In this current era of uncertainty, it’s easy to see why symptoms of minor anxiety are causing a spike in searches for calming herbal remedies. There are three in particular that Anxiety UK pinpoint as being popular.
First up? St John’s Wort. It’s been used as a remedy for more than 2000 years. According to Anxiety UK ‘while it is not clear exactly how St John”s Wort works, it is thought that is helps to prolong the action of serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter, which when deficient can result in low mood.’ Then there’s valerian. Valerian root tea is popular when it comes to trying to get a better night’s sleep, and valerian root is also a prominent ingredient in buys such as Kalms One A Night.
And lest we forget the CBD factor. According to Lady Alexandra Dunhill, CEO and founder of the premium CBD range Lady A ‘CBD is known to help promote overall wellness, regulate our appetite, sleep, immune system and help the body reach homeostasis. CBD is non-psychoactive, so it won’t get you high unfortunately! You do however get all the healing, soothing mental and physical benefits minus any intoxication or unpleasant, unwanted side effects.’
A GP’s Take On Herbal Remedies
Whilst you might have found a herbal remedy that really works for you, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find your GP recommending any. According to Dr Isabella Kent, the problem lies in their lack of regulation. ‘Herbal remedies might well be being advertised to calm and help treat minor anxiety, however, the lack of their regulation and limited knowledge about their efficacy and long term impact means that we as doctors are not recommending them as an intervention for anxiety. My first port of call would be concentrating on self-care.’
Dr Isabella Kent’s Top Tips For Keeping Calm
1. Stay connected with friends and family: ‘Studies show that loneliness can have a huge negative impact on both mental and physical health – more than we might think. Take advantage of this time to pick up the phone or FaceTime someone that you wouldn’t normally. Not only will it do you good, it’ll do them good too!’
2. Cut the booze: ‘As tempting as it may be to schedule in a daily wine o’clock, don’t let boredom make you reach for alcohol. Whilst it may relax us in the short-term, it can make us feel much more anxious and jittery the day afterwards, perpetuating the anxiety cycle. Reserve alcohol for weekends if possible to make it more of a treat.’
3. Ration the news (and social media): ‘With so much information at our fingertips, many of us might want to use the ‘knowledge is power’ approach to battle coronavirus anxiety. However be careful what you read – especially when on social media. Limit checking the news to once or twice a day (preferably early on in the day to avoid getting a cortisol spike before bed).’
4. Practicing mindfulness: ‘Mindfulness has been all the rage for a while now. If you haven’t tried it yet, now is the time. It’s been shown to take advantage of our brain’s ‘neuroplasticity’ which essentially means you can train your brain to become more flexible and resilient to daily stressors. Establishing a daily practice is a bit like taking a daily supplement for your mental health – prevention is key!’
5. Get moving: ‘If you’re feeling like you’re in a funk and are struggling to shake it off, get your body moving. Exercise can wake up parts of the brain that aren’t as receptive when you’re feeling depressed. It also promotes the release of ‘happy hormones’.’
‘If self-care methods aren’t doing the trick and your anxiety is starting to have an impact on your every day life, it may be time to speak to your GP.’
A Final Important Note
Remember that if you do want to try a herbal remedy for anxiety, check in with your GP first. Although natural, some can interfere with medicines you might already be taking, or may not be suitable for those who or pregnant or suffering from specific medical conditions.
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