First, let’s talk about what anxiety is. The textbook definition is that anxiety is a generalized feeling of fear, danger, or dread, often resulting from an unknown source. Symptoms can include stomach tension, acid stomach, muscle tension, rapid breathing and heartbeat, trembling, headaches, sweating, nausea, diarrhea, weight loss, dry mouth, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, irritability, fatigue, insomnia, nightmares, memory problems, and sexual impotence.
It‘s typically caused by a triggering of the fight or flight reaction, causing excess adrenaline to be produced by the adrenal glands, which in turn produce other hormones called catecholamines that affect various parts of the body, such as heartbeat and respiration.
Catecholamines can serve as neurotransmitters, transferring signals from neuron to neuron, as well as hormones, which regulate physiological functions such as your heartbeat and breathing rate. Three of the most common are: adrenaline, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
Understand that while anxiety, and release of those hormones listed above are a fundamental part of life, and it can be what motivates us to search for the answers to life, an abundance of it can be damaging to our bodies.
High levels of anxiety are typically caused by an imbalance of the spleen, pancreas, and stomach, all organs that comprised of the earth element. These organs because destabilized with excess thinking, along with poor dietary choices. It accelerates aging, weakens immune response, and creates muscle tension. As a basis, most herbal remedies suggest to start supporting those organs and their functions.
A few general recommendations:
- -get regular exercise
- -avoid foods that increase nervous tension (sugars, caffeine, etc)
- -find a method that helps you stay grounded (meditating, praying, journaling)
- -incorporate whole grains into your diet (brown rice is an option)
- -try avoiding too much chocolate, (I know, we all love it, lol)
- -also try avoiding highly acidic foods, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers
**It’s not that we need to stop eating the items mentioned above, but the key to anything in life, is MODERATION. It ultimately requires us to create boundaries and adhere to them.**
Here’s how you can create a Hops Tincture:
- This tincture is an excellent remedy for nerve stress and debility.
- 2 parts hops
- 1 part passionflower
- 1 part skullcap Brandy or vodka (80 proof)
- Place the herbs in a wide-mouth jar. Add enough brandy or vodka to completely cover the herbs by 2–3 inches.
- Cover the jar tightly and place in a warm (about 85°F), shaded area.
- Let sit for 4–6 weeks, shaking occasionally to prevent the herbs from settling on the bottom.
- Strain and rebottle for use.
- Take 1⁄2–1 teaspoon 3 times a day.
Herbs that help treat anxiety:
You’d want to choose herbs that have a relaxing, and sedating effect. They would need to help relieve bouts of tension and anxiety. There can work as a tincture, tea, or capsule. (Though I would recommend tea as a start because the dosage is more manageable)
- Chamomile, Passionflower, and Lemon Balm: these are all herbs that have gentle sedatives that also relax the digestive tract (where we tend to carry stress as well)
- California Poppy and Skullcap: slightly stronger herbal sedative
- Valerian: a powerful but safe herbal sedative, useful in cases of extreme stress
What are some of the herbs you use to calm yourself during stressful times? How do you use them? How do you, or have you practiced surrendering the outcome of an uncontrollable situation? Do you incorporate mediating, if so what do you like to do?