Herbs have been used for centuries to treat medical conditions and spiritual crises. While not all herbs are considered safe, some have the capability to soothe frayed nerves and leave a sense of euphoria behind. Herbs are not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, and may be contraindicated with medications. These herbs may also promote drowsiness and dizziness or impair your ability to make good judgments, drive or operate heavy machinery. As always, it is imperative to consult with a licensed health professional before attempting to self-medicate or otherwise treat any condition.
Clary sage, or Salvia sclarea, is an herb native to Europe and used in the production of Muscatel wine in Germany. Known for its use as a sedative, research further suggests its ability to calm nerves and create a euphoric effect. Today, according to Vanderbilt University, clary sage can be used for a variety of conditions, including stress disorders and migraine. Clary sage oils used in aromatherapy and massage can produce a euphoric feeling possibly helpful for those with mild depression, anxiety, tension and mental fatigue. It may also be combined with other essential oils as an aphrodisiac.
Rosemary, or Rosmarinus officinalis, is a highly regarded herb used for culinary purposes that dates back to ancient Mediterranean cuisine. Medicinally, rosemary has been used to improve mental clarity, relieve pain and spasms in muscles, stimulate the growth of hair, and aid the circulatory and central nervous systems. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, rosemary is not only an antioxidant, but it may help reduce anxiety by lowering blood pressure and enhancing mood. Rosemary is considered safe for use in food, and can be prepared as teas, tinctures or liquid extracts. However, it should never be taken in conjunction with blood-thinning drugs, ACE inhibitors, diuretics or lithium or by those with diabetes.
Passion flower, or Passiflora incarnata, is a flowering vine native to the southeastern portion of the United States. In the 1500s, passion flowers were discovered growing wild by Spanish explorers in Peru and were thought to resemble the passion of Christ. Today, passion flower is known for its sedative properties, calming effects and euphoria it creates. The neuropharmacological properties of passion flower make it possible to relax and produce deeper dream and sleep states when ingested from teas. Due to its monoamine oxidase inhibiting factors, however, it is imperative to consult with your doctor before using this herb with psychotropic medications.
Valerian, or Valeriana officinalis, has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine practice. Native to Europe and North America, valerian has been used medicinally for the treatment of anxiety and sleep disturbances dating back to the 1700s. Today, valerian is still regarded as an effective means to treat addictions, promote sleep and calm frayed nerves. In addition to its ability to produce mental clarity and a relaxed state, The Longwood Herbal Task Force suggests that valerian is also hypnotic and can produce a euphoric effect helpful in detoxifying someone experiencing withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines.
Robin Wood-Moen began writing in 2000. She is an academic researcher in health psychology, psychoneuroimmunology, religion/spirituality, bereavement, death/dying, meaning-making processes and CAM therapies. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in forensic-social sciences from University of North Dakota, a Master of Science in psychology and is working on her Ph.D. in health psychology, both from Walden University.