Hubby and I had a meeting with the social worker this morning and it was one of our more stressful occasions in this adoption process. Needless to say at the end of things I feel kind of anxious and really pretty dreadful. It got me thinking. Is there anything herbal which can help address anxiety and panic attacks?
I am very lucky, because I have never had a proper, full on panic attack. People report different symptoms, but often shortness of breath, the idea that you are going to die, feeling like the world is piling in on top of you in about one second flat, are all reported as symptoms. That does not sound enjoyable in the slightest. I usually just get anxiety attacks. For me, these are characterised by me thinking the absolute worst about everything all the time and getting stressed about things that are totally outside of my control.
According to my research, there are some natural things that can help with anxiety and panic attacks. The first of these is Chamomile. Without doubt it is far and away the best herb to deal with anxiety. A cup of chamomile tea is just the ticket, but you can also use lavender aromatherapy oils in a burner, or St John’s Wort as a supplement, or Valerian root as a tea as well. However, one word of caution. If you are already on anti-anxiety medication be sure to check for interactions just to be on the safe side. It also goes without saying that you shouldn’t just stop your ongoing medication either.
Research has found that Magnesium is necessary in the body to dissipate the effects of traumatic stress that can occur as a result of intense fear or anxiety. It also helps to undo the bad programming in the brain from previous attacks and can help to create a new brain response to triggering issues. If you think you might be magnesium deficient, then see if you can get a blood test to make sure, but if you want to keep those levels up, eat lots of green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. All of these are excellent sources of magnesium.
Our old friends the Omega 3 fatty acids are back again. They can reduce the effects of stress and anxiety by nearly 20%. You can either eat more fatty fish or you can take supplements. It can also help with systemic inflammation over the whole body which can also result from extended periods of stress or anxiety.
In addition, change your diet to one full of vegetables with less meat and dairy, reducing fat and sugar as you go, and you can give your GABA levels a boost. GABA stands for Gamma-amnobutyric Acid, and apparently it helps to calm the firing nerves in the central nervous system. If you don’t have enough of it, you can experience manic behaviour, alcoholism, anxiety or restlessness. Also, try and cut out a lot of caffiene from your daily routine. It is one of the main food triggers for anxiety along with Glutamine.
Isn’t it strange? When feeling anxious, don’t reach for the chocolate. Reach for the Broccoli. Anyone got any spare?