According to studies, 95% of doctor visits are the result of excessive stress and/or anxiety. With the busy lifestyles that many of us lead today, stress tends to take a toll on our overall health and well-being like never before. While small amounts of stress do not have a negative impact on the body, excessive or prolonged stress causes the body’s immune system to break down and leads to long-term health problems. Many times, people turn to addictive and damaging prescription medications in the form of benzodiazepines to treat their stress and anxiety.
Around 43.2% of people in the US alone are prescribed benzos, often taking them more than once a week and in some cases daily. While benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium can be very helpful during times of crises, such as the death of a loved one, when they are taken on a regular basis and for prolonged periods of time, they are both mentally and physically addictive, and are the one drug aside from alcohol that can cause death from withdrawals.
Benzodiazepines can also cause long-term damage to the brain, like water in the hippocampus, which is just another reason why they should be avoided past short-term use. Luckily, there’s a variety of natural alternatives that are not only effective but work without any of the negative effects caused when you take prescription medications for stress.
#1. Alternative: Valerian Root
Valerian root is a herb that’s been used for thousands of years for its calming effects. Valerian Root comes from the Valerian flower, traditionally found in Asia and Europe, and its distinct aroma makes it easier to detect. Valerian root is available in capsule, tea, and power form, but most people prefer a capsule because of the strong taste and odor. Valerian is often referred to as “nature's Valium” and it’s’ better taken at night due to the drowsy effects it can sometimes create. Many people describe Valerian as an overall mental and physical calm that also improves sleep onset and quality.
#2. Alternative: Kava Kava
Kava is quite possibly the strongest natural stress remedies available on the market. It’s available in pill form, as a tincture, in powder form, and as a flavored extract. Kava is also called Piper methysticum, and the root of the plant was traditionally chewed, but today it’s often used to create kava tea, which is drunk by many people throughout the world during rituals and gatherings. It’s not uncommon to find kava bars, where you can choose between several different strains of kava, and have a drink served to you while conversing with others.
Kava is known for its numbing effect on the mouth when taken in its natural form, and its calming effects are noticed almost instantly. It not only relieves anxiety but is known for creating a good mood and positive outlook. There are claims of kava having a negative impact on the liver, but researchers say that the root is safe, and the liver risks are only present when the plant is manufactured improperly and the leaves are used.
#3. Alternative: Oral Lavender Oil
Many people are familiar with the positive effects lavender has on mood when used in aromatherapy, but researchers have found the benefits to extend beyond those. Oral lavender, called Lavela WS 1265, was recently found to reduce anxiety and stress as effectively as benzodiazepine medications, such as Xanax, without the harsh or addictive side-effects. Researchers found that Lavela WS 1265 was effective in reducing stress in over 90% of patients during over 10 clinical trials, and out of all the natural stress remedies used today, lavender is the only one to have absolutely no negative side-effects. The only side-effect experienced by those involved in the study was lavender burps, which dissipate shortly after the supplement is metabolized.
While those mentioned are the top 3 natural stress remedies available to effectively relieve tension and anxiety, there are other techniques you can use to relieve your symptoms such as aromatherapy and mind/body techniques. Some people find that combining relaxing techniques with natural stress remedies offers them with outstanding results that truly change the quality of their lives.