“Medicine is not health care, food is health care. Medicine is sick care. Let’s all get this straight for a change.”
Anti-anxiety drugs are among the most widely-prescribed medications in the United States. However, some guys prefer a more natural approach to treating day-to-day stress. This is where herbs come into play, as there are several that have been found to have a calming, soothing effect on the nerves. Below are the top five herbs to treat anxiety and stress.
Chamomile has a long history of use for nervousness, anxiety and sleeplessness – and according to Health.com, modern science has found that this herb contains compounds which act on the same receptors in the brain as drugs like Valium.
The site goes on to note that some clinical studies have supported the usefulness of chamomile, such as one out of Penn State University where patients with GAD who took chamomile supplements for 8 weeks reported a significant decrease in anxiety levels.
The Mayo Clinic also supports its use, noting that it has been proven to be safe and effective for anxiety treatment. It notes, however, that it can cause an allergic reaction in some people, as it is in the same botanical family as ragweed.
Green tea is another natural remedy with a long history of use and scientists have found that this tea contains theanine, which affects the way nerve impulses travel through the brain. This compound has been shown to be able to reduce blood pressure and heart rate.
Health.com cites a study where subjects who had taken 200mg of theanine beforehand were calmer and more focused while taking a test. Green tea also contains a moderate amount of caffeine to help boost energy levels without feeling nervous or jittery, making it a popular choice for people with anxiety problems.
While more evidence is needed to determine, its efficacy, valerian is an increasingly popular herb. Particularly for people who have problems falling asleep due to anxiety or stress, valerian is a great choice as it also has a sedative effect and makes it easier to get a good night’s rest.
Health.com notes that the German government has recently approved this herb for sleep problems due to strong clinical evidence. The Mayo Clinic notes that it appears to be safe if taken at the recommended dose, but warns that some patients might experience headaches and dizziness when using this particular herb.
Lemon balm is a botanical member of the mint family has been used as far back as the Middle Ages in order to help stress and anxiety – and modern studies have also found this herb to be one of the best herbs to treat anxiety effectively. For instance, one study found that participants who supplemented with 600mg of lemon balm extract reported feeling both calmer and more alert.
Another study on a specific lemon balm-based product called Cyracos found that the mixture decreased symptoms in people with anxiety disorders.
This herb is considered to be both safe and effective and generally appears to be well-tolerated, though a few people have reported nausea or abdominal pain after use.
Kava is also one of the most popular herbs to treat anxiety or stress and many people use it to also help them improve their sleep. It is derived from a plant that grows in the Pacific Islands and the tea made from it is a traditional ceremonial drink, according to Healthline.
Kava acts on the central nervous system and research has shown that compounds in the plant act on the brain in a way similar to some anti-anxiety drugs.
However, this herb has been linked to liver damage in some patients and it is not recommended for those who already have liver disease or dysfunction. Because of these issues, it has been banned in Europe, but the FDA has allowed its sales in the United States, though with warnings.
In short we believe that these are the best herbs for anxiety, but everyone’s results will vary of course. However, it is important to consult with your doctor or other medical professional before trying one of the supplements above, especially if you are already on other prescriptions so that a drug-herb interaction can be avoided. For many, however, supplements like these can be a very effective way to combat chronic stress and anxiety.
Click HERE For A Deeper Look Into The Best Herbs & Supplements For Stress & Anxiety.
This guest blog post was professionally created by Brian Wu with Healthline.com