Feeling a bit on edge? Bitters can help with that.
Crafting bitters from calming herbs and flowers can be an easy (and delicious) way to naturally destress. This soothing bitters is made from three natural remedies that have shown promise to produce a calming effect.
Lavender is one of the most popular anti-anxiety herbs, and we’ll be combining it with valerian root and passionflower to make one serious, stress-fighting triple threat.
- Lavender has been shown as beneficial to overall mood, anxiety, and sleep.
- Passionflower boosts GABA levels in the brain, which promotes relaxation. Passionflower has been shown to ease generalized anxiety with fewer side effects than prescribed sedatives.
- Valerian root is often paired with passionflower as it promotes similar calming effects. This herb is commonly used as a sleep aid and, like passionflower, increases the amount of GABA in the brain.
While these herbs are generally safe and well-tolerated, it’s important to do your research and to never combine them with other GABA-promoting drugs such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines.
- 1 ounce dried lavender
- 1 tsp. dried valerian root
- 2 tsp. dried passionflower
- 1 tsp. dried orange peel
- 1/2 tsp. dried ginger
- 6 ounces alcohol (recommended: 100 proof vodka or for nonalcoholic, try SEEDLIP’s Spice 94)
- Combine all of the ingredients in a mason jar and pour alcohol on top.
- Seal tightly and store the bitters in a cool, dark place.
- Let the bitters infuse until the desired strength is reached, about 2 to 4 weeks. Shake the jars regularly (about once per day).
- When ready, strain the bitters through a muslin cheesecloth or coffee filter. Store the strained bitters in an airtight container at room temperature.
To use: Mix a few drops of this anxiety-fighting bitters into cold or hot tea, sparkling water, or take as a tincture before bed or during moments of increased stress and anxiety. If you want to add a sweet taste to the bitters, we recommend using pure vanilla bean, as sugar is shown to worsen anxiety symptoms.
Is there any concerns or health reasons someone shouldn’t be taking these bitters?
Don’t use bitters as a replacement for any medication, and don’t combine with other medications. Herbs have side effects just like medications, so always check with a health professional before beginning a home or natural remedy, especially if pregnant, breastfeeding, and with children. Use an alcohol-free version if alcohol is a concern.Katherine Marengo, LDN, RDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
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Tiffany La Forge is a professional chef, recipe developer, and food writer who runs the blog Parsnips and Pastries. Her blog focuses on real food for a balanced life, seasonal recipes, and approachable health advice. When she’s not in the kitchen, Tiffany enjoys yoga, hiking, traveling, organic gardening, and hanging out with her corgi, Cocoa. Visit her at her blog or on Instagram.