Choose These Natural Herbal Remedies for Anxiety

Christopher Hobbs discusses these natural herbal remedies for anxiety, including understanding anxiety, herbs for the heart and kidney systems and eliminating anxiety.

| November/December 2003

Learn about these natural herbal remedies for anxiety.

I noticed Billie glancing nervously at the clock and then back to me as we sat in a treatment room during our first visit. Her eyes were not still but constantly roving around the room, finally settling on me after a question or comment had sunk in.

Billie liked her job, had a supportive circle of friends, a loving family, a good diet, exercised regularly and had a satisfying spiritual practice. But she suffered from regular anxiety attacks that really made life unpleasant. The symptom profile on her intake form was blank—no symptoms to report in any body system. Her sleep was good, and she didn’t drink coffee or other caffeine-containing drinks.

Billie had seen many doctors over the 15 years she’d been experiencing anxiety attacks. They mostly told her she had a chemical imbalance, and that the processes in the brain and nervous system that produced anxiety weren’t well understood.

Natural Remedies: Understanding Anxiety

Although modern medicine doesn’t understand why some people have anxiety attacks, several medicines are effective in treating it. The standard group of medicines, first discovered in the early 1960s, is called benzodiazepines. These drugs include Valium, Xanax and Ativan, plus the often-prescribed sleep medication Restoril.

These medications all fit into binding sites in the central nervous system, producing a strong sedative effect. The problem with benzodiazepines is they are too effective. They bind so tightly to our receptors that our natural “feel-good” calming hormones can’t bind. Some people are helped, but these drugs very often lead to a host of unpleasant symptoms such as dry mouth, constipation, loss of memory, worsened anxiety (in some people) and, most insidious, addiction.

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