I hope you have had some time to try some of the supplements I recommended for those with anxiety in last week's post. This week I wanted to talk about herbal remedies for anxiety. Herbs can be very helpful when it comes to managing your it, but there are a few things you need to consider before you try any of these remedies.
Firstly, I am not a certified herbalist or a medical doctor. I'm listing these herbs based on research and using them myself to control the anxiety that I had after some sever bullying at a job I had been at for close to sixteen years. These herbs significantly helped me manage anxiety. I went from chronic anxiety where I was anxious all the time to the point that now I rarely have an anxiety episode. Herbal remedies are not the only treatment that I did. I completely changed the way I eat, sleep and exercise along with changing my thought process with hypnotherapy There is not one thing that will make your anxiety go away, but by using a holistic approach and doing self care, you can lessen it or even stop anxiety in its tracks.
Secondly, all herbal supplements are not are not created equally. There is not a lot of requirements to prove potency of a product. I strongly suggest you find reputable companies that produce herbal supplements. You should look for a company that is Good Manufacturing Practice certified (GMP) or similar certifications. GMP makes supplement manufacturers responsible for adhering to a specific set of manufacturing processes, safety procedures and packaging standards to ensure the dietary supplement labels are truthful and that actual dietary supplement contents match the contents on the Supplement Facts label. Companies that use this practice will have a green GMP certified label on their product.
Thirdly, if you are on prescription drugs or have a diagnosed illness, do your research about interactions with the drugs you are prescribed any illness that you have. A pharmacist will be able to tell you if there are interactions. You may also want to consider speaking with you doctor. You may get some push back about taking herbs. Ultimately, you need to make informed decisions about what you put in your body.
Lastly, I find that in this day and age, we expect to see big changes overnight. Sometimes it takes a few days, or a week for a body to acclimate to something new. So my best advice is that if you do try taking an herbal remedy, give yourself a little bit of time to see if it is effective or not. And of course, if you have some kind of negative reaction stop taking it immediately.
Ashwaghanda. This herb is an adaptogen meaning it helps your body to adapt during times of stress and to normalize its effect on bodily processes. It is also an Ayurvedic remedy. There has been research that it is as effective as some prescription medications in minimizing anxiety. Supplement dosage is about 900 mg. You can take this once a day or half dosage twice a day. You can also purchase this in loose form and can add it to your smoothie in the morning. I use about 1/4 tsp. It has a strong astringent and bitter taste so keep that in mind if you are adding it to your breakfast drink. I found that not only did i feel calmer, I was less likely to be anxious during regular activities like going out and finding a place to park. I also found that my sleep improved when I took this supplement in the evening.
Lemon Balm: This plant is a relative of lavender. It is known for its sedative properties. It also supports lowering blood pressure and your thyroid. Dosage is 500 mg. You can take this once daily or split into twice a day. I take this herb daily as a tea (1 tsp.)
Fennel : Please Note: Fennel can thin your blood and should not be taken if you are on a blood thinner or if you take anti-inflammatory drugs. It also lowers blood pressure. Dosage is best as a tea 1 use teaspoon crushed and steeped in boiling water for 5 – 10 minutes. I mix this with mint leaves when I make tea and a little honey. I found this herb effective in calming my mind and a clearer thinking process.
Bacopa. This herb has been found to reduce cortisol. Cortisol levels increase during times of anxiety and during prolonged times of stress. This stress hormone can increase levels of anxiety. Dosage is about 500 mg and can be taken once or split into two times. I use this herb when I am dealing with a lot of stress and don't take it regularly.
Chamomile. Please Note: You should be aware that if you have an allergy to ragweed, it is possible to become allergic to this herb if taken over a period of time. This herb is known for its calming affect. I only take this as a tea mixed with other herbs when I am having trouble sleeping. You can take it daily if allergies are not an issue for you. Dosage is 350 – 500 mg daily and can be taken once or split into two times.
Passionflower: There was a study done in 2017 that found this plant was as effective as some anxiety prescription medications. This can be taken as a supplement or tincture. Dosage is 500 mg that can be once daily
Lavender: This herb has been known as a stress and sleep remedy. It has a sedative effect on the central nervous system. Dosage is 400 mg once daily or split to twice daily. Please note that there has been a study that prolonged use of this herb can decrease cognitive function. I was not able to find the exact dosage or method of how the lavender was used. In the study I take this herb when I start to feel anxious. In the beginning I was taking it regularly for 3 weeks and then I would take a break for at least the same amount of time. Now I use it as needed. If I'm having trouble sleeping, a couple of drops of essential oil lavender has been helpful
Kava Kava. Please Note: my research indicated that it is possible to have liver damage if this plant is taken for long periods of time. It should not be taken any longer than 4 weeks, and you should be under a doctor's care while you take this. There was a study in 2016 of the Kava Kava plant. It was found that it targets GABA (a hormone found in the body) receptors that manage anxiety symptoms. So it actually enhances what your body does naturally to manage anxiety. Dosage is 250 mg and can be taken as one dose or split into two. I have not taken this herb as I am currently using pain medications for arthritis that are processed through the liver and I did not want to put an extra level of strain on my organ.
Rhodiola. This plant has been used for its calming properties and is often called a 'nerve tonic' Dosage is approximately 500 mg. It can be taken once daily or split into two times.
Valerian. This herb is best known to aid sleep. Because of it's calming effects, it can be used for anxiety. If your anxiety causes difficulty in you falling asleep, taking this about 20 – 30 minutes before you sleep can be helpful.. If you are going to drink this as a tea instead of capsules, You are going to want to get mint tea or some other decaffeinated well scented tea. The best scent description I can come up with is when on it's own, it smells like stinky socks. I'm not joking. If you take this in capsule form, dosage is 500 mg either once a day or split to twice daily.
Is there an herb that I haven't mentioned that you found useful for anxiety? Let me know. I would also love to hear about your experiences with using any of these herbs.