Frequent in our hyperconnected world where everything accelerates, stress has become one of the major problems of today's society. However, it is not an illness. Indeed, the state of stress is first and foremost an automatic reaction of our body as soon as a situation is perceived as a threat. The secretion of stress hormones (adrenaline then cortisol), perfectly adapted to prehistoric man to occasionally allow him to flee or defend himself against a mammoth, is no longer suitable for modern man who is more subject to repeated emergencies, impossible to manage by sprinting or launching into a fight. This is how chronic stress sets in with the maintenance of hyperproduction of cortisol, responsible for multiple health consequences: hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, reduced immunity, anxiety and insomnia, anxiety and depression, exhaustion and burn out… So what can we do to limit its impact? Apart from anxiolytics or sleeping pills, there is no medication to “treat stress”. Hence the interest in exploring natural methods which will make it possible, through different complementary approaches, to limit the acute signs of stress and prevent the deleterious effects of chronic stress.

This article was updated on 11/01/2024

TOP 5 natural stress relievers

1. The most versatile anti-stress essential oil: petitgrain Bigarade.
2. As a basic treatment against chronic stress: fig bud macerate.
3. For its effectiveness against anxiety: passionflower.
4. As a grandmother's remedy: lemon balm herbal tea, for a relaxing ritual.
5. To resist better in times of stress: ashwaganda powder in treatment, to be reserved for adults.

To limit the impact of stress, it is also recommended to meet your magnesium needs and adapt your diet to avoid exhaustion, to focus on relaxing body and breathing practices to maintain quality sleep and better manage your health. emotions…

Essential oils for quick relief

What are the benefits of essential oils?

By the action of their chemical components and by the power of their perfume, essential oils will be exceptional allies to help better manage stress. Thanks to their rapid and powerful effects, their calming, relaxing, anxiolytic, sedative, spasmolytic properties... they will be useful in all situations, whether acute stress or chronic stress.

There are so many essential oils capable of providing relief that it is difficult to list them all. We therefore made a selection and highlighted some of their specificities. In all cases, it is recommended to finalize your choice based on each person's own affinity for this or that smell. In case of repeated use, it is also advisable to change essential oils regularly or to use mixtures to avoid associating an odor with a negative situation. Otherwise, the risk would be to trigger stress just by smelling this smell.

Petit Grain Bigarade as a first option
  • Petit Grain Bigarade essential oil east the most versatile in case of stress. With linalool and linalyl acetate, its main constituents, it is known to act on the nervous system, both central and peripheral, with effects on most signs linked to stress: anxiety, blood pressure, rhythm disturbances. heart, muscle spasms, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, etc.
  • However, its smell is not appreciated by everyone. It is then possible to replace the Petit Grain Bigarade with fine or True Lavender essential oil which has similar contents of linalool and linalyl acetate, or by bergamot essential oil, depending on each person's olfactory preference and the precautions to be taken.
Other essential oils for more targeted action

Depending on people and situations, stress can be accompanied by different physical, emotional or intellectual signs. In addition to Petit Grain Bigarade, certain essential oils will then allow you to act in a more personalized way:

How to use them?
  • Through the skin, dilute 1 drop of essential oil in 9 drops of vegetable oil, applying to the solar plexus, the inside of the wrists and/or the soles of the feet. Essential oils can also be used in massage by diluting with more vegetable oil.
  • In olfaction, for a rapid effect by combining the benefits of essential oils and breathing. Breathe directly above the bottle or place 2 or 6 drops of essential oils on a tissue or the wick of an inhaler. To do as a relaxation routine or as soon as the need arises.
  • In the bath, for a moment of relaxation: dilute 5 to 10 drops of essential oils in salt or in a shower gel. Add to bath water, mix well and enjoy the moment.
  • In broadcast, to create a relaxing atmosphere, accompany a meditation session. Respect the number of drops of essential oils indicated on the diffuser instructions and the diffusion times depending on the users: adults (15 minutes per hour), children from 6 years old (5 minutes per hour) or from 3 month (5 minutes per hour in the absence of the child).

Bud macerates to regulate or prevent sensitivity to stress

In which cases should bud macerates be preferred?
Which macerates to choose?

Fig bud macerate is the reflex to have, whether it is acute, temporary or chronic stress. Through its balancing action on the cortico-hypothalamic axis, both anxiolytic and antispasmodic, it can be sufficient alone or used in combination with other macerates, to be chosen according to certain manifestations of stress which vary depending on the person:

How to use them?
  • Stressful one-off event : take a 3-week treatment before, in anticipation or after to regain your balance.
  • Chronic stress or overwork : take treatments lasting several months to reduce the effects of stress, improve the quality of sleep or revive a tired body. With a rate of 3 weeks of intake per month and 1 week of break.

In all cases, the usual doses are as follows:

  • Adults and adolescents : 5 to 15 drops per day in a glass of water (or pure), 15 minutes before a meal, for 3 weeks. Start with 5 drops and increase gradually (for example: 5 drops the first week, 10 the second and 15 the last).
  • Children over 3 years old : 1 drop per day for 10 kilos, starting with one drop and gradually increasing the dose (for example: a 9 year old child weighing 40 kilos can ingest up to 4 drops).

Herbal teas for a moment of relaxation

What is the point of herbal teas?

Implementing relaxation rituals is essential to help better manage stress. Some will choose meditation, reading, music... or herbal teas which also have the advantage ofinvite you to take a break, to take care of yourself. It is even possible, instead of drinking them, to use them to prepare an aromatic bath.

Which plants to choose?

Like essential oils, there are many plants with anxiolytic and antispasmodic properties. In case of stress, the most versatile will be melissa infusion, known to combat nervousness and associated disorders such as palpitations, stomach cramps, migraines and even insomnia. Its sedative and tranquilizing action has even been compared to that of benzodiazepines.

To complete the action of lemon balm and vary the flavors, it is possible to associate it with chamomile flowers (for its antispasmodic properties), verbena leaves or sweet Woodruff (preferred in case of associated digestive disorders) and marjoram (for its action on the central nervous system).

There are other soothing plants recommended in cases of stress, but which are best used in the form of capsules or hydroalcoholic extracts. Much more concentrated than herbal teas, these presentations require personalized advice to take into account certain risks of use or drug interactions. These include, for example, plants with anxiolytic properties such as passionflower and Eschscholtzia (also called California Poppy) or more antidepressants like st. John's Wort, Saffron or Griffonia.

How to use them?
  • In infusion : for a cup, pour simmering water (ideally at a temperature of 80-90°C) over a tablespoon of dry plants (or around 10 bracts for Linden). Brewing time ranges from 5 to 10 minutes to brew.
  • In an aromatic bath : make an infusion with 80 g of dry plants in 3 L of simmering water. Leave to infuse for 5 minutes then filter. Let cool if necessary. Add the preparation to the bath water.

Hydrosols for sensitive users

In what cases are hydrosols relevant?

Much less concentrated than essential oils, hydrosols are more flexible to use. They nevertheless contain active molecules perceptible by their aromatic odor. In the bath, orally or as a mist, they allow you to take care of young children, pregnant women, older people gently. It is possible, as with essential oils, to choose them according to their scent or taste.

Quick and easy to use, hydrosols will also please to those who are in a hurry and don't have time to prepare herbal tea.

Which hydrosols to choose?
How to use them?


  • From 6 months : add 1 teaspoon of hydrosol to the water in the bottle, or to a glass of water. Drink twice a day for a maximum of 15 days.
  • For adults : add 1 tablespoon of hydrosol in 1 L of water. To drink throughout the day occasionally or in cures of around twenty days for a more profound action.

In the bath : add 2 to 3 teaspoons for smaller ones, and a few tablespoons for larger ones.

In mist : to spray on the solar plexus, the neck, the face or the thorax, several times a day according to needs.

Adaptogenic plants to better resist stress

A plant is said to be adaptogenic when it “leads, in a non-specific manner, to an increase in the body's resistance to stress factors, whether of physical, biological or psychological origin”. Apart from the alarm phase at the start of an episode of stress, they will support the body in the resistance phase to help it last over time, without acting like a doping agent. They have in common the ability to limit fatigue, improve resistance to exercise, increase the ability to concentrate and resist infections, etc.

Their power is not infinite, however., because the body's capabilities are limited. At one point or another, resistance to stress will no longer be possible and rest will be necessary. To avoid the risk of exhaustion, their use should not exceed 3 months.

The best known are Ginseng, Eleutherococcus and Rhodiola., plants that have a long history of use in traditional medicines. It is preferable to use them in the form of titrated extracts to guarantee their quality and active ingredient content. And, given their precautions for use, it is recommended to seek the advice of a health professional.

Ashwaganda, also called “Indian ginseng”, is also one of the adaptogenic plants. Numerous studies have confirmed its benefit in cases of fatigue or chronic stress. However, its use remains reserved for adults. It is also not suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women. And medical advice is recommended in the event of thyroid disorders.

Adapt your diet to limit the impact of stress on health

Since it is not always possible to eliminate the sources of stress, it is important to know that diet can help limit the impact of stress on health: protect the heart, avoid weight gain and loss immunity, prevent burnout and depression… By providing certain nutrients, the contents of the plate will play a role that is too often overlooked and yet essential.

  • Magnesium to avoid the vicious circle of stress. Indeed, stress is responsible for excessive losses of magnesium while our modern diet has become depleted in sources of magnesium and the lack of magnesium makes us more vulnerable to stress…. Hence the interest in favoring certain foods known to be rich in magnesium such as algae, sesame seeds where the chia seeds, THE almonds, THE cashew nuts, THE cocoa...and consider supplementation to be sure to cover the daily needs which are estimated around 300 mg per day for an adult.
  • Omega 3 to protect and optimize the functioning of the brain, while participating in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases favored by stress: tend towards the balance of intake between omega 3 and omega 6 by avoiding excess omega 6 (e.g. sunflower and peanut oil) and providing more omega 3 through plant food sources (e.g. rapeseed oil, walnut oil, flax oil, hemp oil, etc.) and animal (e.g. small fatty fish naturally rich in EPA and DHA).
  • Fewer fast sugars. Snacking and sugar cravings are inseparable from episodes of stress. In the majority of cases, it is the brain which requires glucose for its functioning, but it is better to respond with “slow” sugars to limit the risk of excess weight, diabetes, irritability… Today, we are talking about rather complex sugars andlow GI diet favoring: wholemeal bread, wholegrain cereals, legumes, etc.
  • Proteins, iron and B vitamins for the synthesis of neurotransmitters. The hyperproduction of cortisol, characteristic of chronic stress, disrupts the synthesis of certain neurotransmitters, in particular dopamine and serotonin. To avoid loss of vitality, motivation and the risk of exhaustion, it is important to support their synthesis with varied sources of plant and/or animal proteins which will provide the precursor amino acids (tyrosine and tryptophan). It is also important to associate iron and B vitamins (especially vitamin B9 and vitamin B12) which participate in their synthesis, but which may be deficient.
  • Taking care of your microbiota to promote good communication between the two brains, limit oxidative stress and inflammation favored by stress: avoid overly refined industrial foods, increase your intake of soluble and insoluble fiber, give pride of place to fresh, colorful, seasonal and varied fruits and vegetables, (semi) whole grains, without forgetting spices, aromatic plants and natural sources of probiotics beneficial for the intestinal flora (e.g. yogurts, kefir, kombucha, fermented vegetables, etc.).

Breathing and body practices to reduce stress

In addition to natural plant-based extracts and nutrition, there are bodily and respiratory methods that allow you to act directly on stress, particularly throughactivation of the vagus nerve which manages the parasympathetic system and puts the body back to rest. These methods are the subject of more and more studies highlighting their effectiveness in reducing anxiety and cortisol, regulating heart rate, improving sleep and immunity, etc.

Collective or individual, these practices are numerous and varied, giving everyone the opportunity to choose those that suit them best: singing, reading, listening to music, taking time for relaxation and deep breathing, meditating, practicing cardiac coherence, yoga, sophrology… The main thing is above all to practice them as regularly as possible, especially since their interest is significant, without necessarily taking up a lot of time.

Given the impact of stress in the world of work, some of these practices are offered in the professional context such as meditation, sophrology or yoga sessions, the organization of choirs, the provision of nap rooms, etc. Their beneficial effects have been evaluated on absenteeism, burnout, musculoskeletal disorders, psychosocial risks, etc.

More specific approaches such as the TIPI method will make it possible to act on emotional regulation, to no longer be overwhelmed or paralyzed by your emotions, in the event of fears, phobias, stage fright. Other techniques like 1, 2, 3 Sleep (3S in English for Sounder Sleep System) are based on learning small and slow movements that promote quality sleep by regulating stress throughout the day.


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