In my research, I came across a number of herbal fixes for depression and anxiety. I was very surprised to not find resources at my favorite natural health blog, Keeper of the Home, my usual go-to for depression and homeopathy, but I bet she is a busy lady!
After extensive web-searching, I had a lot of information and a few questions I needed to get answered. And then when I got to the store, I came across a lot of prices, too! Here’s my journey:
Four natural anxiety aids
- Kava Kava Root is a western-Pacific herbal remedy that has undergone a lot of tests. It is supposedly as powerful as other drugs like Xanax and but without the side effects. However, it does have indications against using it if you have liver problems… it can damage your liver if you take too much for too long.
- Passionflower was used traditionally in the Americas and later in Europe as a calming herb for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and hysteria.
- Lemon balm is another calming herb known for a long time to help reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion
- Valerian once again hits those big three: stress, anxiety, and sleep.
There were so many choices I spent at least 20 minutes in the vitamin aisle at Whole Foods looking like a sucker. You could get the extract of each of those things for $15.99 a pop. Or you could get pills that had combinations of those four things for $29.99. Or you could get a tablet form of each for $7.99-$12.99. All expensive and all confusing, what with the different warnings and random barley-malt (not good if you are gluten-free).
My unscientific choice
I ended up with a combination: a cup of well-steeped Nighty Night Valerian tea (I paid $4.99) with 15 drops of Gaia brand Kava Kava Root extract (I paid $15.99 for one low-alcohol ounce). The usual dosage of the Kava Kava is more like 30 drops, but I want to start teeny-tiny and see if I can get the impact as-is. I made sure that I could return both if I got weird side effects or found out I was being a sucker.
My unscientific results
First night: Night swam over me like a cool black blanket and kept out all of my usual “nervous-death-thoughts with a side of hyperventilating and rapid heart beat”. I slept very well.
Second night: Also had no trouble falling asleep – no obsessive thoughts or panicked feelings!
Third night: Same deal. However, I woke up feeling dizzy and with a headache. I attribute this to my third caffeine-free day, so I had a coffee.
The rest of the week progressed in about the same order. I felt restless before bed, I had the tea concotion, I drifted off to sleep.
However, let’s be real. Here are other possible contributions to a few days of a good night’s sleep:
- Having a relaxing cup of tea before bed might have worked by itself
- The “I am doing something to fix this!” aspect of the situation might have a placebo effect
- The Nighty Night Valerian tea might have worked by itself
- The Kava Kava might have worked by itself
- Eating dinner earlier might have worked by itself
- Modifying my Armour thyroid dose might have worked by itself ( I went from one tab twice per day to one-half tab twice per day)
That said, even if this combination is my good-luck charm and not a magical anxiety cure…. that’s good enough for me! I will use my good luck charm to no longer fear night time and to enjoy cuddling and reading with JHubbs.