Feeling overwhelmed? Try these 3 simple herbal life-savers.

We've all been there.  Over extending ourselves with work, school, family, friends...  we stop and think long enough to say to ourselves, “next week I'll have more quiet time,” and next week arrives and our boss needs our help on an important project and the cycle starts again. 

Humans are the most adaptable animals, that means we can adapt ourselves to almost any situation, no matter how unhealthy.  Before we know it, we're fatigued, can't concentrate, feel depressed and lethargic. 

If you've been following Nathalie's previous posts, you learned about the symptoms of burnout. Below you'll find 3 herbs that are safe for long-term use that you could use when experiencing these symptoms:

  • OATS are one of my favorite foods to turn to when I have anxiety, stress and experience complete exhaustion. Oats are restorative to the nervous system and are specific for people who are too busy doing, rather than being. I have also used oats successfully to help with ADD/ADHD symptoms. You can take milky oats in tincture or glycerite form or fresh oat tincture.  Dried oats are not as effective as a nervine.
  • HOLY BASIL is another of my favorite herbs/foods for burnout.  I drink 3 cups of tea per day when I cannot focus, have trouble remembering simple things or other “brain fog” symptoms.  Not only does it taste great as a tea, but I also add it as a garnish to soups and food.  Many Asian recipes use Holy Basil in case you'd like to get new ideas on how to make it.  You can also use Holy Basil tincture. 
  • PASSIONFLOWER is another excellent nervine specific for those who experience insomnia with circular thinking or worry.   When you can't shut your brain off or are easily irritated by the slightest imbalance, Passionflower is your ally.  I've also used Passionflower for those who suffer from stress-induced headaches. A tea can be made of the leaves or vines.  Drink 2-3 cups per day.  You can also find the tincture at your local health food store.

Lauraine Velez is an experienced clinical herbalist who trained at the David Winston’s Center for Herbal Studies. She uses Traditional Chinese Medicine along with Western, Ayurvedic, Middle Eastern and Cherokee herbal traditions. She's the founder of Apothecratic Oath.

From Spain: 4 Simple Herbal Remedies to Slow Down

The first step to slowing down is to control stress in all its expressions: worry, pressure, insomnia, anxiety, depression and numbness... Here are a few allies we use in Spain to fight back stress: 

Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) + Passionflower (Passionaria incarnata) + Orange blossom (Citrus aurantium) + Linden (Tilia platyphyllos)
Mix in equal parts. 1 tbsp per cup. Boil for 1 minute and let it rest for 5 minutes. Take 30 mins. to 1 hour before going to bed. 

White Hawthorne (Crataegus monogyna) + Melissa (Melissa officinalis) + Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) + Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)
Mix in equal parts. 1 tbsp per cup of boiling water. Steep for a few minutes. 

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
1 tsp. per cup of boiling water. Steep for a few minutes. Do not take if you are pregnant, breast feeding, taking contraceptives, taking antidepressants, suffer from severe depression or schizophrenia. Check for harmful interactions if you're taking medications. 

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) + Sage (Salvia officinalis)
1 tbsp if the mix per cup of boiling water. Steep for a few minutes. 

—Prepare whole jars of the infusion of your choice to save time.
—If you have a health condition or are taking medication, always check with your doctor before taking herbal remedies to avoid harmful interactions.
—If you are pregnant, be specially cautious when taking herbal remedies.

Based in Madrid, Spain, Eva Miquel specializes in preparing simple and safe natural remedies to balance and energize your body. She can be reached at evamn@hotmail.com. 

5 safe herbal remedies to support healthy lungs

To breathe is to be alive. The ancients knew this and cultivated whole rituals around deep breathing exercises and techniques.  Yoga, one of the more famous transplants of the Indian traditions adopted by the west is, at its core, about breathing deeply and cultivating pranayama.  Most disciplined exercises from Qi Gong, Aikido and Tai Chi are also about cultivating breath or qi, the life force or energy. The following herbs can help you cultivate your own qi.

Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus)
This versatile herb is one of the best herbs to tonify lung qi.  Its warming and moistening effects help nourish dry and damaged lungs.  It is specific for asthma, dry coughs and people suffering from shortness of breath. 
Preparation: 2 tsp. root to 12 oz. Water, decoct 20 mins., steep 30 mins.
Dose: 3 cups, daily.
Do not use to treat influenza or other bacterial or viral diseases as it causes stagnation.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
Non-irritating expectorant. That means, when you have a cough or even laryngitis, smoking this in combination with the other herbs suggested below can reduce irritation.  A tea can also be made of the dried leaves for bronchitis, pertussis and asthma.
Preparation: 2 tsp. dried leaves to 8 oz. hot water.  Steep 40 mins. 
Dose: Drink 2-3 times, daily.

Dang Shen (Codonopsis pilosula)
If you suffer from a dry cough and shortness of breath, Codonopsis is your herb!  A qi tonic for people who suffer from deficient lung qi, Dang Shen nourishes and moistens the lungs.
Preparation: 2 tsp. dried root to 16oz. Water, decoct 30 mins. steep 1-2 hours.
Dose: Drink 2 cups, daily.
Do not drink if you have diarrhea.

Prince Seng (Pseudostellaria heterophylla)
The “Ginseng of the lungs,” this root has it all.  Not only does this root restore damage from too much heat or dryness, but it can also help alleviate bronchitis, hot pneumonia, COPD and even emphysema. Useful to replenish vital energy and reduce symptoms of ashthma.
Preparation: 1-2 tsp. root to 12 oz. Water, decoct 30 mins., steep 1 hour
Dose: 4 small cups daily.
Do not use for damp lung conditions with mucous and do not exceed more than 16 oz. daily.

Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)
A caterpillar fungus with an alter ego!  This fungus is so powerful that it's been used traditionally as a tonic for pulmonary tuberculosis. 
Preparation: ¼ tsp. with other herbs (any of the above or more traditional, chamomile, etc.) to 10 oz. Water, decoct 15 mins., steep 1 hour
Dose: 2 cups, daily
Do not exceed recommended dosage.

BONUS: You can go one step further and combine all the dried herbs below. 
A part can be ¼ cup, ½ cup, 1 cup, etc. depending on how much of the blend you'd like to make.

  • Mullein  - 3 parts
  • Mugwort (slight mind-altering effects.  Also welcomes dreaming) – 2 parts
  • Peppermint or lavender (for flavor) – 1 part

My two favorite sites to order great quality herbs are Mountain Rose Herbs and Kamwo.

Lauraine Velez is an experienced clinical herbalist who trained at the David Winston’s Center for Herbal Studies. She uses Traditional Chinese Medicine along with Western, Ayurvedic, Middle Eastern and Cherokee herbal traditions. She's the founder of Apothecratic Oath.