Stressed? Anxious? Depressed?
You’re not alone! Stress, anxiety and depression have become endemic in Western society, with more of us feeling burnt out, run down and lower than ever. If that does sound familiar, you might find turning to some herbal remedies could make all the difference…
About half of those diagnosed with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression. This can make their symptoms worse and recovery evenmore difficult… which is why seeking out proper treatment is essential.
Anxiety can have a huge impact on sleep, creating an at times vicious cycle which is hard to break. Some key things to practice for better sleep include stretching before bed, not using technology for at least an hour before and creating a relaxing, tidy environment. Natural sleep aids can really help – we recommend CATNIP TEA(£5.49, 50g Indigo Herbs) which is traditionally used for its calming and cooling effects.
Ancient Mexican herb Damiana has previously been used as an effective boost to male sexual performance, but its overall ability to boost wellbeing has been examined more recently. One of the active constituents of this herb is thymol, and it is this compound that is responsible for Damiana’s life-enhancing and stimulating effect on the mind and body. Many herbalists prescribe Damiana for mild to moderate depression, anxiety and nervous exhaustion. Its stimulating and restorative properties make it a valuable herb for anxiety and depression occurring together – as can often happen as a result of long term stress. DAMIANA LEAF FLUID EXTRACT (£12.99, 1:1 Strong Tincture 100ml, Indigo Herbs).
If other symptoms of the menopause weren’t enough, the hormonal changes can result in anxiety and depression. There are a number of products that can help mitigate this though. Maca Root Powder has been associated with reduced anxiety and symptoms of depression, particularly in menopausal women. It can also help alleviate other symptoms, including hot ashes and interrupted sleep. It’s not just for women either – Maca is thought to increase both the quality and quantity of sperm, therein aiding fertility. MACA ROOT CAPSULES (£9.98, 60 Capsules, Time Health)
Looking a little like nasturtium, but actually a member of the Apiaceae family (with carrots and parsley), Gotu Kola is a little herb that packs a punch. It is known for its anxiolytic and antidepressant properties – this means it can naturally inhibit anxiety, help treat depression, calm nerves and even act as a sedative to promote better sleep. In rats, Gotu Kola lowered their version of cortisol (corticosterone) and increased serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. It’s anti-in ammatory and continued use can also result in reduced hair loss, increased skin strength and skin collagen, and improved memory and circulation. It’s easiest to take in tincture form, we recommend GOTU KOLA TINCTURE (£9.99, 100ml, Indigo Herbs).
Exercise and Mindfulness
As little as 20 minutes of exercise may temporarily lessen feelings of anxiety, especially if you exercise outside. It can even help reduce anxiety when faced with a stressful situation afterwards. Meditation is another remedy. One study found that four, 20-minute meditation classes helped reduce anxiety by up to 39%!
Help your Body Deal with Stress
As you probably know, your body is built to release the hormone cortisol to respond to stress, but elevated cortisol levels over long periods of time (chronic stress) can affect every physiological system in your body, including your thyroid and adrenal glands.
Adaptogens are a unique class of healing plants: They help balance, restore and protect the body, helping you to respond to any in uence or stressor, normalising your physiological functions. ADAPTOGEN COMPLEX 6 (£14.98, 60 Capsules, Time Health) contains Ashwagandha, Bacopa, Cordyceps, Holy basil, Rhodiola Rosea, Siberian Ginseng – all the herbs in this product have scientifically proven their ability to boost health with regular intake. Ashwagandha is actually the most commonly used and extensively researched adaptogen herb and has powerful thyroid modulating, neuroprotective, anti-anxiety, antidepressant and anti-in ammatory properties. Regular repeated use of Rhodiola rosea too, has been shown to battle decline in work performance, sleep dif culties, poor appetite, irritability, headaches, and fatigue hence improving the quality of life.
Did you know?
Recent research suggests that as many as 1 in 6 young people will experience an anxiety condition at some point in their lives. Whether that be OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), social anxiety and shyness, exam stress, worry or panic attacks. If you want to find out more about identifying anxiety in your child or helping to alleviate it, www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/anxiety-in-children/ is a great source of information.
Herbal remedies may not replace conventional medicinal methods. Medical advice should be sought before embarking on any new supplements and possible contraindications with existing medications should be thoroughly assessed.