Fantastic Herbs that promote relaxation and help beat the negative effects of anxiety in your body
Many of us suffer from anxiety and it can be for different reasons. It could be genetic, a chemical disorder, it could be due to a traumatic event in your life, it could be postpartum depression or weather sensitivity…
Not one reason is lesser than the other. Anxiety is very difficult to live with and one must make surreal mental efforts to learn to accept it, live with it and work with it. It’s a 24/7 struggle. It never leaves. Many people will self-medicate with drugs, alcohol, sex, work, etc. Anything to distract from what is happening within. But those ways will unfortunately not help in the long run. As soon as the activity wears off, the anxiety is back and we go back into the vicious circle of addiction.
Many things can ease anxiety in a healthy way, such as a good diet, therapy or psychotherapy, (or if you can’t afford a therapist then study the subject, read books, and learn as much as you can). Exercise, Hobbies, and of course there is a very safe and effective medicine that doctors can prescribe to you as well. This might feel taboo to some, but there is no shame in it. You wouldn’t be ashamed to admit that you took an Advil for a headache right?
So, having said all that, herbal supplements are also a great way to ease the symptoms, especially if you are having an anxiety relapse.
This does not replace the advice of a doctor, and any herb that you want to take needs to be researched thoroughly, as it can also have side effects. Throughout my research, I found that many websites will give conflicting information regarding the benefits or side effects. For example, I saw one website that stated that chamomile is safe for pregnant women, yet it isn’t. Other websites will claim that the product they are trying to sell has effects that have never been proven. When doing research, it is best to always look at reputable websites, and view different sources. Some herbal supplements may be dangerous when taken with other medications or while pregnant.
If the research is done correctly, and if you find the right supplement for you, it can be a blessing.
Herbs have been used for hundreds of years and are used used today by many health professionals.
Many studies have been conducted on the subject and showed that certain herbal supplements really do work. Here are a few that I find to be particularly interesting to mention.
St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)
St. John’s wort is an ancient herb that has been used for hundreds of years to treat depression as well as having certain anti-bacterial properties. The first record of St John’s wort was in Greece, around 300 BC by a doctor of the time. Later on, In the middle ages, the plant was said to be used to ward off evil and also protect against diseases. Of course, in the middle ages, there was no science and so real ailments were blamed on the devil.
According to medical news today, St. John’s wort is widely used in Europe, especially Germany, as an herbal treatment for depression. Its therapeutic use has grown elsewhere in the world in the last 20 years. There have been studies that have proven that this herb does have a positive effect when treating mild and moderate depression being as effective as a prescription drug. Another study concludes that this herb while best known for its antidepressant qualities was found to have beneficial effects on other psychiatric disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, major and bipolar depression, somatization disorder, and social phobia
It is available in teas, tablets, capsules, and as a topical treatment.
This herb can clash strongly with other drugs as well as birth control pills so it is not recommended to take if you already have other prescriptions. It may also cause photosensitivity when used in the long term. The beneficial effects of this herb are well worth a look.
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
The leaves and roots have been used as traditional medicine by the Natives in North America. The plant was then adopted by European colonists. It was used as a sedative and also to treat stomach problems.
Today the herb can be used to help with anxiety and insomnia, headache, depression, and anger.
There is a study that concluded that Passiflora extract is just as effective as the drug oxazepam in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder.
Another study concluded that that passiflora extract may be an effective adjuvant agent in the management of opiate withdrawal. However, a larger study to confirm our results is warranted.
Passionflower is said to have mild sedative effects and therefore care must be taken with the use of alcohol or drugs that can make you drowsy.
Kava (Piper methysticum)
This plant originates in the islands of the pacific ocean. In that part of the world, it is used as a drink that has similar effects to alcohol in western societies. Today it is used throughout the Pacific Ocean cultures of Polynesia, Vanuatu, Melanesia, and some parts of Micronesia and Australia.
It is the root of the plant that is said to produce a drink that has euphoriant, sedative, and anesthetic properties.
A clinical research done in 2003 concludes that Kava can be treated as a healthier alternative to alcohol and caffeine without affecting mental cognitive functions.
This herb can be used for anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, ADHD, withdrawal from benzodiazepines, epilepsy, psychosis, depression, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, respiratory tract infections, muscle pain, cancer prevention, urinary tract infections, pain and swelling of the uterus. It can also promote wound healing and can be used as a mouth wash for canker sores and toothaches.
In 2013, a study concluded that Kava may be a moderately effective short-term option for the treatment of generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Another research conducted in 2018, concludes that Kava appears to be a short-term treatment for anxiety, but not a replacement for prolonged anti-anxiety use.
More studies need to be conducted to verify the Long term use if Kava on the liver.
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
Studies have shown chamomile to be effective in aiding with relaxation, and also helping with anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
References to chamomile are found in medicinal writings of the ancient Egyptians, who made salves, teas and even used it during the process of embalming. This herb was also used by the Roman and the Greeks.
The Egyptians and the Greeks used crushed chamomile to treat skin conditions caused by harsh weather.
Several studies have been conducted on the healing properties of chamomile which include:
- Chamomile may reduce the risk of death from coronary heart disease
- May help shorten the course of diarrhea in children as well as relieve symptoms associated with the condition
- Moderately effective in the treatment of atopic eczema
- May help alleviate numerous gastrointestinal conditions
- May be used to alleviate symptoms of hemorrhoids.
- Boosts the immune system and helps fight infections associated with colds
- Helpful in reducing smooth muscle spasms associated with various gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders.
- Possibly beneficial for those suffering from Osteoporosis
- Treat insomnia and to induce sedation (calming effects).
- Possible healing effects on diabetes,
- May improve symptoms of vaginitis
- Enhances wound healing
- Helps in fighting Common cold
- Has shown Anticancer activity
Be careful when using Chamomile while pregnant as it can invoke a miscarriage. It can also increase bleeding when used with blood-thinning drugs, it can have adverse effects with some prescription drugs and may also worsen certain allergies.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Valerian is a native plant to Europe and Asia. Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome.
This herb is mainly sold and used for sleeping aid, anxiety relief, and as a muscle relaxant.
There have been some studies conducted that concluded the herb as being effective, however, some methodological problems within the studies limit the ability to draw a firm conclusion. Therefore there is no current scientific proof. I felt the need to clarify this point as there are many websites that promote this herb, yet if you look at the studies, they have not been conclusive about its uses.
Bacopa (Monocardia Pennell)
Bacopa is a plant that has been used in the traditional Indian medicine Ayurveda
Supplementation can reduce anxiety and improve memory formation.
Many people use it to help boost brain function, treat ADHD symptoms, and reduce anxiety. There is also the potential that it might have some anti-cancer properties as well as reduce blood pressure and inflammation.
One study shows that the herb has positive effects on the aging brain. and could potentially be clinically prescribed as a memory enhancer.
The side effects could bring on stomach problems such as diarrhea and boating as well as fatigue.
Lavender is a famous essential oil and is known for its wonderful scent. It is used as a perfume, like soap, it can be used in the kitchen to flavor beverages and foods. It is also used as herbal medicine.
Lavender is used in the treatment of anxiety disorders and related conditions. It can improve restlessness, insomnia, and has an overall beneficial influence on well-being. There have been clinical studies that demonstrated the benefit of lavender extracts by decreasing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
There has been a study in Japan that concluded that lavender is best used through aromatherapy and results showed that lavender’s aroma improved sleep. More studies are needed to learn about this plant and its side effects.
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