Mental health is extremely important as it influences all the activities and functions of the individual, as well as the entire health. According to statistics, around 70% of the population in the United States take some type of prescription drug, and half of them are on 2 or more of them.
Every year around 25 percent Americans suffer from some mental health disorder like anxiety or depression. Dr. Jennifer St. Sauver claims that this is the reason why antidepressants are among the 2nd most commonly used prescription drugs in the United States.
Unfortunately, commonly prescribed antidepressants such as Benzodiazepines have serious side effects (3):
Mood changes (such as hallucinations, thoughts of suicide)
Slurred speech or difficulty talking
Loss of coordination
Yellowing eyes or skin
You have to consider all those side effects if you take antidepressants. But what is better than that, there are plants that actually have calming effects, without any side effects. They can help you treat anxiety.
Passionflower – this flower has been used for preparing tea for easing hysteria, anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. The main benefit comes from its sedative activity. The flower is able to increase gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in the brain. The chemical helps people relax and lower the activity of certain cells in the brain. It can be a substitution for Oxazepam (Serax) for treating the systems with no side effects on the focus and cognitive ability.
Rosemary – it is a neuroprotective delicious plant which can be ingested in order to help you in many ways like boosting your cognitive performance and memory, and easing the nervous tension. Use the essential oil in order to wean off antidepressants, painkillers, as much as morphine.
Rhodiola – this is a herb which has been used in Scandinavia and China to reduce stress, treat fatigue, and boost happiness. The sympathetic nervous system is actually the one which controls shortness of breath, nausea, shaking, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat, while this plant helps in reducing those activities in the system. Moreover, it is able to stimulate serotonin release, that is the hormone which makes you happy and feels relaxed.
Lavender – it is a part of aromatherapy treatment and is used in natural healing for treating nervous disorders as well as mild or moderate depression. The neuroprotective properties of the plant help in making the mood stable and manage the neurological disorders. You are free to ingest it or use it on your skin. You can also drink a tea, add a few drops to your bath, or put a pouch of dried lavender flowers into your pillow case.
Lemon balm – it eases anxiety and helps in enhancing the quality of life even if the patient suffers from severe dementia. It can be easily grown, making it cost-effective in comparison to the drugs. The lemon balm is much safer and is very beneficial in improving attention, calmness, and memory functions.
John’s Wort – you can find it in health food stores and can grow it also in your backyard. The herb is similar to antidepressants like Prozac in terms of its effectiveness, according to Dr. Klaus Linde (Physician at Munich Technical University). The side effects, if there are any, are surely less harmful. The plant can be affected by prescription medication, thus consult your doctor or naturopath before its usage, especially if you take birth control pills.
Ashwagandha – it is a part of the ayurvedic medicine and helped with agoraphobia, a type of anxiety caused by open spaces and large crowds. A study from 2012 showed that the plant helped in reducing the serum levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. It can be taken in different forms, supplements as well. It will make you feel relaxed when taken as a tea.
Chamomile – have a warm cup of chamomile tea if you want to fall asleep more easily. Many studies have shown that this flower is offering a significant antidepressant activity against a placebo, based on the Hamilton Depression Rating (HAM-D) questionnaires. Luteolin, apigenin, and α-bisabolol are active compounds in chamomile which promote relaxation through the gradual reduction of blood pressure.
Valerian – this root can be taken in different ways in order to treat headaches, insomnia, and anxiety disorders. It can be taken in the form of tea, or pills. The pills should be taken quickly due to the strong smell, and then take a spoonful of molasses or maple syrup in order to wash the taste down.
Vanilla – its scent can instantly make you feel relaxed. One study showed that vanilla-like scent assisted in lowering anxiety for 64% compared to the used of humidified air.
Make sure to consult your doctor or naturopath before you self-medicate. This is crucial even if you are using natural substances.
The above-mentioned herbs for anxiety are highly effective in providing temporary treatment. However, you should lead a healthy lifestyle, do regular exercise, get counseling and meditate to effectively manage anxiety.