If I asked you to guess what some of the more prevalent conditions of the modern world are, what would you say? Surprisingly, not many people would guess anxiety… but this is one of the most evident conditions in this day and age! We live in a world that puts such demands on us to “fit in”, “make it”, or “just try harder”. Lessons must be figured out as we go along more than they are actually taught to us. We need to balance work, relationships, bills, family, having somewhat of a social life… and do it all with a smile. Nervousness, difficulty in sleeping, depression and fearfulness can all be symptoms of an anxiety disorder. It’s no wonder so many people suffer from a lot of anxiety! What was once your body’s natural response to warn you of perceived dangers and prepare your mind to deal with stressors is now interfering with your daily chores, work output and even your relationships with our family, friends and spouse[i].
To sum it up… life sure isn’t easy! For anyone. So what do people do? Many turn to alcohol, drugs or other stimulants that are designed to “take the edge off”. However, as I am sure you can imagine, this is not the most effective or smartest path to go down!
Luckily, there are other options for dealing with things like anxiety. One of the favourites that we have at Heroic Health is using herbs and natural teas to ease the stress. However, there are some things that you may not be aware of, so we thought that a post about this subject would probably be useful for a lot of people J
The first thing that you need to ask yourself when you are thinking of experimenting with the use of herbs for healing is, “is it safe for you to use whatever specific herb you are considering?” If you are on medications, pregnant or have a serious pre-existing condition, you need to check with a medical professional or authority resource just to make sure that it is safe for you. There are many herbs out there that are contraindicated (advised against) when you are pregnant because they have an abortion risk. It is also possible to find some information online by doing a search (for example) on “rosemary contraindications” or “rosemary herb safety” (or something like that). However, always remember that online sources are not always 100% accurate and certainly don’t measure up against the quality of professional medical advice. The best bet is to always go with the pros just to be safe.
When you have gotten the “go ahead” from your doctor, the next step is finding what you are looking for. Herbs and supplements are usually available in the form of teas, tinctures or supplements, and can be easily obtained from health food stores, online, or in some supermarkets. Supplements will have advice on dosage, but you should always start under the recommended amount just to make sure that your body tolerates the treatment without any nasty side effects.
Tinctures are slightly easier to administer. A typical “dose” is normally around 30 drops (but always double check on the label), so it is easier for you to fine tune the amount.
Other options include essential oils (which have their own rules and safety precautions) and ready-made product formulations that contain the herbs that you are looking for. There is also always the option of using fresh herbs, but this does require some preparation work before they can really be used. In light of that, here are five herbs that can relieve anxiety and help you to go through life positively once again:
· Gingko Biloba: anxiety impairs your mind’s ability to think clearly and make good decisions about your everyday life. By increasing blood flow to the brain and overall blood circulation throughout the body, gingko biloba helps refresh your state of mind and acts as a natural antidepressant. People anticipating tasks which require a solid focus and concentration are advised to take gingko biloba so as not to anticipate their challenges in an anxious mood
· Licorice Root: licorice root contains a natural hormone alternative to cortisone, which can help the body handle stressful situations, and can help to normalize blood sugar levels as well as your adrenal glands, providing you with the energy necessary to deal with the stressful situation at hand. Some claim licorice stimulates cranial and cerebrospinal fluid, thereby calming the mind. You can take licorice root as a tea or a tonic
· Kava Kava: Kava kava can lift your spirit and make you happier by inducing a mild state of euphoria and sedation. Kava kava is very effective in the treatment of anxiety, working within a week of taking it daily. In medical applications, the herb is used in the treatment for women with post-menopausal depression. For people with sleep disorders, kava kava is a non-addictive herb which can work as a mild tranquilizer
· Passion Flower: Passion Flower works as a non-drowsy, natural sedative that relieves intermittent stress, nervousness, anxiety and panic attacks. It won’t put your worries away by knocking you out or making you sleepy. You can find a certain equilibrium in passion flower by making you feel emotionally balanced. For those with bipolar disorder, it won’t give you a hyper, happy or excited feeling. Instead, passion flower will restrain your emotions from its range of extremes. If you have exaggerated emotions throughout the day (in which you go from being very happy to being very angry or sad), you may find passion flower to be a nice tea to drink after letting it seep in boiling water for 10 minutes
· Ginseng: ginseng is also known as a “brain food” as it improves concentration, thinking, and memory. It is also a supplement for added physical stamina. All these benefits contribute to its anti-anxiety properties as it revitalizes your body. Ginseng has many benefits and these include stimulant properties to reduce stress and enhance health. It can be used as a relaxant as it has tonic properties and can also help maintain emotional balance. Drink ginseng as a tea or take it in supplement form