A Summary of Anxiety Disorders, Symptoms and Treatment Options

Herbs for Anxiety

Folk medicine is a rich source of possible treatment options for anxiety disorders. Have you ever heard of herbs for anxiety? These are medicinal plants occurring in nature, usually in the wild. These herbs have been subjected to different scientific tests aimed at finding chemicals that can serve as antidepressant alternatives.

These herbs may have started out as cure-all decoctions used by ancient tribes to deal with diseases and illnesses that their healers cannot identify. After all, psychosomatic diseases like those that arise from severe mental conditions such as anxiety disorders may have been affecting people since the beginning of time. Modern scientists try to find leads by using the chemical composition and the prevalent active ingredient in these plants as basis.

Here are three of the common herbs that are said to have components that can treat anxiety disorders.

Butterbur (Genus Petasites)

This plant grows in temperate climate and is common in the Americas. The active ingredients are petasin and isopetasin, sesquiterpenes that can be isolated from the butterbur root. The roots of this plant are commonly used as a source of migraine medication. Butterbur root extracts are proven to show anti-inflammatory activity, and can indeed reduce headaches. This herb may reduce the severity of nausea, queasiness and lightheadedness in a person suffering from anxiety disorders.

But before you rush out from your car to pluck the patch of butterbur naturally growing by the roadside, you should know that extraction of the active ingredients can only be done by a qualified chemist. Haphazard use of the plant parts could expose the person to pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the rhizomes and stalks of the plant, which are substances that can cause cancer.

Piper methysticum or Kava

This western Pacific plant is commonly used for soothing people suffering from the more extreme effects of panic attacks. This herb is valued for its sedative effects and anesthetic value. The main characteristic of this herb is its soothing fragrance, which in turn is a defining trait of the Piper genus. The roots of this plant are taken and used for making decoctions. Roots are usually boiled and the resulting tea is strained. The decoction is given to a person suffering from insomnia, chills and other anxiety symptoms.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

St John’s wort is a widely famous medicinal herb used to cure a variety of diseases. Known as the main herbal treatment for anxiety and other mental problems, this herbal drug has been compared with strong antidepressants like Zoloft and Fluoxetine.

It has been proven to be effective for alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. In fact, standardized extracts of this herb are being sold over the counter in pharmacies in some western countries. The lack of apparent side effects arising from the use of St. John’s Wort makes it the antidepressant drug for kids and adolescents suffering from the after effects of phobias and traumas.

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