Anxiety is the type of condition that people want to cure quickly. Most of those that live with anxiety recognize that it's something that takes time to clear - something that you need to commit to for an extensive period of time.
But that route can be frustrating, and you may need help along the way. That's why so many people choose to turn to anxiety medications. The problem is that many of these medications have serious side effects, and may alter your brain chemistry and your personality in a way that can be dangerous. Natural medicine is the alternative, providing many of the same benefits with less of the risk.
How Severe is Your Anxiety?
Natural medicine is more effective for mild to moderate anxiety. If you haven't yet taken our free 7 minute anxiety severity test, take it now so that you can score your anxiety, compare it to others, and see if there are other solutions that can help you treat it.
Medicine Based on Anxiety
There are different types of anxiety, just like there are different types of natural medications for anxiety. How you treat your anxiety symptoms - whether it's through therapy, medicine, or any other treatment - depends on the symptoms you're experiencing.
If you haven't yet, click here to start my 7 minute anxiety test, and get an idea of what symptoms you're experiencing and what you can do to treat them.
Warning: Natural Anxiety Medication and Safety
Another issue that must be noted before recommending any natural medicine is that the stronger the medication is, the less safe it is - even when it's natural. Anything that alters your body's chemistry can cause side effects, or at least may interact with other drugs, alcohol, or foods. While natural medicines are safer than prescription medications, the stronger a medicine is, the more careful you need to be about using it. Always be in touch with a doctor before using any type of medicinal anxiety treatment.
In addition, medications can become a crutch that may make dealing with anxiety worse. It's crucial that you never only use medicine without a supplementary treatment. Natural medicines for anxiety, as you'll see below, are a great way to stop anxiety now, but they don't do anything about anxiety in the future. If you only use medications, you'll start to depend on those medications for relief, and make it harder for yourself to learn techniques to control future anxiety.
The Best Natural Anxiety Medicines
While many treatments have been linked to reducing anxiety, with various levels of efficacy, there are three particular natural medications that have shown great success at reducing anxiety symptoms.
Of all available research, kava is by far the most effective natural treatment option for anxiety. It's an herb that has been used for decades to fight anxiety with a considerable amount of success, and one that has research-supported benefits for reducing anxiety. It also has all of the qualities of a safe, natural medicine:
- It's non-addictive, so you can use it often without worrying about dependency.
- It doesn't cause any known side effects.
- It can be taken as needed.
- It doesn't cause any withdrawal symptoms.
Kava supplements are powerful enough that they have been favorably compared to prescription medications with fewer adverse reactions.
But because kava is so powerful, it's not without its risks. You have to avoid alcohol consumption when taking kava because the two interact poorly. You also need to be careful of kava if you have any liver function problems, and you should talk to your doctor if you're taking any other medications. Kava is powerful enough that it acts like a medicine, and so there are issues that may cause kava to interact with other medications you put inside your body.
Passionflower is essentially a weaker version of kava, but doesn't seem to have any of kava's risks. Some people find passionflower to be a great tool for combatting anxiety, but others find it to be a bit too weak, and claim that it's only good for regular maintenance.
Still, many of those taking passionflower swear by it, and because it appears to not have the side effects of kava, it may be worth trying. Passionflower is still a relatively new treatment, however, so still keep your doctor informed before taking this type of supplement.
Valerian works differently than kava and passionflower. In a way, valerian works more like a benzodiazepine. It doesn't necessarily reduce anxiety itself, but it does promote relaxation which can help with anxiety symptoms. Valerian root is a great tool if you struggle with sleep, and may be useful if you're trying to relax before bed but find your mind wandering.
There do not appear to be any side effects with valerian root either, but some people claim it can cause enough fatigue that driving while taking valerian may not be the best idea. If you've never taken valerian root before, take it at a safe time in a safe location to see how you react, and as usual keep your doctor posted.
Other Herbs and Natural Medicines for Anxiety
Many other natural medications have been prescribed for anxiety, but their success rates vary and are not entirely clear. St. John's Wort, for example, is an herb meant for depression but believed to have an effect on anxiety. Nevertheless, the research hasn't backed up this claim. The three above have been successfully used for anxiety for years with minimal side effects, and research has often supported their success as a natural treatment for anxiety.
Still, you need to remember that you should never depend on medication alone, otherwise your mind will lose out on its ability to cope further. That's why you need to make sure you're complementing your natural medicine with some type of medication free anxiety reduction strategy.
In order to find that complementary treatment, you need to fill out your symptoms on my free anxiety test. The test will look at your symptoms and recommend the best complementary treatment strategy to your natural medicine.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.