Almost everyone experiences anxiety now and then, to varying degree. But when it persists and starts to interfere with your school, work or sleep, then it is a problem that needs treatment. Exact cause of anxiety is not known.
Abuse in childhood, stress, alcohol or drug abuse increase its risk. Physical ill health like hypothyroidism, chronic heart disease or cancer can bring on anxiety.
The symptoms of anxiety are feeling of apprehension, feeling of powerlessness, sensing of impending danger or doom, tiredness, rapid breathing, sweating and trembling. Anxiety can be tackled by counseling, lifestyle changes, medications, or their combination. Alternatively, you can try some of the herbal remedies suggested below.
7 Herbal Remedies For Anxiety
Always consult your doctor before trying any herbal remedy. There can be harmful drug interactions between the herbs and the medicines you are taking, leading to serious side effects. Clinical trials suggest that these herbs are mostly useful in mild or moderate anxiety.
Kava (or kava kava) extract is got from the root of the plant Piper methysticum. The active ingredients are kawain, methysticin and yangonin. Kava is available as liquid extract, tablets and capsules. The dose is 1-2 tablets twice or thrice daily. Side effects are sedation, allergic reaction, breathing difficulty, rash, facial puffiness (reversible), and possibly liver damage. It is contraindicated in pregnant women and nursing mothers.
The passionflower extract is derived from the aerial parts of the vine Passiflora incarnata. The active ingredient that works in anxiety is vitexin. It is available as fluid extract, tablets and capsules. Its dose is around 5 g of the herb/day. Side effects are allergic reaction, dizziness, drowsiness and confusion. Do not use it if you are pregnant. It should be stopped 2 weeks prior to any surgery.
Valerian is extracted from the root of the plant Valeriana officinalis. The active ingredient of valerian extract is valerenic acid. It is available as liquid extract, dried herb and pills. The daily dose is 100-300 mg of valerian extract (containing 0.8% of valerenic acid) 3-4 times/day. Side effects are drowsiness, stomach upset and headaches.
The lemon balm extract is got from the root of Melissa officinalis. The active ingredients that have a relaxing effect are terpenes. The dose is 1 cup of its tea twice or thrice daily or 1 dropperful of its tincture twice or thrice daily. Its side effects are abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, wheezing and dizziness. Its safety in pregnant women and nursing mothers has not been established. Stop it 2 weeks prior to any surgery.
Chamomile extract is got from the flowers of the herb Matricaria recutita. It contains several chemicals that promote relaxation. It is available in the form of liquid extract, tea, tincture and capsules.
The dose is 400-1600 mg/day in divided doses, 1-4 ml of its liquid extract thrice daily, 15 ml of its tincture 3-4 times/day, or 1-4 cups of tea/day. Its side effects are allergy and drowsiness. It should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women, and those on medications for bleeding disorders or high blood pressure. It should be stopped 2 weeks prior to surgery.
Hops is made from the dried flowers of Humulus lupulus. The active ingredient is humulene, which has a relaxing effect. It is available as tea, tincture and capsules. Consult the product insert for dose. It is very safe. There is not enough data on its safety in pregnant and breastfeeding women. It should be stopped 2 weeks prior to surgery.
Skullcap is extracted from the root of Scutellaria lateriflora. Its extract contains volatile oils, which have a relaxing effect. The dose is 2-3 cups of tea daily or 2-4 ml of tincture thrice daily. It is also available as capsules. Its side effects are diarrhea, confusion and drowsiness. Pregnant and nursing women should not use it.