6 Top Herbs That Can Help You in Fighting Anxiety
According to the research, anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million American adults. This makes up about 18 percent of the local population. There is a wide variety of anxiety disorders that affect the general population. However, they all share symptoms such as excessive anxiety and interfere with aspects of daily life, such as school, work, and interpersonal relationships.
Here are some of the disorders categorized as anxiety:
- Generalized anxiety disorder: GAD affects about 6.3 million Americans. It’s one of the most prevalent anxiety disorders with symptoms such as nervousness and constant worry.
- Panic disorder: PD affects more than 6 million Americans, with women twice more likely to develop it than men.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: OCD affects more than 2 million adults, with most people getting their first signs at the age of 19.
- Phobias: More than 19 million Americans suffer from specific types of phobias. These include fear of spiders, heights, snakes, dogs, flying, injections, thunder and lightning, and other things that seem quite ordinary to the rest of the population.
- Major Depressive Disorder: MDD affects more than 16 million Americans. For most of them, the age of onset is 32 years.
Other conditions connected to anxiety include persistent depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, sleep disorders, adult ADHD, stress, and fibromyalgia. These conditions co-occur with anxiety, and when you are dealing with anxiety, you also need to address them.
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a normal response to unexpected events such as salary cuts, loss of employment, moving to a new neighborhood, and others. However, when the symptoms become more massive than the source of stress and start interfering with your regular life, you could be developing an anxiety disorder. Here are the main symptoms of the disorder:
- Excessive worry
- The agitation which manifests in racing pulse, sweaty palms, shaking hands and a dry mouth
- Restlessness and inability to concentrate
- Extreme fatigue
- Tense muscles and irritability
- Panic attacks
- Irrational fears
- Avoiding social situations
Why People Shy Away from Conventional Anxiety Treatment
There are five primary reasons why, despite the high prevalence of anxiety disorders in the local population, most do not seek treatment. The reasons people avoid treatment for mental health problems include:
- Fear and shame
- Anosognosia or the belief that nothing is wrong with your health
- Lack of trust with mental health care experts
- Lack of availability and other physical barriers
Why you should Try Herbal Remedies for Anxiety
Research shows that most people with anxiety were also likely to develop a drug addiction. This is because some of the most popular medications used to treat anxiety disorders are addictive. These include all drugs of the benzodiazepines class. The beauty of natural remedies to any condition is that adverse side-effects rarely accompany them. The benefits of using herbs for anxiety treatment include:
- Herbs are non-addictive
- You simply incorporate them to your diet, making them easier to get used to
- Herbs will not give you adverse side-effects
- There is no fear and stigma associated with having the supplements in your home
- Some of the herbs treat the root cause of the anxiety, and not the symptoms
The Top 6 Herbal Treatments for Anxiety
Herbal remedies have been around for millennia. They have been helping humanity cope with physical and emotional health issues successfully. Here are six herbs that are excellent in dealing with an anxiety disorder.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two main cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The perception of the cannabis plant changed when scientists managed to separate it from THC, which is the ingredient that makes cannabis psychoactive. CBD qualifies as a herb because it comes from the flowers, leaves, and stem of the hemp plant. CBD has several therapeutic benefits.
A 2010 study conducted on people with generalized anxiety disorder proved that CBD is effective in treating anxiety disorders.
It works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The ECS system regulates mood, appetite, sleep, and other behaviors.
People with stress and anxiety disorder have an impairment in their endocannabinoid receptors. Cannabidiol mimics the body’s endocannabinoid hormones. Every day, people are turning to CBD because it restores balance in the hormones thus enabling the body to function properly. When the CBD stimulates the ECS receptors, the imbalance in brain chemicals rectifies itself, and you stop feeling anxious.
Additionally, cannabidiol from Vaporizer Chief does have soothing effects on the human brain and will help you relax when you are agitated as a result of anxiety.
The Health Benefits of Cannabidiol
CBD affects how your brain receptors react to the serotonin in your system. Therefore, it keeps depression away.
By altering the endocannabinoid system, CBD prompts the body to correct the imbalances in the brain, which could lead to mood disorders such as stress and anxiety.
The endocannabinoid system is known to affect appetite, CBD regulates, and ECS system, controlling your appetite and hence, your mood.
2. Valerian Root
Valerian root is native to Asia and Europe, where natives called it nature’s sedative during the Greek and Chinese civilizations 2,000 years ago. People have used their flowers in perfumes for centuries. The roots, on the other hand, have a strong earthy smell which makes them hard to take as a tea. Luckily, they can be made into easy to swallow pills.
The active ingredients in Valerian include:
- Valerenic acid
- Isovaleric acid
These ingredients interact with the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, the brain chemical that helps regulate nerve impulses. Scientists believe there is a connection between low levels of GABA and stress, anxiety, and poor quality sleep. Therefore, when the ingredients in valerian root attach to the brain’s GABA receptors, you get a calming effect.
The active ingredients are also known to activate the adenosine and serotonin receptors, both of which affect relaxation and sleep. Additionally, the active ingredients reduce the level of the stress hormone, cortisol in the brain.
The calming effect produced by the root’s ingredients ease symptoms such as agitation, panic, and hyperactivity, helping you slow down, and fall asleep. Hesperidin and Linarin are the primary antioxidants found in valerian root. Both inhibit hyperactivity in the Amygdala, the part of the brain that processes reactions to severe stress.
Health benefits of Valerian Root
Other health benefits of Valerian root include:
- It cures insomnia
- It treats anxiety as effectively as some over the counter pills
- It reduces hot flashes, which can be caused by anxiety
Kava or Kava Kava is biologically known as Piper methysticum. It is a plant native to the Southern Pacific Islands. The indigenous people of the Southern Pacific Islands first grind the leaves of the plant to a paste and then use the paste to create the drink, which induces a state of sedation and relaxation. Natives initially used it during rituals.
The main active ingredient in Kava Kava is kavalactones. Research has shown that kavalactones have the following effects on the human body:
- Reduction of anxiety
- Reduction of pain sensation
Kavalactones create a relaxing impact on the brain by interacting with the Gamma-aminobutyric Acid. Scientists who have studied Kava Kava also confirm that there are no side effects associated with stopping its usage, unlike most conventional medication, which tends to create addiction.
Research has also proven that Kava Kava is very effective in treating insomnia. Stress, anxiety, blood pressure, and depression all cause insomnia. When Kava Kava was given to patients with sleeping disorders, they showed an improvement in sleep patterns. The natural remedy is available as a tea, tincture, and capsules.
The Health Benefits of Kava Kava
- It gives you a euphoric effect similar to that of alcohol, but non-addictive
- It can help treat insomnia
- It reduces inflammation, one of the leading physiological causes of anxiety and restlessness
4. Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm is biologically known as Melissa Officinalis. It belongs to the mint family of herbs, and in fact, resembles mint in appearance. The herb originated from North Africa, Europe, and Western Asia. However, it is currently grown around the world. The herb is also known as a common balm or balm mint. It is typically used in tea and also as a flavoring. Some people also use lemon balm oil extract in aromatherapy.
The main active ingredient in lemon balm is Rosmarinic Acid. The acid binds to the Cholinergic, muscarinic, and nicotinic brain receptors creating sedative effects. Other ingredients found in lemon balm include eugenol and terpenes. The two active ingredients affect the human brain as follows:
- Eugenol is an analgesic that helps in pain relief. It achieves this by blocking the prostaglandins in the body. When these pain receptors are blocked, the body also becomes sedated.
- Terpenes are the building blocks of cannabinoids. When artificial cannabinoids interact with the brain, they affect the natural Endocannabinoid system, with the result being mood regulation.
Lemon Balm is a supplement that you can add to your tea or an oil extract that you can add to food or use in aromatherapy.
The Benefits of Lemon Balm
- Helps relieve stress
- Reduces anxiety
- Helps relieve indigestion, which sometimes causes anxiety
- It eases insomnia and other sleep disorders which are caused by anxiety and stress
The use of chamomile as an herbal tea dates back to ancient Egypt, where they used it as a remedy for the common flu. The herb comes from the daisy-like flowers of the Asteraceae plant family. People that enjoy chamomile tea use it as an alternative to green tea and prefer chamomile because it lacks caffeine. Chamomile also has an earthy and sweet taste that most people prefer to the somewhat bitter taste of the tannins found in tea.
The main active ingredient in chamomile is Chrysin, a flavonoid that gives the herb most of its health benefits. Scientists are currently researching the effectiveness of flavonoids in reducing depression in humans, and Chrysin is one of the most active flavonoids in this. Flavonoids like Chrysin also bind to the GABA receptors of the brain, creating a relaxing sensation in the user.
Health Benefits of Chamomile
- It improves the quality of your sleep by binding to the receptors that promote sleepiness and relaxation in your brain.
- It improves digestion and reduces the risk of certain digestive disorders that can create mood disorders
- It improves heart health, which in turn, regulates circulation and overall health.
- It reduces anxiety and depression.
Passionflower is originally from the southern parts of the country, Central and South America. It is scientifically known as Passiflora Incarnata, and it belongs to the Passifloraceae family.
Some people take the flowers orally for several health conditions, while others apply it topically for skin conditions. There are close to 500 known species of passionflower. However, most of them seem to have the same effect on the human brain. Passionflower contains several chemicals that alter the natural brain chemistry:
- Flavonoids such as quercetin and apigenin
- Alkaloids such as maltol and indole
- Vixetin and Coumarin
Passionflower contains a high concentration of Chrysin, which has been studied extensively and found to have anxiolytic effects on the mind. Research has also proven that maltol and indole have a sedative effect on the human brain. Flavonoids work by binding to the GABA receptors of the brain, which leads to relaxation, and alleviation of stress symptoms.
The Health Benefits of Passionflower
- It helps calm your mind
- It soothes your stomach, alleviating disorders that could affect your mood
- It causes sedation, which is an effective remedy for the hyperactivity that results from an anxiety disorder
Above are six of the top herbs that can help you eliminate symptoms of anxiety, and get better sleep. The herbs are available in tea, capsules, pills, and other forms of supplements. The fantastic thing about turning to natural remedies as opposed to over-the-counter medication is that herbs are non-addictive. Additionally, once you start taking the conventional mood disorder medication, you develop resistance, which leads to the need for a higher dosage for it to be effective. Eventually, this takes its toll on your brain chemicals and neurotransmission process. It is advisable to incorporate a few of these herbal remedies to your diet to enhance the overall quality of your life.