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January 07, 2020 | Abigail Mckay

Herbs and Spices to Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety and stress seem to plague young adults and adults alike these days due to constant social media use, negative news outlets, high-stress jobs, and the "Keeping up with the Joneses" mentality. Stress and anxiety go hand-in-hand as stress generates feelings associated with anxiety. Occasionally occurring anxiety is inevitable, but when fear becomes recurring and debilitating, it is classified as an anxiety disorder. Disorders are generally treated with some form of medication, but seeking help, such as counseling, is also encouraged. Self-regulatory, coping mechanisms are learned behaviors that licensed professionals can help you attain.  

Anxiety symptoms include nervousness, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, trouble sleeping, and upset stomach. There is a multitude of anxiety disorders, and diagnosis is completed by a psychiatrist, who can both diagnose mental health conditions and prescribe medications for them. Some people can be more prone to anxiety than others due to genetics. Also, some chronic medical conditions can lead to anxiety, such as diabetes, thyroid conditions, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and chronic pain syndrome. Medications can also cause some degree of anxiety, in addition to traumatic situations, other mental health disorders, and drug or alcohol use.  

Herbs and spices should never take the place of prescription medications or the word of your physician. However, it is your right as the patient to try other alternatives before committing to prescription medications. Some herbs and spices can alter the effects of prescription medications, so they should not be used in combination with prescribed medications without consent from your doctor or pharmacist. If, however, you do want to try a holistic approach, let's discuss three common herbs that have been used to treat anxiety and stress for centuries. 

1.           Lavender

1.           Lavender has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, such as anxiety, insomnia, pain, and headache. 

2.           When it is taken each night before bedtime, it promotes a reduction in anxiety and a restful night's sleep.  

1.           It can be diffused, ingested in teas, sprayed on pillows or sheets before bed, and even used in a bath.  

2.           Chamomile

1.           Another herb that has been used since ancient times, chamomile, has become increasingly popular recently. 

2.           Chamomile is a herb that is known for its calming effects due to the antioxidants found in the plant. 

1.           Commonly taken at night, chamomile tea can be bought at your local grocery store to help reduce stress. 

3.           Ashwagandha

1.           Also known as winter cherry, ashwagandha was made famous through Ayurvedic medicine.  

2.           In addition to reducing stress, it also helps fight fatigue and lowers inflammation. 

3.           It can be found in capsules, teas, and powders.

4.           The traditional way to take ashwagandha is with warm milk and turmeric before bedtime. This is the perfect combination of ingredients to promote a good night's sleep and reduce anxiety. Turmeric also has anti-inflammatory properties making this concoction, often referred to as golden milk, a winner.



Abigail Mckay

Abigail has been a nurse for five years, and throughout her time as a nurse, she has worked in multiple medical-surgical units as well as spent time in the infusion therapy clinic and endoscopy lab. She is passionate about preventative medicine through patient education regarding nutrition and exercise. Due to her passion, Abigail has gone on to earn two certifications including a certification in medical-surgical nursing (CMSRN) and a certification in holistic nursing (HNB-BC), in hopes of being able to better serve her patients. Abigail earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and now bettering patient education in the healthcare system through partnering with American TelePhysicians.