General characteristics

General characteristics

The tension we are discussing here is the kind of physical tension that occurs when muscles are contracted and 'tensed', often due to emotional anxiety or stress or caused by some other set of physiological circumstances (adrenalin or other hormone release for example).


When muscles contract and tense up they are using up key nutrients (such as magnesium and calcium) in the process, which can become quickly depleted. If body tension occurs regularly, taking in extra nutrients through foods and herbs can help to keep nutrient levels at proper levels.


Tension is common in the skeletal muscles but can also occur in the smooth muscle of blood vessel walls, the lungs and respiratory passages, the urinary tract and the digestive system.

For details of how to treat emotional tension refer to stress or anxiety.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Eat regularly and do not go for too long between meals. Low blood sugar can cause anxiety and tension.


Adopt a diet based around whole foods and avoid processed foods wherever possible to ensure a good supply of vital nutrients.


Eat foods that are rich in calcium, magnesium and B vitamins to keep the muscles and nerves well supplied with nutrients.


Get plenty of rest and relaxation to allow the body time to relax and recuperate from long periods of tension and stress.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

A really simple daily tea of equal parts nettle, oatstraw and raspberry leaf will provide good amounts of calcium, iron and B vitamins. Use a tablespoon of each and make about a pint or so to drink throughout the day.


Herbs such as motherwort, limeflowers, ginkgo and hawthorn flowers will help to relax and dilate blood vessels promoting efficient blood flow.


Herbs to relax and soothe digestion include the culinary seeds such as dill, caraway, fennel, coriander and cardamon pods and also chamomile, hops, catnip and ginger.


Herbs to relax and open the respiratory passges include lobelia, aniseed, marshmallow root, plantain, mullein leaf and liqourice root.


When pain occurs due to the presence of stones in the urinary passages soothing relaxant herbs such as cornsilk, marshmallow root, chamomile, comfrey leaf and slippery elm bark can be used to help reduce inflammation, provide lubrication and protection to delicate tube linings and ease the tension in the vessels caused by the blockage.


Antispasmodic herbs such as passionflower, black cohosh and/or crampbark can help to quickly relieve tension in the muscles, blood vessels and nervous system.

Sage leaves can be added to a tea mix.


Natural healing

Natural healing

Having a good stretch can help to relieve muscular tension. 


Deep belly breathing, breathing in until the stomach sticks out and breathing out until it is concave, can help to relief tension and induce feelings of greater calm.

Child watering plants




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