Amid the ongoing pandemic, it's inevitable to feel overwhelmed, alone, and stressed — though if these feelings become too overwhelming, it's important to seek help from licensed psychologist. That said, there are certain natural ways to mitigate regular feelings of stress and boost your mood, in addition to potentially seeking out help, if need be.
To learn more about some herbs and spices with calming effects, Green Matters spoke with Great Sex: Food for Male and Female Sexual Health author and longtime food expert, Christine DeLozier. So, in addition to consulting a licensed doctor, consider adding these foods to your diet as an extra boost of calming energy during these undeniably stressful times.
Not only is basil a natural immune system booster, according to DeLozier, but it's also incredibly high in a wide variety of nutrients that can help with performance, cognitive function, and anxiety.
"Basil is antimicrobial and showed broad spectrum antiviral activity in research. It is also abundant in a type of antioxidant called flavonoids. Flavonoids have demonstrated the ability to improve mood within two hours of eating them!" she tells us.
Incorporate basil into your daily regime by making your own pesto, adding the leaves to a salad, or making basil tea. You can even grow basil in your own home, if you have a sunny window sill and the time to water it on the regular.
You've probably drank chamomile tea to fall asleep, and on a chemical level, it may have helped. According to Medical News Today, It's been tested as a longterm treatment for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and proved to help mitigate symptoms. DeLozier also says it contains flavonoids, and sesquiterpenes, which have sedative properties.
"[Chamomile] is high in sesquiterpenes which exert a sedative effect on the body — this is why many people use it to calm down before bedtime," she explains.
Consult a doctor before taking it in the form of a tablet, or extract, but until then, Whole Foods started offering a store-brand Organic Blueberry Chamomile Herbal Tea that we're seriously dying to try.
There's a reason why oatmeal cookies make you feel so relaxed — DeLozier says nutmeg has been used in natural medicine to treat anxiety and depression for years.
"Studies have shown that nutmeg increases libido and sexual performance... modern research [also] shows that nutmeg is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, antithrombotic, analgesic, antidepressant. This spice makes everything taste good from sweet spiced chai tea to savory sauces," she says.
Turmeric is an easy, all-natural spice to incorporate into your cooking, and it has anti-inflammatory properties that apparently reduce feelings of stress and sadness.
"Turmeric was found in research to be useful in treating depression, helping to optimize serotonin and dopamine, while reducing the stress hormone, cortisol," DeLozier tell us.
"Indian cooking makes beautiful use of this root in powdered form for curries and rice dishes. I like to juice fresh turmeric root along with fresh ginger. I add lime and honey and take it over the ricks with mineral water."
If you haven't already tried making a turmeric "golden milk" latte, it's tasty, will boost your digestion, and may help you relax, too.
There's a reason why your yoga studio always smells like lavender — per Medical News Today, it can help calm your nerves and reduce stress. You can brew tea using fresh lavender, use lavender essential oil, or add it to your bath.
"Lavender, when inhaled as an essential oil, decreases anxiety and improves mood. Other studies focused on lavender tea, showing that it reduced anxiety and depression," DeLozier says.
RE: Botanicals has a lavender body oil that's infused with CBD for extra relaxation, Each & Every has a natural lemon lavender deodorant, and Grow Fragrance has a lavender blossom air and fabric spray that's perfect to spray your pillow with at night.
The nontoxic passionflower is known to boost your brain's GABA levels, according to Healthline, which induces feelings of calmness. It's also been proved to ease anxiety symptoms, DeLozier says, but again, you'll want to consult with a doctor before adding it to your daily regime.
"Passionflower can be used as an adjunctive therapy to effectively treat anxiety disorders," she says.
Health-Ade's Chill flavor combines a calming blend of both lavender and passionflower, which is definitely what all of us could use right now.