11 Natural Methods for Fighting Anxiety

It seems like I receive at least one e-mail every day from someone asking about herbs that can treat anxiety and help them sleep.

As a result of the ongoing recession, this problem has become commonplace. According to a poll by the American Psychological Association, 80 percent of respondents reported significant stress because of the economy. And the National Sleep Foundation’s 2009 Sleep in America poll found that nearly one-third of people surveyed weren’t sleeping well due to increased anxiety.

Many are visiting their doctors to get sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medications. However, you don’t have to go the pharmaceutical route. There are plenty of natural alternatives. Exercise, deep sleep, and yoga, for example, have been proven to help many. Meditation and prayer works for others. In addition, there are several over-the-counter supplements to consider.

Kava is one of the most potent anti-anxiety herbs. In a recent study, Australian researchers gave 60 adults with chronic anxiety symptoms either kava or a placebo for one week. The second week, placebo patients were switched to kava and kava patients to the placebo. Anxiety symptoms declined for the patients on the kava extract, as did depression symptoms in some – often within an hour or two after taking it. However, there have been rare reports of liver damage when kava has been used daily. For this reason, I recommend taking kava no more than three days a week.

Another herb I like is passionflower. Its effects (which include relaxation and sleepiness) begin in an hour or two. Passionflower is quite safe, and can be used on the days when kava is not taken.

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that many find helpful in easing tension.

Certain amino acids and related compounds are popular for stress relief. These include 5-HTP, GABA, and theanine. I personally have not found GABA to be very effective, although some people really like it. 5-HTP helps to balance mood, reduces tension, and – like theanine – helps with sleep. The timing of these supplements depends on the severity of your anxiety. They can be taken during the day if you are very anxious. But if your symptoms are milder and you just need a natural pill to help you relax after work, they can be taken in the early evening.

If you are still having trouble sleeping, I have formulated an excellent product called Good Night Rx. A capsule is taken 2 to 4 hours before bed on an empty stomach, and the vast majority of users find they get a deeper and more restful sleep with hardly any side effects. Wait at least a half hour after taking Good Night Rx before eating dinner or a late snack.

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For more on Good Night Rx – and dozens of other natural anxiety-fighting and sleep-inducing options – visit the website of Ray Sahelian, MD, at www.raysahelian.com. You can also purchase Good Night Rx straight from Dr. Sahelian by clicking here.]