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How to Use Herbal Remedies for Anxiety

Gloria Goodwin's picture
How to Use Herbal Remedies for Anxiety

Everyone get anxious at times, but for some, anxiety can be a real problem. If you have anxiety conditions, sometimes the simplest daily activities can be an ordeal. Shopping, paying bills, even going to school or work can seem almost impossible. Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be calm? Wouldn't it be nice to find a treatment that worked in harmony with your body? Well, there are herbal remedies for anxiety that have been used for thousands of years. Nature has provided us with all the remedies we need to live healthy long lives; all we need to do is find them.

Herbal Remedies for Anxiety

One of the oldest treatments for anxiety is Matricaria recutita, or German Chamomile. This wonderful herb has a delicate scent, and is used to make teas, as well as being sold in capsule form. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy as well. Try rubbing a small amount of the oil on your wrists and behind your ears, and allow yourself to relax. if you are using loose chamomile leaves and flowers, fill a tea ball and allow them to steep for several minutes, before adding a small amount of clover honey. On those particularly stressful days, adding lemon balm or valerian to your tea will increase the calming effect. Chamomile and vanilla oils, mixed together, create a lovely calming perfume with a sweet scent that will keep you and those around you calm in the most stressful situations.

St. John's wort takes its name from common belief that the plant first blooms on St. John's day. This herb has been used for many years to treat depression in Germany. The leaves are steeped for several minutes to make a tea, or capsules are widely available. It can take from a few days to a week or more for you to feel the effects of this herb, and it can be taken for extended periods of time if you are affected by seasonal affective dysthymic dysfunction also known as the "winter blues".

Your herbal medicine cabinet should definitely include skullcap, as well. Not only is skullcap effective in lessening anxiety, it is also effective for a wide variety of other nervous conditions. However, you should never take skullcap if you are pregnant, as it may cause miscarriages in large doses. Because it is very potent, you should try to find standardized capsules, rather than blending your own tea. Many herbal sleep aids have skullcap in them, usually combines with valerian root and chamomile. Skullcap has many other medicinal benefits that you can explore.

Valerian, also known as Jacobs's ladder, has a gentle calming effect and is often found in herbal sleeping aids. The flowers are attractive bluish lavender, and have a sweet smell. You can grow valerian easily in any sunny spot, but be advised; according to European folklore, this herb is grown by witches to entice their feline familiars! Of course, your neighbors probably won't know what this pretty plant is. If you do choose to grow valerian, you can make an oil infusion by suspending the lightly crushed leaves and flowers in pure mineral oil, and putting the bottle in a sunny window. Valerian can also be simmered in a potpourri simmerer. When mixed with lemon balm and chamomile and simmered, it produces a wonderfully calming smell that goes well with quiet meditation music.

Kava Kava comes originally from the South Seas, where it was used to make an alcoholic beverage! Now, you generally will make an ordinary tea from this tropical plant, which can also be bought in capsule form. While kava kava is safe for most people, you should avoid this herb if you are taking medicine for Parkinson's disease. Other than that, a soothing cup of kava kava tea is the perfect way to cure the occasional anxieties of everyday life, and will also bring on a good night's sleep for those nights when you just can't seem to wind down.

If you don't mind having your herb garden overrun with cats, then plant some catnip! Yes, catnip was used by Native Americans to treat anxiety and sleeping problems. It makes cats crazy, but it calms their owners. This herb is generally brewed as a tea, and it has a rather strong taste that many people compare to a mix of oregano and mint. This isn't surprising, as it is a member of the mint family.

All of these herbs can be combined in teas, as aromatherapy, and in essential oils and can be easily grown in most climates. Together, they create a lovely, calming garden, yet another anxiety reliever.  

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