Anti-Anxiety Herbals Teas:
Although the tea bags we buy are not usually not strong enough to have an affect on our bodies, when we use loose leaf tea in higher amounts we can get the medicinal benefits out of the teas – turning them into herbal medicine. Here are some of my favorite teas that work extremely well for anxiety.
Avena Sativa Tea (Oat Tops/Oatstraw): Oats is the one of the best remedies for nourishing the nervous system, especially when a person is under stress. It is particularity good for people whose anxiety comes with exhaustion, insomnia and depressed mood. Take 1-3 teaspoons of dried oat straw tops and steep (covered) for 10-15 minutes. This tea should be drunk 3 times a day.
Chamomile Tea: If fatigue is not your problem but you just really feel wired and tense and are having difficulty sleeping, then chamomile is your tea of choice. Chamomile flowers are one of the most ancient medicinal remedies known to mankind. Even today, Chamomile is still the most widely used relaxing herb in the Western World. The essential oil found in the flowers is the active ingredient inducing relaxation. It has many other medical uses, one of which is to sooth the stomach. There are some safety considerations as chamomile may cause allergic reaction in people sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae family. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Chamomile flower tops in 1 cup of boiling water steeped (covered) for 10min. It can be drunk 3 to 4 times/day.
L-Theanine: This substance, a type of amino acid found in green tea, has in my experience worked well for those suffering from anxiety. It stimulates alpha waves in the brain, which promote a state of waking relaxation. This increase in alpha brain waves allows people to enter a relaxed state without ultimately causing them to fall asleep. Further, it has been shown to increase dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is released by the brain and makes us feel good.
The concept "Adaptogen" was coined in 1947 by the Russian scientist, Lazarev. Adaptogens are considered to be substances that adapt an organism to stress. These substances (mostly herbal medicines) enable people to become better at resisting the effects stressful situations have on the body. They are not well known by the mainstream medical community but have become part of standard treatment in Naturopathic and Botanical/herbal Medicine. They do not work like anti-anxiety medicine as they do not directly make a person calmer but instead modulate the way that a person handles stress. Some adaptogenic herbs of note include Panax Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng, Rhodiola, and the aruyvedic herbs Holy Basil and Ashwaganda (Withania Somnifera).
Magnesium: This naturally occurring mineral found in food is extremely important in helping us cope with stress and anxiety. Unfortunately magnesium deficiency is becoming ever more prevalent (about 15% of the population) due the nature of western diets. People today generally eat limited magnesium rich foods like nuts, greens, seaweed and beans and instead choose processed foods stripped of magnesium during processing. What’s worse, coffee drinking limits magnesium absorption in the gut. As well, studies have found that stress depletes magnesium stores in the body. There have been a few studies showing that magnesium helps with anxiety. I personally have found it to be very effective in treating anxiety especially if a patients blood tests show them to be deficient in it.
Although the scientific basis of homeopathy is not well understood, Naturopathic Doctors are trained in its use and consider it an effective tool to treat anxiety. I can say from clinical experience that one popular homeopathic preparation called Rescue™ Remedy by BACH is very effective for the treatment of situational anxiety. In fact, a double-blind clinical trial was done comparing Rescue Remedy against a placebo on a sample of 111 people aged 18 to 49. The results suggest that Rescue Remedy was effective in reducing high levels of situational anxiety.
There are many other tools for managing stress and anxiety that are helpful to integrate into ones lifestyle like exercise, relaxation and breathing exercises. The lists of remedies above happen to be just a few of many natural medicines for getting anxiety under control.
Please note that with any natural medicine anyone taking medications or who have a medical condition should consult with their doctor or health professional before using any of these abovementioned products or tips.
May these remedies help strength us living in the land of Israel and may we all have lasting peace soon.
Dr. Anders Nerman, ND
Dr. Anders Nerman, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor with an Integrative Family Medical practice in Wolfson Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel. For more visit www.drnerman.com or call 972-54-427-8667.
Information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or adopting any treatment for a health problem.