Healing Anxiety with Herbs

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More than 65 million Americans suffer annually from anxiety and insomnia, and one out of every two people will experience some form of mild to moderate anxiety for at least a two-week period during their lifetime. More people suffer from anxiety than any other mental health problem, yet fewer than than 25 percent of them receive adequate help. Until recently, the only choice for many was to suffer in silence or take synthetic, often addictive, tranquilizers and sleeping pills.

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Overview

More than 65 million Americans suffer annually from anxiety and insomnia, and one out of every two people will experience some form of mild to moderate anxiety for at least a two-week period during their lifetime. More people suffer from anxiety than any other mental health problem, yet fewer than than 25 percent of them receive adequate help. Until recently, the only choice for many was to suffer in silence or take synthetic, often addictive, tranquilizers and sleeping pills.

Finally, there is an alternative. In Healing Anxiety with Herbs, leading psychiatrist and bestselling author Harold H. Bloomfield, M.D., presents a revolutionary approach that is safe, natural and medically proven. Dr. Bloomfield begins by explaining what anxiety is — an exaggerated stress response stemming from the brain's alarm system — and the many forms it can take, from muscle aches and nausea to chronic worry, persistent insomnia and even depression. He provides dozens of quick, easy-to-follow exercises along with his own proven Natural Self-Healing program to help individuals evaluate their own level of anxiety and discover the best way to treat it.

As Dr. Bloomfield shows, in many cases the best and safest remedies are natural herbs. Medical studies have shown that kava can relieve mild to moderate anxiety as effectively as Valium-like tranquilizers — but without sedation, memory impairment or threat of addiction. Hypericum (Saint-John's-wort), which can be just as effective as synthetic antidepressants for mild to moderate depression, can also be used to alleviate anxiety. Valerian extract can provide a good night's sleep without the morning hangover or rebound insomnia of prescription sleeping pills. Gingko biloba is a "brain booster" that is useful as a daily supplement for anyone over the age of 40 who is dealing with the angst of aging. The ginsengs and ashwaganda can help to strengthen the nervous sytem and protect against stress. Hospitals in Britain are using lavender oil aromatherapy to calm patients before surgery. Evening primrose oil and Traditional Chinese Medicinal herbs can help to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Recommended dosages of herbal extracts for anxiety relief are presented. Why go on suffering when you can put an end to your troubles — the right way — now? Clear, informative and based on the most up-to-date scientific findings, Healing Anxiety with Herbs offers an eye-opening program that will help you overcome anxiety, insomnia and stress so you can start to live naturally and feel healthy today.

"...defines anxiety and the primary types of the disorder and explains how to apply a variety of herbs to aid in alleviation."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060191276
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/21/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Harold H. Bloomfield, M.D., is a Yale-trained psychiatrist and a respected leader in alternative medicine and integrative psychiatry. He is the best-selling author of Hypericum & Depression, How to Heal Depression, How to Survive the Loss of a Love, and TM— Transcendental Meditation. He has been at the forefront of a number of world-wide self-help movements for more than two decades. His books have sold more than six million copies and have been translated into twenty-four languages. His work has been featured in every major media outlet, including 20/20, Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Time, the New York Times, and People.

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Read an Excerpt


You Are Not Alone
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself--nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
--Franklin D. Roosevelt


All human beings experience fear, a necessary signal of real danger. As children, most of us had fears of the dark. The fear of physical pain and emotional suffering is a natural part of being alive. When the word anxiety is used in this book, it refers to mild to moderate anxiety, not to an anxiety disorder. Herbs are most useful for mild to moderate anxiety.

Feelings of anxiety come in many forms: alarm, anguish, dread, anger, fright, horror, panic, and terror. Physical complaints can include jumpiness, racing heart rate, trembling, cold and/or clammy hands, dizziness, upset stomach, diarrhea, flush, faintness, rapid breathing, numbness, tingling, strain, and fatigue. Anxiety can strike like lightning or rumble, ever present, in the background. It can be the natural fear that accompanies life's challenges and major difficulties (e.g., losing a job or becoming seriously ill). It can also be marked by chronic edginess and worry. The feelings and physical sensations of anxiety are the same whether it occurs spontaneously or in direct response to a major threat.

Anxiety is an overreaction in the first stage of the body's stress response, the alarm ("fight or flight") reaction. Mild to moderate anxiety, in particular, may be a more exaggerated and intense stress response. Remember, if you suffer from inappropriate fears or persistent worrying, you are not alone. Research has shown that:

*Each year sixty-five millionAmericans experience some symptoms of anxiety, of whom thirty million have a full-blown disorder. Medicine uses terms like subclinical, syndromal, minor, and shadow syndromes to describe the mild to moderate anxiety of the thirty-five million people whose symptoms are not severe or numerous enough to qualify as an anxiety disorder. One of every two people will experience mild to moderate anxiety for at least a two-week period during their lifetime; one of four people will suffer from an anxiety disorder.

*Anxiety in its various forms--worry, insomnia, heart palpitations, muscle aches and pains, rapid shallow breathing, nausea, headaches, fatigue--is one of the more common complaints heard by doctors. Anxiety can provoke or worsen overeating, alcoholism, premenstrual syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and other medical problems.

*Despite the fact that more people suffer from anxiety than any other mental health problem, less than 25 percent receive adequate help. This means that some eighteen million people continue to suffer unnecessarily from a treatable condition.

*More than twice as many women suffer from anxiety as men. It is not known whether this is because women are more likely to be anxious or because men are more likely to deny being afraid. Men are more likely than women to turn to alcohol and drug abuse to mask their anxiety.

*According to a 1997 Gallup poll, as much as 25 percent of the U.S. workforce suffers from anxiety and chronic stress, which it is estimated costs U.S. businesses sixty to seventy-five billion dollars a year.

Anxiety Check

Do you experience anxiety? We all do in some form or another, but the question is how much and how often. The quizzes below will help you determine the degree to which you suffer from anxiety. These self-assessments are also a way of measuring your progress as you heal. You should consult your physician or a trained mental health professional to diagnose your anxiety accurately and appropriately.

The measurement of anxiety has height and width--the degree of anxiety you are experiencing and the frequency with which you experience it. When you can recognize and label the symptoms of anxiety, they often become less frightening. Remember the dictum, "When you label me, you negate me." These quizzes are a measurement of your anxiety level, not of you. You are a magnificent being, much more than the momentary quantifying of the "noise" or "static" in your nervous system.

Remember that while herbal treatments are best for mild to moderate anxiety, even severe anxiety is highly treatable with psychiatric medications, and as your symptoms lessen, herbs can be used. Also, you will learn a potent natural self-healing program of emotional fitness, stress reduction, exercise, nutrition, vitamins, and supplements that can help heal any level of anxiety and maintain your well-being.

Quiz 1: Situational Anxiety

For each situation below, indicate the degree of anxiety you experience on a scale from 0 to 3:
0 = no anxiety
1 = mild anxiety
2 = moderate anxiety
3 = severe anxiety

Situations that might elicit anxiety, fear, or tension:
*Coming home to an empty house
*Going to sleep or waking up
*Going to a doctor or dentist
*Driving a car
*Taking a plane flight
*Entering an elevator
*Being in a crowd
*The thought of death
*Taking a business call
*Making a major purchase or investment
*Speaking to a group
*Eating alone in a restaurant
*Being in enclosed places
*Waiting in line
*Packing for a trip
*Making "cold calls" at work
*Giving or receiving a gift
*Socializing at a party
*The sight of blood
*Talking to people in authority
*Being criticized
*Going to a public restroom
*Feeling stared at
*Confronting a loved one about a problem
*Financial obligations, unpaid bills
*Deadlines, evaluations, or tests
*Heavy commuter traffic
*Being on time for appointments or events
*Keeping things neat and orderly
*Sexual performance
*Being seen naked or in a bathing suit
*Making a mistake, failing
*Rejection in love or at work

Scoring
20 to 39 = mild to moderate anxiety
40 to 59 = moderate anxiety
60 and over = a possible anxiety disorder

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Table of Contents

Important Information
Introduction
Pt. 1 What is Anxiety?
1 You Are Not Alone 3
2 "I'm Afraid to Get Help!" 9
3 Anxiety Alters Relationships 16
4 A Worried Mind 20
5 The Primary Types of Anxiety Disorder 25
6 What Causes Anxiety? 31
7 The Diagnosis of Anxiety 37
8 Anxiety Is an Exaggerated Stress Response 44
Pt. 2 Herbs for Anxiety, Insomnia, and Stress
9 The Herbal Medicine Revolution 57
10 Using Herbs Safely and Appropriately 63
11 Herbal Medicines or Synthetic Drugs for Anxiety? 72
12 Kava - the Natural Tranquilizer 79
13 Healing Anxiety with Hypericum (Saint-John's-Wort) 84
14 Valerian - Nature's Valium - and Other Sedative Herbs 91
15 Adaptogens - the Antistress Herbs 101
16 Ginkgo biloba - Antidote to the Angst of Aging 112
17 Herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine 117
18 Herbs in Ayurvedic Medicine 124
19 Herbal Scents - Aromatherapy 129
20 Flower Power 133
Pt. 3 Natural Self-Healing
21 The Healing Journey - Nurturing Your Natural Self 143
22 From Pressure and Panic to Personal Power 156
23 Active Living and Antistress Nutrition 166
24 Liming - Doing Nothing, Guilt-Free 189
25 Emotional Freedom 209
26 Ending Worry, Sleeping Deeply 230
27 Are You Anxious or Angry? 240
28 Healing the Anxiety of Loss and Change 259
29 Spiritual Crisis and Renewing Your Soul 278
App. A Bibliotherapy 289
App. B Organizations for Further Information on Herbs 291
App. C Herbal Medicine Practitioners and Resources 294
App. D National Associations of Mental Health Professionals 297
App. E Anxiety Self-Help Groups 299
App. F Internet Resources for Anxiety and Herbs 302
Notes 303
Acknowledgments 306
Bibliography 308
About the Author 323
Index 325
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