Controlling Anxiety Through Herbs and Diet

Tess Thompson



The human body is designed to endure a certain amount of anxiety or panic attacks for a defined period of time. However, excessive anxiety on a regular basis can lead to many health problems.

The issue of anxiety disorder is assuming the proportion of an epidemic in the country and according to statistics released by the National Institute of Mental Health anxiety disorders is the most common type of mental illness in the U.S., with approximately 40 million people over the age of 18 affected each year. Nearly seventy five percent of those with an anxiety disorder have their first instance by the age of 21.5.

It is essential that medical intervention be sought at the earliest to avoid long-term harm that extended anxiety can have on the overall health. These days, natural treatments for anxiety are gaining importance, of which diet and herbs form two important pillars.

Diet plays an important role in the treatment of anxiety disorder. It is important to eat a balanced diet and avoiding certain kinds of foods itself can be a treatment. The first thing that you should eliminate from your diet to reduce chances of an anxiety disorder is caffeine. To do this you would need to put a complete restriction on intake of coffee, tea and soft drinks. In case complete restriction is an issues switching over to decaffeinated coffee is a better option.

Clinical research has shown that in many cases, eliminating coffee alone can in itself be a complete solution for anxiety relief. Anxiety disorders are linked to hypoglycemia as well and so those who are prone to low blood sugar levels should ensure that they reduce the consumption of simple sugars and replace them with whole grains.

The addition of proteins to your diet can help in avoiding anxiety attacks. Another anxiety or panic attack treatment that is gaining acceptance with people as well as the medical fraternity is herbal remedies. They essentially provide relaxing and calming effect on the human body. Since some herbal remedies may interact with other prescription drugs, it is advisable that these remedies be tried in consultation with a physician.

Herbs like kava-kava and valerian roots have been used to for quite some time now. Kava, a native to Polynesia, has been used to treat insomnia, anxiety and tension. It has been shown to promote relaxation without affecting mental alertness. Clinically tested Kava has been shown to be effective for the treatment of anxiety disorders using a dose of 300 mg kava extract per day.

The herb Valerian acts as a tranquilizer and is known to calm the nervous system and is best known as a remedy for insomnia. It has also been tested clinically and human trials with Valerian extract having a minimum of 0.8% valerenic acid have been found to be highly effective.

The good news is that it is not habit forming. The other herbs that have been used in treating anxiety disorder, though not tested clinically, are California poppy, Hops, Ashwagandha, Passion flower, Chamomile and Catnip.

Most of the herbal preparations commercially available in the market are usually a combination of two or more herbs.

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