Following the COVID pandemic, concerns about people’s mental and emotional health increased worldwide. According to research carried out by the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), around 40 million adults in America get diagnosed with anxiety-related disorders every year.
Even if you have never suffered from any condition relating to anxiety or depression, there will have been times when you have felt stressed or worried about something. This is all part of who we are.
However, there are certain things you can do to help alleviate stress in your life. Exercise, yoga, and massage therapy are proven effective at helping to reduce stress levels. Also, you can use specific natural herbal remedies and dietary supplements.
Below we look closely at two herbal supplements that can help reduce stress levels. The two we are looking at are Ashwagandha and St John’s Wort.
Which of these is the best herbal supplements you can take to reduce stress levels? We will answer this question and more.
Which is Better For Helping to Alleviate Anxiety?
Anyone who suffers from anxiety will sometimes think about using natural remedies instead of prescription antidepressants. This is because they feel that some antidepressant medications, such as benzodiazepine or beta-blockers, lead to them suffering from unwanted side effects.
However, before any patients with anxiety disorders decide to use popular natural supplements instead of or along with prescribed medications, they should discuss the matter with their doctor first. Certain herbs can cause specific side effects or may not be compatible with the patient’s medication.
Also called Withania Sominfera, this particular herb has been used for a long time to help treat anxiety disorders. It has been shown to have anti-stress, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties.
In 2014, clinical studies were carried out on five people, and it helped to show what effect using Ashwagandha had on these people suffering from symptoms of depression and anxiety. Out of the five people who participated in the study, clinical evidence was found that four began suffering a lot less from anxiety.
What Are the Benefits of Taking Ashwagandha?
There are several benefits to be gained by anyone looking for an alternative treatment for depression or generalized anxiety disorder when considering taking this flowering plant in supplement form. These benefits include:
1. Reduces Stress Levels
This herb’s antioxidant properties can help reduce your stress levels by as much as 80%. It also contains specific properties that can reduce the amount of stress-related hormones your body produces by up to 26%.
2. Reduces Anxiety
If your stress levels get reduced, so do your anxiety levels. If you find yourself constantly under pressure, including this supplement in your diet would help combat your increased stress levels by helping to improve brain health.
3. Helps Fight Depression
We have all realized that depression is a severe mental health condition. Most people think that the best remedy for depression is to take antidepressant drugs prescribed by their healthcare provider. However, they are wrong. It is perfectly safe for people with depression to take Ashwagandha alongside prescription drugs as it causes no side effects.
How to Use Ashwagandha
Most experts suggest that 300mg of this medicinal herb daily is safe. You can take Ashwagandha root in capsule or tablet form, but you may find taking it as a liquid extract more effective.
If you consider using these herbal products in place of or alongside over-the-counter drugs or prescription medications, you should speak to your doctor first.
St John’s Wort
This herb has been favored by many who use any kind of alternative medicine to treat various medical conditions such as depressive disorder or mixed anxiety disorders. This traditional herb, also known as Hypericum Perforatum, has been an alternative remedy for mood and mental illnesses for many years.
It has been proven effective as a treatment for anxiety and is traditionally used as an alternative natural remedy for depression.
Although a few unreplicated trials have been carried out on people using a St John’s Wort supplement, clinical trials on rats in 2018 showed how effective it could be in treating anxiety.
It is widely believed that these kinds of herbal medicines help boost mood and provide some relief from the symptoms of depression. However, there is still little clear evidence of the effectiveness of how it works concerning treatment for anxiety disorders. It may be because there are specific properties within medicinal plants like these that affect the brain.
Those researching to garner clinical evidence into this plant believe that certain ingredients in it cause levels of certain chemicals in the brain to increase. They suspect that hyperforin and hypericin, both found in St John’s Wort, lead to the production of serotonin in the brain.
What Are the Benefits of Taking St John’s Wort for Depression?
1. Has Great Anti-Depressant Qualities
As already discussed, it is used widely to help relieve mild to moderate depression symptoms. This is because it is a combination of antidepressant chemicals that delay or prevent the uptake of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin.
2. Helps to Relieve Anxiety-Related Disorders
St John’s Wort extract isn’t only effective in helping people combat the symptoms associated with depression. It is also a nutritional supplement that can help people suffering from anxiety or panic attacks. It does this by helping to regulate hormones in the body. It also contains specific properties that help bring your metabolism and internal clock back in sync.
3. Helps to Reduce Mood Swings
This alternative medicine is regularly recommended for women suffering from premenstrual syndrome or those going through menopause. Again, as mentioned above, it contains specific properties that help regulate the production of hormones in the body.
How to Use St John’s Wort
Natural medicines made up of St John’s Wort extracts are safe to use in 600 and 1,800mg doses for each serving. To help relieve any generalized anxiety disorder symptoms, the experts claim, based upon scientific evidence, that you begin by taking the lowest dosage possible.
So you should begin with just taking 600mg daily to provide you with the positive effects you desire. Before you do, discuss whether you can take such natural medicines with your prescription antidepressants first. This ensures that they will not result in you suffering any adverse events.
Ashwagandha vs St John’s Wort: Why Take a Combination of These Natural Treatments
Below we take a closer look at why combining these two popular herbs to treat depression and anxiety disorders may be a good idea.
Important Things to Remember
So before you even consider taking Ashwagandha or St John’s Wort or both, please discuss them with your doctor first.
The biggest mistake you could make is taking these supplements for depression alone. You must use a combination of these herbal products to help when you suffer from anxiety, depression, or both.
Be careful, though. You don’t want to end up overdoing it.
It is crucial to find a supplement that combines St John’s Wort extracts and Ashwagandha so that you are taking these supplements in safe doses.
Safety Tips For Using Natural Medicines
You need to be careful when you plan to use such natural medicines to help treat depression, anxiety, or other medical conditions.
The following tips will help ensure that you use these natural medicines to avoid dealing with any adverse effects.
1. Make Sure You Follow the Instructions
Never exceed the dosage that has been recommended or take it for any longer than your healthcare provider recommends.
2. Keep a Log of What You Take
Take a note of what you are taking, how much, and how long. Also, note any positive or adverse effects they have on you. You should discontinue using any of these natural supplements if they aren’t proving effective or aren’t helping you to achieve your goals.
3. Be Careful About Which Brand You Use
When choosing which of these natural medicines you want, you should select the brands where independent sources have tested them. Many companies such as US Pharmacopeia and NSF International perform such tests to ensure they can do what the manufacturer claims.
Let’s Wrap Things Up
As you will soon discover, plenty of natural medicines are made up of various popular herbs that can help treat disorders like Bipolar disorder, manic depression, anxiety, postpartum depression, and even panic attacks.
So, Ashwagandha vs St John’s Wort: which is better? The answer is neither, as both are very beneficial. Patients with anxiety disorders can benefit from taking natural medicines if they stick to the correct dosage. However, discussing this with your healthcare professional would be helpful if you consider using such natural medicines.
If your healthcare provider agrees that it is okay to take such herbal supplements in conjunction with your prescription antidepressants, you can do so. Also, again make sure that you follow their instructions and those provided on the bottle to the letter.
Make sure you note any adverse effects while taking these natural medicines, like an upset stomach, a rapid heartbeat, or notice your blood pressure fluctuating. If you see such adverse effects, stop taking the natural medicines immediately.
If you are considering taking either herb, it is essential to speak with a healthcare professional first to discuss potential risks and side effects.
When taking Ashwagandha or St. John’s Wort, start with a low dose and increase gradually as needed.
If you are taking any medications, speak with a healthcare professional before taking Ashwagandha or St. John’s Wort, as they may interact with certain medications.
Ashwagandha and St. John’s Wort are generally considered safe, but they can have side effects like all supplements. The most common side effect of Ashwagandha is upset stomach and diarrhea. The most common side effect of St. John’s Wort is photosensitivity, which means that the skin becomes more sensitive to sunlight.