Fast life pace and the stress that comes with it are starting to suffocate more and more people mentally. It is estimated that 70% of Americans take some form of medication to deal with mental stress and anxiety that they encounter in their daily life. About 25% of Americans will develop severe mental disorders as a direct cause of stress, and millions will start taking antidepressants in the next year alone.
The problem with antidepressants, such as benzodiazepines, is the side effects that come with their use. These side effects include mood swings, hallucinations, drowsiness, and even suicidal thoughts. Slurred speech, loss of balance and coordination, as well as memory issues are also common in those on antidepressants.
If you suffer from anxiety and wish to avoid all these side effects, as well as toxic build up that occurs over time when using prescription meds, you should consider some of the following natural remedies for this issue:
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.A four-week, double-blind study, for example, compared passionflower with oxazepam. Results showed oxazepam worked more quickly, but by the end of the study period, both treatments were shown to be equally effective. Bonus—side effects like daytime drowsiness were fewer with passionflower.
A second study also showed that passionflower helped ease symptoms like anxiety, irritability, agitation, and depression in participants going through withdrawal from an opiate drug addiction.
- Lemon balm
Though usually found in combination with other herbs, lemon balm also has anti-anxiety powers on its own.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.
Limited data shows that short-term use of chamomile is generally considered safe and can be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety. Use of chamomile can cause allergic reactions in some people who are sensitive to the family of plants that includes chamomile. Other members of this family are ragweed, marigolds, daisies and chrysanthemums.
The intoxicating aroma of lavender may be an “emotional” anti-inflammatory. In one study, Greek dental patients were less anxious if the waiting room was scented with lavender oil. In a Florida study, students who inhaled lavender oil scent before an exam has less anxiety—although some students said it made their minds “fuzzy” during the test.
In a German study, a specially formulated lavender pill (not available in the U.S.) was shown to reduce anxiety symptoms in people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) as effectively as lorazepam (brand name: Ativan), an anti-anxiety medication in the same class as Valium.
If you have a jittery moment, a cup of chamomile tea might help calm you down. Some compounds in chamomile bind to the same brain receptors as drugs like Valium.
You can also take chamomile as a supplement, typically standardized to contain 1.2% apigenin (an active ingredient), along with dried chamomile flowers. In one study at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, in Philadelphia, patients with generalized anxiety disorder who took chamomile supplements for eight weeks had a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms compared to patients taking placebo.