7 Plants To Pair With Your Hemp Supplement For Stress Management, Pain Relief & More*
CBD-rich hemp extract is a lesson in synergy: Filled with over 100 types of compounds called phytocannabinoids, the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts. These phytocannabinoids work together to deliver mood-stabilizing, anti-inflammatory benefits by way of the body's endocannabinoid system, or ECS, through what's known as the entourage effect.*
In addition to playing well with each other, these phytocannabinoids can share the stage with other plant medicines, too. "I combine many botanicals and natural supplements together," Dani Gordon, M.D., a U.K.-based double board-certified medical doctor and the author of The CBD Bible, tells mbg, adding that "stacking" certain functional plant ingredients can help amplify their effects (as long as you do so carefully and under the supervision of a professional).
While everyone will have their own unique ideal plant formula, here are some combinations that experts have seen heighten the effects of hemp even more.
For all-around support: black pepper and cloves.
Black pepper and clove—along with other punchy kitchen herbs like rosemary—are filled with a beneficial plant compound of their own, called beta-caryophyllene.
Like the cannabinoids in a full-spectrum hemp product, beta-caryophyllene can help keep the ECS calm and balanced. For this reason, it's considered a "dietary cannabinoid." Studies show that when combined, hemp and beta-caryophyllene1 can be even more effective at regulating mood and easing anxiousness.*
They can also work together to further reduce inflammation—which any mindbodygreen reader will recognize as an underlying factor in most health issues.*
That's why mbg chose to include black pepper, clove, and rosemary in our new hemp multi+ supplement.* The easy-to-take capsule delivers a dose of organic hemp extract layered with a handful of beta-caryophyllene-rich ingredients for a synergistic sense of calm and well-being.*
"I think we're going to see more of this in the future," Robert Rountree, M.D., a functional medicine doctor who we worked closely with to develop the product, said on an episode of the mindbodygreen podcast earlier this year. "I think this is the beginning of a huge trend—to look for these substances like beta-caryophyllene that can actually support the entourage effect."
For stress: ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen so, like hemp, it promotes balance in the body and mind, too. Research shows that those who take ashwagandha regularly tend to have lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone2. Other studies have found that taking the ancient herb with roots in Ayurveda could be beneficial for blood sugar and cognitive health as well.
For these reasons, Gordon says it can be a nice one to pair with hemp if stress-relieving benefits are what you're after—but keep in mind that, like any adaptogen, ashwagandha won't calm your nerves overnight and needs to be taken consistently before you see results.
For relaxation: skullcap, passionflower, or valerian.
"If you're looking to help more with sleep, I find that it's really important to combine CBD with a few other herbals that are sleep-inducers," Gordon says. Though hemp can help with stress and relaxation, she explains, the plant isn't necessarily going to put you to sleep on its own.
Gordon will pair it with herbs that have a more sedative effect, such as skullcap, passionflower, or in some cases valerian, for a powerful one-two combo. The hemp helps the mind detach from lingering worries from the day, and the other plant swoops in to remind the body that it's time for bed.
For pain (especially period symptoms): chasteberry.
Hemp extract, especially in oil form, is a popular tool for easing aches and preventing soreness and stiffness throughout the body.* To further enhance its pain-relieving capacity, Gordon will also pair it with chasteberry—the fruit of chaste trees that are native to the Mediterranean. This herbal remedy is especially useful for targeting period pain and helping keep hormones regulated during everyone's favorite time of the month.
The bottom line.
While hemp extract is effective on its own, taking other herbal remedies with it may further amplify its calming effects.* It is possible to go overboard, though, and you should always check with your doctor before adding any new supplement (or supplements!) to your routine.
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.