Natural Remedies for Anxiety and Depression

Natural remedies that help in reducing anxiety and depression work towards establishing a state of emotional and physical wellbeing.  Once you are aware of your emotional and physical wellbeing, you are better equipped to handle anxiety and depression through making simple lifestyle changes.

Most people realize that anxiety is building up in their systems through several indicators such as shortness of breath; constant worry about work, love, money, family or health. One gets anxious, worried and feel need to relax. At this time, one does not feel need for any medication yet , but looks for natural remedies for anxiety and depression.

Chamomile tea can work wonders when it comes to calming you down. Some components of Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) are known to bind brain receptors in a way similar to drugs such as Valium do. Chamomile tea can also be consumed as a supplement. Usually supplements available in the market contain dried chamomile flowers along with active ingredient.

In a study conducted at University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Chamomile supplement was given to patients of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) for 2 months. Anxiety symptoms of patients taking Chamomile supplement reduced significantly compared to those who took only placebo.  

Green tea (L-theanine), according to Mark Blumenthal (of the American Botanical Council), might have been a reason why Japanese Buddhist monks could meditate for long hours. In fact, research studies have shown that L-theanine, a component in green tea, helps in lowering blood pressure and heart rate.

In a study conducted on anxiety-prone individuals, significantly lower anxiety levels and higher concentration were observed during a test, when subjects took 200mg of L-theanine before the test.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is known to be an effective sleep-aid. The government of Germany has approved use of Valerian as a treatment for sleep disorders. While one can consume Valerian in form of tea, due to its smell many people take it in form of capsule.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) has been used for ages for reducing stress and anxiety, and as sleep-aid. According to a study healthy individuals who took 600mg of lemon balm extract, were found to be more alert and calmer than those who took only placebo. While, lemon balm is considered to be safe, some studies have shown that excessive intake might increase anxiety levels.

Exercise is one of the most recommended solutions for depression/anxiety. It is very safe and very powerful in battling depression/anxiety. Regular exercise makes one feel healthier and improves sefl-esteem. Generally a 20minute to 30 minute workout is sufficient to make one feel calmer afterwards.

Passionflower is a German government approved sedative for treatment of nervous restlessness. Studies have shown that Passionflower is as effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety as prescriptive drugs. It is widely used in condition of insomnia. Passionflower can cause drowsiness, so it should not be taken along with any prescriptive sedative. Also, it is not advisable to take Passionflower for more than a month’s time at a time.

Lavender (Lavandula hybrida) is known for its intoxicating (but safe) aroma. In a German study, it was found that a specially formulated lavender oil pill reduced anxiety symptoms in subjects suffering from GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) as well as Lorazepam, an anti-anxiety medicine, did.  In another study, students who inhaled lavender oil before a test showed lesser anxiety, but few felt fuzzy during the test. Also another study showed that dental patients showed less anxiety when they waited in a waiting room scented with lavender oil.

Taking control of your breath is the easiest and most effective way to control anxiety. Deep breath works wonders in controlling anxiety as one can’t breathe deeply and stay anxious at the same time. Simple deep breathing technique, i.e. exhale completely through mouth and then inhale using nose to a count of four, hold breath till count of seven, and slowly exhale through your mouth to a count of eight, works immediately. This could be done twice a day.

Breakfast is extremely important for you and you cannot afford to skip breakfast. Many people having anxiety related disorders skip breakfast. Breakfast items such as eggs are rich source of good kind of protein and a natural source of choline. High anxiety levels are associated with low levels of choline.

Hunger has a strong linkage with anxiety and irritability. People tend to get more anxious when they are hungry since blood sugar level drops. A quick snack, such as walnut, dark chocolate or hot tea, helps. In a longer run, experts believe that, a good diet full of phytonutrients, leafy greens, whole-foods, and plant based food items is key to reduced anxiety.

Omega3 may work in condition of depression. In a study, a group of students was given 2.5 mg of omega3 every day for 12 weeks. Students who took omega3 showed lesser signs of anxiety than those who were given placebo. Experts advise that omega3 should best be consumed from food sources. Fishes such as salmon, anchovies, sardines and mussels contain omega3.

Warm up with Sauna or steam or simply with a cup of warm tea. Warming up body relaxes muscle tension. Warm sensations may cause alteration to neural circuits that control mood.  

Get closer to nature. Shinrin-yoku is Japanese term for a Forest Bath, i.e. walk in woods. Researchers in Japan measured stress hormone levels in people who walked in forests (having natural wood smell and sound of streams of running water) for 20 minutes, and found that stress hormones were much lower for forest bathers than those who took 20 minute walk in an urban area.

Catastrophic thinking is one reason why people get anxious. People think of unbearable, terrible events and worry about possibility of such an event happening to them. People do not realize that events which actually change one’s life trajectory are very few. Under anxiety, people tend to believe that such events are more likely to happen than real probability. One must learn to live in present and stay away from catastrophic thinking.

Anxiety and depression is a state of imbalance in emotional as well as physical wellbeing, while one needs to keep a positive thought process, it is also essential to keep one physically fit. Living in present is key to happiness, which in a longer run keeps anxiety and depression at bay.