Wellbeing is something that most people today are looking to increase in their lives. It is
defined by Psychology Today as "…the experience of health, happiness, and prosperity. It
includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction, and a sense of meaning or purpose. More generally, well-being is just feeling well".
This sense of wellbeing is underpinned by many different drivers such as our emotional, mental and physical health, our experiences in our social network and workplace, our standing in our society as a whole, and environmental factors.
However, because of the fast-paced society we inhabit many people don't seem able to reach and enjoy this state of wellbeing. So how can we holistically work towards it?
Many people already know the basics of how to improve wellbeing: get at least eight hours of restful sleep, eat nutritious, preferably organic whole foods, exercise regularly (at least 30 minutes per day), and perhaps practice some forms of mindfulness or even meditation.
Medicinal herbs have a unique niche in a holistic approach to wellbeing because they are able to support you in so many areas, including increased energy, deeper sleep, feeling happier and having the ability to cope with the stressors of life.
If you find you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or are waking feeling unrefreshed, then you could really benefit from taking a traditional sleeping formula. A delicious cup of medicinal tea before bed containing specific herbs with anxiolytic, nervine and gently sedating actions will assist you in achieving a deep sleep.
Medicinal plants have been the main therapeutics in Western medicine over centuries and are today validated by science. They must be, however, medicinal grade in order to have the desired pharmacological effect. This is why supermarket sleep teas with culinary grade herbs usually don't have the desired effect.
Look for herbs like passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) which has relaxing and rejuvenating properties that can help to ease anxiety, restlessness and irritability. It helps to promote sleep without causing daytime drowsiness or dependence. If you are feeling anxious during the day this is one of the relaxing medicinal plants that can also be used during daytime. A 2001 study found that a specific passionflower preparation treated anxiety as effectively as benzodiazepine, highlighting the potential of medicinal plants.
Another herb to consider for deep sleep is valerian (Valeriana officinalis) as it will also support healthy emotional balance. Valerian is specific for treating sleep issues such as insomnia or disturbed sleep patterns, including the ability to go to sleep or stay asleep, insufficient deep REM sleep, and sleepiness on waking.
When we support our body and mind with specific medicinal plants, we will not only wake
feeling rested but much more able to cope with the daily stressors of life because we have the energy and the emotional balance to adjust.
Some other strategies to increase your wellbeing are integrating practices to support mental health. Many people are starting to realise the benefits of managing their minds and thoughts through lifestyle interventions like mindfulness practices, yoga or meditation.
Studies conducted in 2015 and 2017 found that we only need to do 15 minutes of meditation daily to experience physical and emotional benefits such as a more optimistic mindset and patience, increased memory and brain function.
So, when you next feel unhappy or dissatisfied with your life experience or health consider integrating supportive medicinal plants and meditation into your daily wellbeing practices and you will feel the benefits in body and mind.
• If you have ongoing problems with sleep or mood, consult your leading healthcare professional.