Updated: Sep 5, 2019
Anxiety is a normal biological function that occurs when your body is under stress or deems a situation to be 'threatening or dangerous.'
Symptoms of anxiety may include tension headaches, muscular pain, restlessness, insomnia, digestive problems, breathing difficulties, panic attacks and excessive sweating. If you have severe anxiety, you should be under the care of a qualified Healthcare Practitioner, however many people turn to natural remedies to reduce their anxiety. If you would like to explore natural remedies, consult your doctor, Herbalist or Naturopath; as some herbal remedies can interfere with prescription medications.
Herbs have been used by Natural Health Practitioners to successfully alleviate symptoms of anxiety and stress. Popular herbal preparations are available in tincutre (liquid) or capsule form and can be used as part of a Stress Management Program.
Lemon Balm, or "Melissa officinalis," is an herb belonging to the mint family that's been used for centuries to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, indigestion and wounds. Lemon Balm can bring relief to the nervous system and help restore emotional equilibrium. It has a strong antispasmodic action and analgesic properties. Lemon balm may owe its calming and stabilizing qualities to its volatile oils and is also rich in beneficial flavonoids.
St John's Wort
St. John's Wort, also known as hypericum, rosin rose, and klamath weed, can relieve anxiety, insomnia, restlessness and stomach problems resulting from stress. The beneficial effects of St John's Wort may alleviate depression and anxiety by augmenting neurotransmitters in the brain. Be aware that St. John's Wort can cause increased sensitivity to light. Don't take St. John's Wort if you are pregnant, and never combine it with tranquilizers and alcohol.
Herbalists recommend valerian, also referred to as valeriana officinalis, for insomnia caused by anxiety. Valerian, which has sedative and anti-spasmodic effects, can help you fall asleep more quickly, and stay asleep longer. For severe anxiety or panic attacks, put a drop of valerian into your bath water. You can also use valerian in low doses throughout the day for calming.
Kava kava, or Piper methysticum, can lift your mood and reduce anxiety. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center website, several studies suggested that kava kava may be useful in the treatment of anxiety, and one study found that it was as effective as prescription anti-anxiety medication such as Valium. It also has pain-relieving and muscle relaxant properties. To avoid the risk of liver damage, you should only take kava kava under a doctor's supervision