Anxiety is an emotional state that is typically characterized by panic, fear, apprehension, worry, uncertainty, uneasiness. Anxiety can actually manifest physically and a person can experience heart palpitations, shortness of breath (SOB), insomnia, chest pain, loss of libido or sexual drive, nausea, diarrhea, sweating. When the emotional and/or physical manifestations of anxiety become chronic, persistent, and interfere with daily life, then you might need to seek a doctor's help, and ongoing therapy as well as medication may be the best course of action. For those of us who experience mild, occasional or intermittent anxiety, there may be some natural therapies that can help.
Practitioners of natural medicine typically use certain herbs as early treatment or to treat milder forms of anxiety. Valerian root and St. John's Wort (also used to treat mild depression) are two common herbs that might be offered in the form of a tincture (which you can add to a drink). You can also buy teas containing these herbs. Passionflower is another herb used as a folk remedy and in fact one study compared it to a benzodiazepine drug. Valerian is an herb often used for insomnia and it is used by some practitioners for mild anxiety but research on this use is limited. Kava was used in past years to treat mild anxiety, but the potential risk for serious liver failure instigated a recall and the FDA now bans its use. Kroeger Herb Product Company offers herbal mixtures like Serenity which contains burdock root, Beth root, black cohosh, Oregon Grape root and milkweed, great for a women. There are also tea blends that have certain mixtures of herbs like Celestial Seasonings Caffeine Free Tension Tamer which has chamomile, West Indian lemongrass, catnip, tilia flowers and eleuthero. Kroeger Herb also offers a line of Hanna's Herbal Special Teas, and in particular, NRV Tea contains lemon balm leaf, Strawberry leaf, Sage leaf and Woodruff leaf. Always consult with a doctor before using any herbs, herbal teas and other natural products since they can interact with medications or be contraindicated for use if you have certain medical conditions. They may also have unpleasant side effects.
Plant essential oils (and some herb oils) can be added to a bath or even a shower, used as massage oil or added to an infuser. Aromatherapy dates back to ancient Egyptian times, though the phrase was coined in 1937 when a French chemist witnessed the healing powers if lavender oil on a burn. Each essential oil has a unique "medicinal effect," and in the case of anxiety, there are tranquilizing oils. Inhaled essential oils can have an almost immediate effect. Some of the specific oils that are used to treat mild anxiety include: bergamot, cypress, Melissa, neroli, sandalwood, geranium, jasmine, ylang-ylang and especially lavender, which is often the base of an oil blend.
Wyndmere Naturals, Inc., (www.wyndmerenaturals.com) offers a small handheld Anxiety Release aromatherapy inhaler with orange, lavender, Ciary Sage, Geranium, Vetiver, and Roman Chamomile 100% essential oils. For the bath, Effervescents Aromatherapaes (www.SVnaturally.com) offers Stress Relief bath balls that dissolve and release the scent of lavender. They also offer tablets that dissolve in the floor of your shower, allowing you to create an aromatherapy environment.