There has been an abundance of recent research showing that certain natural compounds can have incredibly positive effects on a multitude of human diseases and illnesses.
While much of this research has been around the treatment of physical diseases (such as cardiovascular and metabolic disease), there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that many can also help in the treatment of certain mental diseases too.
And as you can imagine, Anxiety is no exception.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiousness as an emotion that essentially describes feeling sensations of worry, nervousness, or unease about something that may have an uncertain outcome. It is most commonly characterized by a persistent worry that seriously inhibits an individual's ability to stay calm and relaxed.
For the most part anxiety is a normal psychological response to either an unpleasant or threatening situation. It acts as a protective mechanism, that deters us from entering a potentially undesirable or even dangerous situation.
However, there are times when this feeling becomes more than simply a protective mechanism.
It can become a state of mind, which develops into an anxiety disorder.
The term anxiety disorder encompasses a number of different complaints that can either exist on their own, or appear in conjunction with another psychiatric or mental illness. As we have already alluded to, this type of disorder and occurs when there is a disturbance of the arousal systems in the brain.
With all this in mind, anxiety disorders can be broadly divided into:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Separation anxiety disorder
While all these are thought to be due to slightly different mechanical causes, they do share several key similarities – the main one being that they cause excessive and irrational feelings of anxiousness in response to what many would consider normal situations of daily life.
In conjunction with this, other signs and symptoms of anxiety can include:
- Excessive and unnecessary fear and worry
- Poor sleep quality, and regular sleep disturbances
- Problems maintaining concentration
- Sensitivity to noise
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
- Avoidance behavior
What Causes Anxiety?
Anxiety is an extremely complex disorder, and even now its potential causes are not fully understood.
There is reason to believe that certain life experiences (such as significantly traumatic events) may trigger chronic anxiety disorders in those individuals who are already prone to excessive feeling of anxiousness. Additionally, it is thought that certain inherited personality traits can also be a factor, in which genetics are also hypothesized to play a role.
What we are sure of is that this disease can become debilitating, leading to a significantly lower quality of life and a number of negative health outcomes.
What are Conventional Anxiety Treatments?
At this current point in time, anxiety treatments typically revolve around conventional medications that provide a potent dosage of certain neurotransmitters to the brain.
You see, several neurotransmitters play specific roles in the maintenance of normal mental states, and in normal anxiety states. As a result, manipulating these systems through medications appears to offer a way to help regulate brain function, and therefore return it to normal.
However, they are not without their downfalls.
These medications can result in dependence, and often come with a number of associated side effects.
Moreover, in some susceptible individuals, these pharmaceutical grade compounds may even make the symptoms of anxiety worse – which is we why we have seen such a huge investment in natural treatment methods over the last few years.
The Best Natural Anxiety Treatments
There is an abundance of research clearly demonstrating that certain natural treatments can have a positive effect on anxiety. With this in mind, we have collected the top 15 scientifically supported natural anxiety treatments.
Now this may seem like a bit of a cop out, but to be completely honest, it should be the first point of call on every single anxiety treatment plan in existence. Regular exercise (both aerobic training and weight training) has been shown to significantly reduce the signs and symptoms of anxiety.
Moreover, this appears to be somewhat dose dependent, with increasingly regular exercise exhibiting great effects on sensations of chronic anxiousness . This truly demonstrates that exercise should be an integral part of the daily routine of anyone who suffers from anxiety.
2. Meditation and Mindfulness
Much like exercise, there is an abundance of evidence clearly demonstrating that participating in a small amount of mediation (or mindfulness practice) every single day can cause large reductions in anxiety symptoms .
This is thought to be the result of it enhancing sensations of calm and relaxation, providing a means for the individual to look at their situation in a more objective and less emotional manner, and physically changing the chemical makeup of the brain, thus returning it to a more manageable state of equilibrium.
Yoga is a light form of physical activity that also aims to induce a calm and relaxed state of mine.
With this in mind, it is essentially a combination of both exercise and meditation, hence the suggestion that it may play a complimentary role in the treatment of anxiety – something that has indeed been proven to be the case.
Performing yoga on a regular basis has been shown to cause large improvement in the management of mood, reduce anxiety related symptoms, and even create positive changes in the emotional wellbeing of people suffering from clinically diagnosed anxiety .
4. Applied Relaxation Therapy
Similar to mediation and mindfulness, Applied Relaxation Therapy essentially describes the development of relaxation skills through methods of diaphragmatic breathing and conscious muscle relaxation.
This unique natural treatment method has been shown to cause lasting improvements in the mental health of individuals who suffer from anxiety, providing a modality of treatment that they can use anywhere and at any time .
Probiotics essentially describe a type of supplement that provides a potent dosage of healthy bacteria straight into your gut. Once there, they populate the gut, helping fend off bad bacteria and harmful viruses, while also assisting in the breakdown and digestion of the food that you eat.
Interestingly, the state of your gut has been shown to have some extremely strong associations with mental health – with improvement in gut health resulting in associated improvements in depression anxiety, and mood.
With this in mind, the regular supplementation of probiotics has been shown to cause large improvements in anxiety symptoms in those suffering from mental health disorders, suggesting an extremely positive natural treatment .
Ashwagandha is an Indian herb that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medical practices for centuries. Usually consumed in the form of ashwagandha root extract, this amazing compound is considered a type of ‘adaptogen’. This means that it has the capacity to correct imbalances in the hormonal and immune systems, thus restoring normnal function to the human body.
Through this mechanism, Ashwagandha has been shown to normalize brain and hormone function, leading to vast improvements in feelings of stress and anxiety, even in those with diagnosed anxiety disorders .
Kava us a unique plant that is found growing throughout the south pacific islands. Traditionally consumed in the form of a tea, this amazing plant has recently become quite common as a health boosting supplement.
This unique herbal remedy has been shown to strengthen the sensitivity of neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, while also inhibiting the uptake of certain hormones, and thus regulating normal brain function.
As a result, it has shown to be one of the most potent natural treatments for anxiety on the planet .
8. Passion Flower
Passion flower is an extremely recognizable climbing vine that has bright purple flowers. It is found growing natively throughout southeastern sections of the United States, as well as both Central and South America, where it has been used for thousands of years as a potent natural remedy.
Passion flower has been shown to interact with the brain, downregulating sensation of anxiety and stress. As a result, it appears to be a potent natural treatment that can be used in conjunction with many other anxiety treatments .
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral found within the human body. It is essential to all living cells, and plays a number of roles ensuring the success of their many physiological functions. Within this, it is integral to ensuring the normal function of the cells of the brain and the nervous system.
Through its ability to manage these cellular systems efficiently, magnesium has ben shown to act as a potent anti-anxiety supplement, whilst simultaneously offering a host of additional health benefits in the process .
10. Black Cumin
Black cumin is a unique health positive spice derived from the black seed of the Nigella sativa plant, which is found natively throughout south Asia. This unique plant extract interacts with the cells of the brain in a such a way that it helps stabilize mood, reduce anxiety, and even improve cognitive function – all without the onset of any side effects .
As an added bonus, these changes typically come with a reduction in systemic inflammation, which can further contribute to brain health and function.
Inositol is a type of sugar alcohol that is structurally like glucose. While in modern day it is most commonly synthesized in a laboratory setting, it is also found naturally in several foods. It is quite sweet in flavor and is most frequently taken in the form of a capsule based supplement.
While the exact mechanism remains somewhat unclear, the supplementation of this sugar-based compound has been shown to cause significant reductions in anxiety symptoms in both adults and children, suggesting a safe and potent mechanism of action .
Chamomile is a specific herb that comes from the flowers of the Asteraceae family, in which it contains a potent bioactive compound known as Apigenin. This amazing compound acts to enhance neurotransmitter function in the brain, enhancing mood and cognitive function simultaneously.
As a result, the regular consumption of chamomile has been shown to cause significant improvements in the mood and symptoms of individuals suffering from diagnosed anxiety disorders .
Tryptophan is a specific type of protein known as an essential amino acid. This particular amino acid is considered essential because it is vital to the maintenance of normal health and function, however it cannot be produced within the body.
Tryptophan is so important because it is converted into a specific molecule known as 5-hydroxytryptophan (of 5-HTP for short) in the brain. 5-HTP is an important compound that is used to produce the hormone serotonin – which then interacts with the neural tissue of the brain, creating sensations of joy, happiness, and content.
As a result, the supplementation of this interesting amino acid has been shown to have an extremely positive effect on individuals suffering from anxiety, reducing stress while cause substantial improvements in mood .
Lavender is type of a flowering plant that sits within the mint family. Its easily identified by its sweet floral scent and bright purple flowers. While it is now found across the globe, it was once believed to be native to the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and India, where it was frequently used in both medicine and as a holy herb.
Interestingly, this amazing plant has ben shown to exhibit a calming effect on the brain, in which has been shown to aid in the treatment of general anxiety disorder . In fact, this compound has been shown to be comparable to other drugs, albeit without any side effects.
15. Lemon Balm
Last but not least we have lemon balm. This potent plant has traditionally been consumed in the form of a tea in many eastern countries, where it was renowned for its potent health boosting qualities.
Positively, recent research has shown that lemon balm actually contains a unique psychoactive chemical, known as rosmarinic acid.
This acidic chemical interacts with the brain at a cellular level, increasing the effectiveness of the happy neurotransmitter GABA. Through this action it has been shown to improve mode and act as a potent natural treatment for anxiety disorders .
In modern day, disorders such as anxiety are becoming increasingly common.
Typified by a heightened anxious response to normal everyday situations, this issue can become debilitating, and even life threatening. Unfortunately, many traditional treatment options have been shown to cause significant side effects, making their use questionable at times.
However, there are some alternatives.
There are several completely natural remedies that have been shown to cause significant improvements in anxiety, without eliciting any nasty side effects – with the 15 listed in this article arguably being the most evidence based.
If you have had any experience treating anxiety through natural means, then we would love to hear about it – so drop us a comment and we will get back to you ASAP.
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