Anxiety is a term used to define the feelings of worry, unease and nervousness. Anxiety is also a clinical term used to explain the severity of anxious feelings.
Anxiety is a serious condition and can make life extremely difficult for its patients. Doctors usually prescribe variety of anti-anxiety medications. While they are effective, there can be side effects and also risk of abuse.
Even modern doctors agree that one of the best treatment methods for anxiety is to try natural, herbal supplements. If we can include herbal supplements in our diet, we would automatically feel much healthier and happier, according to researchers.
Here are the top 5 herbs to keep you calm and help you reduce your anxiety.
- Kava Kava
- Rhodiola Rosea
The practice of using this herbal plant in Ayurveda dates back centuries ago. Ashwagandha has been known to be a remarkable treatment for people with anxiety. Ashwagandha has also been clinically proven as a valid treatment method for anxiety.
In a study done in 2012, 64 volunteers were divided into two groups and advised to take ashwagandha or a placebo twice a day for two months. Ashwagandha supplement contained 300 mg of extract from its root. After two months, the group who were taking ashwagandha showed significant reduction in anxiety, without any side effects. Decrease in the stress hormone cortisol was most notable. Other studies showed that women taking ashwagandha showed beneficial changes in progesterone, pregnenelone, cortisol and improvement in hair loss. In men, their sperm count was seen to be higher and anti-oxidant levels were found to be higher.
Kava kava has been in use for its relaxing properties for centuries. The herb is mostly common in the Pacific islands. It’s also known as just Kava. Most people resort to a glass of scotch or wine to relieve anxiety. But, there is something else even better for anxiety and that is Kava. Kava has been in use for calmness since centuries, but it can hamper cognitive performance, much like common anti-anxiety alternatives such as cannabis and alcohol. The trick is to keep your kava dosage to a minimum.
Kava reacts with your brain neurotransmitters to produce a calming effect. A 2012 study reported that daily doses of kava extract between 120 mg to 240 mg can be considered to be healthy, and won’t impair a person’s ability to, say drive. While this can be a great herb for anxiety treatment, an overdose will hamper your liver, much like alcohol. More common side effects of kava users have been reported to be headaches.
One of the best natural supplement for treatment of anxiety and depression is Phenibut. It’s a nootropic compound that offers varieties of anxiolytic benefits, and helps to elevate the mood and maintain emotional health. Phenibut is often taken as an aid for sleeping during periods of nervousness and anxiety. Phenibut is a natural derivate of GABA, which is a chief inhibitory transmitter within the human body. GABA is responsible for stopping our brain from going into over-drive. One of the reasons for anxiety is a decrease in the GABA level within the body, and phenibut helps to maintain a balance, causing a sense of calmness. Another way phenibut helps to relieve anxiety is by increasing the secretion of the hormone dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter directly associated with pleasure and mood. Higher levels of dopamine aren’t found when a person is under stress or anxiety.
You might feel slightly sedated after taking phenibut. While individual effects are different, it roughly takes around 3 hours for Phenibut to start showing its effects. The effects can then go on to last as much as 24 hours. Recommended dosage is approximately 500 mg. It is possible to develop a tolerance to this herb, so you will want to be cautious while taking it. The few side effects of taking phenibut involve nightmarish, weird dreams, pain in the limbs, and a feeling of drowsiness. Just remember do not take phenibut with other GABAergic supplements that work in a similar way.
The decrease in GABA levels in our brain has been identified as one of the major causes of anxiety. There are various ways to affect the GABA levels, which are all known to be helpful in fighting anxiety. GABA supplements are available on the market. Theoretically speaking, GABA shouldn’t be able to cross the blood-brain barrier, which means it cannot affect the natural GABA levels in our brain. Yet, there have been countless reports about feeling calm and relaxed after taking GABA supplements. There have also been reports of GABA supplements providing beneficial effects in maintaining blood pressure levels. The results have been found to better than taking placebo.
Pairing GABA with compounds that can travel through the blood-brain barrier is one way to heighten the effects of these supplements. For instance, GABA is often taken paired with L-theanine as it is quickly absorbed and passes through the barrier. It’s among the most effective anxiety relievers.
Rhodiola rosea is an herb commonly used as a treatment for depression, but it’s also believed to be effective for treating anxiety. Extracts of this herb have been used as a method to deal with various stresses of life in colder regions of this world for a long time. The herb is believed to possess relaxing properties along with stimulating agents.
Rhodiola rosea relieves anxiety by decreasing sympathetic nervous system activity. This prevents our body and mind from going into overdrive, thus reducing anxiety. It also increases the level of serotonin in our body, which is a chemical associated with relaxation and pleasure. The risks of any serious dangers from using Rhodiola rosea is relatively low. Still, since there hasn’t been much study on the matter, the dosage should be kept to a minimum.