Springfield Naturopathic Doctor Lists Top 7 Herbs for Relaxation

Your Springfield MO Naturopathic Doctor wants you to learn how to use these well-known herbs to help you relax more effectively.

After a stressful day, there are many ways to wind down and let go of tension. Reading, conversation, gentle exercise, meditation and prayer are all time-honored ways to encourage relaxation.  

Dr. Hunter Greenwood, your Springfield MO Naturopathic Doctor and Chiropractor, wants you to know that your relaxation routine may be further enhanced by the use of calming herbs. These 7 herbs from the Western tradition have a history of reducing stress by soothing and calming the nervous system. Because these herbs have definite medicinal qualities, always consult with your physician to determine dosage and whether any herb is contraindicated for you.

1. Lavender

Although native to the Mediterranean, this fragrant shrub grows well in our Midwest climate. The essential oil comes from the small blue flowers. Lavender is known to reduce anxiety, relieve pain and calm the body. It is popularly used to help those who experience insomnia.

Lavender Bath: A bath enhances the effect of Lavender, as the oils are both inhaled and absorbed, penetrating through the deeper skin layers. You can add drops of essential oil, or fill a mesh bag with dried or fresh flowers and add it. A 20 minutes lavender bath, followed by an application of oil to the pillow or diffused in the room, can help promote a restful sleep.

Lavender Cautions: Lavender can interact with chloral hydrate and sedative medications and should not be used if you are taking them unless prescribed by your physician. Stop using lavender at least two weeks before a schedule surgery. Lavender applications may have a negative hormonal effect for boys under the age of puberty.

2. Chamomile

A member of the daisy family, this herb calms nerves and muscle spasms, aids in digestion, and is considered safe to use for children and infants to promote restful sleep. It is difficult to cultivate and best gathered wild. Chamomile is best known for it’s relaxing effect and most popularly used in tea.

To make tea: Use at least two teaspoons full of plant per cup of water. Tea made with fresh chamomile will be superior to that made with dried plant. If tea bags are used, it is best to use two tea bags per cup. Allow to steep for five to ten minutes.. The effect of the tea will be enhanced if you are sitting comfortably in a chair and sip the tea slowly.

Chamomile Bath -- A ready-made Chamomile bath preparation is recommended.

Chamomile Cautions: If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, do not take chamomile. Chamomile is suspected as a cause of miscarriages. Chamomile may cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to ragweed and related plants.

3. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is part of the mint family, originating from Southern Europe and has been cultivated in gardens for centuries. It has a citrus taste and a calming effect. It is known to help a nervous heart, a nervous stomach, and promotes restful sleep, making it a good herbal choice for insomnia. It may also enhance cognitive performance and elevate moods.

To make tea: Use two to three teaspoons full fresh or dried leaves per cup of water. Steep for fifteen minutes. The tea should be taken quite hot, sweetened with a little honey. For the bath, add one or two tablespoons of pure Lemon Balm (Melissa) oil or one tablespoon of dried or fresh

Lemon Balm Caution: If you have thyroid problem, consult with your physician before taking lemon balm.

4. Hawthorn

Hawthorn is a shrub commonly found in woodlands. It is a member of a Roseacreae family and is particularly used for the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn is known to lower blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels. Because of this, anyone with a heart problem or low blood pressure should only take Hawthorn if prescribed and monitored by a physician.

Hawthorn Caution: Consult with your physician before taking Hawthorn. Do not take Hawthorn if you have a heart condition, suffer from low blood pressure, or are taking any heart or blood pressure medications. Hawthorn can interact with many prescription drugs. In some cases, hawthorn can cause upset stomach, headaches, nosebleeds, or other problems.

5. Passionflower

This unusual flower of a climbing plant native to South American and the East Indies promotes restful sleep and relaxation. Unlikely to be sufficiently effective on its own, it is a very useful supportive herb combined with other herbs in tea mixtures and herbal preparations. The whole herb is used (flowers, leaves and root). Put in a bag by your pillow to enhance sleep.

For the bath, add dried flower, leaves and roots to a mesh bag and put in a warm tub.

Passionflower Caution: Passionflower should not be used in conjunction with other sleep medications.

6. Valerian Root

Valerian grows wild in woodlands and along river banks. It has three main uses: nervous excitement, nervous sleeplessness, and nervous palpitations. For the bath: either Valerian oil, or almost ½ cup of root, or 1-1/8th cup of tincture added to a full bath.

For Tea: The most effective preparation of valerian root tea is at least two teaspoons of valerian root for every cup of water and let stand for 12 hours. Prepare each dose fresh. Valerian root tea may be combined with peppermint. To increase effectiveness, add a teaspoon or two of a standard Valerian tincture to each cup of valerian root tea.

7. Bitter Orange

Common in Mediterranean countries, preparations are made from the flowers, leaves and unripe fruits. It is known for it’s gentle, sedative effect and is useful in helping those suffering from nervous restlessness to get to sleep. The peel is used to make the tea.

For tea: Use 1-2 teaspoons of peel per cup of water and let steep for 10 minutes. It may be combined with Valerian root tea, but is best to make the two teas separately, preparing the Valerian root tea 12 hours ahead, as noted above, and then combining the cold valerian tea at night with hot, freshly made orange peel tea. This combination can also be achieved by simply adding a teaspoonful of valerian tincture to the hot orange tea. Orange peel tea should be sipped slowly just before going to bed.


To properly make an herbal tea, bring water to a boil and pour over the herb in a glass or other non-reactive container, but do not allow the tea itself to boil. Cover and allow to steep for the recommended time, then remove the herb from the tea. Most herbal teas may be sweetened with honey.

To properly make an herbal tea, bring water to a boil and pour over the herb in a glass or other non-reactive container, but do not allow the tea itself to boil. Cover and allow to steep for the recommended time, then remove the herb from the tea. Most herbal teas may be sweetened with honey.

When preparing an herbal bath, fill the bathtub first, then add the oil or herbs and mix by hand. Adding the herb to a filling tub may increase evaporation of the essential oils. You want the oils to be released slowly as you are relaxing in the water.


When using essential oils for relaxation, the lowest concentrations are the most effective. Higher concentrations can actually reduce the herb’s sedating effect. When using a diffusion, only use enough oils to detect the scent for the best effect.


Choose herb sources that are organic and high quality. The better the herbal product, the more effective the result will be.


If the stress in your life keeps you from getting the relaxation and sleep you need, call us at 417-725-6655 and we'll help you develop a regimen that's right for you.

Dr. Hunter Greenwood DC ND MTAA is a chiropractor and naturopathic physician certified in acupuncture and acupressure, with over 30 years experience helping patients get relief from stress. He practices at Chiropractor Plus, 1361 West Mount Vernon Street in Nixa, Missouri.

admin none 5:00 am - 12:00 pm
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm 5:00 am - 12:00 pm
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm Closed 5:00 am - 12:00 pm
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm 5:00 am - 12:00 pm 5:00 am - 10:00 am Closed chiropractor https://www.google.com/search?q=chiropractor+plus+nixa+mo&oq=chiropractor+plus+Nixa+MO&aqs=chrome.0.0i512j0i22i30j69i60j69i61.2622j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#lrd=0x87cf6f2f70fcc9ed:0xcf32a645d9331624,3,,, https://www.yelp.com/writeareview/biz/mKQF0ffxfdACgqK2X-BcdA?return_url=%2Fbiz%2FmKQF0ffxfdACgqK2X-BcdA&review_origin=biz_details_war_button https://www.facebook.com/NixaChiropractorPlus/reviews/?ref=page_internal