Anxiety being the product of the bodies natural response to stress, the feeling of fear, worry, tension or apprehension towards something that is coming. This is a feeling we have all probably felt a number of times during our lives. As a youngster being called to the principals office is probably one of my first experiences of this. For many this feeling can be triggered by various “things” or events and can become difficult to deal with.
Certain triggers can be managed and others are just too overwhelming. It can be conscious or subconscious. You might not even ” feel ” stressed, yet you have a sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach. In extreme cases anxiety attacks can follow, this is really just your body telling you ” time out ” and enough is enough. I have not experienced an anxiety attack myself, but have first hand witnessed them happening. It is not pleasant to see someone go though an attack. Afterwards they are physically and mentally exhausted, and can even be affected for days there after.
We have all heard the words ” and breathe “. While controlling your breathing and focusing on it ( breathe deeply in though the nose and out through the mouth ) will help.
Breathing in is linked to our sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the fight or flight response where as exhaling is linked to our parasympathetic nervous system which allows us to calm down and relax. This is a good aid and will help in moments of crisis, but usually not permanently effective on its own.
Let me give you some pointers to what the best herbs for anxiety or stress are. Most of these can be brewed as teas’, where as others you can find in capsules or tinctures. They are all effective aids in keeping you calm and collected.
It must be remembered, there are NO QUICK fixes when it comes to anxiety or stress. It usually requires constant work and sometimes even changes in your life or lifestyle.
1. Lemon Balm – Have been used since the Middle Ages to reduce anxiety and stress. Grow your own Lemon balm and use the fresh leaves in making a tea. You can purchase Lemon balm tea bags ( usually combined with Chamomile or Valerian ) which is a amazing tea for bedtime. It is generally safe, but don’t over consume ( it can have the opposite effect ). One cup a day should be fine.
2. Valerian – Usually found as a supplement capsules or tincture. It doesn’t make for a pleasant tea due to its ” stinky cheese ” odor. Valerian also has sedative compounds, making it great for those suffering with restlessness or insomnia. Please do not take Valerian before going to work. This one is only for the evenings.
3. L-theanine – Most commonly found in capsule or tablet form. L-theanine reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure and reduce anxiety. Also found in Green or black tea. However you would have to consume many cups in one day, up to 20 cups.
4. Chamomile – A quick fixer, and probably one of the most common. Chamomile can be consumed in the form of a tea or capsule. The compounds in chamomile binds to the brain receptors, very much the same Valium would.
5. Lavender – Put a few drops of Lavender essential oil in a diffuser or on your pillow. Just breathe it in. It has calming properties which assist in anxiety, insomnia and even depression.
6. Passion flower – Used by native Americans since ” the beginning of time “. This powerful flower was primarily used to treat restlessness or panic. Passion flower works by increasing the levels of gamma aminobutynic acid in the brain, which in turn lowers the activity of some brain cells and makes you feel more relaxed. Taken as a tea or in capsule form.
A Calmer You
In the times we are living I believe many of our anxieties and stresses are caused by the “overload” and ” I have to or need to get this done now”. Our lives whisks past us and we are sometimes adamant to continue at warp speeds. The problem is that our bodies are just not made to function at this constant rate. Not physically nor mentally. We need to take better care of ourselves. Try and be more calmer. And for the times we need something just to help or to take the edge off, nature has given us many incredible herbs to help us along the way.
Please do not take any sedative herbs if you are taking prescription medications or pregnant. Double check with your GP ( General Practitioner ) or Physician beforehand if it is safe to incorporate any herbs or teas.
Until next time