Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

Aromatherapy essential oils can help treat stress, depression, anxiety, inflammation and other health problems

The scent of Gardenia jasminoides flowers can reduce anxiety and promote sleepIs jasmine the next Valium substitute? Perhaps. Recent research has discovered that the scent of jasmine has the same effect on the brain and is as strong as barbiturates and the anesthetic propofol. Jasmine calms, relieves anxiety and promotes sleep. Researchers Professor Hanns Hatt and his team in Germany tested hundreds of fragrances and found jasmine and one other plant fragrance are especially good relaxants.

Other studies have found that the use of fragrant plant oils (essential oils), such as rose, lemon and lavender oil, can reduce stress, and the symptoms of anxiety, depression and more. This is no surprise considering the fragrant parts of plants have been used for health and healing throughout history all over the world, including China, India, North America, the Far East and the Middle East.


Get into probiotics – good gut bugs that improve our mental and physical health

How important are probiotics — “good” (beneficial) bacteria and other microorganisms? According to Dr. Mercola: “The research into probiotics indicates that supplementing with probiotics is probably more important than taking a multi-vitamin and its true importance for your health is likely right up there with vitamin D.”

We all have trillions of bacteria, fungi, yeasts and other microorganisms (gut flora) in our guts. Gut flora is a mix of “bad” (harmful) and good microorganisms. When this mix is out of balance, with too many bad types, we get sick. Celeste Perron reports that Mark Hyman, M.D., founder and medical director of the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, says: “If you have an autoimmune disorder, depression, allergies, or any number of other illnesses, the underlying cause may be an unhealthy balance of gut bugs.”

Dr. Mercola says: “The secret to improving your mood and brain health is in your gut, as unhealthy gut flora can impact your mental health, leading to issues like anxiety, depression, autism and more.”

Many people have gut flora that’s out of balance, so are ill as a result. These people could benefit from eating more foods that contain probiotics, taking a probiotic supplement and/or making healthy lifestyle changes so their good gut bugs can thrive.


Natural ways to help treat anxiety without taking medication

Exercising in nature can help treat anxietyAnxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in USA, Australia and beyond. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in USA say that over 15% of people are estimated to have an anxiety disorder at some stage in their lives. Common anxiety disorders are generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and panic disorder.

Medication for anxiety can work well, but it has its downsides. Medication does not treat the causes of anxiety, just the symptoms. Lots of anxiety medication is very addictive, and many have bad – sometimes dangerous – side effects. Once you stop taking medication, the anxiety can return. Stopping medication can be hard because it can be habit forming.


Hops is an effective herbal remedy for relaxation and helping treat insomnia

A hop cone in a hop yardDid you know that the herbal remedy hops is related to marijuana and is legally sold in supermarkets, drugstores and health food stores across the world?

Hops is well known for its use in beer-making, where it’s been grown and used worldwide for centuries. Less well known, however, are the plant’s medicinal uses. Hops has been used for centuries in different types of medicine, including North American traditional medicines and Indian-Ayurvedic medicine, according to the American Botanical Council (ABC).

The English have also known about hops’ therapeutic benefits for some time. The ABC says one of the most prominent people treated with hops was King George III. He is believed to have slept on pillows filled with hops to help calm himself down.

Studies have found that hops is sedating (calming and sleep promoting), often with no unwanted side effects. Compounds in hops have various properties, including relieving aches and pains, and killing bacteria. Hops is used to help treat various health problems, such as sleeplessness and nervous problems. Many uses of hops have not been thoroughly tested, so hops’ full effectiveness is uncertain.


Does chamomile work for anxiety, sleep problems and relaxation?

chamomile flowersThe pretty little flowers of the chamomile plant have been used to treat many health problems for thousands of years. Today chamomile is popular in many countries, including Europe. In the United States and Australia, chamomile is best known as a relaxing tea. Other common uses of chamomile are to help treat anxiety, sleeplessness, stomach pain, and gas. Some beauty products, healing creams and ointments also have chamomile added.

Although there is too little human research of chamomile to support its medicinal use, animal studies have found chamomile can reduce inflammation, speed wound healing, reduce muscle spasms, and promote sleep.


Lemon balm is a safe and effective relaxing herb to naturally treat anxiety, stress and insomnia

lemon balm leavesFrom before the Middle Ages the delicious herb lemon balm has been used to improve mood, help heal wounds, and treat insect bites. Today lemon balm is still used for health, especially stress, anxiety, relaxation, insomnia, cold sores, shingles, and digestive problems. Lemon balm is grown in herb gardens, and in crops for medicine, cosmetics, and making furniture polish. The herb is generally considered safe, with few side effects.


Can glutamine enhance your mind and mood by reducing stress, anxiety, depression and more?

Dr. Priscilla Slagle, author of The Way Up From Down, says on her website The Way Up that L-glutamine and L-tyrosine are the two amino acid supplements she most often prescribes in her practice. She recommends L-glutamine (a common form of glutamine) for various health problems, mostly to increase energy, and improve mood, concentration, focus, and memory.

According to Slagle, glutamine is often low in people with yeast overgrowth (candida). This depletion is partly responsible for the “brain fog” they feel.

Could glutamine supplements improve your mind and mood?


How good are GABA supplements for anxiety, stress and relaxation?

Yoga is a natural way to increase the level of GABA in the bodyNutritionist Patrick Holford says that most people with intense or constant anxiety either self-medicate with alcohol or cannabis, or see their doctor, possibly to be given a prescription for a tranquiliser. “In one week in Britain, we pop 10 million tranquillisers, puff 10 million cannabis joints and drink 120 million alcoholic drinks”, says Holford, in his book Optimum Nutrition for the Mind. “The choice of these three drugs – alcohol, cannabis and tranquillisers – is no coincidence. They all promote the neurotransmitter GABA, which is the brain’s peacemaker, helping to turn off excess adrenalin and calm you down.”

“Supplementing 500 to 1,000mg [of GABA], once or twice a day, is a highly effective natural relaxant,” according to Holford. But what does the evidence say about how good GABA supplements are to calm people down? Although the evidence is mostly anecdotal, using a GABA supplement to boost GABA levels in people who are stressed and anxious can lead to a more relaxed and focused mind.


Have high hopes for greater happiness, better health and prosperity

Hands held up to the sunWant to be happier and healthier? Be hopeful. Dr. Allan K. Chalmers was on the right track when he said: “The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for”, as studies have found that hope is a key to good health, a predictor of a meaningful existence, an indicator of athletic and academic performance and more. Those of us with high hope are likely to be happier, healthier and more successful than those of us with less hope.

Louise Danielle Palmer wrote an article about hope in volume 22 number 8 of the magazine Wellness News published in September 2007. Below are some of her key points.


How safe is kava for anxiety, stress, insomnia and relaxation?

A kava plantKava has been a drink for thousands of years in the Pacific Islands. Its effects are similar to alcohol. People use kava for many reasons, in particular stress, anxiety, insomnia (sleeplessness), relaxation, improving mood, and as a social and ceremonial drink.

Some countries have taken kava off the market because it might cause liver damage. Many experts are unsure about kava’s safety, and whether kava alone, or in combination with other drugs/herbs or pre-existing health problems, could be dangerous.

A recent world-first Australian study found kava is, according to its researchers, “safe and effective in reducing anxiety”, and reduces depression. Lead researcher Jerome Sarris said, “We’ve been able to show that Kava offers a natural alternative for the treatment of anxiety, and unlike some pharmaceutical options, has less risk of dependency and less potential of side effects.”

The type of kava extract used in this study was water-soluble, like the type traditionally prescribed in the Pacific Islands. The kava extracts used in other studies of kava, that found the plant may be unsafe, were extracts that might cause liver problems.


Tyrosine – an answer for a better mind, memory, mood and sleep

The amino acid supplement tyrosine, sold in health food stores, can help improve mood, sleep and alertness, according to some research. Tyrosine has been called the ‘anti-depressant amino acid’ because of its ability to boost our mood. It is used to make adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine – chemicals called neurotransmitters, which all affect our mind. Can taking a tyrosine supplement benefit you?


Suffer from anxiety, stress or sleeplessness? The herb valerian might be the answer

valerianThe herb valerian – often called ‘nature’s Valium’ – is a popular natural treatment in Europe, North America and Japan for insomnia and anxiety.

The plant has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome, says the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in USA. Hippocrates described its therapeutic properties, and later the Roman philosopher Galen prescribed valerian for insomnia (sleeplessness).

How well does valerian work? Clinical studies have had mixed results, although a number of health experts say it can help treat insomnia.


EMDR – a safe, easy and effective natural therapy to treat depression, anxiety, stress and trauma

eyesDid you know that doing some simple eye movements can stop the emotional pain from bad memories? Called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), it’s a key treatment for trauma used all over the world by thousands of trained therapists.

Studies show that EMDR is a safe, fast and worthwhile treatment for many problems such as depression, stress, anxiety, phobias, addictions and eating disorders.

The technique works like the rapid eye movement (REM) we have while we sleep. REM is believed to help sort out our problems so that we still remember bad events, but no longer feel the pain linked to them.


Is clinical hypnotherapy a safe and worthwhile technique to make you more happy, healthy and successful?

Woman being hypnotized I’ve been interested in having hypnosis for years but, for various reasons, I put it off. Earlier this year I decided to have weekly clinical hypnotherapy sessions with a trained psychologist. I’m glad I went. I found that it helped me achieve some of my goals, and it was very relaxing – just what I needed.

I decided to write this blog post about hypnotherapy to share a bit about my experience with the technique, learn more about it myself, and share some of what I learnt with others.

St John’s wort – natural relief for depression, anxiety and sleeplessness

yellow St John's wort flowersDid you know that St John’s wort is one of the most popular natural antidepressants in the United States and Canada?

St John’s wort is a flowering plant that has been used to treat depression for centuries. Today it’s available from health food stores, pharmacies and even some supermarkets. It is generally safe and has few side effects.


Passion flower – natural herb to treat anxiety, insomnia, stress and tension

Passion flowerPassion flower is a native plant of North America, where it has been used for centuries as a mild sedative. It was later used in Europe and adopted by herbalists to treat insomnia, hysteria and epilepsy, and used as a painkiller.

Passion flower is generally safe when taken in the recommended dosages, but it may interact with many medications.

Is 5-HTP a safe, natural option for helping treat depression and anxiety by boosting serotonin?

A naturally occurring chemical in our body, called 5-HTP, has been shown to help treat depression with fewer side effects than conventional antidepressants.

Some studies show that supplementing higher than normal amounts of 5-HTP causes the brain’s serotonin-producing neurons (nerve cells) to increase production. This leads to more serotonin and improved mood.

While 5-HTP appears to be a promising treatment for depression, more research is needed to find its long-term side effects.

Best B vitamins to boost mood, brain power and happiness

Vitamin B tabletsCan popping a vitamin pill help cure mental health problems? For people who lack vitamin B and show symptoms of mental illness as a result, this may be the case.

All of the B group vitamins affect brain function, mental sharpness and mood. Research shows that folate and vitamins B6 and B12 might be particularly vital. Some studies show a link between memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly and low levels of B12, for example.

Mild deficiencies of B vitamins can badly affect mental health. Severe deficiencies are linked to serious mental illnesses such as severe depression.

This article discusses vitamins B6, B12 and folate.

Treating neurotransmitter imbalances can help cure mood problems such as anxiety and depression

Neurotransmitters passing between nerve cellsDid you know that many experts believe that an imbalance of neurotransmitters in our brain can cause mental health problems?

Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers between nerve cells. They affect mood, behavior, sleep and more. Perhaps the best known neurotransmitter is serotonin, however this is just one of over 50 in the brain.

How do we know if we have an imbalance and how can we treat it?

Exercise your way to health, fitness and happiness

soccer ballFor some of us exercise is a chore, for others it’s a joy. We all know exercise is good for us, but most of us don’t do enough for good health. Doctors estimate that between 65% and 85% of the world’s population do not exercise enough.

There are plenty of excuses not to exercise, the most common being “I don’t have time.” Make time. If we can do non essential things, we can exercise. It’s vital for health, fitness and happiness.

The benefits are worth it. Professor Mario Maranhao, president of the World Heart Federation said, “Moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk for 30 minutes most days, helps control weight, cuts stress, anxiety and depression.”


Is magnesium a cure for depression?

Spinach is a good source of magnesium Are you suffering from a lack of magnesium? Chances are you could be, as many of us aren’t receiving enough from our diet. In fact magnesium deficiency is an epidemic throughout the western world. About 80% of Americans are low in it. Depression, anxiety, irritability, ADHD and nervousness are just a few of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency.