Anxiety Herbal Remedies

ANXIETY/PANIC DISORDER

BENEFICIAL HERBS

  • Catnip, chamomile, skullcap, kava kava, hops, motherwort, passionflower and valerian have mild sedative properties and reduces anxiety. These can be taken 45 minutes prior to bedtime to help fall asleep and aid in preventing panic attacks at night. Caution: Avoid chamomile if you are allergic to ragweed and do not use chamomile on an ongoing basis, as ragweed allergy may result. Kava kava can cause drowsiness. If this occurs, discontinue use or lower the dosage.
  • Other herbs that are beneficial include basil (can be used in cooking or made into an herbal tea), damask rose, yarrow, oats, saw palmetto berries, ginger root, goldenseal, cayenne, blue vervain, linden, dandelion root, and motherwort. Caution: Do not take goldenseal on a daily basis for more than a week at a time, and do not use during pregnancy. Do not give goldenseal to children under two. Do not use goldenseal without consulting a physician if you have had heart disease, diabetes, glaucoma, a stroke, or high blood pressure.
  • Black cohosh is a primary nerve and smooth muscle relaxant and works great in cases of irritated nerves and general restlessness
  • Gotu kola helps to relax the nerves and supplies energy to the body to combat fatigue
  • Lemon balm, also known as balm, is helpful for calming nervous tension or anxious indigestion
  • Primrose and lavender can be used to reduce anxiety
  • Rosemary tea is reputed to be good for nervous tension and especially good for tension headaches
  • Wood betony calms the nerves and encourages relaxing sleep
  • Gentian root acts on the whole digestive process, stimulating appetite and increasing digestion by stimulating the flow of bile
  • Avoid ephedra (ma huang), as it can aggravate anxiety

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Try to increase your intake of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. These are valuable minerals that can be depleted by stress. (Foods high in these minerals include apricots, asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, dried fruits, figs, fish (especially salmon), garlic, green leafy vegetables, legumes, raw nuts and seeds, soy products, whole grains, and yogurt.
  • Eat more green vegetables, nuts, low-fat cheese, bananas, and seaweed for their B vitamins; live yogurt to synthesize B vitamins; black currants, blueberries, bilberries, cherries, and cranberries for their vitamin C content and bioflavonoids.
  • Try eating small, frequent meals rather than three large meals a day. Try not to skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast can drop your blood sugar to levels that will leave you feeling anxious and tremulous. If you are prone to such crisis, a high complex-carbohydrate breakfast will help prevent hypoglycemia later in the day.
  • For calming and winding down try some sugar. An ounce and a half to two ounces of pure carbohydrate seems to be the best calming dose for most people. This can be found in two cups of Cheerios® (without milk and sugar), or nine ounces of nondiet cola. Do not mix protein with your carbohydrate. Even a little protein can blunt the carbohydrate’s calming effects.
  • Drink your carbohydrates for quick relief since liquids pass more quickly through the stomach. Sip a cup of tea with two tablespoons of sugar mixed in or a cup of instant cocoa with water, not milk, or very slowly drink eight ounces of caffeine-free regular (nondiet) soft drink. Slowly sip the beverage through straw until you feel more relaxed.
  • Try sucking on sugary foods like lollipops or sourballs, which may help, keep stress under control.
  • Eat plenty of starchy foods (complex carbohydrates), dried fruit and milk. They contain the amino acid tryptophan, which is essential for the formation of the hormone serotonin, a powerful calming factor. Honey can play a key role in the effectiveness of tryptophan and has been long recognized as a mild tranquilizer.
  • Limit your intake of saturated fat and eat low-fat carbohydrate foods. It takes longer for fat-laden candy and desserts to work. Nearly pure sugar gumdrops, caramels, mints, and lollipops give faster relief than a higher-fat chocolate bar
  • Avoid foods that contain caffeine such as coffee, strong tea, chocolate, colas and other soft drinks that contain caffeine. Simply eliminating coffee can result in complete elimination of symptoms.
  • Flaxseed oil is high in essential omega-3 fatty acids, many people with panic attacks had signs of essential fatty acid deficiency
  • Keep a food diary to track your attacks and the foods you eat. Food allergies and sensitivities may trigger panic or anxiety attacks.

BENEFICIAL NUTRIENTS

A well balanced diet is a more natural source of nutrients and it is best to get as much as possible from food. If you are not eating a varied mixture of the main food groups or foods high in a certain nutrient needed for your health situation then make up the remaining through vitamin and mineral supplementation.

  • Increase your vitamin C intake to 500 milligrams two to three times a day.
  • Take a vitamin B complex supplement.

NON DIETARY TIPS

  1. Learn relaxation and imagery techniques. Biofeedback and meditation can be very helpful.
  2. Try a yoga class to promote relaxation.
  3. To help manage an acute attack, use breathing techniques. Gently and slowly inhale a normal amount of air through your nose, filling only your lower lungs. Exhale slowly. Continue this slow, gentle breathing with a relaxed attitude, concentrating on filling only the lower lungs. Repeat this sequence until the attack subsides. Remind yourself that panic attacks last for a limited amount of time, and that the attack will pass.
  4. Get regular exercise. All types of exercises will improve your health and the way you feel—walking, bicycle riding, swimming, aerobics, or whatever fits your individual lifestyle. After a few weeks of regular exercise, most people notice an improvement in anxiety symptoms.
  5. Be sure to get 8 hours of sleep every night. You should not stay up any later than 10:00 P.M. If sleep is a problem, go to insomnia for suggestions.
  6. Call a good friend or family member. Talking things over can lessen anxiety.
  7. If the self-help recommendations given above are not helpful, and if panic or anxiety is interfering with your life, consult your doctor.

In some cases, herbal products can interact negatively with other medications. Such interactions can be dangerous. Herbal remedies are not regulated and their quality is not controlled. Moreover, while there is an abundant supply of information circulating about herbs, not much of it has been scientifically proven. Consult your physician. Informing your doctor and pharmacist of what herbal products you are using is just as important as letting them know what drugs you are taking. Your physician and the pharmacist on duty at your pharmacy can assist you in deciding which herbs
are safe.

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