In today’s world, people turn more and more to natural remedies for a large variety of medical conditions. Herbs and vitamins are an excellent source of natural remedies against mild to moderate conditions of stress, insomnia, anxiety and associated symptoms.
The herbs and vitamins below are considered dietary supplements, and sold in drugstores and health stores all over the world. Their effectiveness against anxiety symptoms has been proven over the years, but there are always skeptics who doubt their efficiency. It should be noted that these alternative remedies are not to replace doctor prescribed medications for severe anxiety and panic disorders.
Nature always finds a way of healing our body and mind, and some of the best medications are derived from plants and natural elements. For natural treatments of your anxiety symptoms, try one or all of the remedies below. If you are taking anxiety and depression medications, you should consult with your health care provider first, as some of these natural remedies might interfere with your medication.
Valerian Root (Valerina Officinalis)
Valerian, with its pink or white flowers, is a perennial flowering plant. The valerian root extract is processed through maceration, trituration and dehydration and packaged into capsules as a dietary supplement. Research shows that the valerian root extract helps to calm the nerves and reduces the symptoms of anxiety. It is also used to relieve insomnia caused by anxiety.
Many users claim that they can feel valerian’s effect in 20-30 minutes, while others feel that it only works when taken over several weeks. Some studies have demonstrated that valerian extracts interact with the GABA receptors and is a natural alternative to benzodiazepine drugs, such as Diazepam, Lorazepan, Alprazolam, Oxazepam, etc. However, relying on valerian extract to treat severe anxiety disorders is not recommended.
Valerian capsules are available in both standardized and unstandardized forms. Standardized products may be preferable considering the wide variation of the chemicals in the dried root. When standardized, it is done so as a percentage of valerenic acid or valeric acid.
Typical dosages of the crude herb vary from 2-10 grams per day. Valerian root is nontoxic, but may cause side effects, such as giddiness and disorientation, when taken in large excessive doses. Other persons might experience allergic reactions, such as skin rashes or difficulty breathing. In that case, usage should be immediately discontinued and medical help should be sought.
Passion Flower (Passiflora Incarnata)
The passion flowers or passion vines (Passiflora) are a genus of about 500 species of flowering plants, and they are famous for their exotic and beautiful flowers. Passion flower extracts affect the central nervous system, reducing the physical symptoms of anxiety and greatly improving mood.
Native Americans have a long history of using the maypop passion flower (P. incarnata) leaves and roots to make a tea that is used to treat insomnia, anxiety, hysteria, and epilepsy, and is also valued for its analgesic properties.
In initial trials for treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, maypop extract performed as well as Oxazepam but with fewer short-term side effects. It was recommended to follow up with long-term studies, and it looks like a very promising natural alternative to synthetic drugs.
Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita)
Chamomile flowers look like small daisies, and they are best known for their ability to be made into a soothing and relaxing tea. They are also used for calming some of the physical side effects of long-term anxiety such as upset stomach, digestive problems, and restlessness.
Chrysin, a specific flavonoid found in chamomile, has been shown to be anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and is believed to be at least partially responsible for chamomile’s reputation as a sleep aid.
Chamomile tea has been used worldwide for a long time, and some people claim that in addition to being anxiolytic, it also has the capability to treat colds, sores, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids. Whether chamomile is the miracle herb as they claim or not, it is sure to have some calming effect on the body and mind. In addition, a cup of chamomile tea tastes delicious, especially if you add some lemon and honey to it.
Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis)
Lemon balm is a perennial herb in the mint family, and its leaves have a gentle lemon scent. Lemon balm is also used medicinally as a herbal tea, or in extract form. It is used as an anti-anxiety, mild sedative or calming agent.
Lemon balm extract was identified as a potent inhibitor of GABA transaminase, an enzyme, which explains its anxiety calming effects. The major compound responsible for GABA transaminase inhibition activity in lemon balm is rosmarinic acid.
Studies have shown that lemon balm improves mood and mental performance. These effects are believed to involve muscarinic and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the brain. Positive results have been achieved in a small clinical trial involving Alzheimer patients with mild to moderate symptoms.
Lemon balm users also claim that the tea has antibacterial and antiviral properties. So, why not try a cup of delicious lemon balm tea? You’ll be glad you did.
Vitamin B Complex
The Vitamin B complex family is a group of vital vitamins that enhance the immune and nervous system, promote cell growth and division, increase the rate of metabolism, and are necessary for maintaining healthy skin and muscle tone.
The B-complex contains 8 distinct B vitamins:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B7 (biotin)
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamins)
Vitamin B complex can be found in capsule format in any drugstore or health food store. Naturally, B vitamins can be found in whole-grain cereals, bread, red meat, egg yolks, green leafy vegetables, legumes, sweet corn, brown rice, berries, and yeast.
Taking a Vitamin B-complex supplement, in particular during the winter months, will help strengthen your nervous system to fight back the effects of stress and anxiety.
Zinc is a mineral that our body cannot produce, yet it needs to have in order to properly function. Zinc has been found to have a strengthening and calming effect on the nervous system, when taken regularly.
Therefore, zinc should be consumed daily either as a supplement, or replenished through your diet.
Foods high in zinc are oysters, wheat germ, veal liver, sesame flour, roast beef, roasted pumpkin and watermelon seeds, cocoa, dark chocolate, lamb, peanuts.
Calcium and Magnesium
It is well known that calcium and magnesium are necessary minerals for proper functioning of the human body. The amount of calcium and magnesium we need varies with age and sex. The older we get, the more we need, and this is especially true for women.
Calcium and magnesium should be taken together, as magnesium aids in the absorption of calcium in the body. Many common health conditions, such as heart palpitations, high blood pressure, diabetes, fibromyalgia, anxiety, insomnia, migraines and others may be caused by magnesium deficiencies.
Magnesium rich foods include beans, nuts and vegetables, while calcium rich foods are dairy products, broccoli, eggs, nuts, sardines, salmon, tofu.
Dietary supplements of combined Calcium and magnesium are available in drugstores and health food stores, so if your diet alone does not satisfy your daily required calcium and magnesium intake, be sure to take some supplements.
The effects of these herbs and vitamins vary from person to person, for some it takes a few weeks to feel an improvement, for some takes a lot less. If you are thinking of trying out some of these herbs and vitamins to treat your anxiety symptoms, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider first. Also, be sure to reduce stress in your life as much as possible, get plenty of sleep, reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake, and exercise regularly.
And always keep in mind that there is plenty help out there for your anxiety condition.
This is a resource and guide where you will find all the information regarding depression and anxiety.