As I was reading Soothe Your Nerves by Dr. Angela Neal-Barnett, an award-winning psychologist, she mentions a few natural herbs that will help with anxiety. Especially during these uncertain times, knowing how to care for our bodies (physical and spiritual body) is extremely important. Nature's remedies have always been a part of my culture and many other cultures around the world, let's dive in...
Forms of Anxiety
Briefly, I would like to discuss some forms of anxiety discussed in this book.
Generalized anxiety: Having a constant "what if..." state of thinking. Free-floating, constant worry about what will happen next. May include, but not limited to, worry about: money, discrimination on the job, children, romantic relationships, housing situations. Often worry leads to indecision and inaction due to fear of the future.
Generalized social anxiety: anxiety and fear while public speaking, dating, signing a contract, dancing, eating, or performing in public. Feeling fear of embarrassment in almost every social situation. Perception that everyone will have something negative to say about you. Defining yourself based on the standards of others. A negative sense of negative.
Limited social anxiety: Specific anxiety based on performance in specific areas like performance at work, but not experienced in any other social situation. Typically stems from lack of trust in oneself and fear of being criticized/judged.
Hypervigilance: Being on highest alert. Focusing inward believing everyone is as focused on your imperfections as you are. Always looking for signs that someone is negatively evaluating you. Triggers feelings of not being accepted by other people.
There are overlaps and snowball effects with many forms of anxiety, but this gives us an idea of where we might fall according to Dr. Neal-Barnett.
Okay, so about these herbs....
Ginseng and Chamomile
Ginseng and chamomile are well known herbs for short-term stress relievers. Ginseng and chamomile are natural nervine relaxants, meaning they help soothe worn nerves. Both ginseng and chamomile can be found in the form of tea, powder, or pill. A reduction in stress will produce an overall reduction in anxiety. In regard to tea, ginseng and chamomile are often found together in loose leaf teas and tea bags.
I personally love lavender in all of its forms! I use the essential oil in my diffuser or drop a couple drops on my pillow case, I drink it in tea form, and I smudge the dried herbs around the house to bring in a sense of calm. Dr. Neal-Barnett mentions for centuries lavender has been used to prepare foods for those with nervous conditions. According to the Researchers at the Touch Research Institute, the lavender scent can reduce anxiety and elevate mood by simply smelling it for three minutes. The dried flowers crushed in foods to soothe queasy stomachs. Like ginseng and chamomile, lavender provides short-term relief for symptoms associated with generalized anxiety.
Kava Kava is a natural herb that grows wild in the South Pacific Islands. It is effective in alleviating the symptoms of mild to moderate panic attacks and generalized anxiety. It has been used for hundreds of years in these islands as a drink, typically used for tranquility at the end of a workday or when resolving a dispute. Notably, it wasn't until the 20th century that Westerners became aware of kava kava. Psychiatrists who have studied the effects of kava kava found that when taken in powdered capsule form, it effectively reduces anxiety symptoms. However, doctors have noticed that when used longer than three months it has addictive properties. The drink form is more potent and can produce an intoxicated state. The number of reported cases of liver damage is rare, but there are some cases. It is important to consult with your Psychiatrist before taking kava kava.
One of the most popular on the market and is often used as a sleep aid. Many people swear by its ability to give a good night's sleep without feeling tired the next morning. It is a sedative and it is the root of the flower you see in the image above that is used. This root has been used for over two centuries for people with generalized anxiety. Studies have shown valerian roots useful to help prevent insomnia and restlessness, two main symptoms of generalized anxiety. It is important to note, if you are sensitive to sedatives valerian root may not be for you. Many experts advise against extended use of valerian roots.
It is known by many Ayurvedic specialists for its therapeutic uses. Commonly known as "Indian ginseng or winter cherry" and is native to Southern Asia. Each part of the plant can be used but it is often found in tea, powder, or capsule form to relieve stress and anxiety, improve brain function and alertness, and reduce pain and swelling, and decrease fatigue. It essentially enhances the body's natural adaptive responses to stressors and balances normal body functions.
According to Dr. Neal-Barnett, self-medication using food, alcohol, and caffeine seldom works. Caffeine can actually increase anxiety. The herbs mentioned above are simply short-term solutions and do not CURE anxiety. The ultimate key is to combine natural remedies with strategies such as therapy, self-help, or medication to produce long-term results in overcoming anxiety. The most effective treatment for the various forms of anxiety is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).
Know that anxiety is not your fault. However, we can all overcome our anxiety and actively do the work necessary to release ourselves from bondage and live fruitful lives. The relationships we have in the physical world are direct reflections of the spiritual relationship we have with ourselves. Let's heal, let's bloom. 🌱
I hope you all found this information useful! If you did, like, comment, share! 🌻
Also, check out Dr. Angela Neal-Barnett's book, I've linked it below! Also, don't be afraid to ask for help. I've linked multiple sources to find therapists below. I have also linked a research study below following naturopathic treatment for people with moderate-severe anxiety. I hope this helps!
Till Next Time,
Order your copy of Soothe Your Nerves by Dr. Angela Neal-Barnett here.
(Disclaimer: this book is tailored toward Black women but it does have helpful information everyone can use.)
Therapy for Black Girls
Black Female Therapists
Therapy for Black Men
Naturopathic care for anxiety: a randomized control trial
Hello world! I am Chérie Jade, I am passionate about promoting a holistic lifestyle and encouraging preventative practices for day to day healthy living.