Beneficial plants that facilitate relaxation and lower tension

A guide to some of the medicinal plants, which can be considered useful to facilitate relaxation of the entire body and relieve accumulated stress.

Beneficial plants with therapeutic indications in case of anxiety, insomnia and nervous tension. Let’s see together the utility, the use and the differences.

Of the passionflower, we know some hundreds of different species, some toxic but the only one that is used in herbal medicine is the passion flower incarnata, a climbing plant of several meters in height. The flowers, due to their shape, gave the name to the plant, flower of the Passion (of Christ) because it evokes the crown of Jesus. The fruits, yellow, orange or dark red, have the size of an egg and a pleasant flavor. It is a plant native to the American continent and today, it is cultivated almost everywhere, both for medicinal purposes and for its fruits.

What it contains:
Passionflower contains flavonoids, glucosides, alkaloids. The alkaloids (armanics) with flavonoids would have a spasmolytic action (especially at the bronchial level), while the flavonoids are attributed the sedative action. The armalines (alkaloids), dilate the coronary arteries, whose occlusion can lead to heart attacks, is therefore an excellent preventive for those at risk but, in this situation the medical prescription is important. The fruits contain carotenes, from which the body obtains vitamin A , and mineral salts including calcium, iron and phosphorus .
How to use:
The fruit is used as a food that has an excellent taste and is known by the names of: passion fruit, granadilla or maracuja. For sale in supermarkets or in some greengrocers.
As an herbal tea the aerial part is used, it is available in mother tincture (always the aerial parts are macerated in food alcohol and water and then squeezed and filtered) and dry extract, in pharmacy or in herbalist’s shop.

For insomnia caused by anxiety, hyperexcitation, overwork. In particular it is valid in insomnia from cerebral excitation due to excessive intellectual work, in anxious and stressed subjects and in insomnia linked to a slight depressive state. The active ingredients of the plant act on the central nervous system, lowering nervous tension, relaxing the muscles and regularizing the heartbeat (in the latter case, also in association with the hawthorn tea). Passion flower does not induce dependence and facilitates sleep without daze, it has no narcotic effects. If the nervous tension is reflected on the digestive tract (gastralgia, colitis and irritable colon) the passionflower, relaxing the smooth muscles of the stomach and intestine, produces a beneficial effect.

Suitable as a muscle relaxant also for menstrual pain, it has been used since the 1800s to promote relaxation and sleep, appearing to be free of side effects. It is useful in menopausal disorders such as hot flashes, stress, insomnia and nervousness typical of the period. For external use it is used in the treatment of wounds as it kills many molds, fungi and pathogenic bacteria. Not recommended for pregnant women and in association with sedatives, because it can enhance their effects, it has a behavior similar to that of traditional sedatives (such as bromides) and is used to promote the decreasing phase of psychotropic drugs. insomnia and nervousness typical of the period.

For external use it is used in the treatment of wounds as it kills many molds, fungi and pathogenic bacteria. Not recommended for pregnant women and in association with sedatives, because it can enhance their effects, it has a behavior similar to that of traditional sedatives (such as bromides) and is used to promote the decreasing phase of psychotropic drugs. insomnia and nervousness typical of the period. For external use it is used in the treatment of wounds as it kills many molds, fungi and pathogenic bacteria. Not recommended for pregnant women and in association with sedatives, because it can enhance their effects, it has a behavior similar to that of traditional sedatives (such as bromides) and is used to promote the decreasing phase of psychotropic drugs.

The Melissa: what it contains. 
Lemon balm is a small perennial herbaceous plant that does not exceed one meter in height, it grows throughout Italy, in the woods and in cool and shady places. It has a very pleasant, aromatic taste, similar to that of lemon. It is rich in essential oils (geraniol, limonene …), flavonoids, some polyphenolic acids such as rosmarinic and caffeic acid and triterpenes. It is one of the first medicinal herbs, Dioscorides used it on wounds, Avicenna, the famous Arab physician who lived in the 10th-11th century, asserted that lemon balm “disposes the mind and the heart to joy”. The famous melissa water of the Discalced Carmelites treated insomnia, arthritis, wounds, difficult digestion, menstrual pain and headache.
How and when to use:
As a food, some lemon balm leaves can be added, such as basil, to salads and omelettes. We use herbal tea but also mother tincture and essential oil, which are sold in pharmacies and herbalists. It is used as a sedative to combat nervous tension, in a context of general irritability and in case of insomnia. Valid also in case of headache, caused by nervous tension. The mother tincture is used as an antispasmodic, when the anxiety somatizes at the gastrointestinal level, as the complex of the components has relaxing effects on the smooth muscles of the digestive tract and the uterus so it is useful for stomach pains, digestive disorders, nausea, meteorism and to relieve menstrual pain. In the case of herpes infections in the mouth, prepare a solution of water with 2/3 drops of essential oil and apply on the part, a soaked garzina, several times a day. The use of lemon balm is contraindicated in people with glaucoma and can interfere with the thyroid action, it is not recommended for use during pregnancy and lactation.

Conclusions:
In conclusion, both plants, used in herbal tea, mother tincture or dry extract, perform anxiolytic and antispasmodic action. In general, however, it can be said that if anxiety occurs more at the expense of the digestive system, melissa is certainly more suitable, if sleep is the most obvious symptom, passiflora is more suitable. In the passion flower, the substances responsible for the particular activity would be the maltol, the alkaloids and the flavonoids that carry out their activity in the moments in which there is the need to provide for the care of the sleep but also in cases of strong emotionality for example problems related to work rather than school. In the lemon balm are the essential oils that, in addition to giving a pleasant aroma and taste, exert an antispasmodic action, calming the nervous system and relaxing the muscles.

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