Thanksgiving Survival: Herbs for the Dark Side of the Holiday Weekend


Are you ready?

Thanksgiving is always a stressful time of year. The idea of it in theory is great. Get all of your relatives and loved one’s together in one place to catch up and enjoy each other’s company.  Make an enormous and delicious dinner so that everyone leaves a little too full, with a plate of leftovers for a midnight snack. Celebrate what you have and give thanks for the blessings life has given you.  Sounds amazing right?

But unfortunately that’s not usually what really happens. Bubbling under the surface of everyone’s good intentions are land-mines of catastrophe and disaster. The oven is broken and won’t heat fast enough. Somebody dropped the mashed potatoes on the floor. Your daughter’s new boyfriend is a vegetarian and gluten intolerant, and nobody thought this was important to mention ahead of time.  Old family feuds and disagreements have reared their ugly head.  Aunt Sally is drunk again and telling stories of her shenanigans to anyone who will listen. And the kids have banded together to decorate your sleeping grandfather in his recliner with toilet paper and a lampshade hat. Nothing seems to be going right.

So what on earth can you do?

Well, you could drink until you catch up to Aunt Sally. You could leave the house, let everyone else deal with the mess and hope the place is still standing when you get back. Or…you could reach for some helpful plants and herbs to get you through this crazy Thanksgiving holiday.

Herbs are amazing helpers.  I use them all the time for a variety of issues. But for today, let’s take a look at the ones that can help us regain our sanity during the holiday season.

Lemon Balm:

This herb is the happiest little plant. It can lift your spirits when life seems cloudy and gray. Perfect for stress, anxiety or overall melancholy moods. Like its name, it has a light lemon flavor with a hint of bitterness. If it’s cold out you can make it into a nice hot tea for yourself or your guests. It’s also a culinary herb which means you can add it to your salad, mashed potatoes, or poultry dishes!

Blue Vervain:

If you are experiencing stress, anxiety or mood swings – this is the herb for you! It has other impressive properties but these are the ones that will help you this holiday.  You can take it quick and easy in tincture form, and it should start working in about 10-15 minutes.  I like it so much that I include it in my Nerve Aid Tonic Blend as well.


This herb is great for relaxation as well as any kind of stress. Your best bet here is to utilize it in an essential oil form. You can put some in a diffuser so that it seeps out into the rest of the house, hopefully affecting everyone in its path. You can mix it with some water in a 2 ounce spray bottle and douse yourself throughout the festivities as needed. Or you can add a few drops to a pitcher of water and its calming benefits will affect everyone who drinks the water. Just be sure you are using a food grade essential oil if you choose to use it internally.


Most people have a teabag or two of chamomile lying around their house.  For this reason it’s an herb I recommend often. You can use it for a variety of things and it’s fairly easy to find. This season however, you will enjoy it for its soothing and relaxing properties. And as a side benefit, it also helps with an upset stomach in case you accidentally ate too much turkey or pumpkin pie.  Just be sure to use 2-3 teabags when making your brew.  One teabag is a beverage, but for the full medicinal effect you will need a few teabags of this herb.

Holy Basil:

(Otherwise known as Tulsi) This herb is a known adaptogen, which means it helps balance out your body’s reactions to emotional and physical stress.  They way that it does this is by managing the high levels of hormones your body produces as it reacts to stressful situations.  This herb is great to make as a tea and has a rather unique but tasty flavor to it. Unlike the Chamomile, I find 1-2 teabags of this herb is more than enough to calm down any anxiety or overwhelming emotions that seem to occur. It’s easy to find in the store and is often combined with other herbs for a fun twist.

Congratulations! You are now ready for a stress free and relaxing Thanksgiving! Have fun and good luck!

(Disclaimers: As a caution, be absolutely sure any essential oil you are using is food grade. And be cautious of the amount you put in. Essential oil is 90x more powerful than the actual plan so a little goes a long way. As always, please consult with your health care professional before starting any herbal regimens, especially if you are currently on medications. Herbs are not indicated to heal, cure, treat or diagnose any medical conditions. Do not take herbs if you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant. These statements have not been approved by the FDA.)

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