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Ask the Herbalist--Stress

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ANSWERS FROM KAREN
STRESS AND ANXIETY
QUESTION:
I had a really traumatic fall in January this year while riding one of my two-year-old colts.  I have shown horses my entire life and do a tremendous amount of trail riding.  I was hospitalized with a Level 3 concussion. Since the accident I have found myself increasingly tense when riding, not just the colt. but my usual calm natured horses that I have owned, trail ridden and shown for years.  I have found that my nervousness is making them absolutely tense as well.  I have never felt so much anxiety in doing something that I love.  I almost feel paralytic about it.  Friends that know me very well are in shock at my complete lack of confidence now.  It has effected me in my work as well.  Little problems are so amplified and it takes me hours to just chill out.  My horses have always been my stress relief. and now the tables are turned. EVERYTHING seems stressful to me. Any suggestions?

ANSWER: As someone who has owned and ridden horses for most of her life, I can certainly relate. Animals are extremely sensitive. I show dogs and if I'm having a bad day, the tension goes right down the leash and the dogs pick up on it. It's one of the things I love about them. But horses are particularly sensitive. Their natures and personalities have been compared to cats.
 
Going through a traumatic fall can take some time to get through, so don't be real hard on yourself. It would shake anyone's confidence. The fact that you are back on and riding is a great first step.
 
There are several herbs that may help to relax you. In order of gentleness they are Chamomile, Lemon Balm and Valerian. Hops have a sedentary effect, so I wouldn't recommend those while riding. Even though you want to relax, you need to have your wits about you.
 
Any of the above in a nice cup of tea before your ride may be helpful. You might even want to offer some chamomile flowers to your horses before the ride to help relax them as well! Stick with it. Riding is too wonderful an activity to give up!
 

QUESTION:  I am trying to find an herb that is fasting acting that I could use to alleviate stress and tension (possibly a liquid)  that would effectively replace having an alcoholic drink.  I sometimes like to have a drink to
unwind in the evening, however, as I get older I find alcohol harder to tolerate.  I don't need something every day and don't want to take something on a regular basis as I don't need that type of product.  I also would like something that could possibly be poured into a glass of juice that I could sit and drink but something that works quickly (not that takes an hour or more!) but is also non drowsy.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

ANSWER:
 
I don't know how "fast acting" you are looking for, but my first suggestion would be a nice cup of chamomile or lemon balm tea. Tinctures usually work faster, but are most commonly made with alcohol, so if you're trying to avoid alcohol, I wouldn't recommend a tincture. I can, however, make a special formulation for you without the alcohol if you're interested. I also have a special Stress Tea that works wonders for the stresses of the day. Also some aromatherapy mixtures and special bath salt combinations that have relaxing properties. If you're interested, E-mail me with the word ORDER in the subject line for more