by Ariane Resnick, C.N.C.
Can Herbs Reduce Anxiety?
Tantrums. Meltdowns. Agitation. Crying. Behaviors that on the surface may make it seem as if your child just isn't listening to you could actually be symptoms of anxiety. A child suffering from anxiety doesn’t need harsh medication at the first sign. Instead, you can try an assortment of herbs in your food and beverages or through aromatherapy. Herbal remedies for anxiety in children will have far fewer side effects than prescription medications, and generally, have none at all! Because they are natural rather than pharmaceutical, the risks of dependence are lower, as well. By combining herbal remedies with a holistic approach such as Brillia as a first approach to reducing symptoms of anxiety, you can rest assured that you are adding to your child's wellness, rather than detracting from it—and that will help make you less anxious, too. Below are some top choices for herbs that can help alleviate anxiety in children.
Familiar to most of us as one of the most common herbs used in the bath and body world for relaxation, lavender reduces anxiety in children by calming the nervous system. If your child wants to meditate — which we believe is the second pillar of stronger focus — but has a difficult time with the relaxation required, lavender may improve their ability to find that flow state. It's been shown to reduce anxiety in hospital patients.
2. St. John's Wort
Long known for being a mood booster, St. John's wort has been shown to reduce both anxiety and attention disorder in children when combined with passionflower and valerian root. It can also be used for depression in children, which is often present when other mental health issues are at play. If your child is taking any prescription medications, be sure to ask your doctor about possible interactions with this herb.
Note: Brillia does not have interactions with this herb. Please check for interactions with other prescription medications your child may be taking.
Historically, chamomile has been used to treat an array of ailments in children, ranging from fevers to croup. It can also alleviate anxiety and is useful for inducing sleep — what we consider the third pillar for stronger focus in children. Conveniently, the taste of chamomile tea is quite pleasant. You can even keep it in the fridge as an iced tea, if your child prefers cold beverages.
Unlike St. John's wort, which does not work well alone against attention disorder in children, passionflower does hold up in studies on reducing attention disorder symptoms in kids. While you can increase your child's focus with Brillia — pillar five to stronger focus — having additional modalities can only benefit you more! Passionflower does not have the stimulant properties of attention disorder medications, and because it also helps with anxiety, you don't need to worry about it keeping your child up at night.
5. Valerian Root
Valerian root is taken most frequently for sleep and has proved effective at improving sleep in children as well as adults. Adequate sleep is important for attention span and a good mindset. Because valerian root has a somewhat sedating effect, if your child is anxious it can calm her down and make her more able to relax.
6. Lemon Balm
This herb packs quite a punch in terms of the varied problems it can help with: lemon balm has been shown to relieve stress, reduce anxiety, improve mood, and increase cognitive performance. This ability to improve both attention disorder symptoms and anxiety in one herb makes lemon balm a powerful tool! It smells and tastes similar to lemon, making it easy to incorporate into lemony drinks or even desserts.
When beginning any new regime with your child, start slow: this is a journey, not a race, so there is no need to try multiple new herbs at once. You'll be best able to track your child's reaction to each by introducing one herb at a time, and administering it for several days before trying a different one. Combined with a holistic approach like Brillia, your child's anxiety may become more manageable sooner than you'd think.
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References: 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4280720/2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/ 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3580146/ 4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4757677/ 5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12120807 6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4245564/