Natural Remedies for Anxiety
Stress is a common complaint among many Americans. Chronic stress is a genuine threat to longterm health, so it’s important to get a handle on your stress. This week I’ve been talking about various strategies for managing stress. Among other things, it helps to identify—and avoid—things that reliably cause stress. But of course, that’s not always possible. Exercise also helps, often more than we realize. But again, it’s not always possible to drop everything and take a 30-minute run to cool off and clear your head..
Meditation is another practice that’s associated with significant anxiety and stress relief.
But what about those times when you need help NOW, and you don’t have time for 90 minutes of deep breathing and stretching, or 30 minutes of mindful meditation? In those instances it may be helpful to turn to nature’s medicine chest.
First off, there’s green tea. Tea has always enjoyed a reputation as a calming, yet refreshing beverage. After water, it’s the single most popular drink on the planet. And it’s reputation is well deserved. Tea (especially, green tea) contains several chemicals that are linked to enhanced wellbeing. You probably know it contains a relatively small amount of caffeine. And you may have heard that it contains a potent antioxidant chemical, called EGCG, which has been credited with fighting cancer and enhancing cardiovascular health. But did you know it also contains a unique amino acid, theanine, which has been shown to reduce anxiety? Even though caffeine is mildly stimulating, theanine balances that effect with its calming properties.
Some studies have concluded that theanine relieves anxiety as well as a prescription anti-anxiety drug, without the unpleasant side effects. Theanine is only present in green tea, so choose green over black when you need help calming down. Theanine is also available as a safe supplement, if you’re interested in skipping the brewing and drinking. Tomorrow, I’ll discuss two more herbs that have long been used to promote relaxation.
[No authors listed] L-theanine . Monograph. Altern Med Rev. 2005 Jun;10(2):136-8.
Wakabayashi C, Numakawa T, Ninomiya M, Chiba S, Kunugi H. Behavioral and molecular evidence for psychotropic effects in L-theanine. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Feb;219(4):1099-109. doi: 10.1007/s00213-011-2440-z. Epub 2011 Aug 23.