Updated: Mar 27, 2021
Feeling out-of-sorts lately? Sometimes the weather, a major life-changing experience, or an ongoing chemical imbalance can cause us to feel… less than id eal.
Studies show anxiety and depression are on the rise. While modern medicine has come a long way and has helped many people, there are often unpleasant side effects associated with medications. This leads many to look into more natural routes.
How can you naturally reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress? In this article, we'll discuss some of the top herbals, supplements, and vitamins you can take that are known to help.
St. John's Wort: This flowering herb is grown in Europe, as well as other countries such as Asia, Russia, and the Middle East. High in antioxidants and flavonoids, it's a powerful natural remedy for balancing mood, lessening irritability, improving sleep, and helping manage stress.
Ashwagandha: This powerful herb is considered an "adaptogen" - that means it can help us adapt to our environment better. Originating in India, this herb has been used for centuries to help alleviate depression, stress, lower blood sugar, and help regulate male hormones.
Lavender: A purple flowering plant that is often grown in France, this herb is a popular option for reducing stress, promoting sleep, and lessening anxiety. Essential oils are a good option to use.
Maca Root Powder: This Peruvian plant is harvested and used for its many benefits, from improving memory to increasing libido. Because they contain flavonoids, they are thought to help reduce the feeling of depression and anxiety, especially in menopausal women.
Lemon Balm: A part of the mint family, this herb is used to help treat and manage liver issues, as well as problems with digestion and the nervous system. It has also been shown to help anxiety and insomnia in young adults.
Valerian Root: The popular depression medication Valium contains aspects of the Valerian root. This herb contains fatty acids that help calm the nervous system and is great for boosting your mood, alleviating depression, improving stress management, and helping treat insomnia.
Vitamin B: Vitamin B is composed of 8 different types of B vitamins, all of which are vital to our health and well-being. Studies have shown that vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 play an important role in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Vitamin D: Known as the "sunshine vitamin", modern-day living has most Americans deficient at some point or another. Vitamin D plays an important role in our immune system, memory, cellular function, and can even help symptoms of depression.
SAMe: This amino acid (S-adenosyl-L-methionine) is a naturally found compound that has been synthetically formulated to help fill in a variety of health gaps. People who suffer from fibromyalgia, arthritis, and depression all benefit from this supplement.
CBD oil: Oil extracted from the hemp plant has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, depression, as well as joint pain.
Probiotics: There is an amazing new science that supports the notion that our mental health is connected to our gut health. Eating foods rich in probiotics such as kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and yogurt can help fill our bodies with the good bacteria it needs, helping flush out the bad bacteria that can mess up our mental states. Look for broad-spectrum varieties.
Omega-3s: These fatty acids can be found in plants such as flax, walnuts, and fish. In addition to having anti-inflammatory properties, these powerhouses can improve eye health, reduce ADHD in kids, and alleviate symptoms of depression.
Are All Natural Remedies Safe?
It's tempting to assume that because something is natural that it's safer… but that's not always the case.
If you're currently on medications, consult your doctor before taking the following:
Kava: This herb is used to treat anxiety and insomnia, but there are concerns about liver damage. Do not take Kava if you have liver disease.
St. John's Wort: While not very common, St. John's Wort can have side effects. If you notice any persistent nausea, headaches, confusion, or fatigue, cut back or discontinue altogether.
How cool is it knowing that you don't have to battle life's woes alone? The world of natural remedies is vast and fascinating, but it's always good to check with a medical professional before starting anything new.
What has your experience been with natural remedies? Have you discovered any favorites yet? I'd love to hear in the comments below!