Herbal Remedies for Relief From Anxiety Without Drugs
Anti-anxiety medications come with a lot of unwanted side effects. Almost all of these drugs come with negative sexual side effects (which can continue well after the medication is discontinued). Some cause drowsiness and fatigue, others are associated with nausea and insomnia. And some anti-anxiety medication is just plain addictive.
Why subject yourself to all of these things when natural remedies can work just as well?
Chamomile for General Anxiety Disorder
Chamomile has been a folk remedy for ages. It is commonly used for treating insomnia and intestinal issues (especially those associated with spasms and inflammation, like with IBS and IBD). Chamomile can also be used topically to treat various forms of skin irritation and to reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, when taken either internally or used as a compress on painful joints.
A clinical trial has shown chamomile capsules to be a successful treatment for mild to moderate general anxiety disorder. Participants received between one and five 220mg capsules of German chamomile per day, depending on the severity of their symptoms. Chamomile proved to be a well tolerated and effective treatment.
Lemon Balm Improves Mood
Another herb used in common folk remedies is lemon balm. Like chamomile, it can be used to treat insomnia and digestive troubles; but this herb is also very effective at helping to heal wounds and insect bites, which is why it is often found in healing salves. Research suggests that lemon balm may be an effective topical treatment for herpes sores, and may reduce the symptoms associated with Alzheimer's when taken orally.
A study by the University of Maryland Medical Center has looked at lemon balm on its own for treating mood, and the number of test subjects was small; however, those who received 600mg doses of dried lemon balm reported increased mood, calmness and alertness.
A number of other studies have shown lemon balm to be effective in treating anxiety when used in combination with other herbs, such as valerian root.
Passionflower is an MAO inhibitor
Passionflower is a mild natural sedative that has been used for many years to treat anxiety, insomnia, and for pain relief. Passionflower is a natural MAO inhibitor; with one study finding that it works as well as the drug Oxazepam for treating anxiety symptoms. Passionflower is often used in combination with other herbs as a calming tea, and it works well for mild or intermittent anxiety.
Probiotics reduce brain inflammation
Probiotics have been getting a lot of press over the last few years for their role in treating health conditions. When the bacteria in our guts gets imbalanced, it can throw all of the body's systems out of whack. The same is true for brain health - inflammation in the gut causes inflammation in the brain, leading to symptoms of depression.
Taking a probiotic supplement containing lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains of bacteria can help reduce the symptoms of depression. Many of the positive effects of probiotics seem to center around their anti-inflammatory effect on the body; especially when it comes to irritable bowel syndrome (a condition that usually comes with anxiety).
Tips on herbal supplements
To treat anxiety with herbal teas, it is often necessary to drink 1-3 cups a day, depending on the herb you choose. That can be a lot, especially if the herb isn't particularly palatable. Many of these substances can be taken in pill form, as extracts or in tinctures, which may be more convenient.
Some of herbs listed above should be avoided by pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, and they also should not be combined with prescribed antidepressants or sedatives. Always seek the opinion of your physician before beginning a new herbal regimen and investigate any drug interactions that can occur.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.