Anxiety causes nervousness and dread. Anxious people have trouble sitting still and relaxing; their mind is constantly circulating worries, fears, and obsessions. If you are anxious all the time, it can really take away from many of life's joys, because you are never in the moment. This can wear down on you over time and lead to severe tension in your body and mind. Therefore, it is important to take a deep breath, relax, and let go of concerns. These herbs are best at assisting with that.
1. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Valerian is widely embraced throughout Europe and Japan to treat anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. Likewise, it is given a perfect effectiveness rating by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being the highest, it was given a 1 for effectively alleviating stress with no reported side effects. Valerian is so strong at relieving anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures that it is often referred to as "Nature's Valium." It's sleep-inducing properties are especially helpful in calming anxiety and fighting the associated fatigue.
2. St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
This herb used since the Middle Ages fights anxiety, insomnia, depression, and seasonal affective disorder. It also increases and sustains the amount of serotonin in the brain, which is the neurochemical responsible for happiness.
It is heavily utilized as a treatment for depression in Germany. In fact, doctors in that country prescribe it 20 times more than they do conventional meditations for depressive disorders. St. John's wort revitalizes and helps rebuild energy in the nervous system, which can alleviate feelings of nervous exhaustion and restore tranquility.
3. Saffron (Crocus sativus)
Saffron is usually associated more with gourmet cuisine and Middle Eastern delicacies than with herbal medicine, but the lack of popularity does not entail lack of effectiveness. Saffron contains a diverse range of carotenoids, most notably crocin, that have been used in Persia as a folk remedy for insomnia and despondency since before the Common Era. Soaking a few leaves and stems in warm (but not boiling) water will release the aroma and medicinal properties hidden in saffron, to be drunk slowly one hour before bedtime.
4. Kava Kava (Piper methysticum)
Native to the South Pacific, kava kava, or kava, will chill you out in no time. The root is traditionally brewed into a tea to induce strong feelings of serenity; no wonder Hawaii has the reputation of being laid back.
This herb can treat everything from anxiety and migraines to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It makes the chaotic inner chatter cease, causing an influx of relaxation and an improved ability to focus. After consuming kava, you may become quite sleepy, which is perfect if your nerves have been interfering with your slumber. Everything in moderation, however; excessive consumption of kava can lead to liver damage, so it is important to educate yourself on proper dosage. Also, kava may be restricted in some areas, so check your local laws.
Whether consumed as a supplement or peacefully sipped as a tea, these herbs will reduce anxiety. You do not want to spend your whole life trapped in the worries of your mind, and there is a way out. Taking a moment aside to deeply breathe and seek additional help from natural plants will make a world of difference.
American Cancer Society. (2008). Valerian. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/valerian
- Hosseinzadeh, H. & Noraei, N.B. (2009). Anxiolytic and hypnotic effect of Crocus sativus aqueous extract and its constituents, crocin and safranal, in mice. Phytotherapy research, 23(6), 768-774. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2597
Linde, K. et al. (1996). St John's wort for depression-an overview and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials. BMJ, 313, 253. doi: 10.1136/bmj.313.7052.253
National Institutes of Health. (2013). Kava: MedlinePlus Supplements. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/872.html