Several plants from the mint family can relieve pain and help you calm down. The mint family or Lamiaceae is distinguished by such popular spices as basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory and thyme, but it is the lesser known members of the family that relieve pain and are calming.
Plants that relieve pain and offer sedation
Betony – Stachys officinalis (Lamiaceae)
A mat-forming perennial with pink or white flowers, betony grows in Europe and parts of Asia. The aerial parts contain alkaloids (including stachydrine and betonicine) along with betaine, choline and tannins. Betony today is mainly used to relax the nerves and relieve headaches. Regarded as a panacea in classical times when it was claimed to cure nearly 50 illnesses, betony is also used for facial pain and as a decongestant. Often taken in conjunction with comfrey and lime flowers, betony is a mild bitter that stimulates the liver and digestive tract. Betony has sedative properties. Note: Betony should not be taken by pregnant women.
Dan shen – Salvia miltiorrhiza (Lamiaceae)
A perennial that grows nearly 3 feet high, dan shen is native to China. The root of dan shen (also known as red sage) contains antioxidants called tanshinones, a volatile oil called salviol and vitamin E. Dan shen is known to calm nerves, relax blood vessels, improve circulation, strengthen the heart, invigorate the blood, and relieve angina pain. Dan shen has antibacterial and sedative properties.
Lavender – Lavandula officinalis (Lamiaceae)
A perennial shrub growing up to 3 feet high, lavender is native to France and the Mediterranean. Lavender contains up to 3% volatile oil, including linalyl acetate, cineole, linalool, nerol and borneol. Lavender also contains flavonoids, tannins and coumarins. Lavender is well known for calming the nerves, treating back pain, and relieving stiff joints. Lavender will also treat headaches, migraines, earaches, asthma, insomnia and depression. A valuable first-aid used to treat burns and insect stings, lavender also aids digestion. Lavender has antidepressant, antiseptic and antibacterial properties
Lemon balm – Melissa officinalis (Lamiaceae)
A perennial growing up to 5 feet high with white flowers, lemon balm is native to Europe, western Asia and Africa. Now cultivated worldwide, lemon balm contains volatile oils known to relieve the nervous system including citral, caryophyllene oxide, linalool and citronella. Lemon balm also contains flavonoids, triterpenes, tannins, and polyphenols (which help kill viruses). Believed to encourage longevity, lemon balm is known to relieve anxiety, reduce tension, treat insomnia and assist depression. Lemon balm reduces cold sore outbreaks by up to 75%. Lemon balm treats an overactive thyroid. Lemon balm has antiviral and anti-spasmodic properties.
Motherwort – Leonurus cardiac (Lamiaceae)
Native to central Asia but since naturalized in Europe and North America, motherwort is a perennial that grows up to 5 feet high and has pink flower clusters. The aerial parts contain alkaloids (including L-stachydrine), an iridoid (leonurine), diterpenes , flavonoids, tannins, and caffeic acid. Motherwort is used to calm the nerves, strengthen the heart, lower blood pressure, reduce palpitations, and to relieve pain. Motherwort has antispasmodic properties. Note: Motherwort should not be taken by pregnant women.
Pennyroyal – Mentha pulegium (Lamiaceae)
A strongly aromatic perennial that grows about 16 inches high, pennyroyal is native to Europe and Asia but has since been naturalized in the Americas. The aerial parts contain volatile oil (including pulegone, isopulegone, menthol and terpenoids). Pennyroyal is mainly used as a nerve tonic and to treat headaches. Pennyroyal also aids digestion, removes intestinal worms, and helps with minor respiratory infections. Pennyroyal has anti-inflammatory properties. Notes: the essential oil in pennyroyal is toxic and should not be used. Pennyroyal should not be used by pregnant women.
Peppermint – Mentha x piperita (Lamiaceae)
An annual growing about 32 inches high, peppermint is found in all continents except Africa. Peppermint is a hybrid of spearmint (Menthe spicata) and watermint (Menthe hirsute). Peppermint contains volatile oils (including menthol, menthone, luteolin and menthoside). Peppermint is used as a nerve tonic and a pain reliever to treat both headaches and migraines. Peppermint can be rubbed directly on the temples and neck muscles for faster pain relief. Peppermint aids digestion, relaxes muscles, relieves nausea, treats constipation and soothes irritated skin. Peppermint has antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, and antispasmodic properties.
8) Skullcap – Scutellaria lateriflora (Lamiaceae)
Native to North America, skullcap is a perennial that grows up to 2 feet high. The dried seed capsules resemble skulls (hence the name). Skullcap contains flavonoids that help inhibit the enzyme sialidase (which is known to increase inflammation). Skullcap is mainly used as a nerve tonic but also for its restorative properties. Skullcap ranks among the best herbs that help support and nourish the nervous system. Skullcap relieves stress and anxiety along with migraines. Skullcap has sedative, antibacterial, antifungal and antispasmodic properties.