Twenty Herbal Anxiety Remedies: Go Natural!
"I am without health insurance, and suffer from moderate anxiety/depression (diagnosed by my doctor) and am looking for information on herbal or natural remedies to help cool my anxiety. I have tried St. Johns Wort more than once, and didn't notice any difference, and I am looking for other herbs and such that might help, preferably with knowledge from experience".
In a day and time when health insurance and the economy in general are undergoing huge changes, more and more people, like the frustrated blogger above, are looking for help in finding an alternative herbal anxiety remedies, instead of the conventional prescription medications they are using to treat their anxiety symptoms. In addition, the harmful side-effects of prescription drugs are very concerning. Some can lead to dependency and can even harm the body if used over a long period of time. Antidepressants especially can increase the chance that a person who uses them can develop psychiatric disorders, and develop negative behavioral patterns. Some people even have reported an increase in suicidal thoughts. They can also affect the chemical balance of the brain. They can lead to other worse physiological damage - and can be considered by some practitioners to be unsafe.
It is hard to know why the blogger above had an experience with St. John's Wort that wasn't satisfying. It may be that he needs to try other herbs for his particular ailment, or take the herb for a longer period of time. Or, he may not have used a safe and trusted manufacturer for his herbs. There are many companies that supply herbs for various ailments. But how they are processed is key to ensuring efficacy - and consistent results. It is helpful to work with companies whose products are manufactured in an FDA (Federal Drug Administration) compliant facility, and have a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) registered facility - that uses a scientific team of herbalists, pharmacists, naturopaths, herbalists, and scientists etc. to assist them in manufacturing quality products. Many companies conduct or participate in clinical trials/studies using human participants to test their products.
In order to obtain the most effective and strongest results from herbal anxiety remedies, work with manufacturers who have a high quality extraction and method of processing the precious herbs. It is also best to find products that start with an organic herb - free from pesticides. One company has a process that uses no heat or concentrations that may damage the delicate plant material. They also only use ethanol and pure water in the manufacturing process. They then use reverse osmosis and an ultra-fine filter. Only use companies that have a quality assurance process and clearly state their efficacy standards. Some product catalogs still include only nutritional claims that represent a balanced perspective of published third-party studies and or documented proprietary research.
What kinds of herbal anxiety remedies are most used to combat anxiety? Below is a list of herbs that are most commonly used for anxiety:
Catnip Tea: Catnip, the herb belongs to the Mint family. It is used for people who suffer from inadequate sleep - sometimes the reason for anxiety. This herb has a soothing effect and has the property of inducing sleep, without any drowsiness in the morning. It has a soothing effect. Catnip tea is a famous concoction for anxiety. As a precaution, pregnant or breast-feeding women should not take this concoction because it can affect the muscle tone of the uterus. It also should not be used for those who have Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), because it can cause heavy periods. Since it has the properties of slowing the central nervous system (CNS), don't use for at least two weeks before surgery. It also can cause headaches and vomiting.
California Poppy and Cordyalis: In North America, the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is combined with Cordyalis (indigenous to China, Japan, and Siberia). It is related to the opium poppy.This herb treats anxiety without causing drowsiness. It helps to cure anxiety, sleeplessness, and edginess. Do not use California poppy if pregnant. Any person using any sort of remedy for insomnia should be careful when using these herbs in conjunction with sleeping pills. This is because the help contains a compound that depresses the central nervous system. Therefore, it should be used carefully when you are consuming alcohol; and don't use two weeks before surgery. Don't use if pregnant or when breast-feeding.
Chamomile (German): This herb is a very mild and gentle remedy for anxiety disorders, which is said to suppress the production and release of the stress hormone in the body. Unlike other herbs, this one can be taken along with prescription anti-anxiety drugs to increase their effectiveness. Chamomile can even be given to children. It relieves insomnia and tension. In addition, it improves stomach functioning preventing upset stomach, which often accompanies anxiety. Don't use if you're pregnant or when breast-feeding. People who are sensitive to ragweed, Chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies may also be sensitive to this herb. In addition, German Chamomile may have an estrogenic effect on the body. If your physician recommends that you stay away from Estrogen, do not use this herb either.
Fennel: Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is an herb used in cooking, which comes from the Parsley family. The herb is an aid in digestion - and relieves gastrointestinal troubles. It also stimulates the appetite, which some find is quite reduced with long-term anxiety. Having a fennel or herbal tea as a replacement to your daily tea dealing is a pleasant way to calm your nerves and reduce your anxiety. Drink 1 cup before or after meals. The Fennel flower (black seed) also reduces the blood pressure. Don't use if pregnant or breast-feeding. Fennel might cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to celery, carrots or mugwort. Fennel mimics the properties of estrogen. Therefore, if you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don't use this herb.
FeverFew: FeverFew (Tanacetum parthenium; or Chrysanthemum parthenium) means "fever reducer" in Latin. It is useful in headaches spurred on by an anxiety attack. It may also assist in stopping a migraine from starting, because it reduces inflammation in the blood vessels in the head. It also inhibits the release of both serotonin and prostaglandins - both of which are known to cause migraines. Drinking Meadowsweet tea or extract may relieve headaches related to anxiety. Do not take if pregnant or breast-feeding. It has been known to cause upset stomach, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, flatulence, nausea, and vomiting. Other reported side effects include nervousness, dizziness, headache, trouble sleeping, joint stiffness, tiredness, menstrual changes, rash, pounding heart, and weight gain. People who are sensitive to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others may also be sensitive to FeverFew. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking feverfew. It may also slow blood clotting, so avoid at least two weeks before surgery. Talk to your physician about this herb if you have clotting issues period - or take medicine for clotting (Coumadin etc.).
Green Tea: Green tea (Camellia sinensis) is a well-known source to calm nerves, and prevent fatigue. It has been used throughout the centuries in China and Japan - other Asian countries. It has an ingredient known as L-theanine which is an effective anti-anxiety remedy - and is also used by itself to treat this condition. Use the decaffeinated version only. There other disorders for which green tea has been contraindicated - but they are mostly due to the presence of caffeine. Therefore, again, avoid the caffeinated products - and you'll be safer.
Hops: Hops were plants that were first found in Germany in the tenth century - and the Bohemian gardens of Bavaria around the ninth century. It is used as a sedative and causes a relaxing effect on the nervous system. Hops are also used in herbal medicine in a way similar to valerian, as a treatment for anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. A pillow filled with hops is a popular folk remedy for sleeplessness. Hops may be used alone, but more frequently they are combined with other herbs, such as valerian. The relaxing effect of hops may be due, in part, to the specific chemical component dimethylvinyl carbinol. A small number of people suffer from skin lesions are a result of using this herb. Avoid the use of hops during pregnancy and breast-feeding. It also is not recommended for use two weeks before surgery. It may also exacerbate depression.
Kava: The Kava (piper methysticum) lactones have an effect on the nervous system, relieving the anxiety. Kava is a member of the Black Pepper family, and was first discovered in the South Pacific. Kava teas are effective herbal remedies for anxiety and depression, and inhibit GABA transaminase. They tend to cause a mild state of euphoria, or well-being. It has many properties causing clear-thinking and relaxed muscles, inducing a restful sleep, and is an analgesic. It also relieves muscle tension and stops pain. However, it should be avoided if you are nursing or pregnant. It also increases the effects of alcohol, sedatives, and tranquilizers. Kava can increase the actions of psychoactive medication and alcohol, so use this with caution. Also take precaution with using with other prescription medications. Check with your physician first. Do not take two weeks before surgery due to its depressive effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS).
Lavender: Lavender (lavendula) hales from a number of countries - including the Mediterranean, Asia, Europe, Canary Islands, and Africa. This beautiful, decorative plant also has calming properties, making it among the most effective of ways to deal with a panic/anxiety attack naturally. It is also used for restlessness, nervousness, and depression. Lavender oil with a high percentage of linalool and linalyl acetate, in form of capsules works very well for this use. Avoid using when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stop taking it two weeks before surgery.
Lemon Balm: Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) originated in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean.This herb calms the digestive system, and reduces blood pressure. It is also commonly used for all nervous system complaints. It has a strong calming and sedative effect on the nerves. As a result, it can be used to combat symptoms of anxiety and depression including headache, hysteria, palpitations, and insomnia. Its anxiolytic qualities are due to the fact that it contains rosmarinic acid - which research shows, is a strong inhibitor of GABA transaminase. It has also been shown, by clinical studies to improve mood and mental performance. Lemon balm should be avoided by those on thyroid medication (such as thyroxine), as it is believed the herb inhibits the absorption of this medicine. When taken by mouth, lemon balm can cause some side effects including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, and wheezing. Avoid using it if pregnant - or breast-feeding. Also, due to its effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS), do not use it two weeks before surgery.
Linden: The Linden flower (Tilia cordata and Tilia platyphyllos) grows on a tree, and is found in Europe, North America, and Asia. It can be used as a tea - or a tincture. Check with your physician before using it if you have heart problems. Long-term use has reportedly caused heart damage. Avoid it if you are pregnant - or breast-feeding.
Mandarin Oil: This oil is used in aromatherapy - or as a massage oil Press mandarin peel to produce aromatic oil and use in bath, rub on skin, or use in massage or aromatherapy. It is native to China - and the Far East. Diffuse 5 drops of mandarin oil with 3 drops of bergamot oil in an aroma lamp to help relieve stress and anxiety.This oil has been used historically as a nerve and anti-depressant tonic. It also may support the nervous system in cases of insomnia, nervous exhaustion and other stress-related conditions. Some people are allergic to the oil - so a trial application is recommended.
Motherwort: Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) orignates in Central Asia. It helps stabilize emotions and has a calming effect on the whole nervous system. It also has a sedative effect - and is known to reduce heart palpitations. It has a very bitter taste - so is usually found in syrup. When found in alcohol, it is reported to have a superior action than Valerian. It also can be used combat sleeplessness; though can be habit-forming if used over routinely for long periods for insomnia. Side effects include diarrhea, stomach irritation, uterine bleeding, sleepiness, and allergic reactions. Contact with the skin can cause rashes and increased sensitivity to the sun. Avoid use during pregnancy - or when breast-feeding. Speak with your physician before using it - if you have any heart ailments. Stop taking it at least two weeks before surgery. Use precaution when using it with uterine bleeding disorders.
Oats (Avena Sativa): Believe it or not, one of the best and also one of the most common herbal remedies for panic attacks (excitation) and anxiety is milky oats. Avena sativa is also called milky oats or oatstraw (but make sure it has seeds as well as greens to increase potency). It is the same oat plant that is used for oatmeal, but is usually harvested earlier, before the seed mature - when they are green (for about two weeks in late August). This is known as the "milky stage". This is the best time to collect oats to be for a tincture, for the purpose of a nervine or nerve tonic, because they have the highest amounts of nutrients and active principles.It is soothing to the brain and nervous system. This is because it is a nervine that nourishes strong nerves, helps people deal with stress (Vitamin B complex), maintains restful sleep patterns and reduces the frequency and duration of headaches. There are no known side effects to this herb, fortunately. Oats taken as food - may cause digestive problems.
Passion Flower: The Passion Flower (passiflora) herb, which is found worldwide, is routinely used to treat people who have nervous complaints such as anxiety and panic attacks. It can be made into a tea (and was used to treat hysteria).It also is known to aid in complaints revolving around the stomach (gastric cramps) and is used for heart palpitations. The beautiful purple colored passion flower helps in coping with withdrawal symptoms and is a natural sedative that helps to relax people so that they can sleep. Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Don't take passion flower if you are pregnant. There are some chemicals in passion flower that might cause the uterus to contract. It also isn't recommended for use during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and don't use it. Surgery: Passion flower can affect the central nervous system. It might increase the effects of anesthesia and other medications on the brain during and after surgery. Stop taking passionflower at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Skullcap: Skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata var. epilobiifolia) is an herb that is native to the deep South in North America, Europe and Asia. There are many varieties of Skullcap - so make sure that you are using the right one (see above). They don't all have the same properties. It is a member of the mint family. Used in a tincture or in capsules help relax and nourish the nervous system and induce sleep by its gentle sedative action. These herbs can reduce nervous tremors and lower high blood pressure. It is a very useful herbal remedy for treating anxiety it two ways. Firstly, it has a gentle sedative action to relax and calm an agitated nervous system. It is also useful to strengthen and support exhausted, drained and debilitated nervous systems - that are commonly found in people with anxiety and/or depression. It should be used with some caution since in overdose it causes giddiness, stupor, confusion, slow mental functioning and twitching. Skullcap has been linked to liver damage, though it is suspected that the source of damage was actually from Germander being substituted for Skullcap. Use in moderation and avoid if you have liver problems. It is not recommended for pregnant or breast-feeding women.
St. John's Wort: This plant's flowers have been used throughout the ages to cure depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Do not use St. John's Wort if you are taking prescription antidepressants or any medications that interact with MAOIs. Avoid use if pregnant or breast-feeding. It may cause sun blisters if out in the sun for a long time. If you have any mental condition, speak with you physician before use. It also may have a negative affect on fertility. Do not use two weeks before surgery.
Tilden Flower: It reduces the risk of migraine attacks during anxiety. Do not take this herb for an extended time since there may be possibility of heart damage. Avoid use when pregnant or nursing.
Valerian officinalis: This is an herb that has been used since the ancient times. It is native to Europe and parts of Asia. As well as reducing anxiety, the root of this herb is the source of a drug that is known to have sedative properties. It reduces the long time spent in trying to sleep. As a result, it helps people to have longer, more refreshing and sound sleep. Few adverse reactions to Valerian have been reported. Large doses or chronic use may result in apathy, and a feeling of mental dullness or mild depression. Because of the herb's tranquilizing properties, it may cause dizziness or drowsiness. As a result, it not recommended for use when operating heavy or equipment. Valerian can cause stomach ache, anxiety, and nightmares in some people. It has been reported (rarely) that some people have had an allergic reaction, like a skin rash, hives, or difficulty breathing. If nursing or pregnant, avoid this herb. It is recommended to stop using the herb about two weeks before surgery. It may also cause palpitations. Discontinue use if this occurs.
Withania: This herb is also known as Ashwagandha or Indian ginseng, and is in the nightshade family. Withania somnifera is used to clarify the mind, improve memory, restore vitality, calm nerves and as a sedative. Withania can aid those suffering from nervous exhaustion by reducing overactivity. Ashwagandha is also used as an "adaptogen" to help the body cope with daily stress, and as a general tonic. A concoction made with a gram of root to a cup of water can be taken daily to treat long-term stress. It has been reported to possibly stimulate the thyroid - and lead to thyrotoxicosis if not take advisedly. Check with your physician before using this herb if you have an auto-immune condition (rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Multiple sclerosis etc.). Avoid use if pregnant or nursing; and do not use two weeks before surgery - due to its depressive effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS). It also is not recommended for those who have stomach ulcers.
Most herbs are very safe - and much safer than prescription medications. But, to be safe - check with your physician (especially if you are pregnant or breast-feeding) before taking herbal anxiety remedies. Speak with your physician before using any herb - especially long-term. If you are pregnant, or breast-feeding, check with your physician before using any herb.
However, that being said, for your body's health and vitality, herbs are the way to go! They are taken from natural plants - found in the earth. They are not created by scientists in a test tube - with a large amount of scary side effects. Your body is much less like to have difficulty processing them through the digestive system, gallbladder, heart, lungs, etc. So, if they are manufactured properly - using mostly organic plants - and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP's), you are much more likely to have solid results - and your body will thank you!
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