Sometimes we think of creative people as somehow special or unique. Artists, musicians, and writers are just a few of the individuals who are commonly thought of as “creative”. However, creativity is inherent to all of us! And what’s more, having a creative outlet is essential to our wellbeing.
Research has shown that there are measurable health benefits of engaging in a creative activity such as stress reduction, reduction of feelings of anxiety or depression, improvements in immune function, and improvements in your cognitive function are all associated with creative pursuits.
The Role of Herbs in Supporting Our Creativity
There are many herbs and supplements that are known to help boost creativity. These are commonly grouped together and called nootropics. A nootropic substance is anything that enhances our brain, especially in creativity, cognitive function, and memory. Today we’re going to focus on three very common and easily accessible ones. You may even have some of these in your kitchen already! The three herbs are rosemary, lavender, and ashwaghandha.
You are probably very familiar with rosemary already, as it is a common herb used in cooking! However, this powerful herb goes much further than adding flavor to your dishes, it is also very powerful for your brain! Rosemary is a stimulant to the circulatory and nervous systems. It will increase blood flow to your brain, resulting in in improved memory and concentration. It also has protective properties for your brain and may help prevent premature cognitive decline and diseases like Alzheimer’s.
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There’s nothing quite as relaxing as smelling lavender, is there? Well, those relaxing and uplifting feels are directly tied to your creativity! Research from the University of Japan has shown that inhaling lavender essential oil can reduce mental stress, increase alertness, and reduce depression and anxiety. All of these factors create the perfect mental environment for your creativity to thrive! One of the ways that this is accomplished is by a reaction in the Pineal gland in the brain. Lavender stimulates the release of melatonin, which signals to the rest of your body that it’s time to relax and that you’re safe. Without these worries, your creativity begins to overflow!
Ashwaghandha is one of the most heavily studied adaptogens there is. It is most known for its ability to reduce stress, but it has many other health benefits as well! Researchers reported that it blocked the stress pathway in the brains of rats by regulating chemical signaling in the nervous system. In human studies, the herb showed a 69% reduction in anxiety and insomnia, compared to only 11% in the placebo group. Ashwaghandha can help your focus and concentration, both of which are incredibly important when you’re working on a creative project!
Now that you have some creativity-enhancing herbs to use, we encourage you to find some kind of creative outlet! Doodling, journaling, dancing, singing, taking a pottery class, or any other possibility! If it sounds fun and lets you stretch your creative muscle, it’s going to be good for you!
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Motomura N, Sakurai A, Yotsuya Y. Reduction of mental stress with lavender odorant. Percept Mot Skills. 2001 Dec; 93(3): 713-8.
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