It is normal that a person experiences anxiety in his life. But what if it is persistent and uncontrollable? If it is excessive, it can make you overwhelmed, and you start dreading day-to-day life situations. Such a condition is known as an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety(1) disorders are the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric illnesses in the United States, with approximately 30% of the population experiencing anxiety symptoms in their lifetime.
Nature has its way of treating anxiety. Herbal remedies are one of nature’s way of helping you get out of this problem. Historical data shows that herbal(2) medicine has been used for over 5000 years and was the only documented medicine in use during that time.
These supplements are safe and have almost zero side effects. And guess what? Most herbal remedies almost work instantly. Read along to find more about these herbal medicines, how to use them and the precautions one has to follow, before consuming them.
Can Herbal Remedies Help to Treat Anxiety?
Are you feeling anxious in front of a large room of people? It is normal to feel anxious when you are amid a life-changing event. But chronic anxiety impacts your mental and physical health, and it is not normal if you experience it every day.
Many pharmacy-based drugs are available to treat anxiety. But wait, many side effects come along with them. Thankfully herbal medicines treat anxiety without any side effects that pharmaceutically proven medicines have.
The phytochemicals that are present in these herbs reset the pathways in the nervous system. This will make you less anxious and accept situations as they are.
[Also Read: Get Rid of Anxiety Using Natural Remedies]
Beneficial Herbs for Anxiety and Depression
These are some of the herbs that can help you treat anxiety naturally
Lavender treats both chronic and acute anxiety. It can be taken orally or by aromatherapy to reduce stress and anxiety. Lavela, the European extract of lavender has efficacy equal to the pharmacy drug benzodiazepine. Also, it does not have any side effects when compared to benzodiazepine. You can not use Lavender for anxiety but also ou reducing blood pressure. This herb, however, has mild estrogenic effects.
[Read: Essential Oils to Treat Anxiety]
Ashwagandha, a natural herb, is also an adaptogen-an herbal pharmaceutical, used for treating anxiety. It improves the cortisol levels by resetting the associated stress of adrenal glands. It can be added to a milkshake or smoothie if it is in a raw form.
How to use Ashwagandha for Anxiety
Take 500mg twice daily if it is in the capsule form. You can take it generally before sleep or when you are unable to sleep because of anxiety.
Chamomile for Anxiety works quite well. This herb is usually known for its anti-stress properties. This herb is an approved form of anxiety alleviation in European countries. If you drink this tea, the most used type of consumption, it relieves stress and regulates mood in general. And the best part is this herb is that it can be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Turmeric and curcumin are generally used for better digestion and in treating inflammation. A recent study showed that it is useful in treating anxiety as well. Curcumin which is a derivative of turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory effects. This can help in managing anxiety that is associated with the chronical stress response.
How to use Turmeric for Anxiety
Take the curcumin extract daily. The dosage level varies from 80 to 500 mg a day.
5. Reishi Mushroom
Reishi mushroom is also an adaptogen that regulates stress via the tonic actions on adrenal glands. This medicinal mushroom is very relaxing and calms the mind.
How to use Reishi Mushroom for Anxiety
You can take the capsule 3-9 g before sleep, especially when you are up because of anxiety. This capsule is recommended when one is breastfeeding as well.
6. Lemon Balm
This balm is a form of an herb that is generally used to brighten the spirit. It is in practice for more than 100 years in Europe. You can mix this with chamomile and lavender tea and drink. It is mildly sedative so one can drink this tea in the evening and feel calm and relaxed.
Vital is also known as a chaste berry. It generally reduces anxiety that occurs before your periods. Also known as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), it also reduces the symptoms associated with PMS as well. Use 180mg of Vital twice daily to reduce PMS anxiety.
[Read: Yoga for Anxiety Control]
Herbal Combinations that can Help Treat Anxiety
These herbs can be combined as well. Some studies suggest that they work well when combined rather than used alone. Here are some combinations that you may want to try.
- Ashwagandha and Bacopa
- Bacopa and fish oil
- Chamomile and lavender
- St. John’s wort and passionflower
- Valerian and lemon balm
1. Ashwagandha and Bacopa
It is often used together in traditional Indian medicine. A 2012 ayurvedic study suggested that “combination of Bramhi (Bacopa) and ashwagandha in low doses gave a highly significant result in all the known parameters.” Bacopa, when used alone, has decidedly less significant results.
2. Bacopa and Fish Oil
Bacopa is fatter soluble and is very efficient when consumed with fats. A 2017 study suggested that bacopa and fish oil work wonders together in treating stress more neuro-protectively.
3. Chamomile and Lavender
A 2016 study showed that when used together, these two flowers can help in reducing stress. In the aromatherapy of the combined flowers, these flowers help in treating coronary syndrome by decreasing the pulse rate and respiratory in patients.
4. St. John’s Wort and Passionflower
A 2011 study suggested that St. John’s Wort works wonders in treating anxiety when used along with passion flower when compared to using alone. There are even debates about using St. John’s wort alone, as it is still unclear whether it helps treat anxiety.
5. Valerian and Lemon Balm
Valerian and lemon balm are always used as a combination. They are both sedatives and can improve mood.
What Does Research Say About These Herbs and Their Efficacy?
Here are some studies that have researched the benefits of herbs in treating anxiety.
- In a study, the effect of Valeri(3) on Anxiety Severity in Women Undergoing Hysterosalpingography conducted in 2015, showed that valeric capsules were effective in treating anxiety in women undergoing hysterosalpingography.
- A systematic review of St. John’s Wort for major depressive disorder, a study conducted in 2015, suggested that St. John’s Wort is very useful in treating depression.
- A study, conducted in 2016, effects of Passiflora incarnata and midazolam for control of anxiety in patients undergoing dental extraction, suggested that passion flower showed an anxiolytic effect similar to midazolam, and was safe and effective for conscious sedation in adult patients who underwent removal of their mandibular third molars.
- A study conducted in 2010, Pilot trial of Melissa officinalis L. leaf extract in the treatment of volunteers suffering from mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances, suggested that chronic Melissa officinalis L. leaf extract treatment has been demonstrated to improve mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders, its associated symptoms, and insomnia in humans.
- A study conducted in 2016, Kavain, the Major Constituent of the Anxiolytic Kava Extract, Potentiates GABAA Receptors: Functional Characteristics and Molecular Mechanism, suggested that the enhancement of GABAAR function by kavain occurs in a subtype non-selective and flumazenil-insensitive manner.
Things to Keep in Mind while using Herbal Remedies for Anxiety and Depression
Even though there are no side effects for these herbal remedies, there are always some precautions we must take care of.
- Consult your doctor before taking this medication. Some medication, when taken with these herbal supplements, can have serious side effects.
- Some herbal supplements can make you feel drowsy, so avoid driving.
- More severe forms of anxiety need medical counseling for improved symptoms. So, it’s better to check with your doctor about the degree of anxiety you are experiencing.
- The doctor can help you with the risks and benefits in taking a supplement.
In general, anxiety can be reduced with the use of these herbal supplements regularly. Imagine drinking a herbal tea before a flight or an exam and feeling less stressed afterward. Sounds awesome, isn’t it? The herbal remedy is an easy way to treat stress without side effects or in some cases without harming the ecological balance.
As we know that some anxiety related drugs cannot be used during pregnancy, it turns out that some herbs can also be consumed when one is pregnant or breastfeeding. This is undoubtedly a blessing for new mothers and pregnant ladies. Drink a herbal tea and say this loud “Three cheers to these herbal remedies!“