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Stress-Busting Latte and 10 Herbs for Stress Relief

 

Even before we arrived at the tumultuousness of life as it is now in these global circumstances, many of us were dealing with the overwhelm, pressure, strain and tension of work, family life, relationships, social media, and more. After the pandemic hit, our global stress and anxiety have increased – and evidence indicates that women are bearing the brunt of this worry.

I fully recognize that a stress-busting latte and herbs for stress relief aren’t going to solve all your problems, but my intention is to offer a little deliciousness and support to your day. As I’ve said many times before, every choice counts, and maybe this optimal choice may replace one that might not have been so beneficial.

How Stress and Anxiety Impacts Our Physical and Mental Health

We tend to think of stress as something that only impacts our brain and mental health. It does, this is true, but stress also has wide-reaching effects throughout the body. Stress can impact our:

  • Sleep
  • Digestive tract function
  • Immune system health
  • Memory and cognition
  • Hormone balance
  • Reproductive health
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Muscles and nerves

10 Key Herbs for Stress relief

There are a number of herbs for stress relief you can add to your regular diet and lifestyle. Many of the herbs I recommend are adaptogens, which are a category of herbs that help us adapt to mental and physical stress.

Reishi

Reishi is an adaptogen commonly touted for its immune benefits, but it’s also incredible at helping us adapt to stress by soothing and calming the nervous system. It contains a compound called adenosine, which helps to relax our muscles, lessen anxiety, and boost mood. What’s more, reishi is packed with antioxidants to protect our cells from damage.

How to Use It: Whole reishi chunks can be simmered to make tea or broths. Powdered reishi is much easier to use and can be mixed into elixirs, chocolate recipes, baked goods, and smoothies.

Maca

Maca is an adaptogenic root that grows in Peru’s Andes Mountains, some of the hardest terrain in the world. The root has to be tough, durable, and adaptable to not just survive, but thrive in that kind of climate. It’s hardy and resilient, which helps increase our resilience too. Maca helps to protect the brain and nervous system, improves energy levels, has anti-depressant properties, and aids with hormone balance. It’s also a good source of Vitamin C, a nutrient our adrenal glands burn through in times of stress.

How to Use It: Maca is one of those herbs for stress that has a strong, malty flavour that isn’t for everyone! I like using maca in elixirs, dairy-free ice cream, and sweet treats like chocolate almond butter cups.

Lavender

Lavender taps into our nervous system and helps calm us, reduce anxiety, improve mood, and aid sleep.

How to Use It: Dried culinary lavender buds can be steeped in tea or used in desserts. Lavender essential oil is fantastic in diffusers or for bathtime.

Chamomile

Chamomile is a calming, relaxing herb for our nerves. Evidence indicates it can help reduce anxiety levels and depression. As a side bonus, it’s great for our hair!

How to Use It: Best used in tea, either on its own or in a blend.

Goji Berries

These berries have long been used in Eastern medicine. Yes, they are technically a fruit, but I am including them in this list of herbs for stress because they essentially behave as a medicinal herb. Goji berries are absolutely packed with nutrients, including Vitamin C and other antioxidants that help protect our bodies from stress. It contains compounds that protect the brain and reduce anxiety. In this study, participants who ate goji berries for two weeks reported they felt calmer, happier, and less stressed out compared to those who didn’t.

How to Use Them: Goji berries have a natural sweetness, but can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Add them to teas, smoothies, elixirs, oatmeal, chia pudding, chocolate, granola, or ice cream. For a savory option, I like to add them to broths (along with maca too!) and sprinkle goji berries over salads.

Passionflower

Passionflower calms the nerves, reduces anxiety, helps with insomnia, soothes nervous tension and settles the central nervous system. You can read more details about passionflower in this post.

How to Use It: Passionflower has a lovely flavour when brewed as a hot tea, plus you can chill your passionflower brews to add to smoothies. Passionflower essential oil works well in the bath or dropped on your pillow.

Ashwagandha

This adaptogenic herb is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine as an overarching and rejuvenating tonic. Studies on ashwaghanda show that it helps to calm the mind, lower anxiety and stress levels, reduce inflammation, and guard us against neurodegenerative diseases.

How to Use It: Add ashwagandha to your elixirs, tea blends, nut and seed milks, and infuse it into ghee.

Holy Basil/Tulsi

Holy basil is an adaptogen that supports mental health by lowering stress and anxiety, and it helps to reduce depression.

How to Use It: Tulsi is best used as a tea, on its own, or in a blend. It’s also lovely in infused honey.

Panax Ginseng

Panax ginseng is an adaptogenic herb long used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It has a wide array of health benefits, notably its ability to help improve energy levels and reduce fatigue, lower inflammation, and reduce the risk of central nervous system diseases. Ginseng can also inhibit the secretion of stress hormones so they don’t flood the body.

How to Use It: Simmer ginseng into teas and broths, or take it as a tincture.

Rhodiola

Rhodiola is – you guessed it – an adaptogen! It’s been shown to reduce stress-induced fatigue and lower stress and anxiety levels.

How to Use It: Add rhodiola to your smoothies and elixirs, or use it in a tea blend.

Stress-Busting Latte Recipe

This stress-busting latte recipe is warm and comforting, with a natural sweetness from the goji berries, cinnamon, and nut/seed milk. You can easily double, triple, or quadruple the decoction ingredients to use in recipes throughout the week, or freeze it for later.

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Stress-Busting Latte


  • Author: Meghan Telpner
  • Prep Time: 8 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 28 mins
  • Yield: 1 1/2 - 2 cups 1x

Description

An easy herbal decoction packed with adaptogenic herbs and nutritious fats to support the nervous system.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Stress-Busting Herbal Decoction

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp, or 2 slices of dried Reishi mushroom
  • 2 Tbsp Chaga
  • 1 Tbsp Maca
  • 2 Tbsp goji berries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbsp clove, optional

For the Latte

  • 1 cup herbal decoction
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free milk of choice, warmed
  • 1 Tbsp collagen(optional)
  • 2 tsp ghee or coconut oil
  • honey to taste

Instructions

  1. Simmer decoction ingredients for 20 minutes or up to 2 hours. Pour the decoction through a strainer and discard the solids.
  2. In a blender, combine one cup of decoction, dairy-free milk, collagen, ghee/oil and honey.
  3. Pour into a mug and top up with additional hot tea if desired.
  • Category: Beverage

Remember that when using herbs for stress, particularly the adaptogens, the effect is cumulative. You’re not going to notice a massive difference after one cup of reishi tea. Start with small amounts, and make stress-reducing herbs a part of your routine, along with a whole food diet, sleep, exercise, and immune support.

Helpful herbs for stress relief - Stress Busting Latte + 9 Key Essentials

One response to “Stress-Busting Latte and 10 Herbs for Stress Relief”

  1. Alanna says:

    Love your work Meghan
    Some ingredients are to obscure and unavailable and that detracts from my interest e.g reishi passion fruit flower however the rest of info is terrific.

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