In the previous two weeks we have defined anxiety (Dissecting Anxiety Part 1) and explained a few simple techniques that can help manage it (Dissecting Anxiety Part 2). Today I am going to share my top 5 go-to botanicals, in no particular order, that I use in my practice to support my patients who suffer from anxiety. All five can be prepared as teas or tinctures and combined in different quantities.
(1) Matricaria recutita (german chamomile)
I use chamomile solely or in combination with other plants to address those who experience anxiety with GI symptoms like nervous diarrhea or flatulence.
***Side note: I also frequently recommend chamomile for colicky babies.
(2) Avena sativa (oat)
This is probably my favorite anxiolytic & botanical. I love that this plant is so versatile. Oats eaten as a food has been researched to aid with high cholesterol and diabetes because of its high fiber content. And as a botanical extract oats have been used to support mild-moderate anxiety.
(3) Lavandula spp. (lavender)
I usually recommend lavender essential oil to patients who experience a lot of nervousness and insomnia with their anxiety. I generally recommend applying a few drops of the essential oil topically to the temples or pillow before bed.
***Side note: I also recommend lavender topically as a natural mosquito repellent.
(4) Scuttellaria lateriflora (skullcap)
Skullcap is probably one of the most widely used plants for anxiety and hence has been heavily researched. Skullcap is a part of almost all of my anxiety formulas.
(5) Melissa officinalis (lemon balm)
Lemon balm traditionally has been used to tranquilize or have a sedating effect. Thus, I frequently use lemon balm, like skullcap, as a part of almost all my anxiety formulas and some pain formulas as well.
***Side note: Lemon balm can be applied topically to treat cold sores.
Well, I hope over these past few weeks you've enjoyed learning more about anxiety. Next week we will move on & tackle a new topic!
References: Natural Medicines Online Database