Are you experiencing a boat load of stress? Are Christmas bills piling up? Is the winter’s inevitable “Cabin Fever” stressing you out? If so, you’re not alone. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. and it effects more than 40 million people. Women are at least twice as likely to experience anxiety than men.
If you have chronic anxiety, or if you’re simply going through a tough time in your life, herbs can help. These natural wonders can seemingly work miracles, and they can be bought without a prescription. And in most cases, herbs are very affordable.
One wonders as to why more people don’t turn to herbs for a more natural remedy? …
Without further ado, here are five herbs that can help to de-stress your life. In fact, scientific studies show that they can help with anxiety and depression, and are non-addictive. And, they won’t totally kick in you in the rear-end and make you completely drowsy.
Note that it is always a good idea to consult with your healthcare professional before taking a new herbal supplement, particularly if you are pregnant or suffering from liver disease.
All of these herbs can be found at your local natural food store, or online such as Amazon.com.
The University of Maryland Medical Center states that passionflower has shown in a few studies to work as well as some of the benzodiazepine medications that are usually prescribed for treating anxiety.
Dosage: Try one cup of passionflower tea three times daily, 45 drops of liquid extract daily, or about 90 mg/day.
A 2010 multi-center, double-blind, randomized study of lavender oil compared to the anti-anxiety medication lorazepam found that both were effective against generalized and persistent anxiety. Bonus — lavender had no sedative side effects.
Dosage: Try about 80 mg/day of the supplement, or use the oil as an aromatherapy solution.
Research published in 2004, for instance, gave participants a single dose of
lemon balm extract (300 mg or 600 mg) or a placebo, then measured their mood after one hour. The higher dose resulted in reduced stress and improved calmness and alertness. Even the lower dose helped participants do math problems more quickly.
Dosage: Use in aromatherapy, try 300-500 mg of dried lemon balm three times daily, 60 drops daily, or 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of dried lemon balm herb in hot water for a tea four times daily.
A 2012 double-blind, placebo-controlled study gave participants either a placebo or a capsule containing 300 mg of high-concentration, full-spectrum ashwagandha extract, twice a day. Those taking the ashwagandha showed significant improvements.
Dosage: Typical dosage is 300 mg standardized to at least one to five percent with anolides, once or twice a day.
This one isn’t really a herb — it’s a water-soluble amino acid; but it’s gotten such good research behind it that we had to include it here. It’s found mainly in green tea and black tea, and is also available as a supplement.
Studies have found that it acts directly on the brain, helping to reduce stress and anxiety—without causing drowsiness.
Dosage: A typical cup of black tea contains only about 25 mg of l-theanine and green tea only about 8 mg. While a cup of tea may be calming, if you want more potent effects, try a supplement, about 200 mg a day. — Colleen M. Story
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