Defeating Pain

One Person's Battle Against Chronic Pain


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Borage, the Starflower, Brings Always Courage

What a busy week! I have been enjoying my new freedom now that my marathon migraine from December has been banished. Now though things are settling back into routine, but it has been a great reminder that keeping your spirits up while you are hurting is so very important. So the bringer of courage, borage is the natural herb to discuss.

Borage, or Borago officinalis, probably not a plant most people in the States are familiar with, but very common, in Europe, Middle East and in the UK. This plant originally comes from the Mediterranean area, and the generally blue star shaped flowers is where it gets it’s common name of starflower. Other names are: bee bread, ox’s tongue, Herb of Gladness, and cool tankard (from its cooling effect in drinks in the days before ice beverages were common). Traditionally borage leaf is eaten in Mediterranean areas, it adds an almost cucumber like flavor to soups, sauces, salads, even as pasta filling. The infamous Pimms cocktail was originally garnished with borage flowers, but has in modern times been replaced by mint. Borage flowers are one of the few truly edible blue flowers, and has a sweet, almost a cucumbery, honey taste. They are quite delicious candied and added to desserts.

picture by Jengod

The ever so lovely starflower

Pliny the Elder wrote of borage that it dispels melancholy, there is a long tradition that borage helps to “gladden the heart” or help to generally improve the mood by relieving anxiety or tension. It for that reason is recommended by Culpeper for chronic illness sufferers, since this can wear on emotions. Gerard wrote:

“Pliny calls it Euphrosinum, because it maketh a man merry and joyfull: which thing also the old verse concerning Borage doth testifie:
Ego Borago – (I, Borage)
Gaudia semper ago. – (Bring alwaies courage.)”

This sturdying effect for emotions is possibly where it gets its name from, its thought from the Latin Borago, a corruption of corago. From cor for ‘the heart”, and ago “I bring.” Its fortifying effects made it a tea that was taken by Greek soldiers prior to battle to help give them courage. Another etymological origin is it could be derived from the Celtic word borrach which means  a brave or courageous person. Dioscorides and Pliny both speculate that borage is the famous Nepenthe mentioned by Homer, that when drunk in wine becomes “that which chases away sorrow,” making it the herb of forgetfulness. The addition of borage to wine was used up until the Middle Ages, where the flowers and leaves were added to wines to help dispel sadness. The leaves of borage are traditionally used in the Middle East to treat chest colds and ailments, and it is thought that borage tea can help more oxygen to reach the heart.

Borage is an anti-inflammatory which will help to reduce pain and even in some cases to reduce any man made steroids that have been prescribed. This is also a great herb for post surgery inflammation, and to help with inflammation from allergies. The reason it works well as an anti-inflammatory is borage has high levels, in fact one of the highest plant sources available, of GLA. GLA is Gamma-Linolenic acid and is processed by the body into different things, but most importantly prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are part of the body’s immune system and helps to fight inflammation. Most plants that carry large amounts of GLA are usually used by the natives for treating swelling issues. Native Americans used evening primroses, another plant source of GLA, to treat swelling traditionally. This is a fairly gentle herb, but it can cause toxicity issues if taken over an extended period of time, it should not be taken for longer than a month. The fresh leaves are preferred for most preparations, but dried works in a pinch. Young leaves are best for eating fresh like in salads, yogurt, sandwiches, or for cold beverages and teas. The older leaves can be cooked, like in Spain where it is commonly with potatoes. We have previously discussed how very important it is to keep your spirits up when dealing with chronic pain issues, and this is another great herb to add to your de-stress arsenal. Plus it is a two for one herb, got to love efficiency!

Simple Borage Tea

  • 1 tablespoon of bruised young leaves
  • 8 oz Boiling water

If you are unable to get fresh, 1 teaspoon of dried leaves will work just as well. Steep for 5-10 minutes, in a covered teacup or increase for steeping in a teapot. This is a fantastic tea to relieve inflammation, or just boost your spirits during a tough time, and to help reduce anxiety or fatigue from over work.

Since this is such a good pairing with cooling drinks, during a hot summers day the mix of lemon and the slight hint of cucumber borage brings is a great way to cool down.

Borage Lemonade

  • 1/4 c fresh squeezed Lemon juice
  • a tablespoon of honey (more or less can be used depending on how sweet you like things)
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 3-4 young borage leaves

For the lemon juice, quality and freshness is key, take the time to squeeze your lemons fresh you will notice the difference. Put all ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth. Strain and serve cold, borage flowers can be used as a garnish if you feel fancy. This recipe can also be increased for large numbers of people, and is a refreshing way to cool off on a hot afternoon. Not to mention it will help relieve any stress you are feeling.

Borage Cocktail

  • 3-5 young Borage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of Simple Syrup (or less depending on how sweet you like things)
  • a shot of Gin (vodka or white rum works fine too)
  • Tonic, Club Soda, or Sparkling water
  • Lemon wedges

Muddle leaves in a highball glass and fill with ice, add shot of gin and the simple syrup. Fill glass the rest of the way with the fizzy water and add the lemon wedge. This is just about the most restorative drink you can have after a rough week.

ProTip: If you feel very fancy you can fill an ice cube tray halfway with water, freeze, and place borage flowers on them and cover with water the rest of the way. Freeze and serve in Borage Lemonade or in a Borage Cocktail.

And since wine was always a common vehicle for borage I have found this recipe floating around (claimed by a few different authors), but have not tried it myself, but did make a few changes because pink champagne is disgusting in my personal opinion. If you do try this let me know what you think!

Borage Wine Cup (Punch)

  • 5/8 cup Brandy
  • 1/8 cup Sugar
  • 3 1/4 cup Dry White Wine
  • 5/8 cup Orange Juice
  • 1 cup Crushed ice
  • 3 1/4 cup Champagne (or Sparkling Wine)
  • 1 cup Lemonade
  • 1 cup Ginger Ale
  • 1/4 cup Borage leaves, chopped
  • Borage flowers for garnish or flower ice cubes, orange slices

Combine brandy, sugar, wine, orange juice and crushed ice. Keep chilled until right before serving, this can be made in advance and whole orange slices can be added. Just before serving combine chilled champagne, lemonade, ginger ale (home made is best for this), borage leaves and add to existing punch. Serve chilled with borage flowers, or with borage flower ice cubes.

You can like mentioned previously just throw a few young leaves on your sandwich, or in a glass of water you would like to jazz up a bit. Dicing 3-4 leaves goes great in yogurt, and you can even throw them into your smoothies if you are looking for an on the go fix.

Now besides the leaves and flowers, the seeds of borage are used as well to make borage seed oil. Now there is some controversy around borage seed oil, since there was some marketing for it to treat eczema, for which there does not seem to be any evidence of it treating and this bad PR has followed poor borage ever since. Borage seed oil is a great way to keep borage around in a form that is more functional and retains more medicinal properties than the dried herb. Borage seed oil is in some ways a more condensed version of the plant itself. The oil has very high concentrations of the important GLA but it also has another important fatty acid, nervonic. This is a fatty acid that is used by the body to create the coating around nerve cell’s axons called myelin. Myelin is basically like the coating around a wire, it helps to prevent “signal loss” and allows nerve cells to function properly when sending nerve signals. Now in some nerve disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, this myelin layer can break down, or even disappear completely. CRPS has many symptoms similar to multiple sclerosis, and is a nerve issue, so it is possible that borage could be beneficial for CRPS symptoms. So far I have had good results, and I find that my nerve pain overall is more manageable when I use it, but time will tell though if this can be called an herb to assist with CRPS.

The one issue I have run into to borage seed oil is it is usually sold in pre-made preparations, it is important to do your research on a brand for yourself. Make sure you know that you are buying a pure product, as additives can cause unwanted side-effects. I would suggest using this as topically only, while there has been evidence shown that the seed oil does not contain high levels of the alkaloids that can cause liver toxicity, it is always better to be safe than sorry. A lot of local herb stores will carry borage seed oils, and your grocery or health stores will carry them as well. I tend to purchase mine from these locations and have had good results so far with it. Again, I have only used this topically, if you are sure you want to try this internally, I would suggest consulting your doctor, or herbal professional, before starting a regimen.

With any herbal remedy, you need to use caution. Borage has some components that if taken continuously over an extended period of time can cause health issues. It does have Pyrrolizidine alkaloid, in the fresh plant, which can start to become toxic after prolonged use, and some of the hairs on the leaves can be irritating to those with sensitive skin. Do your own research and see if this might be a good herb for you, always check WebMD for any reactions. And if ever in doubt about anything at all, ask a professional! 

For some more interesting borage recipes go here.

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Rosemary, the Dew of the Sea

Rosemary, or Rosmarinus officinalis, the common name we know it by comes from the original Latin name ros for dew and marinus for sea. This is definitely a herb you should know, or at least heard of before. It is so common in food (Italian and otherwise) that you will most definitely know it from it’s smell even if you have never seen it. It is a common herb used in home made and store bought sausages, and frequently is found in pizzas and tomato based pasta sauces. It is also great in breads, most meats and surprisingly very good with sweets. Rosemary is one of those super herbs that, along with lavenderginger and peppermint, you should have around all the time if possible.

photo courtesy The Gay Gardener

Simply Irresistible!

Rosemary has a long history with humanity, it was found referenced in cuneiform tablets which means it has been with humanity since the cradle of civilization. This plant is native to the Mediterranean, and its allure even grabs us now, I am sure if you have ever found a rosemary bush you are almost compelled to pause and enjoy it, take a sprig, or just rub your hand along it to get that lovely, almost pine like, smell.

Greeks and Romans associated rosemary to memory, and recall of facts, and it was frequently used to symbolize the remembrance of people who have passed. It was woven into hair of students to help with exams, since they believed it would help them recall the answers better. Sprigs were used in funeral ceremonies to indicate the deceased would not be forgotten, often a sprig was even thrown in with the body during burial. In Australia and New Zealand ANZAC forces are honored by people wearing a sprig of rosemary. Even Shakespeare has the tragic Ophelia mention its association with remembering. This association with memory is so strong that some studies have been done, but as of yet there is only some evidence that it could help improve memory, there are not enough definitive studies for this to be a concrete fact.

The ballad Scarborough Fair mentions rosemary, and is thought to have been a song relating to the black plague, due to the listing of herbs, or it could be a changed version of an earlier ballad the Elfin Knight. The song generally follows the pattern of a male requesting impossible tasks of his lady love, who then requests impossible tasks in return promising to do his once he has done her tasks. All of this tied in with the repeating, and almost definitely familiar thanks to Simon & Garfunkel, “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.”

On a happier note, rosemary was also used in marriage and other ceremonies where it took on many folk meanings, such as you would dream of your future husband if you placed a sprig in your pillow, or it would ward off demons or nightmares. Another is if you smelled rosemary on Christmas Eve, you would have a year of health and happiness ahead of you. There is an association with the Holy Family. In some christian traditions, it is believed to be  plant that Mary used to shelter the baby Jesus on their flight to Egypt. The pale blue of the flowers of rosemary is thought to be the same color of Mary’s cloak, that she placed over the bush to help hide him. An amusing one, was that where rosemary flourished there the wife ruled, which may have prompted some husbands to pull up rosemary so no one would think they weren’t the one in charge.

Napoleon was apparently very fond of it, because Josephine requested he bathed in it before entering her bedchamber. He even had it burning as incense on his deathbed. In Roman times it was burned near sickbeds to cleanse the air, and it was frequently used in the past as incense for both ritual and medicinal purposes. Even the people in the past knew it had a good antiseptic properties, and it was one of the many herbs that would have been effective in their use during the outbreaks of Bubonic plague, like others we have discussed before. The usual suspects mention rosemary’s medicinal qualities, like Dioscorides, and Culpepper. Even Thomas More (or Saint Thomas More) mentions that he lets it grow rampant in his garden not only because the bees liked it but it was for remembrance, and therefore friendship. Rosemary is a great addition to skin creams and the like it, it does have antioxidant properties, and it was said in the more ancient herbals that rosemary had wonderful skin restoring properties and if  you –

“washe thy face therwith . . . thou shalt have a fayre face.”

There is legend that Elizabeth of Poland, Queen of Hungary used a form of rosemary water, called Hungary Water. She is credited with the bringing of the first perfume to the Western world, and was a frequent user of this simple scent. According to legend her frequent use apparently made her so foxy that at about 72 she had such youthful beauty that the King of Poland, who was 26, asked for her hand in marriage.

Elizabeth, with her “sons.” Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

While that sounds a little too much like an infomercial for a cream made of rare ingredients that promises to bring you youth and beauty for ever, there may be a grain of truth to this. Rosemary will help with acne, and help in general with complexion as it is an antiseptic and is, again, high in antioxidants and even vitamin E. Rosemary oil is also great for treating dandruff, and a good addition to any shampoo just because it smells so lovely! Try using the recipe for the best shampoo ever, and add 6-10 drops of rosemary and 10 drops of sweet orange oil instead of additional lavender oil, this is a good shampoo if you have mild dandruff. Another dandruff solution, or to improve your scalp and encourage hair growth, you can put a few drops of rosemary oil on your hairbrush and brush it through your hair.

It also has the fantastic property of helping with digestion, and is a welcome tea to ease nausea from my medications or from pain. Personally though, my favorite uses for rosemary are not only its antiseptic/antibacterial uses but for stress reduction, treating inflammation and as an analgesic. It seems I never grow tired of this and it is so easy to add into meals and your routine since it is so versatile. Plus it is a good change up if peppermint or ginger isn’t working for you to settle your stomach.

Its antibacterial properties are well known, and it is why rosemary was often used in food preservation. Several medical studies have shown it is effective in inhibiting growth of Listeria monocytogenesBacillus cerus, and Staphlococcus aureus. It is great for a tea when you are feeling sick, or as an after dinner tea to aid in digestion, or just prevent any stomach issues as it helps to ease spasms and can reduce inflammation of the digestive tract.

Rosemary Tea

  • 8 oz Hot water, not boiling
  • 1 teaspoon of Rosemary, you can use finely chopped fresh, or you can leave it mostly whole and strain
  • Optional additions: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dried or fresh rosemary flowers, a bag of green tea, a few medallions of ginger, a teaspoon of hibiscus flowers, even a dash of parsley (fresh or dried) is very nice in this.

You can also use a half tablespoon of dried herbs if you do not have fresh, or you can grind the dried in your mortar, or spice grinder of choice, to create a matcha like powder you can use for tea as well. You may want to use a tea infuser if you do not want to filter the tea with cheese cloth (or your teeth if you are lazy), remember this needs to be steeped in a covered teacup, or teapot, for about 5-10 minutes. Add honey or your sweetener of choice if you need it sweeter, and do not use continuously for more than a few days at a time.

Rosemary tea like this can also be a great way to start your day on a cold morning, and it is a great wake up call to the brain on one of those foggy minded mornings. This is also a good way to get all the vitamins and minerals from rosemary (such as A, B, C and E, iron, calcium and magnesium) without the destructive heat of cooking that can break things down too far.

You can also brew this tea stronger for a bath as well

Rosemary Pain and Stress Tea Bath

  • 16 oz of water
  • 2-3 tablespoons of the rosemary fresh or dried

Add it to a hot bath for a muscle relaxing, stress relieving, soak. Rosemary has some great antispasmodic properties and can bring relief for muscle pains when used as a hot soak. Or you can use this strong tea as a wound wash, or compress for painful muscles, or across the forehead for a headache. You can always use 3-10 drops of rosemary essential oils instead of a tea in your bath, and you can add in lavender for a relaxing sleepy bath. But you would want to avoid using the rosemary oil for teas you drink as it can quickly become too much for the body and start to upset the stomach, or cause other issues.

Rosemary oil is also great as a massage oil to help with pain and muscle spasms topically, and decrease inflammation. When used in concert with turmeric pills, or Tulsi in a tea, it can go a long way to relieving back pain and even sciatic pain. When mixed with lavender oil or ginger oils it helps to relieve the pain of muscle spasms and will help decrease inflammation.

Rosemary Massage Oil for Muscle Pain and Spasms

Mix well and store in dark container, and massage directly into a painful area. This is a warming oil so as always with these make sure you avoid applying it to any sensitive skin areas. This is also great massaged into the temples or neck if you have a tension headache or migraine.

As I am generally a sucker for sweet stuff, nothing in the world is better than shortbread, unless that is shortbread with rosemary in it. Rosemary lends itself well to sweet surpsingly well, and not just savory dishes like meats and potatoes. These paired with Lavender Shortbread cookies are a fantastic gift for the holidays for those unexpected gifts or people who are hard to shop for.

Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

  • 8 oz Unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Sugar (granulated white sugar)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (this is not in the Lavender Shortbread recipe but I add it to that one too)

In a bowl or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together, sift in flour and add rosemary at the end. Dough should come together easily in your hand but not be a tight ball. Turn out onto floured surface and roll to about a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out rounds or triangles, or whatever shapes you fancy, and chill for at least 2 hours. You can sprinkle with additional sugar before baking, or some fresh rosemary flowers, for a nice presentation. Bake in a 300 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes, you do not want to see any browning, they will almost look under cooked when you remove them. This is a key step, do not let it bake to browning stages!

Now, you can not mention rosemary and not bring up Four Thieves Vinegar. This is an old and long used recipe, and still exists in many modern formats. The original recipe seems to be long lost in the pages of time, but the legend of it goes like this…

During the Black Plague thieves (possibly from Marseilles, France) were able to rob houses and graves with impunity, and this was quickly noticed by the other villagers. Once the thieves were caught, the secret of their health was squeezed out of them. Some say by the promise of a hanging instead of burning, hanging preferable to the painful end that burning alive was. They said they used this vinegar recipe on their hands, feet, temples, and face masks that were worn while robbing plague houses and bodies.

Luckily in modern times you can purchase Thieves oil in a ready made form, and this is great for colds, or to add to hand sanitizing solutions and the like. Which you again can buy pre-made or you can make yourself. I prefer the DIY method as usual, and I highly suggest making this vinegar since it is great to use for cleaning most surfaces and is a great addition to the hand-sanitizer recipe listed after the vinegar. For accuracy’s sake I am going to list the oldest listed recipe I can find, and then my own variation of the vinegar.

Four Thieves Vinegar “Original”

  • 3 pints White wine vinegar
  • a handful (about a cup) of the following herbs: wormwood, meadowsweet, wild marjoram & sage
  • 50 cloves
  • 2 oz Angelic
  • 2 oz Rosemary
  • 2 oz Campanula roots
  • 2 oz Horehound
  • 3 cups of Camphor

Place in a container and seal for 15 days, shaking every day. Filter and use for cleaning, and topically on the body for antiseptic purposes. I don’t suggest ingesting this one at all, and should only be used for topical applications.

Four Thieves Vinegar “Modern”

  • 2 pint bottle with a top you can seal (you can use a 2 pint mason jar, but I prefer the bottle for this one)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 pints good white vinegar (you can use apple cider, I just like white for this)
  • 2 tablespoons Rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons Sage
  • 2 tablespoons Lavender flowers
  • 50 cloves
  • 4 cloves of Garlic, peeled and diced or crushed
  • Optional additions: You can include one or more of these in the amount of 2 tablespoons – fresh rue, peppermint, marjoram, or camphor dissolved in a strong spirit.

Finely chop the herbs and add to a bottle and cover with vinegar, do not fill all the way to the top leave some room, about 2 inches. If you add camphor do not ingest this internally, only use topically. Rue as well, if you include it do so sparingly if you want to ingest it. You can use this for cleaning, and for topical sanitizing. This is also surprisingly good in a vinaigrette and can be used for cooking if you like.

Cold and flu season is in full swing, and Four Thieves Vinegar is fantastic to use as a spray for disinfecting areas where sick people have been, or just for a general antibacterial surface cleaner.

Four Thieves Sanitizing Spray

  • A spray bottle
  • 1 part Four Thieves Vinegar
  • 1 part Witch Hazel

Combine liquids in spray bottle, and use the mist and wipe down method to clean and disinfect surfaces.

You can also make a hand sanitizing gel just by adding some additional ingredients.

Four Thieves Sanitizing Hand Gel

  • Pump container
  • 1 part aloe gel
  • 1 part Four Thieves Vinegar
  • 1 part Witch hazel (you can substitute rubbing alcohol, or grain alcohol as well)

Mix liquids well, you can mix this with a spoon but I prefer a hand mixer or with a blender. Store in pump container, you can reuse an old alcohol sanitizer pump bottle, or you can check out your local stores selection of bottles for air travel and they tend to have great bottles for purse or travel use.

Remember these are only a few of the many uses for this very versatile herb, I am sure if you start using it you will come up with a few more ways. Remember before using any herbal or other medicine, do your own research and educate yourself. Everyone is different so do your own trails and see what works best for you, and always check WebMD for interactions. If you are ever in doubt about this in any way, always, always ask a professional!


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Holy Cow, Holy Basil!

Sleep! With some of my migraines and pain, sleep escapes me as I have mentioned. I use a few different sleep aids, but today we are going to discuss Holy Basil is one of those herbs that seems so unassuming, like the basil you are probably familiar with it is a mint relative, and is used infrequently in cooking but is gaining use in America recently.

It is a native of India and is known as Tulsi, which you may see when you purchase ready-made teas. In Hinduism it is a sacred herb, most sacred to Vishnu where it symbolizes Lakshmi. But it also has one of those great stories like Mint, where there is a beautiful lady, Tulsi, who catches the eye of the playboy god, Krishna. Then his real girlfriend, Radha, gets wind of this and turns her into a plant (there is another version where Vishnu is the boy and Lakshmi is the girl). Also, in a story where Krishna is weighed and large amounts of gold could not tip the scales, but a single leaf of Holy Basil did.

You may see it at temples or in homes of Hindu practitioners, usually in a small alter-like setting, and all of the plant, including the soil, is supposed to be holy. It is also part of Ayurveda and was used as a fever reducer, ringworm & skin disease treatment, cold & cough remedy, sore throat, and for many other issues.

It even got a stamp!

The main aspect I am interested in is its stress reduction, headache pain reliever, and wonderful effectiveness as a sleep aid.

Stress is something not something many people think of when it comes to chronic pain. But being in pain, dealing with medical bills, and all the associated things that come with chronic pain can be stressful. Not to mention work, and just life in general these days is stressful and we could all use a cup of tea that made everything a lot more mellow. I have a few friends that suffer from sleep issues and I always recommend this to them and I always hear back how great it is working. This is definitely something that not only calms the body but calms the mind. You feel mellow and relaxed and sleep comes quite easily. This is also great for those stress related headaches, a cup of this tea will wash those away.

Tinctures are available and you can take 40-60 drops 3 times a day for stress. Do not add a tincture of Holy Basil to Holy Basil tea though. More than 60 and you will have more of the sedative-like effects.

My favorite way of ingesting it is tea, I reather like the taste of it and it seems to work well for sleep for me.

Tea for Restful Sleep –

  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon Holy Basil

Let it steep for at least 5 minutes in a covered teapot, and drink a cup a half hour before you want to sleep, or if you are suffering from a headache drink 2 cups.

ProTip: If you have a covered teacup, just use 1 teaspoon per cup. Steep 5 minutes and drink. If you need more re-brew as needed.

Stress or Migraine tea

  • 2 + teaspoons of Holy Basil (Tulsi)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoons Lavender (1 tsp if you don’t mind the bitterness of lavender)
  • 1/2 tsp Skullcap
  • Honey to taste
All aboard the sleepy train to dreamville!

All aboard the sleepy train to Dreamville!

Steep for 5 or 6 minutes, preferably with a covered teapot/cup, and drink! This is my go-to tea for stressful or painful days, it is fairly potent.

You can increase the dose as needed I really wouldn’t suggest more than 2-3 teaspoons, or if you like you can decrease the amount. Decreasing the dose to 2 teaspoons per pot with any mixer of your choice (you can mix in green tea or black tea for the caffeine, or even lavender or chamomile for their relaxing properties). This will help alleviate stress if you are feeling weighed down by a stressful day. You also have the option to take capsules, you can make your own or purchase them as a supplement and that is another great way to deal with daily stress. You can take this as a supplement or tea daily, but if you are using it as a sleep aid you should not take it for longer than 4 weeks at a time, this is not habit forming but it could make it more difficult to sleep without it.

This will not remove stress completely! There have been some scientific studies into Holy Basil, and there has been documented decreases in stress in individuals who use it, but as always it is in conjunction with exercise and regular, mindful breathing exercises. A life style change is required for full stress reduction, but Holy Basil is definitely something good to have in your arsenal.

Remember educate yourself, make sure you know what you are taking. And always check for drug interactions, WebMD is always a good resource! Remember use common sense!