Today TMBL welcomes guest blogger Lily Berkley who shares her thoughts on the best herbal supplements to treat stress. Lily writes on behalf of an ethical online healthcare business. One of her main priorities is to help people understand how prevention and healthy living are so much better than any cure.
Many of us lead incredibly fraught lives these days, with barely a moment to ourselves to rest and relax.
Little wonder then that incidences of diagnosed depression and anxiety are on the rise amongst adults. According to studies, as many as one in ten adults report feeling distressed and unable to cope with life.
For many people talking therapies and short courses of anti-depressants will work wonders. However, some people prefer to treat their symptoms with nature’s remedies. Here are some of the best known herbs for relieving stress and its associated symptoms.
Valerian is a natural anti-anxiety drug that can be bought and taken in either tablet, tincture or tea form. It has a distinctive – some might say acquired – taste, but is not unpleasant and has a mildly sedating and relaxing effect on the mind and body. It’s particularly useful taken last thing at night as a wonderful sleep aid known for its soporific qualities.
A word of caution with Valerian: while it is, like most herbal remedies, completely non-addictive, it should not be taken for longer than two weeks in a row. This is due to the fact that after a certain amount of time, when taken in the maximum dose it can actually become less effective and start to trigger the signs of anxiety you are feeling.
In other words, it’s perfect for short term treatment, but not for long term relief.
St John’s Wort
St John’s Wort has long been known to help fight the signs of depression and its associated anxieties.
Again, this can be taken in tablet or tincture form. This particular remedy works similar to traditionally used conventional anti-depressant medications that aim to keep levels of serotonin and dopamine stable in the brain.
St John’s Wort is also said to have far fewer undesirable side effects than traditional drugs. As with everything though, this can vary from person to person.
It can, however, interact with many other conventional medications (including the birth control pill) that are being taken for a range of other illnesses and conditions, so if you are considering taking this supplement, always check with a doctor or pharmacist to ensure that it is safe for you.
A little known gem for treating stress is Passiflora.
It’s very often included with Valerian in supplements to relieve stress, but can also be found as a treatment in its own right. Its effect on the brain is similar to traditional opiate medications such as codeine, and is very often recommended by herbal practitioners to help with the withdrawal from such medicines.
Similarly, it is also used as a sleep aid and a tonic to relieve restlessness and irritability brought on by long term stress.
This is most commonly found in the form of a tincture that is dropped on to the tongue, or consumed in a small amount of water.
It’s a very under-rated herbal remedy for fighting the signs of anxiety and particularly those that are related to unwanted and obsessive thought patterns, perhaps more commonly associated with conditions such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
It’s also particularly effective in cases of people who have unwanted images in their heads, perhaps related to traumatic incidents or unhappy times in their lives, that prove very unsettling.
White Chestnut is known to help calm the anxiety surrounding such images and thoughts and to provide a natural reassurance. It can be taken long term.
Again, perhaps one of the less well known remedies for treating stress, Gentian is more commonly found in the form of a tincture and is an excellent treatment for what is termed “reactive depression” – that is to say a case of depression that has a known cause, such as the loss of a job, divorce or bereavement.
In some cases, depression like this is short term and so the use of a remedy such as Gentian is a good choice.
It is also known to aid mental exhaustion and “fogginess” in the head and is excellent in cases of stress which find the sufferer has a poor appetite and cannot eat, as it stimulates the digestive juices.
It’s vitally important to look after your mental health and make sure that any signs and symptoms of stress, anxiety, sleeplessness and depression are treated properly.
Having the right information to hand about all available treatments will help you make an informed and appropriate choice for your own well-being.
If you are in any doubt, always check with a doctor or pharmacist first before embarking on any natural treatments. In the short term they can be incredibly beneficial and helpful in cases of low-grade stress and mental upset.
Weigh in: what stresses you out? have you tried any herbal remedies? what do you recommend?