Best Herbs for Anxiety
|By Petra Trudell, Managing Editor on Tuesday, August 7, 2012|
|Anxiety is a normal response to stress, but the feelings of fear and doubt can become so intense they affect your ability to function and sleep. Find out how herbs can help you calm down and ease your symptoms.||
There are countless sources of stress in our busy lives. Whether it's family, friends, work, school or money, these factors can cause daily strain, leading to feelings of anxiety. Anxiety makes you question what to do next out of fear of the possibilities, making you afraid to take the next step.
These feelings can hamper your productivity and impact your overall health negatively over time. But if you're trying to calm those feelings without medication, there are herbal supplements suited for anxiety.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal response to stress you can experience on a daily basis about anything that concerns you. Be it an exam or phobia, you become fearful and uncertain about the outcome and possibly your own wellbeing. As a result, you can become irritable or even depressed with changes in your sleeping and eating habits.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 40 million Americans ages 18 or older have anxiety disorders. Someone with an anxiety disorder feels the same fear and uncertainty that normally accompanies anxiety, but the feelings reach the point of becoming all consuming, preventing them from engaging their everyday activities. These conditions may require additional therapies, depending on the individual and the extent of their condition.
Herbs for Anxiety
Try herbal supplements to avoid prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications that can have unpleasant side effects. These products can make you feel drowsy or groggy with difficulty concentrating. Either taken on their own or in a blend, these herbs are worth giving a try if you can't seem to calm those nerves:
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a flowering plant that's been used medicinally around the world since the time of Antiquity. Supplements are made from the root of the plant, which is said to provide a sedative affect. Valerian is a common ingredient in products for insomnia, helping to calm and promote restful sleep.
Probably the most recognizable on this list, chamomile (Chamomile recutita) is commonly found in teas and capsules. You can use chamomile to calm digestive issues associated with anxiety. You've also probably smelled a candle or used a lotion with chamomile in it before as the scent has soothing effects as well.
A member of the mint family, skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) can be found in supplement form as well as teas and incense for aromatherapy. This herb is known to work as a mild sedative to calm stress and promote sleep. You can take skullcap throughout the day to help you stay relaxed and wind down gradually.
The flowers of this vine have been used medicinally by Native Americans for years and passion flower continues to be a trusted remedy for insomnia, muscle cramps and pain either on their own or associated with nervous disorders. The most common form of this plant used is Passiflora incarnata, which helps to relieve these symptoms of anxiety.
When you hear of hops (Humulus lupulus), you probably think of an ingredient in beer and you'd be right. This herb is a natural calming agent and sleep aid, which may help explain why a beer can make you sleepy. Hops were originally used to stuff pillows because they were found to promote relaxation. You can now take hops in capsule form.
St. John's Wort:
Native to Europe and Asia, St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is now also grown in North America and the plant's flowers are used for medicinal purposes. St. John's Wort supports mental health and can be taken for mood disorders, stress, anxiety and depression. This herb balances mood to help you feel calm during the day and sleep better at night.
Trying Herbal Remedies
These herbal supplements are available in a variety of forms and can be taken daily to improve anxiety and boost serotonin levels. Since they're natural remedies, they don't come with the harsh side effects, however, it's important to speak with your doctor before taking them if you've been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or are taking other medications. If your symptoms don't improve or worsen, it may be time to speak with a professional regarding your anxiety to find the best treatment available for your needs.
Practicing meditation, aromatherapy and yoga can help remove daily stress from your life and help calm anxious feelings. You can try these techniques at home or look for a class for a mind-healthy hobby.
You can find all of these herbs at eVitamins. Don't let anxiety get the best of you. Try one of these herbal solutions today.
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