Herbal remedies for anxiety

img_1_240x240aug14Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is becoming much common in younger age groups nowadays, especially younger men and women from IT, ITES, BPO etc are more reported than other industrial groups. Many companies have introduced the EIS – Emotional intelligence Score to analyze the employee’s psychological abilities, stress resistance, etc.

Anxiety disorder is characterized by the following symptoms

a. Unrealistic worries lasts more than six months – Subject could be anything job, money, marriage etc
b. Trembling
c. Feeling body or head ache all the times
d. Insomnia or Disturbed sleep
e. Abdominal upset, Frequent motions
f. Dizziness
g. Constant and un wanted irritability
h. Poor concentration
i. Reduced memory

Anxiety disorder is classified based on the cause as follows

a. OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
b. Panic Disorder
c. PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
d. Social Anxiety Disorders
e. Phobias

General causes include hereditary, brain chemical imbalances, life experiences etc.

Ayurveda concept of anxiety disorder

Ayurveda, unlike the modern medical system, takes a comprehensive approach in the management of Anxiety disorder. Ayurveda considers this condition is due to the vitiated Prana Vata which weakens the CNS and triggers the psychological imbalance. It also affects the Neuro-Hormonal systems and functions.

Ayurveda recommends a holistic approach to manage and heal anxiety disorder through diet,  aromatherapy, color therapy, sound therapy and touch (massage) therapy along with yoga and meditation.

Ayurveda therapies for Anxiety Disorders

Ayurveda recommends a fourfold therapy process to heal Anxiety Disorder.

a. Abhyangam – Ayurveda Herbal oil Application: After the understanding the nature of the person and nature of the diseases, suitable medicated oil is selected. This medicated oil is applied all over the body in a rhythmic action to reduce the vitiated Vata dosha.

b. Ayurveda medicated enema- Administration of a mild herbal enema after the massage and heat treatments completes the cleansing process. Ayurveda theory describes how the massage and heat treatments drive many of the impurities into the lower bowel area and, therefore, it is necessary to administer enema as the last step in the purification process.

c. Ayurveda Oleated sudation Therapies – This is again divided into three therapies.

Shirodhara: Ayurveda medicated oil is poured on the third eye as a stream for 45-55 minutes. This therapy enhances the nervous system and removes the mental fatigue in no time.

Pizhichil: Warm medicated herbal oil poured all over the body as a continuous stream for 45- 55 minutes. This improves the regeneration process and removes the psychological fatigue.

Swedana: Herbal steam application to improve the blood circulation / to remove the impurities.

Pinda Swedana: Application of medicated bolus prepared from rice, herbs, meat and processed with herbal powders. This helps to regularize the excessive metabolic activities and eliminate the unwanted the toxic byproducts.

An Ayurveda physician after considering the ten diagnostic factors of Ayurveda recommends a treatment schedule varies from 14-28 days inclusive and mixture of the above mentioned therapies. This process helps the patient to completely detoxify and rejuvenate which in turn helps the patient to come out the illness quickly.

Herbal remedies good for Anxiety Disorders

Common Name Botanical Name Health Benefits
California Poppy Eschscholtzia californica Tension, stress, Anti Anxiety,
Anti spasmodic.
Helps in Insomnia, headache,
muscular pain, Safe for children
Hops Humulus lupulus Calms the CNS, restlessness
and tension. Good for
Insomnia, stress, sleep
loss, indigestion and alcohol
Kava kava Piper methysticum Reduces anxiety, fear and
tension. Good for emotional
stress, improve interpersonal
and career performance,
redice grogginess. Muscular
relaxation and improves
sound sleep
Lemon barln Melissa officinalis Tonic, reduces anxiety,
restlessness and
nervousness. Good for panic
disorder, palpitation, Hyper
activeness. Good for stress,
anxiety, nausea, indigestion
and colic
Linden Tilia europea Reduces tension, helps relax.
Good for stress, anxiety,
hypertension, palpitation and
Passion Flower Passiflora incarnate Mild sedative, good for
anxiety, tension, spasms, pain
and neuralgia. Good for sleep,
induces relaxation. Suitable
for children and elderly –
specially for nervousness
Skullcap Scutellaria laterifolia Relaxation, tones the
nervous system, good for
Hypersensitivity. Helps
hysteria, depression,
exhaustion and stress during
St. John’s Wort Hypericum perfoliatum Anxiety and tension, Irritability
and depression. Very effective
for mood swings, menstrual problems related to anxiety
Valerian Valeriana officinalis Sedative and muscular
relaxant good for anxiety and
stress, muscular tension,
pain, cramps, restlessness,
insomnia, over work and
over study, Improves poor
concentration, Liver Tonic
Wild Lettuce Lactuca virosa Anxious children and
adolescents, Good for
Insomnia, pain, anti
spasmodic and irritable
Wood Betony Stachys officinalis Sedative, reduces tension,
anxiety and nervous
exhaustion. Calms
hyperactive, Good for
headache, pain. Improves
memory and clarity, IQ

Source: Dr Gowthaman, Medical Director, Dr Gowthaman’s Ayurveda Panchakarma Center, Chennai
Image: Wikimedia commons