10 Surprising Plant Medicines for Rest & Relaxation

Pressure from work, family, school, and a hectic environment can make getting rest difficult, and just finding ways to relax can be a challenge at times. Some people turn to prescriptions for help, but this can lead to unhealthy outcomes in the long run. Others are choosing to forego artificial products in favor of natural alternatives.

This article looks at 10 herbs that may help you relax. These products may help you fall asleep faster and enjoy a more restful and rejuvenating sleep, which is important for your physical and mental health


Hops, or Humulus lupulus, grows in North America, Europe, and parts of Southwest Asia, and is a common ingredient used in beer production. It contains flavonoids, tannins, and other phytochemicals that are concentrated in the female flower cone, or strobile. Hops is used in folk and traditional medicine as a diuretic, and an antimicrobial agent, and may have sedative properties.

Hops products include powders, capsules, teas, and liquid forms like elixirs and extracts. 


Native to Europe, Lavandula angustifolia is easy to grow and popular in gardens around the world. Lavender’s active ingredients, linalool, and other monoterpenes, are concentrated in the flower spike. The plant is harvested as soon as it sends up the spike to concentrate these chemicals in the essential oil. Research has shown the scent of lavender may reduce anxiety and aid in relaxation.

Lavender extracts may be taken orally or be used for aromatherapy. Lavender products include oils, extracts, powders, and teas.

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Passionflower, or Passiflora incarnata, is a vine that is native to South America and parts of the southern United States. Other names include purple passionflower and maypop. It can be found in the traditional medicine practice of native Americans, who have used it to treat boils, earaches, wounds, and other afflictions. Its active ingredients include flavonoids, harmala alkaloids, phytosterols, and other phytochemicals.

Liquid extracts and tea are the most common ways to use passionflower for relaxation. 


Kratom is a preparation made from the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa tree, which can be found in Southeast Asia. This botanical contains a variety of alkaloids, including mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, that may aid in the reduction of stress and anxiety, which may help you relax.

Kratom products can be found in liquid and powder form. 


Peppermint is used for flavoring food, beverages, and products like toothpaste and candy. It is a hybrid species in the genus Mentha that results from combining spearmint and watermint and is native to Europe and the Middle East. Its active ingredients, menthol, and methyl salicylate, may have a relaxing and calming effect on the body. Research shows that the scent of peppermint may reduce anxiety and help some people relax.

Peppermint can be purchased raw, as tea, in extract form, and as essential oil. 


Saffron, or Crocus sativus, is associated with culinary arts, textile dyes, and traditional medicine in the Middle East. The active ingredients are concentrated in the reddish dried stigma of the flower, which is rich in flavonoids, carotenoids, anthocyanins, and many other phytochemicals.

You can find saffron stigma in raw form, as powder, capsules, tinctures, and extracts. 

Lemon Balm

Like peppermint, lemon balm is a member of the mint family and grows wild in North Africa, the Mediterranean region, and Southern Europe. Its scientific name is Melissa officinalis, and its active ingredients include triterpenes, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. This plant medicine has been used since the 13th century in Europe as an aid for digestion, and modern research shows it may help you relax.

You can purchase lemon balm in powder and liquid form, in capsules, tea, and extracts.

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Saint John’s Wort

Saint John’s Wort, or Hypericum perforatum, has a long history of medicinal use. In ancient Greece, it was valued for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and was used for various afflictions. Research shows that Saint John’s Wort may show promise in treating some mental health conditions like OCD, depression, anxiety, and more. Its active ingredients include hypericin and hyperforin, which are concentrated in the flowering tops of the plant.

You can find Saint John’s Wort in a variety of products including teas, capsules, extracts, and tinctures. 


Hawthorns are small shrubs and trees that grow in temperate northern regions all over the world. They are members of the genus Crataegus and are known for their dense hardwood. Hawthorn tea, made from dried leaves, flowers, and berries, has been used for generations. It contains flavonoids, organic acids, and many other chemical compounds. It is valued in folk and traditional medicine for its sedative properties and may be useful in treating cardiovascular afflictions.

Stores that sell vitamins and nutritional supplements may carry Hawthorn capsules. For tinctures and teas, you may have to visit stores that sell botanicals or find them online. 


This herb, or Bacopa monnieri, grows in warm wetlands and is known by many names, including water hyssop. It grows wild in parts of Australia and the United States, and regions of East Asia and India, where it can be found in Ayurvedic medicine. It is an adaptogen and may help the body adapt to stress. Its active ingredients include alkaloids, flavonoids, and saponins that may help users relax.

Water hyssop or Brahmi may be found in powders, capsules, teas, and tinctures. 

Natural Paths To Relaxation

The medicinal plants discussed in this article may help you rest and relax, and some of them may improve your quality of life. Many medicinal herbs can be found in grocery stores and in larger department stores that sell vitamins and food. You may also find them online, at nutritional supplement stores, and where ethnobotanical products are sold.

All medicine including all-natural plant medicines should be used with care. We encourage you to do thorough research on a product before you buy it. This is especially important if you are already taking other herbs, plant-based medicinal products, or prescription or over-the-counter drugs, because some plants may interact with your current therapy. If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, talk to your physician about the potential interactions between them and the new therapies you want to try. And like all powerful drugs, make sure to store your herbal medicines properly and keep them out of reach of curious children and pets.

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