take our own health into our own hands because no one knows what is best for us besides us,” said Fulbright.

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