Dealing with everyday stress and pressure is not an easy task and leaves many of us feeling anxious. However, after dealing with everything the feeling usually subsides. Unfortunately, for some people this is not the case and the feelings of nervousness and depression persists.
Prescription medications are available to deal with this problem, but some are not only habit forming, but come with unwanted side-effects as well. For a more natural solution, there are herbs available that can be a boon to anyone struggling with anxiety.
Ashwagandha (withania somnifera) means “horse-like” in Sanskrit, which more than likely describes its strong aroma. However, this herb has many uses, including the treatment of anxiety.
Human trials were performed in order to measure the effectiveness of ashwagandha, compared to placebos, and the results were very positive. No serious side effects from taking ashwagandha during the study were reported either.
Taking ashwagandha results in lower levels of cortisol, which is produced as a result of stress. For the most effective results, a dose of 300-500mg is recommended, in the form of ashwagandha root extract.
Chamomile is another herb that has had very favorable results when it comes to treating general anxiety disorders. It is also very safe to use as it doesn’t have any serious side effects and is also not addictive.
The beneficial properties of chamomile have been known for thousands of years and everyone from the ancient Egyptians to Greeks and Romans used it as medicine.
The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine conducted studies where they compared the difference between participants given a placebo versus those given chamomile capsules. The results indicated that chamomile made a measurable difference when it came to reducing the anxiety of participants.
However, chamomile is not recommended for anyone allergic to Ragweed. One to four cups of tea daily is the recommended dosage or one to four ml of liquid extract.
Although passionflower extract is commonly used as flavoring in foods and beverages, it also has calming properties, which make it great for treating anxiety. The name is derived from Spanish missionaries, who associated the appearance of the passionflower with the passion of Christ.
According to scientists, the relaxing effect of passionflower is due to the increased levels of gamma aminobutyric acid it causes in the brain. Studies have also found that its use offers a much lower rate of impairment in relation to job performance compared to other medication.
For the best results, 45 drops of passionflower extract per day or three to four cups of passionflower tea is recommended.
4. Lemon Balm
This herb, which is part of the mint family, was used as early as the Middle Ages for the effective treatment of anxiety and even before that for other ailments. Since there are no adverse side effects to lemon balm, it can be taken even while breastfeeding or during pregnancy.
Lemon Balm can be purchased in the form of a dried leaf, but the most common way to ingest it is in the form of tea or capsules. Studies on Lemon Balm are usually done in conjunction with other extracts, such as valerian, but the results are typically very favorable.
Studies have also been done to gauge the effectiveness of Lemon Balm after laboratory-induced stress in humans and the results were very encouraging.
For one cup of tea, use one and a half to four and a half gram leaf in 150 ml water. For tincture, two to six ml should be taken orally three times a day.
The calming effects of Lavender has been known for centuries and is the reason why it is a staple component of many candles, massage oils, soaps, bath salts and other products.
Studies have been done to compare products that contain Lavender oil with other drugs used to treat anxiety and the results indicated that Lavender oil is not only as effective, but also has way less side effects. Studies have also shown that Lavender is an effective and non-invasive means to treat depression and anxiety.
When used in tea, one to two teaspoons of lavender per cup of water is recommended, while two to four drops should be used in two to three cups of boiling water for inhalation aromatherapy. For bath aromatherapy, six drops of lavender should be added to 20 liters of bath water.
Herbs can be very effective at treating anxiety, but always exercise caution and consult a doctor first, especially when already taking other medications. While most of these herbs have no side effects when used on their own, they can interact with certain medications.