You might find surprising that there are many more people affected by mental health problems than you have thought.
About 70% of Americans take one prescription medicine, and about 50 % of them take 2 prescription pills at the minimum.
About 25% of Americans have some mental health problem such as depression or anxiety in a year. According to Dr. Jennifer St. Sauver, this is why the 2nd most used prescription medicine in U.S are antidepressants.
However, the most common prescribed antidepressants such as Benzodiazepines cause various negative effects. One of its side effects is mood changes ranging from hallucinations to even suicidal thoughts. Other negative effects are difficulties in talking, problems with walking, yellowing of eyes or skin, loss of coordination, slurred speech, memory problems, and even seizures.
Knowing these harmful side effects should make you think of the following 10 natural herbs prior to using those drugs for anxiety treatment.
Tea prepared from this exotic flower with a sweet smell has been used to treat hysteria, anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. Its sedative activity is responsible for its main benefits. Scientists claim that passionflower aids in the increasing of the brain levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA).
This chemical reduces the activity of specific brain cells, thus helping you to relax. This tea can be used as a replacement of Oxazepam (Serax) without the side effects on your focus and cognitive ability.
Scandinavian and Chinese people have long used this herb as a traditional medicine for stress reducing. It helps in improving your mood and in the treatment of fatigue.
Rhodiola helps in lowering the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. This system is responsible for controlling of rapid heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, shaking, and nausea.
It also stimulates releasing of serotonin, the hormone that make us feel relaxed and happy.
Lavender is included in aromatherapy, and it’s part of the natural treatment of nervous disorders and mild or moderate depression. However, this herb is so much more than this. Thanks to the neuroprotective abilities it possesses, it stabilizes the mood and deals with neurological disorders.
There are many ways to safely use lavender, either by ingesting it or applying it on your skin:
- Add several drops of lavender tea in your bath
- Drink lavender tea
- Put some lavender flowers in your pillow case
This herb has gained its popularity for helping with an anxiety type which is caused by large crowds and open spaces, known as agoraphobia. Ashwagandha significantly reduces the serum levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, proven by a 2012 study. It can be taken in various forms such as a supplement. But if you take it as a tea, it’ll make you feel relaxed.
Drink a warm chamomile tea to easily fall asleep. This tea can help you manage with attacks of anxiety. Based on the questionnaires of the Hamilton Depression Rating (HAM-D), this flower has great antidepressant activity against a placebo.
These are the compounds in chamomile, which help in relaxation by gradually lowering the blood pressure:
You have probably noticed that the very scent of vanilla relaxes you almost immediately. A study showed that scents of vanilla helped in reducing anxiety by up to 63 %, in comparison with humidified air usage. This explains the use of vanilla in many candles, creams, and spa products.
Valerian root can be consumed in various ways for the treatment of anxiety disorders, headaches, and insomnia. You can as well make a tea or take it in form of pills. Drink the tea of valerian, or take the pill quickly since it has strong smell. You can take a spoonful of maple or molasses syrup after drinking the tea or pill, to wash down the strong taste.
8. St. John’s Wort
This herb can be grown in your garden, and it’s also available in many health food stores. According to the physician at Munich Technical University, Dr. Klaus Linde, the effect of St. John’s Wort is similar to that of antidepressants like Prozac. Moreover, if there are any side effects, they are much more harmless.
Consult your doctor or naturopath, especially if you’re on birth control, prior to using this herb as it’s possible to be affected by prescription drugs.
9. Lemon Balm
Besides easing anxiety, lemon balm can as well help in improving the life quality even of people suffering from severe dementia. In contrast with drugs, the crop is easily grown and cost-effective. It’s also much safer, and beneficial for improving memory functions, attention, and calmness.
Not only that this herb is neuroprotective, but it’s super delicious as well. It can help you in many different ways by smelling it or ingesting it. This herb can improve your memory and cognitive performance, as well ease your nervous tension. The essential oil from rosemary can help you come off an addiction of painkillers, or anti-depressants like morphine.
Tip: Consult your naturopath or doctor before you self-medicate, even if you use natural remedies.
All of these herbs are extremely effective in temporary treatment of anxiety.
Don’t forget to have a healthy lifestyle, get counseling, and do regular exercise in order to manage your anxiety most effectively.