Friday, January 23, 2009

Treating Anxiety with Herbs: Passionflower

Botanicals have much to offer those who suffer from anxiety. There are several different herbs that have wonderful nerve tonics properties that can calm anxiety and panic attacks and help prevent them. Traditional herbal medicine practitioners and native peoples have used these herbs for centuries. Side effects are rare, making them very favorable treatments. While scientific evidence is minimal regarding the proven effectiveness of such herbs, there are some studies suggest that when used together studies that show passionflower can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and treat the overall system to prevent occurrences.

Passionflower has been widely used as a sedative, antispasmodic and nerve tonic in the natural medicine systems of Europe and Asia. It was introduced in North America to in the mid 1800's through native Americans and slaves who used them most commonly in the Southern states if the US. The effects of passionflower were believed to be primarily on the nervous system and used mostly as a sedative. It has long been used worldwide to treat those with anxiety from mental worry, emotional exhaustion, and overwork.

Passionflower is used in herbal treatments and has also been found to lessen dependence on drugs such as Valium and Librium. This makes it a valuable addition to a treatment plan for someone relying on drug therapy. The herb's calming actions is also reported to help treat attention deficit disorder and some other more common symptoms such as restless legs syndrome. It is purported to cause much less drowsiness than prescription drugs, which adds to its beneficial aspects. Passionflower is regarded as a useful bridge between traditional herbal medicine and the treatment of modern health problems, especially in cases of anxiety, depression and patients trying to wean themselves from synthetic sleeping pills and tranquilizers. Despite the dearth of research in the United States, which shows the disappointing attitude of the US toward herbal remedies, the herb is frequently used in Europe for anxiety and studies demonstrate its benefit.

For example, one study of 36 people with generalized anxiety disorder demonstrated that passionflower was as effective as the drug oxazepam for treating symptoms. In another study of 91 people with symptoms of anxiety, researchers found that an European product containing passionflower and other herbal sedatives had a considerable reduction in their symptoms when compared to a placebo.

As a completely natural remedy, Passionflower appeals highly to anxiety sufferers who want to reduce or eliminate the use of pharmaceutical drugs. However, caution is advised when taking other drugs such as sedatives because the herb may increase the effects of these substances. It is always best to first consult your doctor or health care practitioner before deciding on combining natural herbs with your drug treatment as a treatment plan for anxiety or panic attacks. Herbs have the advantage of having minimal or no side effects, but should be treated with respect and consideration to your personal needs and medications.

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