Anxiety Disorders: Supplements With Likely Efficacy

Like depression, anxiety is an area of psychopharmacology where many naturopathic compounds have been studied. While kava has established efficacy with adults and consistently has been shown to be effective in decreasing symptoms of anxiety, no studies thus far have been performed with children and adolescents, and some risk of hepatotoxicity may be present, and consequently the supplement is included in this section. In addition, some other compounds have also revealed at least some efficacy, but research has primarily been done with adult patients, and clinicians must use caution when applying results of these studies to pediatric patients. Anxiolytic medications work by increasing the amount of activity in the serotonergic pathways, as well as altering the glutamate-GABA balance in favor of inhibitory effects. Supplements that accomplish similar changes in the brain have been shown to be effective in managing symptoms of anxiety. Kava Kava (Piper methysticum), alsto referred to as kava kava, is a tall bush indigenous to the South Pacific, especially Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, New Guinea, and New Zealand. Its root is typically ground, and indigenous cultures have also chewed it, prepared it as an infusion, Read more […]

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian: Medical Uses Valerian is used for anxiety, stress, insomnia, and hypertension in which anxiety is a factor. Historical Uses The Greeks, Romans, and English colonists used valerian for sleep problems, digestive problems, and menstrual cramps. It has also been called garden heliotrope. Growth Native to Europe and North America, valerian will grow in New England herb gardens. It loves wet soil. Its stems can grow to 5 feet tall, and the petite flowers make up a flower head with small, fragrant pink and white flowers. The roots are harvested in the spring and fall. Unfortunately, they smell like dirty socks. Part Used • Root Major Chemical Compounds • 0.8 to 1 percent valeric acid • 1.0 to 1.5 percent valtrate • Volatile oils Valerian: Clinical Uses Valerian is used for anxiety, stress, insomnia, and hypertension in which anxiety is a factor. It is approved by the German Commission E for “restlessness and sleeping disorders based on nervous conditions.” It is approved by the World Health Organization for “sedative and sleep-promoting properties”. Valerian is generally regarded as safe and is approved for food use by the Food and Drug Administration. Mechanism of Action In animal studies, Read more […]

Treat Anxiety Disorders: Indian Traditional Herbs

Centella asiatica (Mandookaparni or Gotu Kola) Centella asiatica is reputed for its beneficial effects in various neurological disorders. Gotu Kola has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Recent studies in the rat have shown that long-term pretreatment with Gotu Kola decreases locomotor activity, enhance elevated-plus maze performance and attenuate acoustic startle response. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, the anxiolytic activity of Centella asiatica in healthy subjects was undertaken and compared to placebo, Gotu Kola significantly reduced peak acoustic startle response amplitude 30 and 60 minutes after treatment. In another clinical study, 70% hydroethanolic extract of Centella asiatica was given to 33 participants for two months and Hamilton’s Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) was used to screen the subjects. The results show that, Mandookaparni significantly attenuated anxiety related disorders. These preliminary findings suggest that Centella asiatica has anxiolytic activity in humans and it remains to be seen whether this herb has therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of anxiety syndromes in large population. Bacopa Read more […]

Common Herbal Remedies for Anxiety

Ayurveda, the Indian traditional system of medicine uses herbs and their preparations to treat various neuropsychiatric disorders. Numerous herbs have been used for centuries in folk and other traditional medicine to calm the mind and positively enhance mood. Herbal medicine which plays an important role in developing countries, are once again becoming popular throughout developing and developed countries. Study by Sparreboom et al. revealed that use of herbal medicine is increasing enormously in the Western world. In spite of the large number of animal studies evaluating the potential anxiolytic effects of plant extracts, very few controlled studies have been conducted in a clinical setup. The efficacy and safety of utilizing these natural drugs to treat anxiety, has only just begun to be exactly tested in clinical trials within the last 10 to 15 years. For instance, both Kava-kava (Piper methysticum) and St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) showed beneficial effectiveness in double blind, randomized placebo controlled trials to treat anxiety and depression. Also, extracts of valerian, hops, lemon balm and passion flower preparations have been employed for the prevention and treatment of psychiatric disorders such Read more […]

Common Anxiety Disorders

Generalized anxiety disorders (GAD) Generalized anxiety disorder is a syndrome of ongoing anxiety and worry about many events or feelings that the patient generally recognizes as extreme and inappropriate (DSM-IV-TR). Individuals manifest both physical and psychological symptoms leading to significant distress or impairment. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) People suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder tend to have bothersome and intrusive thoughts that generate anxiety (obsession) and perform repetitive actions (compulsion). Obsessions include unwanted thoughts, impulses, or images that cause great anxiety. Compulsions include repetitive behaviors or mental acts that those affected feel driven to perform. Panic disorder People suffering from panic disorders often have panic attacks, defined as discrete periods of sudden symptom onset usually peaking in 10 minutes and can occur with most anxiety disorders. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder avoid stimuli associated with the trauma and feel an extreme amount of fear and anxiety after presenting stimuli. Stress is a condition which affects physiological and psychological homeostasis. Evidence indicates Read more […]

Emotional and Behavioral Conditions

Herbs For Behavioral Conditions Prescriptions For Behavioral Conditions Prescriptions for conditions with anxiety as an underlying feature such as aggression, inappropriate urination, separation anxiety, storm and other phobias, and psychogenic self trauma (lick granulomas and overgrooming) may benefit from the following prescriptions. Strategy Consider early, appropriate conventional medication if necessary. Implement appropriate behavioral modification, stress reduction, consistent routine, quality play time, and client education (avoid punishment). Consider pheromones and dietary manipulation. Use adaptogens to reduce the impact of stress and use nervines to reduce nervous tension. Also use herbs with anxiolytic activity. Finally, consider the influence of other health issues such as pain on anxiety. Chamomile tea (carminative, bitter, spasmolytic, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic) should be given for mild anxiety. One-fourth cup per 10 pounds twice daily in food is an easy first choice as adjunctive therapy for mild conditions. For separation anxiety, give Kava kava (anxiolytic, sedative, antispasmodic). The dried herb should be given at 25 to 75 mg / kg, divided daily (optimally TID). The Read more […]