At first glance, anxiety and depression may appear to be at polar ends of the emotional scale, but for many people, the two often occur simultaneously. The isolation, despondency and overwhelming despair of severe depression often lead to feelings of fear and anxiety over the future. The anxiety eventually subsides, leaving the victim feeling even more exhausted and overwhelmed than before. While there are a number of prescription medications designed to deal with these disorders, there are also highly effective natural remedies. These cures tend to be less expensive and they seem to have less potential for harmful side effects.
Kava is the common name for the root of the Waka plant. A native of the Pacific islands, the dried root is ground and brewed in a manner similar to coffee. The brew is then added to other beverages and consumed for therapeutic effect. Well known in the islands for helping to bring about a state of relaxation, kava is a relative newcomer to the world of western medicine, where it is currently being used by consumers to counteract anxiety. Kava is a natural source of chemicals known as kavalactones which target the central nervous system, generating a sedative effect. According to “The Physicians Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines,” consumption of kavalactones can help alleviate the symptoms of stress, restlessness, tension and mild-to-moderate anxiety. The recommended daily dosage of kava is approximately 200 milligrams per day. With regular use, those suffering from anxiety should see a notable improvement in their symptoms in four to six weeks.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is the common name for the Hypericum plant. Easily identified by its bright yellow, five-petal flowers, St. John’s Wort is best known for its use in the treatment of depression. Ingestion of St. John’s Wort creates an effect in the brain similar to that of prescription MAO inhibitors, only without the standard MAOI side effects. Thus it is a safe and effective way to treat depression. However, as with most antidepression medications, St. John’s Wort takes several weeks to reach therapeutic levels within the blood stream, and dosage must be adjusted on a regular basis as the depression begins to lift. Most people begin by taking 1200 milligrams of St John’s Wort each day for one month and then adjust the dosage accordingly, leveling off when the depression begins to lift.
You should be aware, prior to beginning either one or both of these regimes, that not all medications work for everyone. And there is always the possibility of an adverse reaction to a new medication. Introduce new herbs one at a time, addressing your most pressing needs first. Take note of any negative side effects that seem to be connected to the herbs. If you experience itching, rash, hives, numbness of the lips or mouth, heart palpitations, dizziness or swelling of the hands and feet, discontinue use of these remedies.