(NaturalNews) Feeling stressed, anxious, or just low? It's common in these fast-paced and busy times. Here are 3 excellent herbs for lifting, improving and balancing one's moods.
Chamomile calms the body and helps to sooth different types of irritation. This herb helps to relieve allergies and inflammation which could worsen anxiety. It contains compounds which give it anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, as well as smooth-muscle relaxing properties, in particular in the gastrointestinal tract.
Children suffering from digestive discomfort or colic, or who are teething and upset, can find some soothing comfort through chamomile. It is also a useful sleep aid, though a milder one than valerian. Chamomile is usually sipped as a warm tea, which itself brings soothing pleasure. 3 to 4 cups a day between meals is a possible dosage.
Chamomile can also be used in bath water for a relaxing and calming experience.
Kava helps to promote relaxation, alleviate pain and reduce anxiety. It does these through its effects on the nervous system. And it is able to help a person relax without negatively affecting mental clarity or causing a sense of fogginess in one's mind.
Kava is also a muscle relaxant which can be used as an anticonvulsant. It relieves muscle tension and helps to alleviate pain. It can be used to promote sleep as well.
Double-blind studies, including one which went on for half a year, have proven that kava was effective at reducing the symptoms of anxiety in persons who had mild-to-moderate anxiety. One study also found that this herb helped menopausal women who suffered from anxiety.
Possible dosages include:
• 200-300mg each day, split over 2 to 3 times [Elson Hass, MD] • 60-120mg of kava-pyrone tablets per day [Phyllis Balch, CNC] Kava-pyrones, also known as kava-lactones, are compounds found in kava which give it much of its medicinal properties. • treating mild to moderate anxiety, kava extracts containing 120-240mg of kava-lactones per day split over 2 to 3 doses [Alan Gaby, MD]
In any case, it should be noted that some individuals may not react well to kava. Further, it is imperative not to drive after drinking kava as it could cause a person to appear intoxicated. Also be aware that kava actually raises the effects of alcohol and psychoactive drugs like tranquilizers and sedatives. Pregnant and nursing women should avoid kava.
Valerian is a mood-balancing herb in the truest sense of the word. It can not only calm and sooth the nervous system in times of stress and high anxiety, it can also provide a stimulating perk-me-up to someone who is feeling tired or low. This herb is, however, more often used for promoting calmness and relaxation in high-strung times. It can also help relieve panic attacks at night.
Valerian is a well-studied herbal remedy for insomnia, with double-blind trials proving that it is an effective aid for persons suffering from mild-to-moderate insomnia. According to these research studies, valerian made falling asleep easier plus improved the restfulness of sleep, but did not actually raise the total amount of time spent sleeping.
Valerian has been commonly used for insomnia and nervous system conditions for many centuries. By the 18th century, it had become an accepted sedative; at the same time, it was also used for nervous conditions which were associated with a restless digestive system.
Possible dosages include:
• 300-500mg [Haas] • valepotriate tablets, 50mg thrice daily [Balch] • some doctors suggest taking 300-500mg of a concentrated valerian root herbal extract (standardized to at least 0.5% volatile oils) in capsules or tablets, half to an hour before bedtime [Gaby]
Sources for this article include:
Haas, Elson M., MD, and Levin, Buck, PhD, RD. Staying Healthy With Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine. New York, NY: Celestial Arts, 2006. Print.
Balch, Phyllis A., CNC. Prescription for Herbal Healing: An Easy-to-Use A-to-Z Reference to Hundreds of Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies. New York, NY: Avery, 2002. Print.
Gaby, Alan R., MD. The Natural Pharmacy: Complete A-Z Reference to Natural Treatments for Common Health Conditions. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 2006. Print.
About the author: Reuben Chow has a keen interest in natural health and healing as well as personal growth.