Herbal Remedies for Anxiety
Here are some of the most common natural anxiety treatments:
- Writing a journal
- Herbs and herbal teas
The Power of the Herbs
Usually treatment for anxiety requires a combination of several methods, and you should consider visiting therapist or doctor to learn more about the possible treatments and decide which one will work best for you.
As a part of your treatment and as a way to relax, you can try herbal teas. The power of the herbs has been well known for centuries, and there are some proven benefits of herbal treatment. Here are some of the best and most common herbs used for anxiety treatment:
- On top of the list is valerian (scientifically known as Valeriana Officinalis), an herb commonly used for insomnia and anxiety. Some studies support its anti-anxiety effects; it is often combined with lemon balm or St John’s Wort to increase its efficacy for mild to moderate anxiety. Valerian has an excellent safety profile; however it may interact with prescription drugs used to treat sleeping problems, such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, anti-depressants and antihistamines. You should avoid valerian (either alone or in combination with other herbs) during pregnancy.
- Passionflower (Passiflora incarnate) can be found alone, or in herbal formulas recommended for the management of anxiety. It also promotes restful sleep. Some studies compared passionflower to anti-anxiety drugs (benzodiazepines) and suggested that the herb has similar efficacy; it is a safe and well-tolerated supplement. Like valerian, passionflower may interact with anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs as well as with barbiturates and some anti-allergy drugs.
- Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is a very popular herb for anxiety used in teas, and has been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years. There are two types; German and Roman Chamomile, both used for similar health benefits. One randomized controlled study found chamomile helpful in the management of anxiety in mild to moderate cases of generalized anxiety disorder. In animal studies, chamomile was found effective to improve symptoms of anxiety (when taken in low doses), while promoting better sleep (when used in high doses). Chamomile is safe when consumed occasionally as a tea, however higher doses (found in standardized extracts, tinctures and capsules) may interact with alcohol and anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs and anti seizure medication. Since chamomile may also decrease blood pressure and raise glucose levels, your doctor may need to decrease the dosage of your anti-hypertension and anti-diabetes drugs.
- Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) This powerful herb comes from the Mediterranean and has been an effective treatment for anxiety for centuries. It relieves stress and sleep disorders. The tea of lemon balm helps you to relax – studies show that people who take lemon balm feel calmer. It can also be taken as an extract (600mg). Lemon balm has an especially good effect on insomnia, helping you to sleep better. Lemon balm in combination with other popular herbs (like valerian) is often used as additional treatment for anxiety.
- Lavender Nervousness, insomnia, stress, headache, palpitations and anxiety are amongst the most common conditions that can be treated with lavender. It can be used as tea or as etheric oil. You can use it both ways to calm your anxiety and stress. Put a few lavender drops on your pillow if you’re having trouble falling asleep, or use it for etheric oil lamp.
Homeopathic remedies are derived from various natural sources, like herbs and minerals. Unlike regular herbs, homeopathic remedies don’t usually interfere with prescription drugs because they undergo a process of dilution and succession to activate the key ingredients. For example, passionflower and chamomile are available in homeopathic preparations. A few scientific studies have evaluated the benefits of homeopathic remedies, but a homeopath will have to evaluate your condition and prescribe an individualized treatment. Examples of homeopathic remedies prescribed for anxiety includes Lycopodium, Gelsemium, Aconitum and Arsenicum Album.
Bach Rescue Remedy
This formula is a combination of five herbs prepared in a very unique way; soaking the plant in water, and then exposing it to sunlight prepares the herbs. Afterwards, the liquid is mixed with distilled water. Based on nine scientific studies, the Bach Rescue Remedy has an excellent safety profile. It can be used in children, pregnant women, pets or debilitated patients, and effectively improves well-being, anxiety, stress and depression. Although the alcohol-based formulas are the most popular, you can buy the Bach Rescue Remedy in non-alcohol based preparations. There are no known interactions with prescription drugs.