Natural Treatments for Anxiety

Anxiety is more common than most people realize.  According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America it is the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million people or about 18% of the U.S. population.

Anxiety can be a chronic feeling of stress or can occur periodically when the body’s “flight or fight” response kicks in at the wrong time.  Basically a person’s brain tells their nervous system to release hormones into the blood to prepare the body for intense activity.  This causes feelings of uneasiness, uncertainty, dread, worry, and fear… which is often accompanied with symptoms of dizziness, dry mouth, chest tightness, upset stomach, sweaty palms, and the inability to relax.

While there is no “magic bullet” to cure anxiety, fortunately there are natural ways to treat it.  A healthy lifestyle and diet can often have a bigger effect on lowering stress levels than even the strongest of prescription pills.

Helpful Lifestyle Habits Include:

  • Practicing deep breathing exercises
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet (see helpful foods)
  • Getting enough rest
  • Maintaining a faith in God
raw nuts

Feeling Stressed? Reach for Nature’s Medicine. Photo Credit: BerkeleyBowl.com

Helpful Foods Include:

  • Foods that contain Tryptophan, an amino acid which is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin.  This includes bananas 😉
  • Apricots, Asparagus, Avocados, Bananas, and Broccoli
  • Raw nuts and seeds
  • Leafy Greens
  • Cayenne Pepper

Helpful Herbs:

  • Kava (1-2 dropperfuls, 3x daily)
  • As well as: English Lavender, Yellow Jasmine, Lemon Balm, Buchu, Gotu Kola, Hops, Kava, Skullcap, St. John’s Wart, Valerian, Blue Cohosh, Passionflower, and more.
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4 Comments on “Natural Treatments for Anxiety

  1. I hope you won’t mind my offering what I know about food and nutrition to your site…I won’t again, if you don’t want or like it. Please just let me know. The last thing I wish to do is tread on any sore toes or cause bad feelings…(and of course you can always just not accept this comment for publication here).

    Oddly enough, frozen chopped spinach has huge amounts of tryptophan as does raw spinach, though a a moderate amount less. Sprouted soybeans also have a lot. Brown mushrooms too. All the three mentioned first (not including raw spinach) have more than 400mg per serving, On the other hand, a banana, i fear, has only 12.5 mg per medium banana…There are GOOD things about bananas, mind you, It is certainly a comfort food that I myself reach for when feeling bad. Nothing beats a banana for an easily unwrapped package of natural sweetness! Bananas are also very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt. They are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and manganese, and a very good source of vitamin B6. But even sweet potatoes, another comfort food favorite of mine, has more tryptophan, at 80mg each for a medium one.

    I have not heard of cayenne pepper being used for anxiety. Interesting! Just how would you use it? I mean, internally by ingesting it or externally? I have used Cayenne topically as a counter irritant for pain and for muscle aches, mostly in salve or cream form. There are commercial forms too, using the “hot” pepper element, Capsaicin. Also I tend to eat spicy chilis when I have a bad migraine because somehow for at least as long as the tears are still running down my face, my head doesn’t hurt as badly! 8)

    But cayenne has only traces of tryptophan, really, and it would be hard to take it in bulk in any event. Its main (or mainstream at any rate) nutritional claim to fame is high levels of Vitamin A, Omega 6 fatty acids and a fair amount of Potassium.

    On the other hand, I think capsaicin, that active ingredient in Cayenne and other hot peppers, has not been studied enough for the many, many uses it might have in pain relief and perhaps yes, in anxiety relief too… Who knows? I could see how it could work — hot pepper reducing anxiety somehow — since who would have thought that a hot pepper than induces pain would reduce even more severe pain in a migraine headache?

    Very best wishes to you, and please know that no offense was intended when I wrote all this here. Ever.

    Pam Wagner

    • Hey Pam!! Thank you for leaving such an awesome comment. You sound like you are very knowledgable 🙂 I’ll look into the anxiety-reducing benefits of cayenne and get back to you 🙂

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