I've been diagnosed as having an anxiety disorder. I often experience panic attacks, become depressed, and have difficulty calming down or sleeping. I started taking the herb valerian root and it seems to alleviate many, but not all, of my problems. What do you think about valerian root? Is there something else that I can use instead?
I have found that long-term use of valerian root weakens the adrenal glands. (Clinically, this weakness can be demonstrated using either the acupuncture circuits or applied kinesiology testing procedures.) Anyone taking valerian root for extended periods will begin to experience the symptoms commonly associated with hypoadrenia:
- Dizziness upon standing
- Extreme sensitivity to bright lights at night
- Pain and weakness in the knees
- Blood sugar problems (hypoglycemia)
To relieve anxiety problems, I have a couple other options for you:
Option #1: Kava
Kava is a natural herbal product that contains several compounds which relax the central nervous system.
Drinking moderate amounts of kava relaxes the central nervous system and brings on a feeling of tranquility and contentment. Excessive consumption brings about a mild state of inebriation and then sleep. Strangely, there is never any hangover or other signs of overindulgence upon awakening.
Kava doesn't create any known side effects, nor is it habit forming or addictive in nature. I would suggest using a product that has been standardized for the main active ingredient, called kavalactone. Products containing between 20 and 30 percent kavalactones seem to work very well.
If you know the percentage of kavalactones in each capsule, you can figure out the proper daily dosage. To relieve anxiety, I would recommend taking in the neighborhood of 50 mg of kavalactones three times a day. For insomnia and sleeping problems, try taking 150–200 mg of kavalactones about an hour before bedtime.
Option #2: L-tryptophan
A German researcher has confirmed that there is a specific gene that may be responsible for anxiety-related problems.
The particular gene in question helps regulate the uptake of serotonin in the brain. Increasing serotonin levels has been found to be a very effective method of relieving anxiety problems, depression, and schizophrenia. The drug Prozac is used to enhance the conversion of the amino acid L-tryptophan to serotonin. Rather than use Prozac, however, you can increase your serotonin level by taking 1–2 grams of L-tryptophan daily along with a good B-complex supplement.
Look for both kava and L-tryptophan in your health food store or from online retailers.