Feeling stressed or anxious? You’re not the only one. In the United States, approximately 40 million Americans aged 18 and older report that they experience some degree of anxiety each year. The symptoms come in all shapes and forms and are as unique as the person affected by them. You may experience persistent worrying, headaches, and insomnia, while someone else’s stress may manifest in the form of loss of appetite, unrealistic fears, and social anxiety. Sometimes stress is due to a major, catastrophic loss or trauma in a person’s life, but oftentimes, it’s the everyday annoyances—like looming work deadlines, never-ending household chores, financial obligations, and a demanding family schedule—that can start to pile up and create ongoing feelings of tension and worry. Thankfully, nature offers a variety of amazing solutions for those suffering from a wide range of stress and anxiety symptoms. Even better, pair these natural remedies with meditation, yoga, and other proven stress-relieving activities and you’ll find yourself feeling relaxed again in no time!
Have you been accused of being a worrywart? Do you occasionally find your mind racing with unrealistic fears? Whether your anxious tendencies are mild or severe, Echinacea angustifolia might be just what you need to quiet your nerves and regain a sense of calm in your life. Not to be mistaken with the immune-boosting variety, this echinacea is able to attach to cannabinoid receptors in the brain to create a relaxed state of mind without making the user feel drowsy. Best of all, this natural anxiety remedy (sold in health food stores in a standardized form called EP107) is fast-acting. In clinical research, Echinacea angustifolia was tested on individuals experiencing increased anxiety and tension. After taking the EP107 extract for just one day, study participants expressed a significant decrease in symptoms of stress and anxiety, with even better results from continued use. It also matches the symptom relief of prescription anti-anxiety medications, but without serious side effects. In one study, seven types of echinacea extracts were compared to the prescription anti-anxiety drug, chlordiazepoxide (also known by the brand name Librium). Only one echinacea preparation—the Echinacea angustifolia—demonstrated a robust ability to reduce anxiety in a wide dosage range comparable to the prescription drug. If you suffer from considerable stress and anxiety, start by taking 40 mg of Echinacea angustifolia twice daily. As your anxiety subsides, you can reduce your dosage to just 20 mg once or twice daily.
Hemp oil is currently making all kinds of headlines in the natural health industry, and for good reason! Hemp oil phytocannabinoids, including CBD, help to regulate the endocannabinoid system in the body, which is responsible for maintaining overall physical and mental well-being. Specifically, studies show that phytocannabinoids like CBD can help alleviate situational and ongoing anxiety symptoms. In one study done in Brazil, a group of public speakers were given CBD prior to speaking events. They reported less anxiety and discomfort than those who didn’t take the hemp oil compound. In another review, CBD was shown to be effective for those with more serious anxiety issues, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. When searching for an effective hemp oil product, look for a reputable company who is abiding by all legal sourcing guidelines to make sure the ingredients are of the highest quality.
Are your top health complaints stress and exhaustion? Your best bet for natural relief may come in the form of an adaptogen—a special kind of herb that helps you resist the effects of stress and adapt to your current circumstances in a healthy manner. Ashwagandha has been used traditionally to calm nerves while simultaneously supporting healthy energy levels throughout the day. Scientific studies have shown that this natural stress reliever has the ability to decrease levels of cortisol (the “fight or flight” hormone) in the body. Reducing your levels of cortisol has been shown to decrease feelings of fatigue and stress by more than 50 percent! Ashwagandha has also been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of chronic stress, including anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and even severe depression.
If you’re feeling burned out, frazzled, or “wired but tired,” your stress could be due to a condition naturopathic physicians refer to as adrenal dysfunction. Haven’t heard of it before? That’s because it’s relatively new—just thank the fast-paced, 24/7, always “on” lifestyle common in today’s society for this modern-day malady. The good news is that nature offers a solution to adrenal dysfunction in the form of adaptogens—namely rhodiola, which can help alleviate mental tension, fatigue, and anxiousness. Multiple studies have also shown that rhodiola has the ability to increase norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin—the “feel good” chemicals in your brain. An added bonus is that rhodiola is also a libido-boosting adaptogen, which can increase blood flow and in turn, enhance sexual desire.
Chronic stress wreaks havoc on your overall health. It can weaken your immune system, your heart, and your overall resolve. But an ancient herbal wonder called holy basil can help reverse the terrible side effects of long-lasting stress in your life. Like ashwagandha and rhodiola, holy basil is an adaptogen that can help your body and mind adapt to anxious feelings with ease. It has been held sacred in India for thousands of years due to its ability to melt away ongoing tension and worry, and increase feelings of relaxation and calmness. Research has shown that holy basil has the unique ability to combat the release of stress hormones—namely cortisol, adrenaline, and corticosterone—to keep your body in a more balanced state. It can be used to stop that “on alert” feeling without causing sedation, all while protecting the body from the damaging impact of oxidative stress. Holy basil’s relaxing effects are even more effective when paired with lemon balm, another of Mother Nature’s natural de-stressors.