I’ve been caught a few times forgetting to bring my favorite formula for stress or anxiety when traveling. Being in a new environment without your mattress or perfect pillow can mean a sleepless night and an exhausting day. Just facing the prospect of a sleepless night can have your anxiety levels ticking upwards. What do you do? You’re going to be home in a couple of days, but you have to get to sleep tonight.

Most of the time, I’m traveling in an area with access to whole food stores. I like shopping at these food stores because they’ll usually have a section of products that will include essential oils, homeopathic medicinals, and various herbs. In these aisles, I can generally find things to help with stress and anxiety. 

When looking for products, my primary requirement is to improve my situation in the next half hour. That means I have to choose herbs that don’t have the loading times like Western pharmaceuticals where you have to take them for a week or longer before you feel the effects. A second requirement I have is the product can work for many people. Many products out there can help with anxiety and sleep, but many of them only work on a small subset of people. One product that fits the category of only working on a small subset of the population is Melatonin. So, what are three different things you can find which will quickly help and have a good chance of working for you? 

The first one is a consumable lavender oil. The actual ingredient is called Silexan, and multiple companies use Silexan to create a consumable lavender oil. The product I like is by Integrative Therapeutics called Lavela WS 1265. 

Silexan promotes calmness and relaxation. The product does this without promoting changes in cognition. It also improves sleep and does this without any sedative side effects. So, you’re not going to wake up groggy from taking a Silexan supplement.

Each capsule of Integrative Therapeutics Lavela WS 1265 has 80 mg of Silexan. Research was done with either 80 mg and 160 mg doses. Both doses were well tolerated. Side effects were rare, and the side effects were nausea, burping, or upset stomach. 

All of this makes Silexan my first great quick hitter product because it works quickly, is easy to purchase over the counter, and works fast. 

Another herb I’ll look for is Chai Hu or Bupleurum. This herb is excellent for irritability or edginess that can come from being exhausted or a bit overwhelmed. You can’t find this herb as a stand-alone herb. It is always in a herbal formula. To find this herb, you’ll have to look at the ingredient label. The best way to see this herb is by searching for herbal formulas that focus on the liver or stress. 

This herb is another herb that promotes calmness and quickly helps you decompress. Bupleurum differs from Silexan in one way. While Silexan will help make you sleepy, Bupleurum will relieve the symptoms of edginess and irritability and return you to a relaxed state without making you tired. 

Bupleurum is another herb that will work quickly. Because of its impressive efficacy at relieving stress and the research indicating the herb has protective qualities for the liver, you’re finding it more and more on retail shelves.

That makes Chai Hu or Bupleurum my second quick hitter solution when traveling and needing a quick adjustment. 

What is the last product you can look for when trying to find something to get you through the next couple of days? Well, this is one that everybody seems to be walking around with today, consumable CBD oil. To learn more about the technical details of CBD oil, check out my video for low back pain

CBD oil is great for reducing anxiety. This one seems to work for most people. Like Silexan or Bupleurum, it has mild side effects and causes relaxation without distorting your perception of the world. Due to the popularity of CBD oil, you can find it everywhere. 

There are a couple of things I noticed about CBD oil in the clinic. All this is anecdotal evidence, which is why this is still part of my quick-hitter list. For some of my patients, prolonged use of a month or two changed their response to CBD oil. Some people found it increased their nervousness with more extended use. Others found no benefit at all. I discovered that both Silexan and Bupleurum appear to have a higher acceptance level with users. It seems like about 30% of the people who use CBD oil find it doesn’t work for them. Compare that to Melatonin, where about 70% of the people find it doesn’t work well. So, CBD oil still has a high success rate. Anecdotally, CBD oil acceptance doesn’t appear as high as Silexan or Bupleurum.

I’m one who gets nervous on CBD oil. But, if I haven’t used it for months, I can use it for a couple of days and get some relief from stress or anxiety.

So why do I use these products as quick-hitters and not everyday use? I use these products as a quick-hitter and not for everyday use because some over the counter herbal supplements will not have gone through GMP or other quality control measures to ensure the product’s accuracy and efficacy. I’m not going to figure out which products these are in the brief time I have. But, medical providers will use researched and quality-controlled products. When I get back home, I know the products I have in the office are medical-grade supplements.

O.k. good luck with your mental health, and what are some of the products you’ve used when traveling to help with stress and anxiety?