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Herbal Remedies For Anxiety and Stress

Many people are interested in herbal remedies to help them cope with anxiety and stress. When anxiety gets severe, it can make life very difficult to cope with and a molehill seem like a mountain of fear, dread, and worry. In most cases there aren’t permanent cures for anxiety, but there are things that people can do to help manage it. I personally have dealt with anxiety disorder, hypochondria, social anxiety, and most anxiety-related conditions for years to the point of nearly just calling it quits on life.

I am not going to promise any cures, but I can at least share some herbal remedies that work for many people and that have worked for me. I haven’t tried all of these remedies, but I have tried some including the Kava Kava and Valerian Root – both of which helped me a lot. I can understand why people would turn to herbal methods for helping with anxiety as opposed to pharmaceutical drugs – many of the drugs have awful side effects. Below are some of the best herbal remedies for anxiety.

Best Herbal Remedies For Anxiety and Stress

Below is a list of the top herbal remedies that can be used to help treat anxiety and stress.  Although there are likely more than three herbal remedies, the ones listed below have been documented as being the most effective.  Why waste time using alternative herbal remedies that aren’t as effective?  You shouldn’t.  Read up on the list below and feel free to share your experiences with these in the comments section.

1. Kava Kava Root

Kava is a plant that is used to produce a drink that promotes relaxation, sedation, and that has anesthetic like properties. Most people that consume Kava do it to help them feel sedated without feeling mentally foggy. It is supposed to keep a person alert and relaxed – when the correct amount is consumed.

As someone that’s tried it, I had kind of a tough time staying totally alert. I think it may have decreased my overall level of alertness, but it certainly helped me relax. The active ingredients are referred to as “kavalactones” which promote the relaxation response. There has been evidence demonstrating that it is superior to a placebo for the treatment of short term social anxiety.

When consumed in large quantities, there are concerns that it may lead to liver toxicity. This is an herbal remedy that should not be combined with alcohol or if you have any existing liver issues. If you consume a normal amount of kava (and don’t overdo it), you have a good chance of getting anxiety relief and maintaining a healthy liver.

2. Valerian Root

Valerian root is a perennial flower with pink and white blooms in the summertime. It has been used as an herbal medicine for conditions like insomnia, sedation, and has anti-anxiety properties. It is hypothesized that valerian root has a primary effect on the GABA receptor and promotes relaxation to help combat high stress and anxious thinking. This is an herbal supplement that has been studied specifically for anxiety in comparison to Valium and a placebo. The study was conducted on 36 people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and zero statistical differences were found between the three groups.

As someone that has been on both Valium and has tried Valerian Root, I would say that they are both significantly more potent than a placebo. Valium made me dizzy and highly sedated, and Valerian Root made me feel very sedated and tired. I didn’t take it frequently because I didn’t like the heavy sedation and the fact that I felt mentally slower.

Some people experience some wicked side effects from Valerian Root as well including: dizziness, heart palpitations, stomach cramps, and headaches. It is not recommended to take this supplement with any other medications. It is of high importance that you do not mix this stuff with any other central nervous system (CNS) depressant such as alcohol, sedatives, etc. Additionally this stuff may also have an impact on your liver – so be careful and do your research.

3. Passionflower Herb

Passionflower herb has been used by indigenous people to help treat insomnia, inflammation, hysteria, and as a natural painkiller. There are different species of the Passiflora (scientific name) that contain beta-carboline harmala alkaloids in their roots and leaves which act as natural antidepressants in similar manner to MAO inhibitors.

Another interesting fact is that Passionflower herb has been used in studies involving treatment for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It was found to have performed as well as oxazepam in the treatment of anxiety and was superior in the fact that it was not detrimental to work performance. The oxazepam was linked to impaired job performance – which is certainly not an easy side effect to deal with.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11679026

The one potential scare involving Passiflora is that it was linked to genotoxicity in mice. In other words, it had a genotoxic effect on their cells – this is certainly a cause for concern. Although it led to genotoxicity in mice, further studies need to be conducted in humans. More studies need to be conducted for more conclusive evidence as to whether or not it’s safe for humans to supplement for their anxiety.

Additional herbal remedies for anxiety?

If you can think of any other herbal remedies that have been proven to treat anxiety or that have worked for you, feel free to share in the comments section. If you have had experiences with the few herbs that were listed above, feel free to share whether they worked. I experienced relief from both Kava and Valerian Root, but I have never tried the Passionflower and am not sure if I want to. Either way, if you want to keep everything natural and avoid pharmaceutical drugs with powerful side effects, consider giving these a shot after consulting a medical professional.

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