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3 Best Herbs For Anxiety

Updated: Jan 13

Anxiety has, unfortunately, become a daily experience for many individuals across the world. It is important to note that between 2001 and 2004, a substantial proportion of the American population, precisely 31.1%, experienced an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. It is worth mentioning that females were more vulnerable to anxiety disorder, with a rate of 23.4%, compared to males at 14.3%.


A 2020 poll by the American Psychiatry Association found that over half the United States population felt more anxious than the previous year. When asked what the root causes were for such a drastic escalation, the following reasons were given: safety of self and family (80%), COVID-19 (75%), health (73%), gun violence (73%), and the 2020 presidential election (72%).


3 Best Herbs For Anxiety
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There's no doubt anxiety is on the rise.


If you've experienced the negative effects, you've come to the right place. We're going to break down the best herbs and ways to utilize them so you can have a holistic and natural remedy for your anxiety.


1. Ashwagandha


Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub found in various parts of Asia and Africa. It's also known as "Indian Winter Cherry," which is much easier to pronounce than ashwagandha.


While the name is tricky to pronounce, the results of this shrub are precise, as multiple studies have proven the ashwagandha herb is a natural, effective, and remarkably safe alternative for combatting and alleviating anxiety in adults.


3 Best Herbs For Anxiety
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One study on obese adults struggling with chronic stress found that the regular use of ashwagandha could boost mental health, reduce overall stress, and even improve eating behavior.


Another study, performed on several lab mice, found notable anti-stress activity in mice that had consumed the powdered ashwagandha root compared to mice that had not.


As though its anti-anxiety properties weren't enough, ashwagandha has also been reported to reduce inflammation, promote healthy sleep, and offer neuroprotective benefits. This makes it a multipurpose herb, and when it comes to "must-have" holistic medicines, it's at the top of our list.



How to Utilize Ashwagandha


Ashwagandha can be consumed in various ways, ranging from gummies and liquid drops to capsules and powders that you can mix into water.


While the form of ashwagandha can vary, the amount should remain relatively the same, according to integrative medicine specialist Yufang Lin, M.D., who recommends a dosage of 500 mg a day.



Lin also reports that while ashwagandha has long been reported as a safe herb for consumption, it's best always to ensure that the brands you're buying from are reputable and have gone through thorough testing from an outside company such as ConsumerLab, United States Pharmacopeia, or the National Sanitation Foundation International.


Consult your OBGYN before taking ashwagandha if you're pregnant or nursing.


2. Lavender


When we hear lavender, we immediately tend to think about the aroma. And while the scent is certainly a common feature of the herb, it is not the only feature.


Lavender can be found growing in the low mountains of the Mediterranean Basin. Interestingly, lavender has been around for a long time, once used for cleaning and disinfecting hospital rooms in ancient Greece, Persia, and Rome.


But its disinfecting properties are not the only thing that has made this herb immensely popular worldwide. Persian medical texts from the 17th century called lavender the "broom of the brain" because they believed it could "sweep away" impurities. Eighth-century Indian medical texts included lavender in their psychiatric formulas for edible ointments or medicinal butter, which is still used today for treating insanity and psychosis.


3 Best Herbs For Anxiety
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Lavender is still being used in various ways and fashions, including healing the perineum in postpartum women who experienced episiotomies, increasing mental health and alleviating pain in hospice patients, reducing symptoms of dementia in elderly patients, and reducing anger, frustration, and negative moods towards the future.


Struggling with insomnia? Lavender can help you with sleeplessness. European traditional herbal medicine uses lavender in flower teas, pillows, and baths as a mild sedative.


While lavender acts as a multi-functioning herb, for our discussion, let's look at how lavender can help, specifically with anxiety, starting with one fascinating experiment.




In 2002, several nursing students, at the peak of their anxiety-filled medical education journey, were asked to participate in a controlled research experiment. The visibly anxious students were asked to use lavender via an aroma lamp in this experiment.


As a result of the simple lavender aromatherapy, the students had drastically decreased physical symptoms, lower anxiety scores, and lower perceived stress scores, proving that lavender could indeed be used as an effective stress or anxiety management tool.


Lavender is a great and natural tool for those struggling with anxiety, but how can we use it best?


Lavender for anxiety
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How to Utilize Lavender


The ways in which lavender can be used are endless. The herb has become a popular ingredient in a variety of foods. Consider throwing in a few fresh lavender leaves in your wine to sip on after a long day.


If you want to beautify your dessert, sprinkle the herb over your cakes and cookies. And if you still need to, let this be your sign to order the lavender latte next time you see it offered at your local coffee shop. You won't be disappointed.


On a medicinal level, lavender can always be utilized via aromatherapy or oil massages, but oral consumption appears to be the most efficient for achieving the best anxiety-reducing results. You can purchase lavender capsules for easier consumption.



3. Passionflower


Passionflower is a beautiful herb that falls into the category of a climbing vine due to its stem's ability to climb horizontally or vertically. This herb got its name because it resembles a crown that Jesus wore during the crucifixion.


Originally, passionflower could only be found in Central and South America and some of the southeastern states of America. Early Native Americans once used the passionflower herb as a natural sedative. When Spanish explorers came in the 16th century, the plant was brought to Europe and used throughout the continent in medical practices. The herb can still be found in various parts of America and Europe.


3 Best Herbs For Anxiety
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To this day, passionflower is used as a dietary supplement option for various purposes, including symptoms of menopause, insomnia, heart rhythm problems, hemorrhoids, pain, and even attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.


Passionflower is also recommended for patients dealing with seizures or hysteria.

As you probably guessed, passionflower is another effective dietary supplement for treating anxiety symptoms. One study found that passionflower helped alleviate anxiety for individuals about to undergo surgery or dental procedures.



Another study showed passionflower was as effective as oxazepam, a common anti-anxiety drug. However, passionflower's anti-anxiety results took almost twice as long as oxazepam.

More research will be necessary to solidify passionflower's effectiveness in treating anxiety symptoms. Still, from research already available, it does appear that the herb is undoubtedly a legitimate option for those struggling with daily anxiety or stress.


Passionflower for anxiety
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How To Utilize Passionflower


Passionflower leaves can be dried and added to boiling water to create an excellent herbal tea. The leaves can typically be found at a variety of local health stores. Passionflower can also be consumed via diffusion. Add the guided drops to your diffuser, and enjoy! And, of course, passionflower can be orally consumed via a tincture dropper—just be sure always to follow serving instructions amounts.


It's important to note that according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH), passionflower used in excessive amounts can be unsafe. Using up to 800 mg a day of the herb is recommended. The NIH also reports that passionflower can cause drowsiness, confusion, and ataxia in some users. Always be sure to consume the herb with care.


Conclusion


While there are many ways to manage our anxiety, we can weigh all of our options by considering a natural alternative derived from this Earth: herbs.


Although herbal medicine is natural, it is always recommended to consult your primary care provider before use to ensure it is safe to intake. Always follow packaging instructions for safe dosages. This is crucial for various reasons: possible medication interactions, allergies, overdose, or organ damage if improperly used.


So, if you're tired of dealing with a pounding heart, restless feelings, and rapid breathing, consider adding ashwagandha, lavender, or passionflower to your daily diet. Who knows, the Earth's medicine cabinet might work wonders for you or someone you love.




 


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