There are two types of anxiety and one such type is chronic anxiety in which people always sense problems and start foreboding which is accompanied by slight physical symptoms and the other type is panic attack that happens unexpectedly as well as abruptly and will be accompanied by symptoms that are often mistaken for heart attack. During a panic attack many people struggle to breathe and usually panic attacks happen when the sense of anxiety get accumulated and builds up beyond a limit and trigger the central nervous system to over react by producing stress hormones from adrenal glands and brain. It takes long time for such patient to return to the calmer state.
There are multiple reasons for anxiety such as meeting the dead line or stress of losing the job, divorce, death of loved ones, an accident etc. and the mind react to the fight sensations more vigorously even when there is only a slight trigger of anxiety. If you feel that you are getting worried unnecessarily then consult a doctor and identify the root cause. A well balanced diet, regular exercise, anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications etc. will help in getting relief from the anxiety attacks. But most of these medications cause addictions and side effects and hence people like to treat their anxiety with more natural and effective herbal remedies.
Even though herbal remedies for anxiety were popular from ancient times their benefits over modern medications are clearly understood only recently and most of the people have now switched to herbal remedies to find a solution for this condition. Herbal remedies offer more economical and cheaper treatment method and most of these herbs are available in the backyard itself. Here are few herbal remedies that are useful for treating anxiety.
Herbs for Anxiety Management
Indian Ginseng or Withania somnifera is an ayurvedic medicine that has mild sedative properties which is helpful for providing relief from nervous exhaustion and anxiety. Ginseng is widely used as a tonic that can boost the immunity and provide strength and stamina to the person. It also improves the functioning of adrenal gland and there by reduces the physical as well as mental stress.
Valeriana officanalis is a herb that is widely used for treating anxiety because of its mild sedative nature. It also helps to overcome insomnia and is also widely used as an antispasmodic that can cure nervousness related abdominal cramps, uterine cramps, palpitations, high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia and even the premenstrual tension. This herb is even used as a mild tranquilizer for treating emotional stress and is either used as such or in combination with some other herbs as infusion, coated tablets, capsules or tincture. It is non-addictive and safe but its usage in pregnancy and nursing period should be restricted.
Kava is scientifically called Piper methysticum and an herbal powder is made from the root of this plant for treating anxiety.Powdered roots of kava is used for making beverages, pills, extracts, capsules etc. and they are equally effective as the prescribed anxiety medications like benzodiazepines and avoids all the side effects such as mental impairment and lethargy caused by benzodiazepines.
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Further kava improves the memory, concentration and reaction time and act as a tranquilizer. Since kava is absorbed quickly by the body it provides result in a week’s time and the patient gets a state of relaxation and becomes more sociable. But some people develop dizziness, headache and gastrointestinal discomforts on using this herb.
Catnip can be used for treating anxiety, nervous disorders, headaches, nausea and insomnia. It also stimulates the mind and elevates the mood. The sedative effect of catnip helps to calm down the stressed and anxious people but pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should avoid this because its sedative effect cause drowsiness. Catnip is available as capsules or liquid preparation or the herb can be used to make a tea and for this soak one or two teaspoon of catnip leaves in a cup of hot water and allow these leaves to steep for five to ten minutes. Drink Catnip tea one to three times a day.
Skullcap is a perennial herb that has anti-inflammatory, astringent, antispasmodic, emmenagogue, tonic and sedative properties. Hence skullcap is widely used for maintaining a healthy nervous system and treating insomnia, seizures, heart palpitations, neuralgia etc. Skullcap has to be taken in moderate quantities to treat anxiety, depression and nervous tension because overdose of this herb cause giddiness, confusion, twitching, disorientation etc. Pregnant women should avoid this herb as it stimulates uterine contractions and leads to miscarriage.
St. John’s wort
St. John’s wort is a good remedy for anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. It contains two active components called hyperforin and hypericin that inhibits the stress causing hormones. Usually St. John’s wort is taken in a dosage of 900 mg per day but should be divided in to two doses and it takes about two to four week to notice the changes. St. John’s wort is very effective in treating moderate and mild depressive disorders and it causes fewer side effects.
Lemon balm known as Melissa officinalis is a perennial plant that has the smell and taste of lemon. It is a mild sedative that can be used either alone or in combination with other herbs like chamomile, hops, valerian to treat anxiety. Lemon balm is available as dried leaves, capsules, tea, extracts, tinctures and also in oil form.
Motherwort which is Leonurus cardiaca is highly useful for treating tension and stress and it can even be used during pregnancy, however care should be taken to avoid its usage during the first two trimesters of pregnancy as it stimulates uterine contractions. Motherwort should also be avoided when the menstrual bleeding is high. It also regulates the heartbeat, palpitations and arrhythmias that are associated with anxiety. It is an antispasmodic and gentle sedative that promotes relaxation instead of drowsiness. Motherwort can be taken three to four times a day in empty stomach and for the best results take it 30 minutes prior to the meals or going to bed. This nerve tonic provides calmness and peaceful sleep.
Passion flower, bacopa, omega 3 fatty acids, green tea etc also provides relief from anxiety. Besides taking herbs practice regular exercise for at least 30 minutes a day which helps to eliminate anxiety and keep you healthy. Similarly breathing exercise, yoga and meditations are ideal for controlling anxiety.