Thanks to modern scientific knowledge we now have many different ways to tackle anxiety, including beneficial medications. The concept of treating anxiety is not new, however, with medical texts dating back to antiquity that detail the use of herbs with anti-anxiety properties, promoting health in both the body and the mind. The spectrum of anxiety disorders includes social anxiety disorder, panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder and others. More than 19 million Americans struggle with some form of anxiety disorder or another; while prescription medication is recommended as a component of treatment programs, numerous people have experienced relief thanks to the use of complementary medicines including herbs.
Listed below are some plants with anti-anxiety properties. Medicinal plants contain naturally-occurring compounds that can positively affect relaxation and our overall wellbeing by influencing the state of the internal organs, brain and heart.
Passion Flower: Also known as Passiflora, passion flower is known to contain chemicals that can assist in relieving occasional anxiety, restlessness, occasional sleep disturbances, depression, panic attacks, mood changes and nervousness. It is a non-drowsy herb that helps to soothe and calm the mind.
Valerian Root: The root of the Valerian plant is very widely used as a natural sedative, popular thanks to its well-known property of promoting healthier sleep and greater calmness by relaxing the CNS or central nervous system. Valerian can also be administered for natural pain relief. Valerenic acid, the active compound in Valerian root, has a fast-acting effect on the body that rapidly alleviates insomnia, nervousness and occasional anxiety.
Chamomile: The fragrant herb chamomile is famous for its soothing and calming properties and for its non-drowsy nature. Chamomile’s active constituents calm the emotions and thus soothe a person’s mental state. As well as alleviating insomnia, headaches, tension, restlessness and anxiety, chamomile can also help soothe digestive-related conditions such as colic.
Lemon Balm: Used since ancient times, lemon balm can be administered to reduce anxiety and stress, thus restoring the nervous system, promoting healthy sleep and improving a person’s lost appetite. A member of the same family that contains mint, lemon balm can encourage alpha wave activities in the brain; these are associated with relaxed mental states.
Lavender: In aromatherapy, lavender is one of the most widely-used EOs or essential oils; the scent is known to be relaxing and calming, making it a popular choice for treating panic attacks and anxiety. Because of its naturally stimulating properties, lavender is also employed as a tonic for the general health of the nervous system.
Winter Cherry: Ashwagandha Root or winter cherry is employed in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is popular in many preparations. This herb is used in treating mental fatigue, increasing concentration and focus, lifting depressed moods and relieving anxiety. Winter cherry is also known to have adaptogenic properties, meaning that it can boost the immune system and support the body’s ability to overcome emotional and physical stress.
Feverfew: By working to inhibit the release of prostoglandins and serotonin — two inflammatory substances implicated in the onset of migraines — feverfew can help alleviate anxiety-induced migraines and other headaches. It helps treat insomnia, depression, anxiety and stress by working as a relaxant.