You would be surprised to know that mental health problems affect many more people that you ever thought. In fact, almost 70 percent of Americans take one or other prescription drug. Almost 50 percent of them take at least 2 prescription pills.
Every year around 25 percent Americans suffer from some mental health disorder like anxiety or depression. Dr. Jennifer St. Sauver claims that this is the reason why antidepressants are among the 2nd most commonly used prescription drugs in the United States.
The bad thing is that the most widely prescribed antidepressants like Benzodiazepines cause so many types of side effects. They can cause mood changes which can range from hallucinations to even thoughts of suicide. The side effects can also include problem with walking, difficulty in talking, slurred speech, yellowing of skin or eyes, memory problems, loss of coordination, and even seizures.
So with all those die effects, you should consider these natural herbs to treat anxiety before thinking of using those drugs:
This exotic and sweet smelling flower has been used for long for making tea for easing anxiety, hysteria, seizures and insomnia. Its main benefits come from its sedative activity. According to scientists, passionflower helps increase gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in your brain.
This chemical helps you feel relaxed by lowering activity of certain brain cells. You can use it in place of Oxazepam (Serax) for the treatment of systems without the negative effects on your cognitive ability and focus.
This herb is part of the stress-reducing traditional medicine used in Scandinavia and China. It helps in treating fatigue and boosting happiness.
Our sympathetic nervous system is the one behind controlling shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, nausea, dizziness, and shaking. And Rhodiola helps in reducing activity in this system.
Another thing it does is to stimulate serotonin release. Serotonin is a hormone that makes you feel happy and relaxed.
This herb is a part of aromatherapy. It is used in natural healing for treating nervous disorders and depression of mild or moderate form. But lavender is much more than that. Its neuroprotective properties are helpful in making your mood stable and also manage your neurological disorders.
You can safely ingest lavender and use it on your skin. So there are many ways to use it:
- Drink lavender tea
- Add few drops into your bath
- Put a pouch of dried lavender flowers into the pillow case
Ashwagandha is part of the ayurvedic medicine, and has become popular for helping with agoraphobia. It is a kind of anxiety caused by open spaces and large crowds.
There is a study from 2012 that showed that Ashwagandha helped in significantly reducing serum levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. You can take it in different forms including as a supplement. However, it makes you feel more relaxed when taken as a tea.
If you want to make it easier to sleep, you should have a warm cup of chamomile tea. It can also be great in managing your anxiety attacks. According to numerous studies, this flower offers significant antidepressant activity against a placebo, based on the Hamilton Depression Rating (HAM-D) questionnaires.
Chamomile has the following active compounds that help in promoting relaxation through gradual reduction of blood pressure:
The very scent of vanilla can make you feel relaxed almost at once. According to a study, vanilla-like scents helped in lowering anxiety by up to 63 percent compared to the use of humidified air.
No surprise why vanilla is so widely used in creams, candles and even spa products.
You can take valerian root in different ways for treating headaches, anxiety disorders and insomnia. You can prepare tea or also take its pills.
Because of the strong smell, it is advised to take the tea or pill quickly. Then take a spoonful of molasses or maple syrup to wash down the taste.
8. St. John’s Wort
You can find St. John’s Wort at health food stores. In fact, you may even grow it in the backyard.
Dr. Klaus Linde (Physician at Munich Technical University) claims that this herb is similar to antidepressants such as Prozac in terms of effectiveness. However, the side effects, if any, are far less harmful.
Because St. John’s Wort is likely to get affected by prescription medication, make sure you have consulted your naturopath or doctor before using. You should especially consult the doctor if you are taking birth control.
9. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm can not only help in easing anxiety, it can also also help in enhancing quality of life even in the case of those patients suffering from severe dementia. This is a pleasing leaf that is nearly citrusy.
The crop can be easily grown, which makes it also cost-effective compared to drugs. Not to mention it is also safer! Lemon balm is also beneficial in improving calmness, memory functions and attention.
Rosemary is not only neuroprotective, it is equally delicious too. You can ingest is it or smell it and it can help you in so many ways. Rosemary can boost your cognitive performance and memory, and also ease nervous tension.
You can also use this essential oil to wean off painkillers or anti depressants such as morphine.
Note: – Make sure to consult your doctor or naturopath before you self-medicate. This is crucial even if you are using natural substances.
The above-mentioned herbs for anxiety are highly effective in providing temporary treatment. However, you should lead a healthy lifestyle, do regular exercise, get counseling and meditate to effectively manage anxiety.