Herbs for anxiety relief

No-body likes to feel anxious, and while feeling anxious can be perfectly normal some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and if steps are not taken it can end up affecting their daily life.

Anxiety is the main symptom of several conditions, including panic disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder (social phobia).

As with all other drugs, always read the label and if in doubt consult a physician first.

St John’s Wort - Hypericum perforatum

Herbs for anxiety relief
St John's wort is widely known as a herbal treatment for depression.

Its effectiveness is due to the inhibition of reuptake of certain neurotransmitters. Studies have shown that St John’s Wort can be an effective remedy for mild to moderate depression without the side effects of more conventional antidepressants.

Be aware that you should not take St John’s Wort if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and that St John’s Wort is not suitable for children. It can also interfere with prescribed medication.

Valerian - Valeriana officinalis

Herbs for anxiety relief
Valerian is a herb or dietary supplement prepared from roots of the plant. the crude extract of its root has sedative and anxiolytic effects. It can also be classified as a drug since its consumption produces a sedative or medicinal effect, while it is not exclusively a type of food.

It is most often used to treat insomnia and as an alternative for sedatives, such as benzodiazepines in the treatment of certain anxiety disorders.

Valerian should not be taken at the same time as sleeping pills or tranquilizers, although it can be combined with other herbs such as camomile, melissa or passionflower. Again, do not take if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and valerian is not suitable for children. Valerian should not be taken before driving or any other situation where you need to be alert.

Passionflower - Passiflora incarnata and Passiflora edulis

Herbs for anxiety relief
Passion flower leaves and roots have a long history of use among Native Americans in North America which were then adapted by early European colonists.

The fresh or dried leaves of the passionflower are used to make a tea that is used for insomnia, hysteria, and epilepsy. Once dried, the leaves can also be smoked.

Once again, do not take passionflower if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and that passionflower is not suitable for children.

Rhodiola rosea

Herbs for anxiety relief
Rhodiola rosea has been used for centuries in Russia and Scandinavia to cope with the cold Siberian climate and stressful life. It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called hóng jǐng tiān.

Rhodiola rosea is effective for improving mood and alleviating depression and studies on human subjects have shown that it improves physical and mental performance, and may even reduce fatigue. However, while there is support for it having antidepressant effects, Rhodiola rosea is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to cure, treat, or prevent any disease. It is worth mentioning that it is recognised as an official medicine in Russia and Scandinavia for treating fatigue, memory loss and poor concentration.

Do not take Rhodiola rosea if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and that Rhodiola rosea is not suitable for children.

Chamomile - Matricaria chamomilla (synonym: Matricaria recutita)

Herbs for anxiety relief
Chamomile is commonly used to make a herb infusion that can help to induce sleep. It can be taken as an herbal tea, two teaspoons of dried flower per cup of tea, which should be steeped for 10 to 15 minutes while covered to avoid evaporation of the volatile oils.

Some compounds in chamomile bind to the same brain receptors as drugs like Valium.There is also evidence to support the claim that chamomile possesses anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties and may have clinical applications in the treatment of stress and insomnia.

Because chamomile has been known to cause uterine contractions that can invoke miscarriage, the U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends that pregnant and nursing mothers not consume chamomile.

Lemon balm - Melissa officinalis

Herbs for anxiety relief
Lemon balm has been used at least since the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, and also to help with sleep. In traditional Austrian medicine, lemon balm leaves have been prescribed as a tea or as an essential oil application for the treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, nervous system, liver, and bile.

Lemon balm is also used medicinally as an herbal tea as a mild sedative, or calming agent and at least one study has found it to be effective at reducing stress.

Be aware though that some studies have found that taking too much lemon balm can actually make you more anxious.

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