Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the New Zealand., affecting over 40 million adults. While medication can be helpful for some, many people prefer anxiety natural remedies. The good news is numerous herbs and plants have been used since ancient times to calm the mind, body, and spirit. Let’s explore some of the top botanicals to add to your anti-anxiety toolbox.
The Calming Flower Derived from daisy-like flowers, chamomile tea is a mild sedative well-known for inducing sleep and relaxation. The flavonoids in chamomile bind to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain, similarly to anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax. Sipping chamomile tea reduces cortisol and adrenaline to lift mood while easing stress.
Try it: Drink a cup of chamomile tea twice a day, before bed and during high stress periods. The whole flowers can also be added to baths. Chamomile essential oil is relaxing when diffused or applied topically.
The Anxiety Antidote Lemon balm is a member of the mint family long used for its calming properties. Research shows lemon balm increases GABA levels in the brain to curb anxiety, worry and fear. The rosmarinic acid and essential oil limonene also assist with mood-lifting effects.
Try it: Take lemon balm as a supplement, tea, tincture or essential oil. Pair with chamomile or valerian root for added relaxation. Use daily for preventative effects or as needed when anxious feelings strike.
The Soothing Scentsation One of the most popular essential oils, lavender, has significant clinical research validating its anti-anxiety capabilities. Lavender activates calming regions in the brain’s amygdala and slows racing thoughts. Its pleasant floral aroma also triggers relaxation.
Try it: Diffuse lavender essential oil, spray on pillows, add to lotion or baths. Smelling lavender oil during stressful times quickly counteracts anxiety. The tea and supplements also deliver mild sedative effects.
The Tension Tamer Used traditionally by Native Americans, passionflower contains flavonoids that enhance GABA activity to reduce anxiety, irritability, insomnia and muscle tension. Passionflower also increases serotonin and dopamine levels like antidepressant drugs.
Try it: Passionflower tea, tinctures or capsules can be taken on a regular basis or as needed for acute anxiety relief. Combining passionflower with chamomile or catnip enhances the calming actions.
The Adaptogenic Ally Ashwagandha is a revered Ayurvedic adaptogen herb used to improve resilience against stress. Active withanolides in ashwagandha calm hypothalamus signaling and balance hormone levels. Ashwagandha also reduces the stress hormone cortisol to ease anxiety symptoms.
Try it: Take 300-500mg capsules of ashwagandha root extract daily. The optimal anxiety-lowering benefits are seen after consistent use for 2-3 months. Ashwagandha imparts a feeling of calm focus and contentment.
The Sleep Solution Valerian root contains valerenic acid that inhibits enzyme breakdown of GABA, resulting in sedation and tranquility. Valerian provides deeper, less fragmented sleep while reducing nighttime restlessness and anxiety. It is commonly used alongside melatonin.
Try it: Drink valerian root tea before bedtime or take 2 capsules or a tincture dose. Valerian works best when used regularly for 2-6 weeks to improve sleep quality and subsequently lower anxiety.
The Endocannabinoid Booster CBD or cannabidiol oil has exploded in popularity as a way to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and ease chronic pain. CBD binds to endocannabinoid receptors in the brain to positively influence mood, cognition, and stress response. It is non-psychoactive and generally safe to use.
Try it: Start with 10-20mg CBD oil under the tongue twice a day. After a week increase to 40-60mg if needed. Look for broad or full spectrum hemp-derived CBD oil for maximum anxiety relief.
The Pacific Secret Kava is a traditional Polynesian root beverage that induces feelings of calm contentment and connection. Kavalactones in kava interact with brain receptors involved in serotonin and dopamine release. Kava reduces tension without impairing cognition or causing drowsiness.
Try it: Add 2-4 tablespoons of powdered kava root to water or juice and drink in the evenings for relaxation. Avoid high doses or using kava daily long-term due to potential liver toxicity concerns.
GABA – The Neurotransmitter Supplement
GABA or gamma-Aminobutyric acid is the brain’s major inhibitory neurotransmitter that counters glutamate excitability. Insufficient GABA activity is linked to anxiety disorders, panic attacks and insomnia. GABA supplements increase calmness and support sleep.
Try it: Take a 500-750mg GABA supplement 30 minutes before bedtime. Also consider combining GABA with theanine, magnesium, or 5-HTP for amplified anti-anxiety effects.
Harnessing the natural healing properties of plants is an effective way to find anxiety relief without sedation or side effects. Herbal supplements, teas and essential oils can be incorporated into daily routines for general well-being or used on an acute basis when stress strikes. Always consult your doctor before trying new supplements, especially if taking alternative medicine. With the right botanical allies by your side, you can cultivate a life filled with greater peace and tranquility.