Best Herbs for Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety is something that everyone struggles with from time to time—some more than others. While anxiety can have many causes and different levels of severity, simple solutions can offer immediate relief.
One of the best ways to support anxiety is using natural herbs to support dopamine and serotonin. Now let us discuss some of the basics of anxiety, provide tips that can help you improve mental health, and explore in-depth the best herbs for all things mental wellness.
What are the Physical Symptoms of Anxiety?
Physical symptoms of anxiety are a fast heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and fatigue.
What Causes Anxiety?
The causes of anxiety are diverse and can differ from person to person. After all, anxiety is a psychological state, and many factors can influence that state. For example, traumatic events can trigger anxiety; nutrient deficiencies can be a trigger, as can genetic factors.
While this may not encompass the full scope of something as complex as the human mind, there appear to be two primary factors that cause stress in most cases. These are:
- Chemical imbalances
- Thoughts about the future
These topics go deep, so we will offer a brief overview of each.
Your body depends on countless chemical reactions that occur from moment to moment. Some of the major chemicals that influence your body's function are hormones. Hormones are your body's chemical messengers. They travel to tissues and organs in your bloodstream, telling them what to do and when to do it.
These hormones require a delicate balance that can easily get disrupted. A hormonal imbalance occurs when you have too much or too little of a specific hormone in the bloodstream. As the body is so dependent on hormones for instruction, even small changes in hormones can profoundly affect your entire body.
When you are anxious or stressed, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone creates many changes in your body intended to help you better manage stressful situations. However, suppose cortisol is released frequently over time, such as from chronic stress or an anxiety disorder. In that case, it can deplete your adrenal glands, making you more prone to stress and anxiety.
To stop this vicious cycle, you need to focus on restoring chemical or hormonal imbalances. An effective solution is to supplement high-quality amino acids, as they play a crucial role in hormone production.
Additional suggestions include:
- Focusing on a nutritious diet.
- Lowering your toxic load.
- Exercising regularly.
- Learning to manage stress.
Thoughts About the Future
Exploring the nature of our thoughts and how they affect us is more abstract and subtle than dealing with a chemical imbalance. However, anxiety is a condition that is characterized by "a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome."
In other words, anxiety is a fear about the future—whether that is of the immediate future or later down the road.
The fact is, the future is always uncertain and unknown. How we relate to this fact can make a difference in whether we experience anxiety or peace.
For anxiety-prone people, uncertainty about the future can stir up thoughts about what could happen. These thoughts can create a physical reaction in the body, such as faster heart rate, sweating, and rapid breathing.
While the experience is authentic and physical, it is triggered by a thought.
Getting to the root of anxiety requires observing one's thoughts and noticing how their thoughts contribute to their stress. We can then inquire into our thoughts and ask ourselves, "Is this true, or is this just a story that my mind is creating?" We can also train ourselves to think differently and to have a more optimistic and relaxed outlook.
Most importantly, we can focus our attention on the present moment to free ourselves from anxiety about the future. We might fear what could happen in the future, but what is happening now?
Instead of focusing on that fearful thought and the series of fearful thoughts that will follow it, we can redirect our attention to something happening in our immediate circumstances, such as our breathing, our physical sensations, or the sounds that we hear. Doing this can bring our attention back to the present moment and help free us from fearful thinking.
Even the actual physical experience of anxiety isn't so bad when you focus on how it feels in the present moment. So, you may have a fast heartbeat, some sweating, or rapid breathing—can you live with a fast heart rate, sweat, and quick breath? Of course, you can. It may be uncomfortable, but it is tolerable.
We have to understand that anxiety, unless caused by a chemical imbalance, is primarily a result of our thinking. It is worse when we follow the anxious thoughts to their conclusions of fear and doom. Instead, return your attention to the direct experience that you are having. If you can focus on one moment at a time and accept whatever physical sensations are here in this moment, you can significantly reduce your anxiety.
People develop fears and worries about the future due to traumatic experiences from the past. This past trauma can make it challenging to feel safe and relaxed in the present moment or have enough trust in life to let your guard down.
In this case, some more profound emotional healing work or work with a licensed therapist is needed to heal those traumas so one can overcome their anxiety.
Using Calming Herbs for Anxiety
Now that we've discussed some of the fundamentals of anxiety let's discuss some of the natural herbs for anxiety and panic attacks. Herbs are indeed a fascinating gift of nature. There are hundreds of thousands of plants, and they all have unique chemical properties that can have various effects on the body.
It is essential to approach any health condition from a holistic approach and understand the root causes of the condition and ways to manage and treat it. By understanding the root cause, you can remove that cause and use a helpful treatment protocol instead of just continually masking or suppressing your symptoms.
In addition to focusing on the root causes mentioned above, some very effective herbs can help manage and reduce anxiety. Herbal remedies have been the primary form of medicine throughout human history, and there are some very ancient herbs for anxiety that have also been studied extensively in modern times.
What Herbs are Good for Anxiety?
Turmeric is one of the best herbs for anxiety. This herb has a unique ability to boost serotonin and dopamine levels. Serotonin and dopamine are both neurotransmitters associated with feelings of happiness and well-being.
However, the issue with curcumin is that it has a very low absorption rate in the blood. Therefore much of this powerful compound is lost in the digestive tract and eliminated without being used. Our Liposomal Curcumin Tonic solves this issue of curcumin's low absorption rate by using a proprietary micelle liposomal delivery system. This system protects the active ingredients from the hostile environment in the digestive tract from being absorbed directly into the bloodstream. This formula is significantly more effective than other turmeric alternatives because it maximizes the absorption of the curcumin compound, providing you with real benefits.
Ashwagandha is another fantastic herb for anxiety, as it is a powerful adaptogen. Adaptogens are a select group of herbs that support the body's natural ability to deal with stress. Adaptogens work at a molecular level by regulating a stable balance in the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands, all involved in the stress response. Essentially, they work by "hacking" the stress response in the body.
For those prone to anxiety, ashwagandha can give them extra support in relieving stress and helping them to remain calm and at ease.
3. Holy Basil
Holy basil, also known as tulsi, is another excellent herb for stress and anxiety. Holy basil can slow the release of the stress hormone cortisol, and once cortisol is released, it can block cortisol receptors, limiting damage from the stress hormone.
Holy basil has been used in Indian medicine for centuries to reduce stress and is known as "the queen of herbs" for its many medicinal uses.
4. Green Tea
Green tea is a potent herb for anxiety support, as it is a natural source of L-Theanine. Theanine is a powerful amino acid that helps keep our cortisol levels low. L-Theanine acts as the precursor to dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is the second-largest brain chemical and plays a crucial role in preventing your brain from accessing adrenaline, which is the precursor to cortisol. Since the brain cannot access adrenaline, cortisol release is also restricted.
Not only does L-Theanine prevent the body from elevating cortisol, but it rewards you by stimulating relaxing alpha waves in your brain. These alpha brain waves allow your brain to focus, prioritize thoughts, improve concentration, and increase learning ability while you're awake. L-Theanine can also help alleviate anxiety and stress from adrenal exhaustion. The stimulating properties of green tea and its mood-enhancing benefits make it one of the best herbs for anxiety and depression.
Passionflower is a fantastic herb with nervine and sedative properties. It is one of the best herbs for anxiety. Recent studies on generalized anxiety disorder have shown that passionflower is as effective as the anti-anxiety drug oxazepam (Serax) for treating symptoms.
However, passionflower's relaxing qualities tend to make some people feel tired, so it is best used in the evening, unlike some of the other herbs for anxiety-like green tea, for example, which is both energizing and relaxing to its unique combination of caffeine and L-Theanine.
To summarize, anxiety is defined as: "a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome." A person can be aware they have anxiety from physical symptoms such as fast heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and feeling tired.
The causes of anxiety are diverse and can differ from person to person. However, in many cases, stress is caused by chemical or hormonal imbalances or fearful thoughts about the future. Therefore, working to restore balance to one's hormones and changing one's relationship to their ideas and mindfulness of the present moment can help overcome anxiety.
In addition, working with specific herbal remedies may also help manage and reduce anxiety. Herbal remedies have been used throughout human history, and there are some very effective herbs for anxiety that have also been studied extensively in modern times.
Some of the best herbs for anxiety are:
- Holy Basil
- Green Tea
Supplementing with one or more of these herbs and taking a holistic approach to managing anxiety—such as incorporating a nutritious diet, regular exercise, good quality sleep, and regular meditation—may make a difference for someone suffering from anxiety.
However, with any condition—be it physical or psychological—it is always recommended to work with a doctor or trained professional for the best results. They can work directly with you and your unique situation and offer you much-needed support in your healing journey.