Relaxation plays a crucial role in achieving balance in our lives. By taking the time to rest and recuperate, we can recharge and prepare ourselves for any challenges that lie ahead.
However, sometimes stress — whether acute or chronic — can impair our ability to relax and rejuvenate. In these cases, many people turn to various substances to aid them during stressful periods.
Even thousands of years ago, our ancestors also understood the value of relaxation. Throughout time, many human populations have used various botanicals to promote natural stress relief. The efficacy of these botanicals has been well-documented, and some even remain relevant today.
In this post, we’ll examine several of the best, most timeless relaxing ethnobotanicals from Africa, Southeast Asia, and abroad.
Akuamma — known by its botanical name picralima nitida — is a tree that grows throughout tropical regions of Africa, including Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda. Traditionally, the seeds of the Akuamma tree have been used to treat malaria, diarrhea, and pain. However, Akuamma seeds can also be used as a source of natural stress relief.
Akuamma seeds contain several or more alkaloids — a class of nitrogenous organic compounds — that imbue the plant with unique properties. Two of the plant’s alkaloids, pericine and akuammine, are considered to be directly responsible for the relaxing aroma of Akuamma seeds. Akuammine, the plant’s most abundant alkaloid, is closely related to the mitragynine alkaloid found in kratom and interacts with the brain in a similar manner.
For the purposes of natural stress relief, Akuamma seeds are generally available as a finely-ground powder or as whole seeds. Most online vendors sell the plant’s seeds at affordable prices, and Akuamma remains legal in most countries across the world. As a result, many users consider Akuamma seeds to be an accessible and appealing natural remedy for stress.
The Kava plant is a shrub indigenous to the Pacific Islands that has been used by various populations for hundreds of years. Across Hawaii, Fiji, New Guinea, and elsewhere, locals have traditionally harvested the plant’s roots for a variety of applications, including natural stress relief.
As a plant, Kava is known as piper methysticum and belongs to the pepper family. It thrives in hot, humid climates and can reach heights of up to 6-7 feet at full maturity. However, unlike other botanicals like kratom, locals aren’t particularly interested in the Kava plant’s stalks, branches, or leaves. Instead, it’s the root of the Kava plant that draws the attention of interested parties.
Generally, locals either chew fresh Kava root or grind the roots using a mortar and pestle, which releases the plant’s natural moisture content. Inside, Kava root is rich with kavalactones — unique alkaloids that are primarily responsible for the plant’s efficacy as a natural stress reliever.
Some of Kava’s kavalactones — including yangonin and kavain — possess notable relaxing and soothing properties. In fact, research has indicated that yangonin interacts directly with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, much like THC or CBD oil.
Although most Kava is sold as a dried root, fresh Kava is generally more effective. The process of drying Kava root can drastically diminish the plant’s moisture and kavalactone content which can impair its efficacy as a natural stress reliever. Nonetheless, Kava has a lengthy history of use and can be purchased legally throughout the world, making it a capable and accessible natural remedy for stress.
Green Kratom Strains
For centuries, local populations across Southeast Asia have used the kratom plant for a variety of medicinal and recreational applications including as a natural remedy for stress. Today, kratom has maintained its popularity within its native region of origin while growing increasingly popular abroad.
The term kratom refers to the leaves of the mitragyna speciosa plant, a tropical evergreen tree that bears glossy-green leaves year-round. To produce kratom, farmers harvest the tree’s leaves and grind them into a fine powder, which is then added to water or brewed as a tea.
Due to kratom’s naturally-occurring alkaloid content, the plant possesses prominent natural stress relieving properties. However, it’s important to note that not all kratom strains are created equally. Because of variation in harvesting and processing techniques, the characteristics of each kratom leaf can vary from plant to plant.
The diversity of kratom has lead to the popularization of kratom variants, or “strains.” Most kratom can be categorized into one of three color groups: red, white, and green, each of which possesses unique attributes.
Of the three, the aroma of green kratom strains is considered to be relaxing, but somewhat less sedating than red kratom strains and much less energizing than white kratom strains. Overall, these traits have helped establish green kratom strains as ideal natural stress relievers for many users.
Red Kratom Strains
Like green kratom strains, red kratom is also sourced from the glossy green leaves of the Southeast Asian tree, mitragyna speciosa, and is often used as a natural remedy for stress. However, the aroma of red kratom strains like Red Bali and Red Maeng Da is generally considered to be heavily sedating in comparison to green kratom.
Unfortunately, the lack of available research on the topic of kratom strains makes it difficult to explain the often staggering level of variation between kratom varieties. That said, the most likely explanation revolves around the fluctuating alkaloid content of each kratom leaf.
Both red and green kratom strains are regularly cited as being effective natural stress relievers, and both contain an abundance of alkaloids like mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. However, some strains like Green Borneo may have a different balance of alkaloids when compared to other strains like Red Bentuangie.
As a result of varying alkaloid concentrations, some users have different opinions on what the best kratom for anxiety is. Some might find the aroma of red kratom strains to be relaxing, but also somewhat fatiguing; on the other hand, the aroma of green kratom strains might be soothing for some but underwhelming for others.
Ultimately, your experiences with kratom might also vary, so some patience is warranted. For the best results, we recommend assessing your preferences to determine which type of kratom is best-suited to your natural stress-relieving needs.
Kanna — known by its botanical name, sceletium tortuosum — is a South African succulent plant that is often used as a natural remedy for stress.
The first written account of Kanna use dates back to 1662, but records indicate that various human populations have been using the plant for much longer. Kanna was used prominently by the Khoisan, an indigenous South African populace. Some researchers have even found evidence of Kanna use during the prehistoric era.
As a natural stress reliever, Kanna flowers contain several alkaloids that promote relaxation. Two of these alkaloids — mesembrine and mesembrenone — interact directly with serotonin receptors in the brain, often resulting in lessened levels of stress and anxiety.
Some of the most common Kanna products include:
- Kanna powder, a fine-grain powder made from dried Kanna flowers
- Kanna extract, a Kanna powder with increased potency
- Fermented Kanna, a fermented Kanna product made from the plant’s stems, leaves, and roots
Even though Kanna has been used as a natural stress reliever for hundreds of years, some users may find it to be underwhelming in comparison to other similar botanicals. However, Kanna does possess the advantage of being legal in nearly every country in the world which makes it an extremely accessible natural remedy for stress.
Blue Lotus is a water lily that grows across East Africa, South Asia, and Thailand. Often known by its botanical name, nymphaea caerulea, the plant has deep roots in the history of the world. According to historical records, Blue Lotus was even popular with the Egyptians, who used the lily to slow aging and promote blood flow.
Although Blue Lotus has had a myriad of applications throughout time, the plant is a particularly effective source of natural stress relief. Like many other similar botanicals, Blue Lotus contains an abundance of naturally-occurring alkaloids that imbue the plant with relaxing properties. Most notably, the alkaloids nuciferine and aporphine interact with the brain’s dopamine receptors, which can soothe the mind and body.
Some of the most popular Blue Lotus products used as a natural remedy for stress include:
- Blue Lotus powder, a fine-grain powder made from dried Blue Lotus flowers
- Blue Lotus extract, a highly-concentrated Blue Lotus powder
- Blue Lotus flowers, which contains unprocessed Blue Lotus plant matter
Blue Lotus possesses some notable advantages over other comparable botanicals. Aside from its proven efficacy, the plant is legal in most countries with the exception of Latvia, Poland, and Russia, making it an accessible and pragmatic natural stress reliever.
Explore the World’s Finest Botanicals at Kratora
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