Anxiety can be a disabling condition that’s accompanied by long-term stress and a decline in overall health. It contributes to many chronic diseases, even when treated with conventional medications. Stress is a factor in five out of the six leading causes of death — heart disease, cancer, stroke, lower respiratory disease, and accidents. An estimated 75 percent to 90 percent of all doctor visits are for stress-related issues.
- Decrease the pain for those who suffer from chronic pain
- Alleviate symptoms in cancer sufferers
- Help alleviate symptoms for people with MS
- Help control or decrease seizures for people with epilepsy
It could also have a profound effect on the minds of those with anxiety disorders. Here we’ll take a look at studies which have found herbal supplements to have positively affected the brains of those who suffer from anxiety. You may want to even consider adding them to your anti-anxiety toolbox.
What are herbal supplements and how do they work?
Based on studies that have detailed their effects on the brain and body, many herbal supplements have touted their effectiveness. For example, CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and works with your body’s endocannabinoid system. This regulates certain physical and psychological processes. CBD itself is a cannabinoid that binds to receptors in your endocannabinoid system; it can then, reportedly, affect serotonin levels and help the vital hippocampus region of your brain to regenerate.
Studies have found that both of these actions can have an anti-anxiety effect by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, regulating your breathing and calming your mind. CBD extract contains no THC and, therefore, has absolutely no psychoactive effects. It will not get you ‘high’ or impact your cognitive ability, but, rather, it helps your body combat symptoms of anxiety.
How do herbal supplements fit into your lifestyle?
Whilst studies indicate that herbal supplements can have a positive impact on the symptoms of anxiety, they do not represent a ‘cure’. Many people find that they need a little bit of extra support in order to stay on track in life. This can be particularly true for those who suffer from anxiety disorders or other mental health issues.
This is something that successful poker pro and qualified occupational therapist Adrienne Rowsome knows well. As a trained OT, Adrienne understands how to assist people in managing life tasks, reintegrating into society and getting the most out of life. This support can incorporate a whole range of activities that are adjusted for each individual to be effective and fit into their busy lives.
This integrative approach should be how you approach the use of herbal supplements. Much like how you might practice yoga, mindfulness or meditation, supplements like St. John’s Wort or 5-HTP should be used as a supportive element in addressing your mental health rather than as a one-stop cure. This is great news when it comes to helping yourself, as mental health resources are not always easy to access.
How do you take herbal supplements?
Herbal supplements are often supplied as an oil, either extracted from the plant in its pure form or with added flavors to make it more appealing. There are also a wide variety of infused products popping up all over the place with increased demand, including valerian tea, hemp honey, and 5-HTP gummy sweets. However, it is easier to keep track of dosage if you are simply taking the oil version or pre-prepared capsules.
There are many different strengths of product currently on the market. It is advisable to start off on a lower dosage that you can then increase with time. This gives you a better chance of working out exactly which strength level is right for you. It also prevents you from taking an excess product. Whilst this wouldn’t necessarily be harmful, it does have an impact on your wallet!
Although the use of herbal supplements for their anti-anxiety properties is still in the early stages, you can see that it does seem to be successful for some people. As long as you bear in mind that it may take a while before you start seeing results and don’t expect immediate relief every time, they can be great calming aids. With further research, who knows what possibilities may be discovered?
Herbal Supplements for Anxiety