©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Celery's sedative effect can help calm stress.

Natural Home Remedies for Stress

To deal with your next bout of stress, just move into the kitchen. Many common cooking items can be used as home remedies to relieve stress and its negative effects. The following are some common household stress solutions.

the Refrigerator

Snack on celery. The phytonutrients called phthalides found in celery have a widely recognized sedative effect, so eat your celery, by the stalk or chopped into a salad.

Chew on cherries. They soothe the nervous system and relieve stress. Eat them fresh or any way you like them.

Dine on lettuce. This stress-reducing veggie has a sedative effect. A small amount of lacturcarium, a natural sedative, is found in the white, milky juice that oozes from the lettuce when the stalk is snapped.

Home Remedies from the Cupboard

Bathe in baking soda. A soothing bath in baking soda and ginger can relieve stress. Add 1/3 cup ginger and 1/3 cup baking soda to a tub of hot water and enjoy the soak.

Eat oats. Besides fighting off high cholesterol, oats produce a calming effect that fights off stress. Use them in bread recipes and desserts or for thickening in soups. Or just eat a bowl of oatmeal!

Dine on pasta. When you're faced with eating a late-night meal, choose pasta. It causes a rise in the brain chemical called serotonin, which has a calming effect on the body. Rice produces the same effect.

Soothe with salt. Try this muscle-soothing bath to wash that stress away. Mix 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup Epsom salts, and 2 cups baking soda. Add 1/2 cup of the mix to your bath water. Store the dry mix in a covered container, away from moisture.

Soak after some sesame oil. For a nice relaxation technique, warm a few ounces and rub it all over your body, from head to toe. Sunflower and corn oil work well, too. After your massage, take a long, hot soak in the tub.

Eat whole-wheat bread. It's high in the B vitamins, which sustain the nervous system. Other B-rich foods include whole-wheat pita bread, whole-grain cereal, pasta, and brown rice. For a good stress-fighting diet, about 60 percent of your daily calories should come from these starchy foods, divided among your meals.

Home Remedies from the Drawer

Build with a balloon. Red, blue, purple ... it's your choice. To make a stress ball, fill a small balloon with baking soda, tie off the opening, and simply squeeze your stress away.

the Spice Rack

Cook with cardamom seeds. These are said to freshen the breath, speed the digestion, and cheer the heart. But they also bust the stress. To make a tea, cover 2 to 3 pods with boiling water and steep for ten minutes. Cardamom pods can be added to a regular pot of tea, too, in order to derive the calming effect. Also, crush the pods and add to rice or lentils before cooking, or use in a vegetable stir-fry. If you like the taste, cardamom seeds are a good addition to cakes and biscuits. Instead of pods, you can use 1 teaspoon powdered cardamom, which is available in the spice section of the grocery store.

Pucker up for peppermint. Drink a cup of peppermint tea before bed to relieve tension and help you sleep. Chamomile, catnip, or vervain works well, too. Place 1 teaspoon of the dried leaf in a cup of boiling water. Sweeten with honey and sip before bed. To reap the fullest benefits, sipping this soothing tea should be the last thing you do before you tuck yourself in for the night. And during the day, if you don't have time for a cup of tea, try a peppermint candy. Read the label, though--one with peppermint, sugar, and little else is best. The more extra ingredients that go into the candy, the less the relaxing benefit.

Toast with tarragon tea. A tarragon tea calms the nervous system. Add 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon to 1 cup boiling water. Or use it fresh, snipped into salads or vegetables. It's a good seasoning for creamy soups, too, or added to a salad dressing of balsamic vinegar with a dash of honey.

With just a few simple home remedies, stress may not go away completely -- but it will be easier to deal with!

For more information on dealing with emotional troubles, check out the following sections:

David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.