“I feel worried and I can’t stop thinking about what unfortunate things that could happen to me.” We are all susceptible to this kind of situation where we worry over something or about someone. This is okay. There is actually some good points about worrying. Worry is a part of getting ready for any situation in the future. Like for example, we worry about things that are present in our lives, such as finances, work, and family, and these worries have the potential to help us make good decisions in these areas. However, when we worry too much and it has already taken a toll on ourselves, thus, worrying becomes more confronting, emotional and can affect us in so many ways than one especially our health and our social life, then, such is something we should be really worry about. Worries in an extended length of time than usual and over something you don’t even understand what, is hazardous to our health.
Ask help. You may need medical experts to pull you out from such dreadful place. Supplements may also be very helpful for you. Based on a study, nutritional and herbal supplementation appears as effective methods for treating anxiety and anxiety-related conditions (1). You may check out these supplements to combat anxiety.
Top 8 Natural Anti-Anxiety Supplements
Passionflower is good for stress reduction, calming without sedation, and overcoming insomnia when combined with other calming herbs such as valerian and lemon balm. According to studies, passionflower may reduce anxiety in patients undergoing surgery and another study reveals that passionflower had similar effects as an anti-anxiety medication in reducing general anxiety (2). Its properties promote calming effects by increasing the levels of the chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which reduces the activity of some neurons that cause anxiety (3). Some side effects to look into before taking this supplement include: might cause the uterus to contract and might cause sleepiness and drowsiness, in turn, increase the effects of anesthesia and other medications on the brain during and after surgery (4).
Valerian is an herbal supplement used in treatment of various types of disorder including sleep disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression, among others. Traditional herbalists have used valerian as an anxiolytic, frequently in combination with other herbal preparations. One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial compared valerian (100 mg) with propranolol (20 mg), a valerian-propranolol combination, and placebo in an experimental stress situation in 48 healthy subjects (5). Unlike propranolol, valerian had no effect on physiologic arousal but significantly decreased subjective feelings of somatic arousal (6). Side effects of valerian root are rare but may include headache, upset stomach, daytime drowsiness, and dizziness (7).
Licorice root has sweet taste, hence, it’s traditionally used in many candies and beverages. But this herb carries many health benefits for people with anxiety because of the effects it has on the adrenal glands, glands that produce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Licorice supplement regulates the production of these hormones, buffeting the body’s defenses against stress and reducing anxiety symptoms (8). It can also soothe gastrointestinal upset, which is common in many people with anxiety (9). In addition, it even helps fight adrenal fatigue so you sleep better at night. There might be side effects to watch out for when taking this supplement. Side effects may include increase the risk of early delivery, might cause a miscarriage or early delivery, can cause the body to store water, increase the risk of irregular heartbeat, can raise blood pressure, can lower potassium in the blood, could make kidney disease worse and can lower a man’s interest in sex and also worsen erectile dysfunction (ED) by lowering levels of a hormone called testosterone (10).
Ashwagandha is helpful to calm anxiety, and help agoraphobia, anxiety especially in open or crowded places. One 2012 study, of 64 randomized volunteers, asked subjects to take either ashwagandha or a placebo twice a day for 60 days (11). The study reveals that the treatment group given the ashwagandha root extract exhibited a significant reduction in anxiety scores after two months relative to the placebo group, without side effects where serum cortisol levels were substantially reduced in the herbal group (12). Other case studies also show the benefit of this supplement in stressed women with adrenal hyperplasia showing beneficial changes in cortisol, progesterone, and pregnenolone, as well as a noticeable improvement in a difficult to treat hair loss known as alopecia (13).
Rhodiola extract can stimulate receptors in the brain associated with a happy, relaxed mood and increases levels of natural endorphins associated with feelings of euphoria and stress reduction (14). Studies find evidences suggesting that rhodiola may reduce symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder and reduces symptoms of depression with mild side effects (15). In addition, it increases serotonin, which is the chemical in the body associated with happiness and relaxation. It is found that serotonin deficiency is seen primarily in people with depression and anxiety conditions (16). Side effects when taking this supplementation include worsening of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and others; reducing blood sugar levels; and lowering blood pressure (17).
Widely used in aromatherapy, lavender is said to promote relaxation, something any anxiety-sufferer needs. Lavender is available in pill form, too. Several studies reveal the lavender’s effect on anxiety symptoms (18). In a study published in 2005 at Physiology & Behaviour, the 200 people found that breathing in lavender while awaiting dental treatment improved mood and lessened anxiety. And it is also known to help encourage sleep which can be massively affected by anxiety (19).
Chamomile is a gentle, effective and natural way to treat anxiety. It’s also been known to ease digestion issues and encourage sleep, helping any insomnia-sufferers. In a 2009 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, chamomile capsules seemed to have a calming effect on patients’ anxiety symptoms (20). A study’s results suggest that chamomile may have modest benefits for some people with mild to moderate generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) (21). Reported side effects of using chamomile include serious allergic reactions including anaphylaxis, throat swelling and shortness of breath, skin allergic reactions such as eczema and vomiting when taken in large doses (22).
Kava kava is a well-known anxiety remedy. It is believed to promote relaxation and is most frequently available and consumed in pill form. Some key benefits from the consumption of kava root are muscle relaxation and improved cognitive ability, just what you’re looking for in an anti-anxiety remedy. The use of kava as a treatment for anxiety has been reviewed in multiple studies and is an effective and safe treatment of anxiety (23). The natural supplement has been reported to interact negatively with alcohol but if you’re looking to improve your anxiety, so, avoid alcohol to be safe (24).
It is important to remember that these anti-anxiety supplements must not replace prescribed medication or other doctor-approved therapies. However, they are helpful and safe additions to your care plan.