5 Herbs that Treat Anxiety and Depression

5 Herbs that Treat Anxiety and Depression

There are many synthetic medicines on the market today that treat anxiety and depression.  Doctors are quick to prescribe these medicines and we as consumers, are quick to take them because anxiety and depression can be so overwhelming.

Anxiety can make a person feel out of control and keep them in a constant state of worry, even if there is nothing to worry about.  Out of the blue it can hit you, your brain telling you to worry or have fear, for no reason.  You try to control the thoughts of worry but it is a useless attempt.  Anxiety then takes over and can hinder your social activities, your work life and can even make you scared to leave your comfort zone.

Depression can cause a person to have sadness and lack the motivation to leave the house or worse, even get out of bed.  When depression sets in you can find yourself isolated and crying for no reason other than you feel like you have an extreme case of the blues.  Depression can take away your appetite, your desire to be social, and your desire to engage in life.

If you have experienced either of these then you know how debilitating they can be.  But you do not have to live with these disorders anymore.  There are many ways to successfully treat anxiety and depression, with medicines and with therapeutic techniques.  Another way to treat these disorders is through a combination of anxiety treatment or depression treatment along with the use of medicinal herbs.  Yes, there are herbs that can be grown naturally or purchased that can help you escape anxiety and depression and live a happy and mentally healthy life.

Scientific American reports that people are turning to more natural medicines due to the high cost of prescriptions, the side effects associated with prescribed medicines, and the fact that the prescribed medications do not work the same for every person.  Medicinal herbs such as lavender, saffron, passion flower, ginseng and chamomile are being researched and are showing they can have a positive impact on someone struggling with mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.  While it sounds simple, using medicinal herbs is not a quick fix but over time, can positively impact your mental health.

Lavender

Lavender sachets, soaps, sprays, and oils can be found in big box stores as well as online and in specialty stores.  There are even essential oil companies that have created multi-level marketing programs to promote oils such as lavender and its benefits.  The National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health states lavender has a long history in the Mediterranean and has become very popular in the United States in the last decade or longer.  It has many positive side effects such as boosting mood and relieving anxiety.

The Natural Medicine Journal reports lavender can be beneficial in treating both anxiety and depression.  There have been numerous research studies with findings of lavender being very effective in improving mental health.  Evidence Based Complimentary Alternative Medicine concluded through three separate studies that lavender had a great impact on those with anxiety when used orally or through odors.

Dr. Galloway explains how to use lavender oil and why it is important in the use of decreasing anxiety in this video. The University of Maryland Medical Center provides further information on lavender and how to use it, claiming the essential oils from lavender are taken from the flowers and can be used orally, topically or through smell.

So whether it is taken orally through liquid droplets or supplements, or sprayed on the body, or rubbed in like lotion, or even stuffed in a sachet and put under your pillow, you can be assured that lavender will have a calming effect on you and when used regularly can enhance your overall well-being.

Saffron

Saffron, the herb, comes from the plant saffron crocus and the cost of this spice is compared to that of gold. It is quite expensive and highly sought after. Watch how it is made in this video where they travel to Morocco to see just what goes into cultivating saffron.  Many reports state that saffron is a very expensive herb, often used as a sweetener, but because it is still hard to cultivate, the price to purchase it can be higher.  It can take 75,000 saffron bulbs to make just one pound of saffron spice.

The results of different studies have proven that saffron is effective in treating mental health disorders.  Healthline reports on studies that test the herb Saffron to ease symptoms of depression and anxiety.  It was found that when compared to a placebo group, the saffron users reported fewer symptoms. University Health News claims saffron can be just as effective as Prozac, a commonly prescribed medication for depression and to back this claim up, The Psych Congress Network shared results of one study that showed saffron was equally effective as prescribed medicines in treating depression.

To be happy, people have to increase levels of serotonin in the brain.  Plants such as saffron contain serotonin.  So it only makes sense to use plants containing serotonin to increase serotonin levels in the brain.  It has often been said to eat salad at night because lettuce leaves have a calming effect.  The serotonin connection may be present here as well.  Similar to other herbs, saffron can be taken in a supplement or liquid form or used in perfumes.

Chamomile

Because anxiety and depression can come from being overstressed, it is important to implement herbal remedies to counteract our body’s reaction to stress. Chamomile is suggested as one of the best ways to fight stress. Chamomile is defined as being one of the most ancient herbs used to treat medical issues due to its many terpanoids and flavonoids which can aid in healing.

Everyday Roots suggests depression and anxiety can go hand in hand with not getting enough sleep or not getting the right kind of sleep.  Chamomile can help significantly with getting proper sleep. Using chamomile tea can be a great way to ingest chamomile and allow the body to slowly adjust to its calming effects.  Apparently, chamomile works on the same brain receptors as does an anti-anxiety synthetic drug often prescribed to you by a doctor.  However, chamomile is much safer to use than the synthetic drugs, with less side effects and less addictive traits.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac also recommends the use of chamomile for relaxation and offers a recipe of one ounce of chamomile to every two or three cups of water.  It can be used internally or externally.

Passion Flower

Passion flower has been known to have an almost hypnotic like effect on some people.  When taken properly, it can calm a person and allow them to get a deep sleep so their mind can rest.  It is best when taken as a tea.  Calm Clinic explains that passion flower decreases anxiety due to having a large number of chrysin and benzoflavone flavonoids, which are the chemicals that can affect our bodies and create the relaxing feeling.

Extra Happiness gives us a better look at passion flower and its sedative like traits.  Passion flower can work for a range of disorders including narcotic withdrawal, anxiety, panic attacks, pain relief, mood swings and even menstrual cramps.

Dr. Andrew Weil states passion flower can calm you down without giving you total sedation.  He urges us to try passion flower for anxiety before trying any synthetic drugs.  However, he also notes that if you are pregnant or on a blood thinner, it is important not to take any herbs or medicines without the approval of a medical doctor.

People today are super busy and over-stressed with work and personal responsibilities.  Passion flower will allow your mind to relax so that you are not constantly thinking about what you have to do tomorrow at work or at home.  It allows your mind to be calm so you can get a good sleep so your entire body can rest and heal.

Ginseng

Medical News Today describes ginseng as having a fleshy root that can enhance many medical functions within the body.  It is noted that American and Asian Ginseng are the types of plants that are beneficial, whereas Siberian ginseng is not actually ginseng.  Be careful when you are purchasing this herb.  Make sure you are getting a genuine product.

This product will be more expensive than other herbs but can’t be well worth the payment when realizing its medicinal benefits.  Ginseng takes about six years to mature and cultivating it before six years will decrease its medicinal power.  There are people who will pay a lot of money for good ginseng and this herb has caused many fights among landowners who find poachers scouring their land for ginseng.  It is a rare crop to find due to the specifics of the area in which it grows is not common and has to be just right.  For instance, they have to have shade on the side of a mountain near a water source.  There are other specifics like this which makes it even more difficult for a person to grow their own ginseng from seed.  Finding ginseng plants on your property can be like finding gold to some, like hitting the jackpot.

Dr. Edward Group at the Global Healing Center states ginseng has been used for hundreds of years by the Chinese as a form of medicine due to its ability to increase energy levels and improve a person’s state of mind. Be Brain Fit reports many ways ginseng can improve mental health:

  • Boosts energy
  • Improves sex drive
  • Can ease withdrawal symptoms from cigarettes or drugs
  • Boosts mood and mental well-being

Adaptogens claims ginseng can alleviate many forms of depression, whether it is menopausal depression or more generalized depression.  Mental health is just one way ginseng can help the body. Ginseng uses are varied and can benefit many ailments including diabetes, endocrine system, cholesterol levels, and combats stress and fatigue.  When any of these bodily systems are not functioning properly, depression and anxiety can follow.  Therefore it is important to make sure all functions within your system are working as they are supposed to.

Conclusion

If you are suffering from anxiety or depression or both, please seek help.  Whether it is from your family doctor or an alternative medicine specialist, seek help.  There are so many other people out there who are experiencing the same emotions you are experiencing.  After finding the right person to work with you on healing, know your options.  It is easy to just start taking the first pill prescribed by the doctor.  However, the side effects and withdrawal symptoms that come with this pill are not so easy to handle.  Why not try the safest method first and if it doesn’t work, then move on to trying prescribed medications.

Herbs have been used for centuries in the United States, Asia and all around the world.  Not many synthetic medicines have reputations as good as natural herbs.  Herbs such as lavender, saffron, chamomile, ginseng and passion flower have documented research to support their benefits.  Each one of these herbs can be linked to improved mental health.

There is always a new and better synthetic drug coming out to replace the last “best” medicine.  While using natural herbs to enhance you mental health may take a regular routine and a little more time, it is well worth the effort.  Herbs used in conjunction with other coping techniques have been proven time and again to be very effective when fighting anxiety and depression.

Anxiety and depression and other mental health disorders can be conquered so that you can have a healthy life full of happiness.  Using alternative herbs can help you appreciate the journey to becoming happy.  Using herbs allows you to be more in control of what you put into your body, your own dosage, your own feelings and actions.  Ultimately, getting control back over our own lives seems to be what we are seeking in the first place.

 This article was original published on Vantage Point Recovery.