Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder, with it being estimated that 1 in 4 Australians will suffer from Anxiety at some stage in their life.
There are many different forms of anxiety disorder but the one thing they have in common is the impact they have on day to day life. Anxiety interferes with the enjoyment of life and disrupts work, relationships and self perceptions.
With anxiety being so common in our society, more and more people are looking for natural supplements and herbs to help treat their anxiety in place of prescribed medication, which can often have distressing side effects.
Here we are going to look at the following supplements and herbs that have been found to help with anxiety:
- Kava Root
- Lemon Balm
- Valerian Root
Passionflower is a herb that is native to the southern area of the United States and South America and has been used for centuries for it’s calming and sedative qualities. Passionflower increases the levels of the neurotransmitter GABA which produces a calming effect in the brain.
Studies have shown that passionflower has comparable effects to that of prescription medication. It can be taken as a tea, tincture or extract and is best taken before bedtime as it does promote sleepiness and drowsiness.
There has been a lot of research into Kava as a treatment for anxiety and the results have shown that it is the most scientifically successful natural supplement for anxiety.
The effects of Kava include mild sedation, muscle relaxation and improved cognitive ability similar to those of anti anxiety medications. The Pacific Islanders have been using the root of the Kava Plant for thousands of years and is traditionally consumed as a tea but can now also be taken pill form.
The use of Kava had previously been linked to liver damage, however this idea has now largely been debunked but it still advised to avoid alcohol altogether while taking Kava.
Magnesium is involved in over 300 chemical reactions in the body and a deficiency in magnesium has been found to contribute to several mental health problems, including anxiety. Magnesium also balances out the levels of calcium in the body as too much calcium can be toxic to the body and affect the overall health of the brain.
Magnesium deficiency is on the rise due to a lower level of magnesium found in our foods these days because of magnesium depleted soil. Contributing to this is the fact that magnesium is used up by our bodies at a much quicker rate during periods of extreme stress.
Magnesium may not be a cure for anxiety but taking magnesium where there is a deficiency will help improve the symptoms of anxiety. Supplements can be taken orally or magnesium oil can be applied topically.
Lemon Balm has been used as a medicinal herb since ancient Greek times to promote sleep, ease agitation and relieve anxiety.
A recent study has demonstrated that lemon balm extracts were able to bind to receptors in the brain that triggered relaxation and improved calmness and attention, all of which are symptoms related to anxiety.
Lemon Balm can be consumed as a tea or taken as a capsule or tincture.
Valerian root was first used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as a treatment for insomnia. It contains specific acids that increase the production of GABA in your body which promotes relaxation and reduces stress.
The effects of taking Valerian Root is said to be similar to that of medication prescribed for anxiety and can be taken in capsule form or drank as a tea.
Using these herbs and supplements can help to improve the symptoms associated with anxiety without the severe side effects of prescribed medication. As with any herb or supplement always use in accordance with instructions and dosage amounts, as improper use or combining too many relaxing supplements at one time may have the opposite effect.
If you are taking prescribed medications it is always advised to consult with your doctor before taking any new supplements.
Anxiety is a debilitating and isolating disorder which you should not have to go through alone. In addition to any herbs and supplements you choose to take, ongoing support from a qualified anxiety therapist is essential to help overcome anxiety.