Who does not experience some form of anxiety in this strange time? We have a virus that has stopped our lifestyle and caused us to run to the safety of our homes. Even though anxiety is a normal and natural reaction to our current stress, it is not a comfortable state to be in. There are some tools to help us decrease the stress on our bodies and minds. How about botanical and nutritional medicine? Luckily, there are several choices which can help alleviate anxiety without some of the adverse side effects that may occur from antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
Valerian has a very strong calming effect. It is best as an alcoholic solution or available in glycerin. I recommend a dropperful in fluid as needed up to 4 x daily. Passiflora or passionflower is also an excellent calming botanical. These substances work fairly quickly.
I also recommend amino acid therapy. There are several amino acid that will cross the blood-brain barrier. This means it will go directly to the brain to help the production of various hormones. An example would be taking tryptophan which is converted in the body to 5 hydroxytryptophan. This is the immediate precursor to serotonin production. Most of us have heard that serotonin is a calming, anti-anxiety hormone. I call it a “Happy Hormone”. Drugs are now available to inhibit its breakdown, which elevates the levels of serotonin. These are anti-depression drugs. The natural pathway of tryptophan to hydroxytryptophan stimulates the production of serotonin. You may have noted this effect during Thanksgiving. Turkey is loaded with tryptophan. I am sure many will recall the post-turkey dinner couch effect. People have been taking tryptophan to help with sleep for years. If one compares 5 hydroxytryptophan to an antidepression drug, they will find the following differences:
WARNING: Do not take both 5 HTP and an antidepressant drug at the same time!! A severe reaction may occur.
For those who are not taking antidepressant drugs, you may wish to try a small dose of 5HTP to stimulate your serotonin. If this is something you’re interested in or would like to start, please send me a message through the Patient Portal so I can make sure it will be a safe option for you.