Herbal Remedy for Anxiety?

It is no secret, anxiety is on the rise. I blame cell phones and social media — so does just about anyone else who has given it some thought.. Since it looks like these two¬†stress-boosting phenomenons are going no where, we have to adjust around them.

As a physician, I am obligated to say the best way to reduce stress is through exercise, mediation and an overall healthy lifestyle. Now that I have said it, let’s be real. Even when we can find time and energy for these, we are still wrestling with anxiety.

I am not a proponent of popping pills for whatever ails you, but I am a proponent of feeling good. Have you ever taken a Xanax? I have … twice … on a plane … just a half. It is amazing. I equate it with having drunk two glasses of really good wine, but not having to pee and not feeling the slightest bit drunk. You just feel chill. There are many moments in my busy life with five kids, and my cell phone and Facebook and work and life, when I think it would feel really good to throw down 1/2 a Xanax. But, I don’t, because I am terrified of getting addicted, and then I will be the person who needs meds to get through the holidays. Full disclosure, I am very, very close to being the person who needs meds to get through the holidays.

Several months ago, I was looking for something to offer my patients who suffer from anxiety. I work in a clinic for the working poor, and my patients’ problems are much greater than mine. If life is hard for me, and I can put food on the table and save for my children’s college, how must it be for people who have all the same stresses I have, and a constant worry about money? My research led me to L-Theanine.

L-Theanine is an herbal medication best described as having Xanax-like qualities. It is an amino acid, not commonly found in the diet. It relaxes without producing any sedation. It also may have some attention boosting qualities. The only way to get it in the diet is with green tea. In studies, it shows to be better at general relaxation than specific anxiety reduction, though the two seem to go hand in hand. It is not a sleep aid, but some people do find it helps them sleep, hypothetically because it allows them to turn down the noise in their head.

The usual dosage is 100 – 200 mg, and when taken with caffeine, can have a synergistic effect on promoting focus and attention. Unlike well controlled, FDA approved medications, it is difficult to say how long the effects should last. If it works for you, you should feel effects in about 30 minutes and some say it lasts 12 hours. Xanax on the other hand, peaks at about 2 hours after ingestion and lasts for four.

Do not expect miracles, but if you are having symptoms of anxiety and stress, have tried lifestyle modification, and still need some help, it is worth giving it a try. You can buy it online or at any health food store. If that doesn’t work, disconnect from technology for a few hours, and just breathe. Easier said than done I know, but with a little practice, it gets easier … and, it is worth it.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at drkarenlatimer@gmail.com to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.


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