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Are There Any Natural Remedies for Anxiety?



Whether you have occasional anxiety or a daily sense of worry, there are many different ways to take control. Anxiety affects everyone differently, which means there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to remedies. It is best to experiment with different types of anxiety-easing methods to see what is right for your body. For many, anxiety relief can be achieved by means of herbal treatments, exercise, and mindfulness.


Herbal Treatments


Lysine

In many cases, anxiety is caused by neurotransmitter deficiencies (which carry important chemical messages from one cell to another). Amino acids aid these chemical messages (or reactions), one of them being lysine. Supplements containing lysine can “act as a partial serotonin receptor” [3] in the brain in order to decrease strong responses to stress. When acting as a serotonin receptor, the body can lower blood cortisol levels, the stress-causing hormone.


Kava

This herbal medicine is a drink “prepared from the plant Piper methysticum” [3]. Why is this plant important? It is said to have relieved “anxiety, restlessness and insomnia for centuries” [3] in a large number of different cultures. This treatment works as an anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) agent. Many people especially enjoy this remedy because it is not sedative, like some pharmaceutical drugs. Kava inhibits sodium and calcium channels, making it harder for neurons to enter an “excited” state of anxiety.


Passionflower

Passionflower has been used around the world in many different cultures to combat symptoms of anxiety. It is an anxiolytic agent, just like kava, and the “effects of passionflower are well documented in mice” [3]. When tested in comparison to pharmaceutical General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) medications, symptom relief was the same. This makes passionflower a great alternative to pharmaceuticals for some.


Exercise


Any form of exercise can also relieve anxiety. Participating in physical activity distracts the mind from worry and provides something else to focus on. Exercise also “decreases muscle tension” [1], an aspect that adds to anxiety symptoms. Physical activity boosts your heart rate as well, allowing important “happy” chemicals like serotonin to enter the brain. Long-term, regular exercise builds resilience against negative emotions such as anxiety.


Mindfulness


This practice is especially good for those who experience anxiety because it helps us learn to focus on the present moment. It allows us to let moments and feelings pass without overthinking, and avoid worrying about the past or future. The practice teaches the body how to respond to situations as they are, not by instinctive emotions. Some different methods of mindfulness include “tai chi, yoga, and zen” [2].

There are many natural ways to combat anxiety. Anxiety affects everyone differently which means there are different remedies to help with the variety of symptoms. Natural remedies require no prescription and for many, can be easier to experiment with, reducing the worries of side effects.



References

1. John J. Ratey, M. D. (2019, October 24). Can exercise help treat anxiety? Harvard Health. Retrieved April 11, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-exercise-help-treat-anxiety-2019102418096

2. Kind, S., & Hofmann, S. G. (2016, February 10). Can mindfulness really help reduce anxiety? Anxiety.org. Retrieved April 11, 2022, from https://www.anxiety.org/can-mindfulness-help-reduce-anxiety

3. Lakhan SE, Vieira KF. Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review. Nutr J. 2010;9:42. Published 2010 Oct 7. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-42


 

Contributors:

Author: Sophie Gangi

Editor: Kayjah Taylor

Health scientist: Jonn’ea Williams


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