Herbal Tricks for Easing Anxiety

When panic attacks or everyday worries tie you in knots, natural remedies can help you loosen up and reclaim serenity.

| September/October 2000

Anxiety Busting-Tea Recipe  

1. Calm-Down Tea 

It’s like a bear at the door: dark, shaggy, primordial—a monster with claws and hot breath. Anxiety attacks can be fierce enough to make you want to run for the hills or grab a club to fight off the beast. Less intense ­anxiety—sweating over things such as giving a lecture, taking a driving test, or paying taxes on time—can still diminish your health and happiness.

The sweat is physical as well as metaphoric. People with anxiety may experience symptoms such as a racing heart, chest tightness, rapid breathing, stomach discomfort, restlessness, lightheadedness, problems sleeping, and tingling hands and feet.

For some people, the bear is a constant companion. According to one 1998 psychiatry text, one in four people has a diagnosable anxiety ­disorder.

Inside the anxiety response

The same physiological response to anxiety that can trouble modern humans saved their ancestors’ skins. Back then, the fear that early humans felt while confronting food on the hoof—or something that wanted to eat them—would trigger the release of hormones such as adrenaline. These hormones intensified focus and pumped up muscles, allowing Homo sapiens to fight or flee more successfully.

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