Herbs and supplements can make a difference when it comes to controlling stress and anxiety.
Supplement with vitamin D3. Sunlight can be scarce during the winter, depleting our vitamin D reserves. There is quite a bit of evidence that vitamin D deficiency plays a role in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is just another term for the wintertime blues.
B vitamins can also help control stress and depression. One clinical study showed that supplementation with B complex over three months helped people improve mood and reduce stress.
Herbs for stress
There are a wide variety of herbs that also help combat stress. The Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, has been shown to reduce cortisol levels for people with chronic anxiety. It also helps control stress, balance hormones, and improve cognition.
Two other excellent calming herbs are passionflower and lavender. Passionflower influences GABA, a neurotransmitter which promotes relaxation. Lavender is a wonderful herb that can calm anxiety and act as a sleep aid. The flowers can be used in tea, whereas lavender essential oil is highly concentrated and should only be used externally on the skin (diluted with a base like almond oil), added to a bath, or in an aromatherapy vaporizer.
Another great recommendation is the versatile extract honokiol. An active compound derived from magnolia bark, honokiol also works on GABA receptors, providing calming mood support. Numerous preclinical studies have demonstrated the significant anti-anxiety effects of this compound, without side effects. The botanical is also a powerful antioxidant, 1,000 times stronger than vitamin E.
In addition, honokiol actively promotes cellular health of the breasts, prostate, lungs, and other areas, and fights inflammation, which often occurs after intense exercise.
“The Association Between Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Mental Health Disorders . . .” by S.E. McMartin et al., Prev Med, 3/13
“Vitamin D Homeostasis, Bone Mineral Metabolism, and Seasonal Affective Disorder . . .” by M. Premkumar et al., Arch Osteoporos, 3/13
“Neuro-Modulating Effects of Honokiol: A Review” by A. Woodbury et al., Front Neurol, 9/13