Anxiety disorders come in all kinds of disguises; generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), Panic disorder, Social anxiety, health anxiety and many more.
Some of the undesirable symptoms inflicted upon those of us who suffer with anxiety can include breathlessness, heart palpatations, dry mouth, panic attacks, dizziness, poor digestion and acid reflux, headaches and I’m sure you can think of several more.
The good news is there are many herbs which can help with these symptoms and if you are having problems with how antidepressants are making you feel (they are fantastic for some people but not everyone gets on with them) you may want to turn to herbal medicine. I will talk about herbs for anxiety in more detail below, but first I want to mention other actions you can take to deal with the symptoms of anxiety.
Step 1: Why? Try to work out what could be causing the anxiety and try to rectify these – this is not always possible due to life commitments but if possible see what you can do to address causes. Common causes can be vitamin deficiency, family illness, money worries, unemployment, chronic stress and childhood adversity. Sometimes we don’t know what is causing the anxiety in which case move to step 2.
Step 2: Diet.. Putting it simply, eating junk can make you feel like junk. So, if you find yourself eating convenience foods on a regular basis and there’s not a whole lot of fruit and veg going on then adjusting your diet can make a big difference – I promise you!
3 Dietary Changes
♥ Replace white refined carbohydrates with their wholegrain equivalent.
♥ Increase fruit and vegetable intake e.g. if you don’t eat fruit on a regular basis strive to eat one piece of fruit a day. Another manageable change in your diet would be to include one green vegetable a day such as cabbage, broccoli, rocket.
♥ Reduce caffeine intake to 1 or 2 tea or coffee per day.
Step 3: Exercise.. It reduces the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol and triggers the release of endorphins which make us feel good. Running, walking, swimming, cycling, yoga….anything you like.
Herbs for Anxiety
There are many herbs to help with anxiety and choosing the right ones depend on the person, their symptoms and coexisting complaints and any other medications they may be taking. I have found a particular herb may help one person with anxiety but not the next so it’s worth trying different single herbs and different combinations of herbs. Below I have listed three herbs and a brief bit about them.
The relaxing/sedating herbs can be depleting when used long term so they are always best combined with more tonifying/nutritive herbs.
It’s always best to consult a herbalist before using herbal medicines to get the best combination for you as an individual.
Anxiety comes out in people differently so symptoms can vary hugely. For example, Jack may suffer with digestive symptoms whereas Mary down the road gets really bad palpitations especially noticeable when she's trying to get to sleep so different herbs are indicated for them.