4 Effective Herbs To Help Anxiety

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If you’re in need of some herbs to help anxiety at the moment, you’re not alone. Anxiety seems somewhat synonymous with modern living. The rise in social anxiety, generalised anxiety disorders and panic attacks can be seen in all areas of society. Some of this rise can be attributed to the way we are living. Life requires most parents to work fulltime, financial constraints are increasing especially with the rise in the cost of living, salary and wages are not keeping with inflation and let’s throw social media and a global pandemic in the mix. No wonder we are struggling.

Anxiety can feel like a lack of control over your heart rate, it can feel like an upset stomach, a tension in your shoulders and jaw, headaches, poor sleep and also mood issues like depression and irritation. When you feel anxious it is the same feeling as when you feel excited just with less fun, it is the racing heart, the shallow breathing, the butterflies or ‘upset’ stomach. 

This is where you can utilise some plants to help support your anxiety levels and also impact your vagus nerve which has a direct effect on your gut brain axis and nervous system to hopefully reduce those symptoms.

Here are 4 herbs you could easily incorporate into your everyday to help with anxiety. 

1 Hawthorn

Hawthorn supports the heart which is where anxiety feels like it can sit sometimes. When you have anxious feelings your heart rate increases and you feel more stressed and under pressure. Hawthorn is a great herb for anxiety as it works specifically at helping supporting a healthy and balanced heart rate and also supports a healthy blood pressure which is very important for those that suffer long term anxiety. Hawthorn is one of the plants we wild forage here at Wild Dispensary. 

2 Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is another well known herb to help support anxious feelings. Lemon balm extracts increase the action of the brain calming signals (GABA) and its active constituents (like citronellal) help to support its antispasmodic and sleep supporting actions. It can also help with stopping people overthinking (especially at bed time) which means people are more likely to sleep and feel more rested - which makes everything feel a bit easier. 

 

We use a number of helpful herbs, like hawthorn and lemon balm

 
Herbs are a great way to help anxiety and support your nervous system. You can take them daily or when you feel you need them. We are incredibly lucky to have amazing plants that we use to support our nervous system such as Californian poppy and chamomile in our Rest and Calm as well as lemon balm and hawthorn which we use in our Mood Tonic. 


mood-boost-tonic-wild-dispensary


3 Motherwort

Motherwort is a very bitter herb that spreads amazingly in a garden. It is a great herb to help anxiety and due to this the leaves are often used and can be in a tea or tincture. It has both anxiolytic (antianxiety) and cardioprotective properties. It helps support the body to switch out of the fight or flight mode and move back into rest and digest. 

4 Passionflower

Passionflower is one of the most well known and popular plants to help support anxiety. It helps support your central nervous system and actively helps to support more production of GABA which is a neurotransmitter within in our brain that supports relaxation. Passionflower is also a relatively safe herb that can be used with children as well as people on medication. 


Other ways to help

Anxiety can feel overwhelming and can lead to people suffering from secondary issues such as depression or low mood as their lives are impacted by their anxiety. For example for those that suffer from social phobia or social anxiety their lack of being able to attend events, school or work can have disastrous effects on their day to day lives which can lead to further mood issues.

Alongside herbs that help anxiety, incorporation of breath work, meditation and relying less on caffeine (which speeds up our stress response and also heart rate) can help to re-centre and reduce anxiety. In Ayurveda it is sometimes suggested that splashing your face with cold water can help switch your nervous system out of the fight or flight. Which makes sense - as anxiety is often ‘future thinking’ and worrying about what will happen or what has happened, so a quick jolt of cold water might bring your thoughts back into the present day. 

With all things mental health, talking to people helps. It helps explaining your worries to your loved ones so they know what is going on. A great book about anxiety is called First we make the beast beautiful’ by Sarah Wilson who describes her journey and also speaks with mental health professionals about anxiety.  There will be copies in your local library and here is a link for her interview with Jesse Mulligan on RNZ.

                                                                               
🌿🌿🌿

If you need any extra information please get in touch. We all know how debilitating anxiety can be - I (Skye) had really bad social anxiety at University and struggled to leave the house for a bit so I 100% know how difficult it is. It is something that is always around, and does not go away entirely (I still don’t love big groups of people), but there are ways to work with it. Another way to frame it is you feel things deeply and that is a good thing - we need more compassionate people in our world x 

REFERENCES

Koshovyi, O., Raal, A., Kireyev, I., Tryshchuk, N., Ilina, T., Romanenko, Y., …& Bunyatyan, N. (2021). Phytochemical and psychotropic research of motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca L.) modified dry extracts. Plants, 10(230), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10020230

Watkins, L.L., Connor, K.M., & Davidson, J.R.T. (2001). Effect of kava extract on vagal cardiac control in generalized anxiety disorder: Preliminary findings. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 15(4), 283-286.

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