Many people suffering from anxiety seek out nontraditional or alternative methods for treating the condition. Some have tried prescription medications and have been turned off to the idea by the unwelcome side effects that so often accompany anxiety-neutralizing drugs. Others worry about the stigma associated with becoming a pill-popper. Whatever your reason for considering natural remedies for anxiety, we have good news for you: most of the effective alternative treatments for anxiety produce virtually no serious adverse side effects, and most importantly, they seem to really work!
Try these natural remedies for anxiety –
St. John & Wort:
If you’ve heard of St. John & Wort, you probably imagine it in its pill form, but this pill sold at virtually every drug and superstore around the country is actually derived from a plant that grows naturally in Europe and parts of Asia and Africa. The plant, less commonly known as hypericum or goat-weed, has yellow flowers that can be brewed to make tea or concentrated in a tablet or capsule form. The calming effect of St. John & Wort has been recognized for centuries and has been used to treat a variety of different ailments including anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. Medical studies have shown that the herb works by preventing the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. There have been some mild side effects reported including dizziness, light sensitivity, and sexual dysfunction, and the herb may minimize the intensity of prescription medications. Its important to consider these potentially negative effects before beginning a regimen of St. John & Wort.
For thousands of years, the chamomile flower has been used to treat a wide range of ailments including stomach upset, diaper rash, sleep disorders, and general anxiety. Known for its calming effect, chamomile can be taken in capsule form but is also commonly used to make medicinal teas. Although more research is necessary to prove its effects on anxiety, studies have shown that individuals who experience mild degrees of anxiety could benefit from a daily chamomile supplement. If you have any known allergies, you should consult your doctor before consuming chamomile as it has been shown to produce dangerous allergic reactions in a small percentage of people.
Kava Kava, categorized as a pepper, is native to the South Pacific and was traditionally used as a primary ingredient in ceremonial teas. Independent studies and meta-analyses have shown that kava kava significantly reduces anxiety as compared to placebo treatments. This particular herb appears to be associated with some dangerous side effects, however, including liver damage and liver failure. The perceived dangers of the plant prompted the FDA to issue a warning regarding the use of kava kava in 2002. If, despite this warning, you decide to try kava kava, you should avoid alcoholic beverages and any other medications or substances that burden the liver.
Valerian root, a flower native to Europe, Asia, and some parts of North America, has been referred to by the name all-heal for its variety of uses including the treatment of sleep disorders, headache, heart irregularities, and depression. Its history as a medicinal herb dates back to ancient Greece and Rome. Although the research on the effect of Valerian root on anxiety is minimal, the studies that do exist show a potentially profound effect on symptoms. One such study suggested that Valerian root was even more effective than Valium in minimizing stress responses. Although to date, no serious side effects have been associated with the use of Valerian Root, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) reports that there is insufficient data to recommend Valerian root for long-term use.
Passionflower, discovered in Peru in the sixteenth century, has long been used to treat sleep and nervous disorders as well as muscle tension. Although scientists are not exactly sure how passionflower works, animal studies have indicated that the chemicals in passionflower have a significant anxiety-reducing effect that rivals that of some prescription medications. Passionflower has been reported to have some mild side effects in some individuals including nausea, dizziness, confusion, and drowsiness. It may also increase the effects of some other medications and should not be used during pregnancy or prior to any surgical procedure.
Although these and other herbal remedies are indeed natural and can be beneficial in reducing the symptoms of anxiety, they are not meant to be taken in large doses or in combination with certain prescription medications. Although the FDA does not regulate the use of herbal supplements, it may still be a good idea to talk to your doctor before you begin taking a natural supplement. He or she can advise you as to the proper dosage and any potential drug interactions. If you don’t have a regular doctor, be sure to take the time to research these natural remedies for anxiety in depth before deciding to use them as an anti-anxiety treatment.
Have you or anyone known to you tried any of the above natural remedies for anxiety? What is your opinion? If you know any other natural remedy for anxiety please do list it below in the comments.
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