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Natural Solutions for The Double Burden of Depression & Anxiety

Natural Solutions for The Double Burden of Depression & Anxiety

As if depression or anxiety is not enough to deal with, many people have to deal with both. Alarmingly, about 85% of people with depression also experience some anxiety; about 90% of people with anxiety suffer some depression (Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 2016;266(8):725–736). When people suffer from depression and anxiety simultaneously, the condition is more disabling and harder to treat

There is also a condition called Mixed Anxiety and Depressive Disorder (MADD), in which neither one predominates or is severe enough to warrant a psychiatric diagnosis separately, but, combined, do warrant a diagnosis.

Several natural supplements are effective for treating both depression and anxiety. Knowing about these treatments can be important from a perspective both of cost and of effectiveness.

Saffron

An important emerging herb for the treatment of depression is saffron. When people with depression were given 30mg of saffron extract or 100mg of the drug imipramine, the improvement was equal in the two groups, but the saffron was better because it was safer (BMC Complement Altern Med 2004;4:12). When 15mg of saffron petal extract or 10mg of Prozac are taken twice a day by people with depression, saffron brings about a significant effect that is equal to the effect of Prozac (JEthnopharmacol 2005;97:281-284; Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2007;31:439-442). Meta-analyses of saffron and depression have found the herb to be better than placebo and at least as good as drugs with the advantage of being safer (J Integr Med 2013;11:377-383; Hum Psychopharmacol 2014;29:517-527).

Excitingly, a recent study has shown for the first time that saffron is also an effective treatment for anxiety in people with depression and anxiety. This double-blind study gave 54 people with both mild to moderate depression and anxiety, according to the Beck Inventory, either a placebo or 100mg of saffron a day for twelve weeks. The saffron group had significantly greater improvement in depression than the placebo group with a 2 point greater improvement. The significant improvement in depression is consistent with the earlier saffron studies. What is new and exciting about this study is that the saffron group also had a significantly greater improvement in anxiety: the improvement was 3 points better than the placebo group (J Complement Integr Med 2016;13(2):195-199).

The evidence continues to mount for this impressive herb. When sixty people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety were given the SSRI citalopram or 30mg of saffron for six weeks, the response to both treatments for depression and anxiety was significant and equal, meaning that saffron was as good as the drug (Pharmacopsychiatry 2017;50(04):152-60).

And now, in a just-published study that seems to be the first study of kids with MADD, 68 kids between the ages of 12 and 16 were given either a placebo or 14mg of standardized saffron extract twice a day for eight weeks. All of the kids suffered from mild to moderate depression and anxiety. They were then evaluated for separation anxiety, social phobia, generalized anxiety, panic, obsessions/compulsions, and depression. The saffron produced significantly better improvements in overall symptoms and separately on separation anxiety, social phobia, and depression. Overall, the saffron group had a 33% reduction in their symptoms compared to a reduction of only 17% in the placebo group. Anyone who had a greater than 50% improvement in total score was considered to be a responder. While only 11% of the placebo group were responders, 37% of the saffron group were (J Affect Disord 2018;232:349-357).

Lavender

This gentle herb is as powerful as the not so gentle anti-anxiety drugs. Lavender oil capsules were compared to the benzodiazepine lorazepam in a six-week study of people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The results were the same for both treatments: lavender produced a 45% improvement on the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) and lorazepam produced a 46% improvement. Unlike benzodiazepines, though, the lavender oil was safe, non-sedating and non-addictive (Phytomed 2010;17(2):94-9).

Lavender can also compete with antidepressant drugs. People suffering from depression were given 60 drops of lavender tincture and placebo or 100mg of the antidepressant drug imipramine and placebo or 60 drops of lavender and 100mg of imipramine in a double-blind study. After 4 weeks, all 3 groups improved significantly. The group taking both imipramine and lavender experienced a significantly greater improvement than those taking either treatment alone (Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2003;27(1):123-7).

But what if you suffer from both anxiety and depression? When people with MADD were given 80mg of lavender oil or placebo for seventy days in a double-blind study, scores on the HAMA dropped significantly more in the lavender group: 10.8 points versus 8.4. Depression scores also dropped significantly more in the lavender group: 9.2 points versus 6.1. People on lavender had better clinical outcomes and better improvement in the quality of life (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2016;26:331–40).

Adding to the evidence is a study that compared 160mg of lavender oil a day to the SSRI paroxetine in people with GAD. After 10 weeks, HAMA scores decreased by 14.1 points on lavender but only by 11.3 points on paroxetine. 60.3% of people on lavender oil reduced their HAMA score by at least 50% compared to 43.2% on paroxetine. 46.3% of the lavender oil group now had scores below 10 versus only 34.1% of the paroxetine group. Interestingly for our topic, the lavender oil also showed “a pronounced antidepressant effect.” The researchers concluded that, for GAD, lavender oil is better and safer than paroxetine (Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2014;17(6):859-869).

And one more intriguing thing about lavender, depression, and anxiety. Anxiety, stress, and depression during pregnancy can have a negative effect on the health of both the mother and child. So, in a double-blind study, researchers asked 141 healthy pregnant women to rub either a placebo cream or lavender cream onto their legs for ten to twenty minutes 1.5 hours before going to bed. The lavender cream contained 1.25% lavender essential oil. At the end of the eight-week study, there was a significant improvement in anxiety, stress, and depression in the lavender group compared to the placebo group. By the end of only the fourth week, there was already a significant improvement in stress and anxiety (J Caring Sci 2015;4:63-73).

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort is well known as a herb for depression. Less well known is that one double-blind study has also demonstrated that St. John’s wort reduces anxiety (Fortschr Med 1995;113:404-8).

5-HTP

In an impressive study, 43% of people who had not responded to any antidepressant drug responded to 5-HTP. An additional 8% improved significantly (Neuropsychobiol1980;6:230-40). A review of studies determined that 5-HTP is as effective as tricyclic antidepressant drugs (Biol Psychiatry 1981;16:291-310). 5-HTP beat an SSRI, the leading class of antidepressant drug: 60.7% responded to the 5-HTP versus 56.1% to the drug. 5-HTP brought about a greater response, and it did it faster and safer (Psychopathology 1991;24:53–81). And in a double-blind study, 5-HTP was the equal of Prozac (Asian J Psychiatr 2013;6:29-34).

But a placebo-controlled study has now also shown that 200mg of 5-HTP significantly reduces the reaction to a panic challenge in people with panic disorders. There was an improvement in anxiety, panic symptom score and the number of panic attacks (Psychiatry Res 2002;113:237-43).

Rhodiola

Rhodiola has the impressive ability to calm you down and energize you at the same time. Rhodiola calms stress, improves well-being and decreases mental and physical fatigue. When 80 people with mild anxiety were given either 200mg of Rhodiola Rosea or nothing twice a day for two weeks, compared to the control group, the Rhodiola group experienced significant reductions in anxiety, stress, anger, depression, and confusion. They also had significant improvement in overall mood (Phytother Res 2015; 29(12):1934-9). So, Rhodiola also helps both anxiety and depression.

Probiotics

A strange addition to the list is probiotics: not usually thought of as a psychological supplement. In the first-ever study of probiotics and psychological conditions, people with depression had significantly better improvement in mood on a probiotic than on a placebo (Eur J Clin Nutr 2007;61:355-61). That study introduced probiotics as a supplement for depression. A second study found that a month of probiotics significantly improved depression and anger (Gut Microbes 2011;2:256-61). But, the same study also found significant improvement in anxiety. An earlier study had already hinted at an antianxiety effect for probiotics: a placebo-controlled study of people with chronic fatigue syndrome found that probiotics significantly reduced their anxiety scores (Gut Pathology 2009;1:6-10). So, the research also points to probiotics as a supplement for people with both depression and anxiety.

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Meditation for Beginners

The best time to start meditating is now. Meditation can help quiet the mind, focus your thoughts, and promote general well-being. Best of all, anyone with a few free minutes can start meditating today. Even if you have never meditated before, don’t be intimidated. Follow the 10 easy steps below, and you will become a meditation expert in no time!

How to Meditate for Beginners

  1. Find your motivation to start.
  2. Pick a peaceful, quiet place.
  3. Choose relaxing clothes and a comfortable pose.
  4. To start, set a timer for two minutes.
  5. Concentrate on your breathing.
  6. If your concentration is interrupted, refocus on your breathing.
  7. Do a body scan by focusing on different areas of your body.
  8. End your meditation with a positive ritual.
  9. Remember not to overthink it. Just enjoy the journey.
  10. Make it a habit.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Meditation

While there are countless meditation techniques and practices, the steps below offer a simple way to begin. Remember, while meditating, there is always room for improvement and a chance to learn something new. Try to enjoy the journey as you hone your meditation skills.

1. Choose to Start

Meditation starts with you. No matter your age or physical condition, meditation is always within reach. What is required on your part is the decision to begin. If you need some motivation, then try thinking about the reasons why you want to try it in the first place. Meditation can relieve stress and anxiety, promote physical and mental well being, and even be a spiritual experience. Find a quiet moment to write down what you are hoping to get out of it and go back and read it anytime you need some motivation to meditate.

2. Pick Your Location Wisely

Your environment is critical to cultivating the right experience. Try to find a peaceful, quiet space that helps you feel relaxed. While a calm bedroom, tranquil garden, or dedicated meditation space is ideal, it’s not always possible. When the optimal location is not available, remember, your car or even work desk can serve as your very own meditation retreat. The most important thing, especially when first starting out, is finding a location where you have the freedom to meditate for at least two minutes without interruption.

3. Get Comfortable With It

Before you can completely clear your mind, you will need to limit as many distractions as possible. Even small irritations will become distracting once you begin to meditate. Scan the area before you start and consider the type of pose you will be in the clothes you are wearing and your surroundings in general. Turn off your cell phone and anything else that might be disruptive.

Pick a Pose

Meditation works in nearly any position. Sitting, standing, and laying down are three basic poses that are great for first-time meditators. Select your starting posture based on comfort and whether or not you can hold it for a few minutes at a time. For most people, a good starting position is sitting cross-legged, hands resting on the legs, and eyes closed.

Clothes

Any clothing can work for meditation, but again, comfort is key. Many people enjoy light, loose-fitting clothes when they meditate, but you can wear anything you find relaxing. If you can’t decide what to wear, throw on your favorite pair of pajamas or comfortable workout clothes.

Chairs & Pillows

Meditation can involve long periods of sitting, especially as you progress. Seasoned meditators will typically have a dedicated cushion or mat in their home, but these are not necessary when you’re first starting out. Choose a comfy blanket or pillow or a sturdy, well-cushioned chair to maximize comfort for extended meditation sessions.

Sounds & Smells

Many other factors such as sounds and smells can help set the stage for a positive meditation session. Some prefer adding aromas in the forms of incense, essential oils, or scented candles, while others like to avoid sensory distractions altogether. Whatever you choose, just make sure the air you are breathing is fresh and clear of any toxins or pollutants. Natural sounds like wild animals or a babbling brook can also enhance or distract depending on the individual. Try a variety of settings to find out which works best for you.

4. Set a Timer

Meditation does not need to be a long process unless you want it to be. If you are just starting out, then begin with small increments of time. Setting a timer is very helpful for beginners because it can help keep your focus on breathing and not on the clock. To start, set the timer for two minutes, and do your best to stay focused and at the moment. As your confidence builds, try extending the timer by 30 seconds every session until you are meditating for five minutes or longer.

5. Focus On Your Breathing

One of the best ways to begin the practice of meditation is to focus on your breathing. Choose your pose and follow your breath as it flows from your nose into your lungs and out again as you exhale. Some find it helpful to count breaths, but it isn’t necessary. Concentrating on your breathing will help your mind focus as it adjusts to the silence. Even seasoned meditators pay close attention to their breathing as a way to be more mindful.

6. Return When You Wander

Most meditation practices aim to clear the brain of all thoughts and be more mindful. However, it is natural and even inevitable that your mind will wander or fixate on rotating feelings and physical sensations. Getting lost in these distractions is entirely normal, but not the goal of meditation. When this happens to you, recognize that your mind has wandered and try to refocus on your breathing.

7. Scan Your Body

Towards the end of each meditation session, take the time to do a body scan. During this scan, focus on different areas of your body. Ask yourself how you feel, and pay close attention to any part that may need healing. Shift your focus from your breathing and gradually move your attention from your toes up through your feet and legs. Eventually, you will reach every area of your body. Similar to your breathing, return focus when your mind wanders.

8. End Your Session on a Positive Note

Carry your mindfulness through to the end of your session. Slowly get up and take note of how you feel. Breathe in deeply and gently adjust your body and mind. Creating a personal ritual to end each session may be helpful. Ending rituals could include reciting a personal mantra or finishing with a light exercise or walk.

9. Don’t Overthink It

Don’t spend your meditation time worrying whether or not you are doing it right. It may take a while for you to become proficient, and that is ok. Just keep at it, have fun, and enjoy the journey.

10. Repeat Often

Meditation can help support a healthy body and mind. It promotes healthy blood pressure, a happy mood, and strengthens coping skills. However, to start seeing the benefits you will need to meditate regularly and make it a habit. Try picking a time and place every day where you can dedicate two to five minutes to meditate.

 

Article from: https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/meditation-beginners-step-step-guide-inner-tranquility/

Photo credit from: http://vividlife.me/ultimate/25586/free-tele-class-the-7-principles-of-spiritual-practice-meditation-with-ed-and-deb-shapiro/

Meditation for Beginners
Geranium Essential Oil – Uses & Benefits

Geranium Essential Oil – Uses & Benefits

Geranium essential oil is made from rose geraniums, also known as Pelargonium graveolens. Although it is most often used as a treatment for skin conditions, there are many other benefits of geranium essential oil that you may not be aware of. So, we are going to look at the various health benefits of and uses for geranium essential oil.

How to Use Geranium Essential Oil

As mentioned, geranium essential oil can be used for many different medical conditions and health issues. And, some of them may even surprise you.

Wrinkles

Geranium essential oil has astringent properties that make it ideal for numerous topical uses, which includes reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Applying two drops of geranium essential oil to your face can help tighten the skin, minimizing wrinkles and the signs of aging.

Muscle Tone

Similar to using geranium oil for wrinkles, it can also be used to help the appearance of muscle tone. Geranium oil’s astringent properties can also tighten the muscles and skin that covers them. This makes the skin appear less saggy, revealing more muscle tone.

You can improve muscle tone by adding five drops of geranium essential oil to one tablespoon of jojoba oil and use it as a massage oil. Massage this oil combination into the muscle areas like your back, shoulders, arms, abdominals a few times a week for best results.

Deodorant

Geranium oil is an effective natural deodorant because it works in two ways. First, geranium oil has antibacterial properties that kill odor-causing bacteria in the body. Secondly, geranium oil also smells very sweet and pleasant.

You can create this deodorant simply by taking a spray bottle filled with water and then adding five drops of geranium essential oil to it.

Bug Repellant and Itch Reliever

Despite its sweet smell, geranium essential oil can be used as a bug repellent due to its high citronellol content.

Mix five or six drops of geranium oil with a water-filled a spray bottle, and spray the mixture on your skin. This same mixture can be used to help take the sting and itch out of bug bites due to the geranium oil’s antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

In addition to these uses, there are a number of health benefits that geranium essential oils carry as well.

There are many geranium rose essential oil benefits to your overall health. From treating blood clotting to possibly helping with a neural disease like Alzheimer’s, there’s much this essential oil can add to your health.

Geranium oil has a good quantity of monoterpenoid compounds like citronellol that gives the oil antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Diuretic

Geranium oil is a natural diuretic which can help increase the amount of urine your body is producing. As a result, it can help your body flush out excess minerals like potassium and sodium. Excessive mineral build-up can cause health issues like kidney stones.

Infections and Inflammation

Due to the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of geranium oil, it can be a help with various infections and inflammation in the body. To prevent wounds from becoming infected, just carefully rub in a few drops of geranium oil in and around the area of the wound.

In the case of health issues like respiratory ailments and colds, using the vapors of geranium oil can help reduce inflammation and clear out some of the bacteria. You can easily do this by adding a few drops of the oil in your humidifier, or into a pot of boiling water and inhaling the fumes.

Helps You Heal Faster

Geranium essential oils can help stimulate blood circulation, which, in turn, may help speed up the healing process. It works best if you take a few drops of geranium oil and rub it into the area that needs healing.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, geranium essential oil may be able to help control it and help with symptoms. The citronellol content in geranium oil can trigger microglial cells, which can help prevent the inflammation of neural pathways. As a result, it may help prevent conditions like Alzheimer’s.

In addition to these health benefits, geranium essential oil can also help you out a great deal if you have issues with acne.

 

Article from: https://www.naturalblaze.com/2018/06/geranium-essential-oil-benefits.html