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By Shaun Holt

Stress is a person’s total response to environmental demands or pressures. Some stress is good but it can be harmful if it occurs over a prolonged period of time.

Stress has been called “the silent killer” and can cause or exacerbate dozens of medical conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pain and an irregular heartbeat.

There are a number of effective natural products for stress including:

Kava Kava, derived from the kava plant, has been historically used among Pacific Island cultures as a relaxing drink and in cultural ceremonies. More recently, Western countries have used kava as a dietary supplement for its sedative and anxiolytic properties.

Passionflower, a plant from North and South America, is a popular dietary supplement for sleep disorders, nervous tension, and anxiety. There have not been many clinical studies to test it, but those that have been done are generally positive.

Valerian Root has a long history of use as a dietary supplement for the treatment of anxiety and as a sedative hypnotic to treat insomnia. It has been well studied and is considered safe if used appropriately and for short-term periods (less than one month).

Lemon Balm has been found to help with calmness in some studies. For example, a study of dried lemon balm was associated with increased self-reported calmness for up to 6 hours after ingestion.