Herbs for Anxiety
October 7, 2020
Some anxiety is natural and healthy. The right herbs for anxiety can help calm us enough to work through anxiety in a healthy way. Our plant friends are just like people or animal friends who help us on our life journey. A people friend cannot prevent natural anxiety, the same holds true with plant friends.
Let’s get a basic understanding of what anxiety is. What causes anxiety? What are the effects of anxiety? Then we will look at how we can work though our anxiety with both herbs and behavior changes.
What is anxiety
Anxiety is “anticipation of impending danger and dread accompanied by restlessness, tension, tachtycardia (increase heart rate), and breathing difficulty not necessary associated with an apparent stimulus.”1 “Recurrence of such reactions that disrupt the ability to function when immediate danger is not perceptible by others is characteristic of anxiety disorders.”2
Anxiety is good for us when there is a clear possibility of danger. It’s a part of our primal ”fight or flight” survival. Anxiety increases the heart rate and breathing, causes restlessness and increased awareness. It’s survival mode 101. Here are some examples: Do you have to walk through a dark alley in a rough neighborhood to get to your car? That anxiety is a normal and healthy response. You’re on your first spirit contact and hear a bump, again an example of the benefits of anxiety. Those are appropriate anxiety responses. Herbs can help us when we know a specific stimulus is on the horizon and we need help coping or calming down afterwards.
If your experiencing anxiety to the point you feel you can barely function, please, get help. Your plant friends can also help with clinical anxiety disorders but first, talk to a physician or therapist. If you are already taking medication for anxiety, do not use herbal medicine without first consulting your physician. Herbal constituents can negatively interact with prescription medication. Do not self-medicate or withdraw from prescribed anxiety medicine without consulting your physician. Anxiety disorders are serious, affecting you mentally, physically and spiritually. We care enough to say- don’t read our blog, call a physician or therapist for help. We want to help you find your whole healing, but we aren’t physicians or clinical professionals.
What herbs help with anxiety?
Here are some plant friends that can help us through occasional normal healthy anxiety. Another quality resource is Herbs for Stress & Anxiety by Rosemary Gladstar.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – Chamomile is a mild nervine and sedative.* Tea: 1-2 teaspoons steeped in 8 oz of hot water for 15 minutes. Drink a cup an hour before needed.
Passion Flower (passiflora incarnate) – Passion flower may aid nervous excitability and rein-in the mind when your brain seems to be over active (e.g. playing out worst case scenarios.)* Tea: 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon to half a cup of water. Be advised that passion flower can induce drowsiness.
Scullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) – Scullcap is very useful for nervous tension and a tonic for the nervous system.* Tea: 1-2 teaspoons steeped in one cup of hot water for 10-15 minutes.
Vervain (Verbena officinalis) (avoid if you have kidney problems) – Vervain aids in tension and stress relief. It also has a general restorative effect on the nervous system.* Tea: 1 teaspoon steeped in one cup of water for 15 minutes.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) – Valerian can be quite sedating.* A little goes a long way. For a tea 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon in one cup of water.
Wood Betony (Betonica officinalis, Stachys officinalis) – Wood Betony is another mild sedative and nervine.* For a tea, steep 1-2 teaspoons in one cup of hot water for 10-15 minutes.
Healing from within
We can help curb our own anxiety by changing our perspective and taking steps to ensure our own positive outcomes. Walking a dark alley alone to get to your car? Go with 3 or more people, that way those who return aren’t alone either. Speaking to a large crowd? Confide that you’re scared of being embarrassed to a friend and see if you can get them into the event and seated where you can see them. A familiar face is a huge shot of confidence. Are you going to a large party where you only know the host? Let the host know that you’re not a fan of large gatherings and ask if they have another friend who will be there with similar interests you may be introduced to. It helps break the ice.
Use meditation. Ask the universal consciousness to help you walk through all the positive aspects of an upcoming anxious experience. Know that you and those around you are part of eternal love. There is not one experience on earth that is new. Someone has been in the same experience in some form and survived. Now, you may be anxious for an impending military deployment or surgery and not everyone has survived, but you can make up your mind, with the support of the universal consciousness, that you will be a survivor. Self-love though determination is one of our most valuable healing tools.
Anxiety is part of the human experience. It’s there to help you survive. Using meditation and being aware of the love around us helps us to not view our world as a constant battle field thus, reducing anxiety. Self-love though determination gives you power over anxiety. Herbs can help calm us enough to work through the anxiety in a healthy manner.
1 Mosby, Inc. Dictionary of medicine, nursing, & health professionals – 9th ed., 2013 Elsevier, Inc., St. Louis, MO USA
2 Taber, Clarence W.; Venes, Donald, Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, Ed. 22, 2019 F.A. Davis Company, Philadelphia, PA.
Bartram, Thomas; Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, 1998 Robinson Publishing Ltd, London, England
Taber, Clarence W.; Venes, Donald, Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, Ed. 22, 2019 F.A. Davis Company, Philadelphia, PA.
White, Linda B., M.D., The Herbal Drug Store: the best natural alternatives to over-the-counter & prescription medicines, 2000 Rodale