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Herbal Treatments for Anxiety: Can Natural Remedies Help You Cope?

Updated: May 8, 2023


Anxiety disorders affect millions of people worldwide, making it a widespread mental health issue. While pharmaceutical drugs are commonly prescribed for anxiety, many people are interested in alternative treatments. One popular alternative is the use of herbal remedies. In this article, we'll explore the effectiveness of traditional herbal treatments for anxiety and the scientific evidence behind them. We'll also discuss practical considerations and potential interactions with medication. Finally, we'll examine mind-body techniques and complementary therapies that can help manage anxiety.

Introduction


Anxiety disorders are common, affecting approximately 40 million adults in the United States alone. While anxiety is a natural and normal response to stress, excessive anxiety can interfere with daily life and lead to severe distress. It can also increase the risk of depression, substance abuse, and suicide. Medication and psychotherapy are effective treatments for anxiety disorders, but many people are interested in natural remedies such as herbal treatments.


Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to treat various ailments, including anxiety. They are perceived as a natural, safe, and cost-effective alternative to pharmaceutical drugs. However, the efficacy of herbal treatments for anxiety is still subject to debate.

Traditional Herbal Treatments for Anxiety


Several herbs are commonly used to treat anxiety. They include:


Passionflower

Passionflower is a herb that has been traditionally used to treat anxiety and insomnia. It is believed to work by increasing the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that helps reduce anxiety. Several studies have found that passionflower is effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and anxiety before surgery.



Valerian Root

Valerian root is a herb that is commonly used to treat insomnia and anxiety. It is believed to work by increasing GABA levels in the brain. Several studies have found that valerian root is effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, including GAD. However, its effects on sleep are still subject to debate.


Kava

Kava is a herb that is traditionally used in the South Pacific for its sedative and anxiolytic properties. It is believed to work by increasing GABA levels in the brain. Several studies have found that kava is effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, including GAD. However, the use of kava has been associated with liver toxicity, and it is banned in several countries, including Canada and Germany.



Keep Calm Herbal Tea

Our Keep Calm Herbal Tea is a blend of nervine and adaptogenic herbs designed to nourish and support the nervous system, easing feelings of anxiety, stress, and irritability. This combination of herbs promotes mental clarity, focus, and resilience against future stressors, while also providing a soothing and calming experience. With a hoppy and floral flavor and gentle notes of passion flower, our Keep Calm Herbal Tea is an excellent choice for those seeking a natural way to manage stress and promote relaxation.


Lavender

Lavender is a herb that is commonly used in aromatherapy and as a tea to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. It is believed to work by increasing GABA levels in the brain. Several studies have found that lavender is effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, including GAD and anxiety before surgery.


Chamomile

Chamomile is a herb that is commonly used as a tea to promote relaxation and sleep. It is believed to work by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Several studies have found that chamomile is effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, including GAD and postpartum anxiety.



Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a herb that is commonly used to reduce stress and anxiety. It is believed to work by increasing GABA levels in the brain. Several studies have found that lemon balm is effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, including GAD and anxiety before surgery.



Joy Herbal Tea

Our JOY herbal tea blend is a specially formulated herbal tea that contains sedative healing herbs known for their anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties. The herbs in this blend are known to promote emotional stability, restful sleep, and an overall sense of well-being. Additionally, the blend contains adaptogens that help normalize body functions, including those of the brain, making it a great choice for those seeking natural support for their mental health.



Scientific Evidence Behind Herbal Treatments


While traditional herbal treatments have been used for centuries to treat anxiety, their efficacy is still subject to debate. While several studies have found that herbs like passionflower, valerian root, kava, lavender, chamomile, and lemon balm are effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, other studies have found no significant effects.

Furthermore, many of these studies have limitations, such as small sample sizes, short study durations, and lack of rigorous controls. Additionally, the quality of herbal remedies can vary widely, and there is a lack of standardized dosing and preparation guidelines.


While there is evidence to suggest that herbal treatments may be effective for anxiety, further research is needed to confirm their efficacy and safety.


Possible Side Effects of Herbal Remedies

While herbal treatments are generally perceived as natural and safe, they can still have side effects. For example, kava has been associated with liver toxicity, and valerian root can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and headaches. Additionally, some herbs can interact with other medications, which can be dangerous. It's important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking any herbal remedies. Feel free to schedule your FREE meet and greet with me below.



Interactions with Medications


Herbal remedies can interact with prescription medications, potentially leading to harmful effects. For example, St. John's wort, another commonly used herb for anxiety, can interact with antidepressant medications and decrease their effectiveness. Additionally, some herbs can increase the risk of bleeding, which can be dangerous for those taking blood-thinning medications.


Risks Associated with Combining Different Treatments

It's important to note that herbal remedies should not be used as a substitute for prescribed medications or psychotherapy. Combining herbal remedies with other treatments can be risky, and there is a lack of research on their interactions. It's important to speak with a healthcare provider before using any herbal remedies in combination with other treatments.



Practical Considerations for Using Herbal Remedies


When considering using herbal remedies for anxiety, there are several practical considerations to keep in mind.


Finding Reputable Sources

It's important to purchase herbal remedies from reputable sources, such as well-established companies and licensed healthcare providers - like Elephantal Wellness. This can help ensure the quality and safety of the product.


Proper Dosage and Administration

Herbal remedies can vary widely in their potency and concentration, so it's important to follow proper dosing and administration guidelines. It's also important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking any new herbal remedies.


Long-Term Use

While herbal remedies may provide short-term relief for anxiety, their long-term safety and efficacy are still subject to debate. It's important to speak with a healthcare provider before using any herbal remedies for an extended period.


Mind-Body Techniques and Complementary Therapies


In addition to herbal remedies, there are several mind-body techniques and complementary therapies that can help manage anxiety.


Exercise

Regular exercise has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety. It can help improve mood, reduce stress, and promote relaxation.


Mindfulness-Based Interventions

Mindfulness-based interventions, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety. They involve practicing mindfulness, or paying attention to the present moment, without judgment.


Yoga

Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to promote relaxation and reduce stress. Several studies have found that yoga is effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety.


Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to promote relaxation and reduce stress. While the efficacy of acupuncture for anxiety is still subject to debate, several studies have found that it can be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety.


Conclusion


In conclusion, herbal treatments may be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, but their efficacy and safety are still subject to debate. It's important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking any herbal remedies, as they can interact with other medications and have potential side effects. Mind-body techniques and complementary therapies, such as exercise, mindfulness-based interventions, yoga, and acupuncture, may also be effective in managing anxiety.



 

FAQs


1. Are herbal remedies safe for anxiety?

While herbal remedies are generally perceived as natural and safe, they can still have side effects and interact with other medications. It's important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking any herbal remedies.


2. Can herbal remedies be used as a substitute for prescribed medications?

Herbal remedies should not be used as a substitute for prescribed medications or psychotherapy until you have fully weighed out your options. It's important to speak with a healthcare provider before using any herbal remedies in combination with other treatments.


3. Are there any risks associated with combining herbal remedies with prescribed medications?

Yes, herbal remedies can interact with prescription medications, potentially leading to harmful effects. It's important to speak with a healthcare provider before using any herbal remedies in combination with other treatments.


4. Are mind-body techniques and complementary therapies effective for anxiety?

Yes, several mind-body techniques and complementary therapies, such as exercise, mindfulness-based interventions, yoga, and acupuncture, have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety.


5. Can finding reputable sources of herbal remedies improve their efficacy and safety?

Yes, purchasing herbal remedies from reputable sources, such as well-established companies and licensed healthcare providers, can help ensure the quality and safety of the product. All herbs are wildcrafted or organically farmed. All natural supplements are pharmaceutical grade and lab tested.


References

  1. Bazzazian, S., Hekmatpou, D., & Kamali, S. (2019). Valerian efficacy in reducing anxiety symptoms: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 13(4), e98209. https://doi.org/10.5812/ijpbs.98209

  2. Bent, S., Padula, A., Moore, D., Patterson, M., & Mehling, W. (2006). Valerian for sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Medicine, 119(12), 1005–1012. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2006.02.026

  3. Davidson, J. R. T., Crawford, C., Ives, J. A., & Jonas, W. B. (2005). A pilot study of St. John's wort for the treatment of clinically diagnosed generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 25(2), 151–154. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.jcp.0000155816.55752.21

  4. Gould, L., Reddy, R., & Gomprecht, R. F. (2010). Complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of anxiety and depression. Current Psychiatry Reports, 12(6), 464–470. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-010-0154-4

  5. Kava. (2020). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/kava

  6. Lakhan, S. E., & Vieira, K. F. (2010). Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: Systematic review. Nutrition Journal, 9(1), 42. https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-9-42

  7. Lavender. (2021). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/lavender

  8. Lemon balm. (2021). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/lemon-balm

  9. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2021). Anxiety disorders. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961

  10. Mindfulness-based interventions. (2018). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/mindfulness-based-interventions

  11. Sarris, J., Byrne, G. J., Cribb, L., & Oliver, G. (2011). Herbal medicine for depression, anxiety and insomnia: A review of psychopharmacology and clinical evidence. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 21(12), 841–860. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroneuro.2011.04.002

  12. St. John's Wort. (2020). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/st-johns-wort

  13. Yoga. (2020). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/yoga


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