The Herbal Bear - Newsletters

The Herbal Bear's
Autumn  2007 Newsletter

In this issue

  • Feeling a Bit Stressed? - Herbs for Stress Relief. 
  • Take the Stress test.
  • New Class - Herbs for Stress Management.
  • The Herbal Bear Classes

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Feeling a Bit Stressed?
Try these Herbs for Stress Relief.

By Ursula Basch                                                                           
Herbal Bear School of Botanical Medicine

Summer is over and the kids are back to school.  It seems that everything starts to pick up the pace once autumn arrives. Our lifestyles often have lots of stressful issues such as:  bills to pay, job deadlines, family conflicts, divorce, etc.  Even happy events such as marriages, new jobs or moving to a new home can cause stress in our lives.  We all face different challenges and obstacles, and sometimes the pressure is hard to handle.

What is Stress?

The stress response of the body is a physical reaction which is meant to protect us. When faced with a threat, whether it be to our physical safety or emotional equilibrium, the body reacts by kicking us into high gear. Lots of physical effects happen as a result of stress. The sympathetic nervous system pumps out adrenaline, our heart rate increases, blood flow to the large muscles increases, blood vessels under the skin constrict to prevent blood loss in case of injury,  and  blood sugar levels increase, giving us an energy boost. These are ancient physical responses that were important to our survival as a species and these same responses serve us very well in emergency situations. If you suddenly see a car losing control and heading toward you - your ability to react quickly could save you from harm. 

While everyone can expect to experience some stress, we must be careful to manage our lives to avoid long term chronic stress. The American Psychological Association describes chronic stress as “unrelenting demands and pressures for seemingly interminable periods of time.” Chronic stress is stress that wears you down day after day.  It grinds away at both mental and physical health. Some of the disorders associated with stress are:

  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Weakened Immune System
  • Higher Cholesterol Levels
  • Sleeplessness
  • Impotence
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Increased Appetite

If stress is not handled properly, more serious illnesses can result.

Herbs for Stress Relief

There are a number of herbs which can be used to help alleviate stress.
Here are just a few:

HopsHops (Humulus Lupulus L.)   has been used traditionally for nervous disorders, irritability and insomnia. The part used is the strobile.  Hops gained acceptance in England as an ingredient in beer and as a medicinal herb in 17th century. Hops are most commonly used for their calming effect on the nervous system. Hop tea is recommended for nervous diarrhea, insomnia, and restlessness. It will also help to stimulate appetite, dispel flatulence, and relieve intestinal cramps. Do not use hops if you are  experiencing depression.


Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata L.) has a depressant effect on Central Nervous System activity and is also hypotensive. Passionflower is  used for its sedative and soothing properties Passion flower is also used  to lower blood pressure, prevent tachycardia and relieve insomnia. It promotes restful sleep without any 'narcotic' hangover. 



skullcapSkullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora L.) is considered the best general nerve tonic of all the nervine herbs. Skullcap soothes nervous tension and may be used in for nervous exhaustion.. Skullcap can be used in the easing of premenstrual tension. A clinical study1 demonstrated that skullcap has anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) properties - The proposed mechanism suggested flavonoid interactions with the GABA A receptor

1) Wolfson P, Hoffman DL. An investigation into the efficacy of Scutellaria lateriflora in healthy volunteers. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 2003 Mar-Apr; 9(2):74-8


Whenever dealing with stress, remember to avoid caffeine and take a quality daily Multivitamin/Mineral Supplement. A good diet will give you the strength to keep your nervous system and immune system in shape.

CatStressedOut_257ELWant to find out your stress level? 

Click here to take an online stress test.
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Are you interested in learning more about holistic approaches to Stress? 

Herbs for Stress Management

Date: Saturday, October 13, 2007
Time: 2pm - 4pm
Location: 252 West 29th Street - 2nd Floor; New York, NY 10001
Cost: $75.00
Do you feel frazzled, overworked and over stressed? You are not alone – our lifestyles today are more and more demanding. What you may not realize is that all this stress has negative effects upon your health and well being. Excessive stress robs the body of nutrients, harms the cardiovascular system, and lowers the effectiveness of the immune system. In this class we will discuss many herbs and simple meditative practices that can help reduce your stress level and support the body from stress related issues. So chill out and join us!


We are offering the following classes:

  • An Introduction to Herbal Medicine - Saturday, October 13, 2007
  • Herbs for Stress Management - Saturday, October 13, 2007
  • Herbal Soap Making - Sunday, October 14, 2007
  • Medicinal Plant Preparations Workshop - Saturday, December 1, 2007
  • Herbs for the Cold Season - December 8, 2007
  • 2008 Botanical Medicine Program - Starting June 2008 Grand Gorge, NY
  • Click on any of the above courses to see a full description.

    For our full schedule - click here

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