Anger and anxiety are states of overexcitement in areas of the brain responsible for fear and other basic emotions. They can be caused by biological or situational factors and are often aggravated by stressful life events. When taken as part of a healthy lifestyle, herbal supplements can be helpful in relieving anxiety and depression—conditions that sometimes include anger as a symptom.
Relaxants are substances that calm the central nervous system and ease tension within the body. In Western medicine, drugs like benzodiazepines, sedatives and muscle relaxants are used for this purpose. When used in conjunction with healthy coping skills, herbal relaxants can be effective in treating anxiety, irritability and insomnia in some people.
Valerian root is a good choice for treating anxiety and restlessness. It is the most commonly used herbal anxiety remedy, according to bodyandfitness.com, and is often referred to as “nature’s Valium.” Valerian is thought to work by increasing levels of GABA—the same neurotransmitter targeted by benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium. It can be taken in pill form or brewed into a tea for its relaxing effects.
Passionflower is another popular herbal relaxant. It contains a variety of alkaloids, with maltol and ethylmaltol being the most active. According to mentalhelp.net, these compounds consistently exhibit calming and sedating effects on the central nervous system. Other herbs with relaxing properties include kava kava, skullcap, hops and chamomile.
Mood-brightening herbs are used for their ability to help regulate mood and relieve symptoms of depression. They are most effective in treating mild-to-moderate depression symptoms and–like prescription antidepressants–help bring about a state of emotional stability that can lead to reduced anger and anxiety.
St. John’s wort is among the most popular herbal depression remedies worldwide. According to newhope.com, St. John’s wort is as effective as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants for treating mild-to-moderate depression, often with fewer side effects. It is thought to work by increasing levels of serotonin—a neurotransmitter that influences mood, appetite and other mental states. It is available only by prescription in some European countries but can be purchased over-the-counter in the United States in most health food stores.
5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a serotonin precursor derived from the Griffonia simplicifolia plant sold to treat depression, insomnia and overeating. Despite a lack of conclusive evidence in its favor, 5-HTP is among the most popular mood-enhancing supplements in the United States.
Some herbs can cause dangerous interactions with over-the-counter and prescription medications. To avoid unwanted side effects, talk to your doctor before trying an herbal remedy for anger and anxiety. Most herbal remedies are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat anxiety and depression, which increases the likelihood of contamination, inconsistent potency levels and other dangers.