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Herbs for Anxiety

Anxiety is a general feeling of being worried. Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States. It affects about 40 million Americans age 18 years and older (about 18 percent) in a given year. If you suffer from anxiety, you know how its symptoms can negatively affect your life. You may have nagging worries, feel uncomfortable in social situations and find that your personal relationships and work suffer due to your symptoms. There are many medications approved for the treatment of anxiety. However, some people find that they are unable to take them due to side effects. Others prefer to use alternative medicine in place of drugs. Throughout history, a variety of herbs have been used as folk remedies to ease symptoms of anxiety. Some of the most commonly used herbs for anxiety are valerian, kava, lavender and St. John's wort. Scientists have begun to study how these herbs might affect the brain. So far, there is not enough evidence to know for sure if any herb is effective for easing anxiety symptoms. Of the four common herbs most often used for anxiety, only kava is listed in the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database as "possibly effective" for anxiety. Still, many herbalists recommend various herbs because of their traditional use. In some cases, the tradition can be traced back for centuries.

Using Herbs to Address Anxiety

If you are interested in trying herbal medicine to help you manage your symptoms of anxiety, Walgreens has many herbal supplements that may suit your needs. Before taking any herbal supplement for anxiety, it is important that you talk to your doctor. Many herbs pose risks for side effects and health complications just as medications do. For example, kava is unsafe for anyone with liver problems, depression, and women who are pregnant or nursing. Herbs may also interfere with the actions of other medications. Kava should not be combined with alprazolam, sedative medications, levadopa or any medication that is processed by the liver or that may damage the liver. Research has also shown that St. John's wort interacts with medications such as antidepressants, birth control pills, seizure-control drugs, blood thinners, and many others. Some herbs, including kava and valerian, may cause drowsiness. Therefore you should not these herbs while driving, operating heavy machinery or doing other things that require you to be alert.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting herbs for anxiety.They can help you determine if a particular herb for anxiety will fit into your treatment pla