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7 Over-the-Counter (OTC) Natural Remedies for Anxiety

7 Over-the-Counter (OTC) Natural Remedies for Anxiety

By Dr. Patrick Lovegrove Medically Reviewed by Lindsay Langley, BSN, RN, CHT
Posted Monday, January 22nd, 2024
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7 Over-the-Counter (OTC) Natural Remedies for Anxiety

Introduction to Over-the-Counter (OTC) Natural Remedies for Anxiety

You may often be stressed or caught up in a whirlwind of stressful thoughts. These feelings could be signs of anxiety. Remember, it is okay to seek help. Alongside professional intervention, there are some natural remedies you can explore as a complementary therapy.

What is Anxiety and its Common Symptoms?

Anxiety is a type of mental health disorder that can lead to excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry. These feelings can interfere with your daily activities and, if left untreated, reduce your quality of life. Common symptoms include restlessness, uncontrollable feelings of worry, increased irritability, concentration difficulties, and sleep issues.

Benefits of Using Natural Remedies

Natural remedies can serve as complementary therapies to traditional treatments for anxiety. Some benefits of using natural over-the-counter remedies include their availability and affordability, and they often have fewer side effects than prescription medications. However, before you start any natural remedies, please consult your healthcare provider to ensure they won’t interfere with ongoing treatments or medications.

Seven OTC Natural Remedies for Anxiety

  1. Chamomile: Chamomile tea has been used for centuries to help calm the mind and promote better sleep. You can also find chamomile in supplement form.
  2. Valerian Root: Valerian root can enhance sleep quality and reduce anxiety symptoms. Known for its soothing effects
  3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Foods rich in Omega-3, like fish or fish oil supplements, can help ease anxiety symptoms by reducing neuronal inflammation.
  4. B Vitamins: B-complex vitamins help your brain handle stress and can be found in supplements or food sources like beans, peas, almonds, bananas, and lean meats.
  5. Probiotics: The connection between gut health and mental health is vital. Consuming probiotics in the form of supplements or fermented foods can help decrease anxiety symptoms.
  6. Lavender: The scent of lavender can have a calming effect. Consider adding lavender oil to your bath or use a diffuser to reduce anxiety symptoms.
  7. Passionflower: Studies suggest that passionflower can help reduce symptoms of anxiety. It can be consumed as a tea or in supplement form.

While natural remedies can be beneficial, it’s essential to understand that they can’t replace professional help. If you’re anxious, consult a healthcare provider for a thorough evaluation and treatment.

Chamomile Tea

You’ve probably heard of chamomile tea being recommended as a comforting, herbal beverage – but did you know it’s one of the best natural remedies for anxiety, too?

Health Benefits and Calming Effects

Chamomile, a daisy-like plant used for centuries, has various health benefits. It’s often lauded for its calming effects due to a particular antioxidant called apigenin. This antioxidant binds to the receptors in your brain that stimulate sleep, helping decrease insomnia, a common symptom of anxiety.

Besides promoting restful sleep, it also relaxes muscles and reduces irritability. Furthermore, some studies have shown that chamomile can significantly lessen symptoms in people with moderate to severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Recommended Dosage and Usage

Chamomile can be consumed in various forms – most commonly as a tea, but also as pills, extracts, or essential oils. However, for managing anxiety, chamomile tea is usually the comfiest pick.

For optimal results, steep a chamomile tea bag or dried chamomile flowers in hot water for about 5 minutes. You can enjoy this calming tea a few times daily – especially before bedtime to improve sleep quality.

However, dosage may vary based on factors like age and health conditions. Suppose you’re considering supplement pills or extracts. In that case, it’s always best to consult your healthcare provider first to establish a safe and effective dosage.

Chamomile tea is not just a beverage; it’s a natural, over-the-counter remedy that could help keep anxiety at bay. Don’t expect a miracle cure – no such thing exists for anxiety. But as a part of your holistic care routine, something as simple as a hot cup of chamomile tea could be a significant part of your journey towards managing anxiety better. Remember, health is a lifelong journey, and every step you take towards it, no matter how small, matters.

Lavender Essential Oil

Regarding having a calming influence, lavender stands among the best over-the-counter natural remedies for anxiety. This little purple plant boasts a sweet fragrance renowned for its soothing effect on the nerves. It makes lavender essential oil a favorite for those seeking relief from stress and anxiety.

Effects on Anxiety and Stress Reduction

Scientific studies back up the effects of lavender on anxiety and stress reduction. It contains active compounds such as linalool and linalyl acetate that work together to induce calming effects. These components can suppress overactive neural activity and induce an overall relaxing effect on the body, helping to alleviate anxiety symptoms and promote calmness.

Moreover, inhaling the aroma of lavender oil can balance out serotonin levels. This hormone contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. This balance could contribute to an improved mood and reduced stress levels.

This essential oil has long been used in aromatherapy as a natural remedy for anxiety relief. Just a few breaths of its sweet scent can help soothe the mind, making it a good companion whenever you feel overwhelmed or stressed.

Different Ways to Use Lavender Oil

There’s more than one way to reap the benefits of lavender essential oil.

  1. Aromatherapy: Use a diffuser to disperse its sweet scent throughout a room. You can also place a few drops on a tissue or handkerchief and inhale the scent whenever you need relaxation.
  2. Topical Application: Dilute with a carrier oil and rub on the soles of your feet, wrists, or temples for a calming effect. Always do a skin patch test first, as dilution ratios may vary.
  3. Bath or Shower: Add a few drops to a bath and let your body soak in the relaxing aroma. If you’re more of a shower person, dab a little oil on the shower walls before turning your shower into a steamy, calming oasis.

Employed in whichever way fits best into your routine, the lavender essential oil can be an accessible, easy tool to help you manage your anxiety.

Remember, while over-the-counter remedies can indeed be helpful, they should be considered a part of a comprehensive approach to managing anxiety. Always consult a healthcare provider before beginning any new treatment regimen, particularly if you have an existing health condition or are taking other medications.

Valerian Root

Did you know that there’s another over-the-counter natural remedy that may help to relieve your anxiety? It’s called Valerian root. This herbal remedy has been used for centuries to treat various ailments, including insomnia, nervousness, and, of course, anxiety.

Natural Sedative Properties

Valerian root is often called “nature’s Valium” due to its natural sedative properties. Many studies have shown that Valerian root can significantly improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety symptoms. It contains several compounds that promote tranquility and relaxation, making it a powerful ally in your fight against anxiety.

Research has shown that Valerian root can increase the level of a chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which helps regulate nerve cells and calm anxiety. The compound valerenic acid in the Valerian root inhibits the breakdown of GABA in the brain, resulting in feelings of calmness and tranquility.

In addition, Valerian root also contains a variety of antioxidants that promote sleep and reduce nervous tension. These properties combined make Valerian root a potent natural remedy to supplement your anxiety relief regime.

Dosage Recommendations and Precautions

The recommended dosage for Valerian root can vary based on the specific product and individual needs, so it’s essential to follow the instructions on the packaging. As a general guide, the dosage for adults ranges from 250mg to 600mg of the dried root 30 minutes to two hours before bedtime.

Before you start taking Valerian root, remember to consult with your healthcare provider, especially if you’re already on other medications, pregnant, or breastfeeding. Some people may experience mild side effects such as dizziness, headache, or stomach upset. It’s also wise not to combine Valerian root with alcohol, as it may enhance the sedative effect.

In conclusion, Valerian root can be a beneficial addition to your natural remedies kit to help tackle anxiety. It’s an easy, over-the-counter solution to add to your bedtime routine for its calming effects. Just remember, each person’s response to herbal supplements can vary. While natural remedies like Valerian root can help, it’s essential to have a comprehensive approach to managing anxiety under the guidance of healthcare professionals.

Passionflower

If you are searching for natural ways to help reduce your anxiety, you might want to consider Passionflower. Originally from the southeastern parts of the Americas, passionflowers are now grown worldwide and are widely recognized for their calming effects.

Relaxing Properties for Anxiety Relief

Passionflower, known scientifically as Passiflora incarnata, is a plant that has been utilized for centuries for its medicinal benefits. It is loaded with alkaloids and flavonoids, compounds believed to work as natural anxiolytics or anxiety reducers.

Research suggests that consuming passionflower can help lower stress and anxiety levels. Much like Valerian root, passionflower increases your brain’s gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) level. GABA lowers the activity of some brain cells, inducing a more excellent state of relaxation.

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, passionflower was just as effective as a standard anti-anxiety medication in treating people facing anxiety. It makes it a powerful, natural option if you’re not keen on pharmaceutical medications.

Recommended Forms and Dosages

Passionflower can be consumed in several ways, each as effective as the next. You may find passionflower in teas, liquid extracts, tablets, and capsules in your local health store or online.

For teas, steep 1 teaspoon of dried passionflower in boiling water for about 10 minutes. You can enjoy this calming beverage up to four times a day.

As for tablets, capsules, or liquid extract, it’s wise to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended dosage. Taking 400-500mg of dried passionflower or 10-30 drops of liquid extract three times a day is a standard dosage regimen.

However, consult your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen. While passionflower is generally deemed safe for most people, it might interact with certain medications or trigger side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion.

In conclusion, passionflower could be worth considering if you’re seeking a natural remedy for anxiety. However, remember everyone reacts differently to supplements, and what works well for one person may be less effective for another. Keep exploring to find what helps you best in your anxiety management journey.

CBD Oil

If the pressures of daily life are causing undue stress and anxiety, another potential natural treatment is CBD oil.

How CBD interacts with the body

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp plants. Unlike its cousin THC (the main active ingredient in marijuana), CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t cause a “high” or severe changes in perception. It works by interacting with your body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate various bodily functions, including stress response.

CBD oil encourages your body to use more naturally-produced endocannabinoids that help regulate mood, sleep, and pain response. Doing so can help alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety, give you better control over your mood, and provide a calming effect that allows you to relax.

Dosage guidelines and potential side effects

Using CBD oil is generally safe and doesn’t result in dependency. But, as with any supplement, finding the correct dosage can be a process of trial and error. Start with a low dosage (around 20-40mg per day) and gradually increase it until you notice an improvement in your anxiety symptoms.

Remember to pay close attention to your body and how it reacts to the supplement. While it’s generally well-tolerated, some common side effects can include fatigue, diarrhea, and changes in appetite or weight. Should you experience these, try reducing your dosage. And as it may interact with some medications, always consult with a healthcare professional before starting on CBD oil.

It’s also worth noting that not all CBD products are created equal. As it is a supplement, it isn’t FDA-regulated, so there may be variation in quality between brands. Always ensure you’re getting your CBD oil from a reputable source and that it’s been tested by a third-party lab for purity.

Finally, keep in mind that while CBD oil can help manage your anxiety symptoms, it’s no substitute for professional help. If you’re struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a healthcare professional or counselor.

In your journey to managing your anxiety, remember that it’s okay to seek help.

Kava

Are you frequently on edge or find yourself feeling anxious too often? Perhaps you’ve tried medications, meditation, and other methods but are still searching for something that could provide greater peace of mind. In your aim to cope with anxiety smoothly, you might consider giving Kava a try.

Anxiety-reducing effects and relaxation

Kava, a plant native to the South Pacific, has been used for centuries by local people to promote relaxation and soothe anxiety. Going by scientific research, there’s some solid evidence to back up these traditional applications.

The active ingredients in Kava—called ‘kavalactones’—work by affecting the brain and other parts of the central nervous system. These kavalactones interact with the limbic system, the part of our brain responsible for regulating emotions. By this action, Kava may help reduce stress and anxiety, leading to overall relaxation.

Whether you’re preparing for a stressful event or struggling with anxiety on an everyday basis, Kava, due to its calming properties, could offer you some relief.

Precautions and recommended dosage

Before you make a beeline for the nearest health food shop, though, there are some precautions you need to bear in mind. Long-term or heavy use of Kava has been linked to liver damage. So, suppose you’re already dealing with liver conditions or are taking other medications that affect your liver. In that case, discussing with your healthcare professional before adding Kava to your regimen is crucial.

What’s the proper dosage? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here, as it largely depends on factors like your overall health, age, and the specific product you’re using. Generally, start small – about 70 to 210 milligrams of kavalactones per day, then adjust your dosage based on how you react to the supplement.

As with any supplement, it’s important to remember that it isn’t strictly regulated. So, ensure your Kava comes from a reliable source and contains the correct number of kavalactones, as the label states. Most importantly, while Kava can indeed assist in managing anxiety, it’s not a definitive cure for severe anxiety disorders. If your symptoms persist despite your best efforts, don’t hesitate to seek professional help for suitable treatment.

Conclusion

As was explored with Kava, there are many options available to manage anxiety naturally. However, Kava is just one of the many over-the-counter (OTC) natural remedies available that might help to reign in your anxiety and restore your peace of mind. Let’s delve into some more.

Benefits of OTC Natural Remedies for Anxiety

Exploring OTC solutions, remember that supplements like chamomile, valerian root, lemon balm, and even green tea can also soothe your anxious feelings. Essential oils like lavender or ylang-ylang offer benefits as aromatherapy solutions. Coupled with deep breathing exercises, they generate a relaxing effect.

Remember the importance of maintaining a balanced diet and regular physical exercise. These might seem basic, but They can work wonders for natural anxiety relief.

While OTC natural remedies may not be the ultimate solution for severe anxiety disorders, they can often provide a noticeable relief, improving your quality of life significantly without needing a prescription.

When to Seek Professional Help

While OTC remedies and lifestyle changes are beneficial, you should never overlook the importance of seeking professional help. If your symptoms of anxiety continue to persist despite your best efforts, you must consult a healthcare professional. Exploring options of therapy or counseling can be a crucial step towards long-term recovery.

Furthermore, be sure to consult a professional before starting any new supplement, particularly if you’re currently on medication or have pre-existing medical conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may still have questions. How do you know if your feelings of anxiety are normal? Are there risks associated with these natural remedies? It’s normal to have these questions. Contemplate putting down your concerns in writing and getting them answered during your next health care visit.

Accessing reliable information can help you feel more prepared and in control while dealing with anxiety. Knowledge is power, and clarifying your questions can help you choose the proper remedy or course of action to suit your scenario.

Remember, you’re not alone in your battle against anxiety, and there are many routes to explore on your path toward better mental well-being.

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About the author

Dr. Patrick Lovegrove

Dr. Patrick Lovegrove is board certified by the American Board of Family Physicians. He was born in Staunton, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia where he majored in Biology. He received a Medical School Scholarship from the United States Air Force. A graduate of Nova Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine, his over 20 years of clinical experience includes Family Practice, Anti-aging, Holistic Internal Medicine, Pain Management, Aerospace, Sports, and Emergency Medicine. He believes that holistic medicine should be integrated with conventional medicine in a scientifically based model to achieve the best results for patients.