Stress and anxiety are two of the most common mental health disorders that we all experience at some point in our life. For some, chronic anxiety is extremely common and is something they may experience on a daily or weekly basis. Currently, many people are looking for natural remedies to help ease stress and anxiety. Herbs are an excellent, natural source, full of healing medicine and power. Here are 3 herbal remedies for anxiety.
Why Are Herbs Important?
Before there were pharmaceuticals and big health corporations, our ancestors and those who came before us relied on plants and herbal remedies to ease any ailment. Herbs, plants and spices are packed with nutrition (as long as it comes from a good source), as well as antioxidants that can add therapeutic values to the food we eat. In many cultures, herbal medicine is still highly practiced and respected today. Herbal medicine involves the medicinal use of plants to treat disease and enhance general health and overall wellbeing. On a cellular level – herbs are important to our health as components for regeneration, rejuvenation, and creating balance if there are disturbances within the body.
Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis) is a potent root to use to help aid in sleep disorders and anxiety. This perineal plant is known by other names as well such as: garden heliotrope, Valerianae radix, and Phu. The best way to consume Valerian root is through teas. Relaxation and calmness are promoted within the system due to Valerenic acid found in the root. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) binds with the valerenic acid and can ease you into a calm and relaxed state. The Valepotriates are also responsible for gently effecting the central nervous system. What makes this plant so medicinal and magical is it has the ability to act as a sedative for agitated patients, while stimulates someone who is suffering from fatigue. Studies suggest that valerian root may help address generalized anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The main symptoms include anxious behaviors and may aid in alleviating anxiety caused by stressful situations.
Use only as prescribed by your herbalist, naturopath, or qualified practitioner. Valerian has been noted to cause some people headaches, muscular spasms, and heart palpitation. Try to avoid large doses and prolonged use. Do not take valerian root if you’ll be driving or operating heavy machinery, as it can affect your thinking and reaction abilities. Avoid taking valerian root with alcohol as it can induce drowsiness. Those who experience liver-related problems should avoid valerian root.
Valerian Root should not be mixed with or used in conjunction with Kava, St. John’s Wort, Melatonin, Benzodiazepines like Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Halcion, Barbiturates or central nervous system (CNS) depressants like phenobarbital (Luminal), morphine and propofol (Diprivan).
I absolutely love sipping on Valerian tea to ease any anxiety I may be feeling. My favorite, USDA organic tea from Buddha Teas can be ordered here.
Motherwort has an origin throughout Europe. This herb is especially aligned with women’s health which can aid in menstruation, labor and post-birth. It is also known to help ease anxiety. There are several forms to ingest Motherwort. There are tinctures available in almost any health food store, you can drink the tea up to three times a day, or you can simply infuse the dried cut up herbs. Motherwort also aids in nourishing the emotional heart too. Indicated for grief, anger and upset, this plant is said to give the heart of a lion – calm yet strong. For people who suffer from panic attacks, there have been several studies that found a decrease in anxiety in patients who took Motherwort regularly, especially before they felt a panic attack arise. Studies have shown that Motherwort also is an excellent aid in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.
Use only as prescribed by your herbalist, naturopath, or qualified practitioner. Motherwort is not recommended for those who take anticoagulants and or blood thinners such as: aspirin, garlic, willow bark, vitamin E in supplement form. Do not ingest if you are someone with clotting a disorder. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should not use Motherwort since it can lead to uterine contractions and cause miscarriage. Motherwort is also a natural sedative. You should not take it with sedative medications or sleeping pills.
Whenever I’m traveling I always make sure to bring my Motherwort tincture from HawaiiPharm. It’s the perfect size. Typically I do 10 drops 3x a day when my body feels like it’s needing the calming medicinal effects of Motherwort.
Lemon balm has been said to help ease anxiety and stress. This herb is in the mint family and is fairly common to find in any health food store or farmer’s market. Studies in the past suggest that a compound found in lemon balm (Rosmarinic acid) may produce anti-anxiety effects by increasing the availability of GABA (a signaling chemical) in the brain. When you combine Lemon Balm with Valerian root, the two herbs have an extremely relaxing and calming affect on the body and has been said to induce sleep for those who suffer from insomnia. Lemon balm also aids in enhancing cognitive function, aids in relieving menstrual cramps, strengthen the immune system and may help alleviate digestive issues. As an herbal tea, lemon balm tea does not contain caffeine. This may explain why it may be beneficial for calming upset nerves and relax and sooth any anxiety or disruptions within the body.
Use only as prescribed by your herbalist, naturopath, or qualified practitioner. Lemon balm may cause sedation. The herb could possibly interact and disturb the system if mixed with other supplements and medications, such as sedatives, thyroid medication, chemotherapy (like tamoxifen and irinotecan), warfarin, glaucoma medication, and drugs that affect serotonin and GABA. Do not mix lemon balm while drinking alcohol. It isn’t recommended to take lemon balm in high dosages or long term. If you’re undergoing a surgical procedure, do not drink lemon balm tea two weeks before it, because the tea’s sedative nature may negatively interact with the anesthesia.
You can find Traditional Medicinals Lemon Balm Tea in almost every grocery store (Vons, Ralphs, Whole Foods, Safeway, Albertsons..etc.,) or you can buy it online through Amazon here. BONUS –One of my absolute favorite teas came from my dear friend when she came back from the UK and visited me in Mexico. Clipper’s Snore & Peace Tea blend of Lemon Balm, Lavender and Chamomile is LIFE. I love mixing in some steamed coconut milk or almond milk and sipping on this after a long day.
When looking for natural ways to heal and ease any ailment or discomfort you may be experiencing, it’s always important to do your research and find what works well for you, your body, and your symptoms.
Although I am speaking about my own personal experience, I am not a licensed therapist or nutritionist. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your mental or physical health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.