Anxiety levels are higher than ever right now, due in no small part to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether it’s anxiety about oneself or a loved one contracting the disease or financial concerns due to a loss of income or the state of the stock market, there is a lot of anxiety to go around.
And as a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga, I’d like to help ease some of it.
Keep reading to find a few natural solutions which might just help you sleep a little better at night.
What Is COVID-19?
There are a lot of terms related to this pandemic which you might have heard recently.
Coronavirus. SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19.
Let’s take a minute to decipher what these mean.
Coronavirus is the type of virus we’re dealing with – there are many different variants of these viruses, and are responsible for a number of illnesses including the common cold, SARS, MERS, and yes, COVID-19.
SARS-COV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) is the name of the virus which causes COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), as the outbreak was first identified in December 2019.
COVID-19 looks different in different people.
Some people can have it and show almost no symptoms.
In others, they can be more serious and include cough, difficulty breathing, fever, and pneumonia in the lungs.
Can Naturopathic Medicine Treat COVID-19?
Before we go on, we need to be very clear about one thing – at this time there is nonaturopathic treatmentwhich can cure or treat COVID-19.
If you suspect you, or someone you know, is sick with COVID-19 then it is extremely important to follow the guidelines set out by the Government of Canada, including self-isolation for 14 days, and consulting with your local health authority for further instruction.
What naturopathic medicine can offer during these trying times, though, are ways to help ease your anxiety.
Keep reading to learn more.
How Can Naturopathic Medicine Help With Anxiety?
When we, as humans, face stressful events, a little bit of anxiety is quite normal.
However, when anxiety levels are high constantly, it can impede the ability to live normally.
Naturopathic approaches to anxiety can range from lifestyle changes to nutritional solutions and botanical medicine.
Today we will look closer at some botanical as well as nutritional solutions for anxiety.
Keep reading to find out more.
3 Botanical Medicine Solutions For Anxiety
Botanical medicines have been used by humans for thousands of years, and many of our modern drugs are based on these plant-based solutions.
In fact, medical doctors may suggest botanical medicines as well from time to time. Some of the more common botanicals you may have heard of with medicinal properties include:
Let’s explore some botanical medicine solutions for anxiety.
Brahmi is a herb traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine.
Its traditional uses include providing treatment for epilepsy, boosting memory, and reducing anxiety.
A 2014 study in the journal Phytotherapy Research found Brahmi to have positive effects on mood in study participants.
Additionally, it was found to lower cortisol levels, which indicates a physiological impact on stress and anxiety levels.
A lot of people think of lavender as just a pretty, purple flower.
Many are also aware that its scent can promote relaxation and ease anxiety.
Oil derived from the lavender flower has been used for a long time in herbal medicine.
A study in the Journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology found patients with mild anxiety and depressive disorder who were treated with lavender oil showed better outcomes in terms of quality of life, and a better overall outcome.
Lavender can also be used as a natural treatment for tension headaches
Chamomile is a flower in the same family as the daisy, which is widely known for its calming effects.
A study in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology looked at the effects of chamomile in patients with generalized anxiety disorder.
It was observed that patients given chamomile had significantly greater reductions in anxiety compared to those who were given a placebo, however, more studies need to be done on this effect.
It’s been shown that chamomile can also be an effective way to manage the symptoms of ADHD.
3 Nutritional Solutions For Anxiety
In addition to botanical medicine, there are a number of nutritional factors which can impact anxiety.
Nutritional counselling and botanical medicine aren’t completely separate from either other, though.
In this section, we’ll review some important nutrients to include in your diet to help control anxious thoughts and feelings.
Magnesium is a mineral which plays a role in the functioning of nearly every system of the body.
In 2000 the journal Psychopharmacology looked at the effects of a multivitamin which included calcium, zinc, and magnesium on healthy male volunteers.
When compared to those given placebo, study participants who received the multi-vitamin showed statistically significant reductions in perceived stress levels and anxiety.
One reason magnesium, in particular, may help lessen anxiety is that it has been shown to improve brain function – it has a role in regulating neurotransmitters and neurological health.
Foods high in magnesium include quinoa, spinach, dark chocolate, cashews, almonds, and black beans.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are important to brain health.
As they can’t be synthesized by the body, it’s important for people to ensure they get them as part of their diet.
A 2018 review of 19 different clinical trials supported the hypothesis that Omega-3 fatty acids can be an effective way to provide treatment for clinical anxiety.
They’ve also been shown to be useful for a number of other health conditions, including managing autism spectrum disorder, depression, poor gut health, and as an adjunctive therapy during medical cancer treatment
Foods high in omega-3s include:
- Fish such as salmon, trout, and mackerel
- Chia, hemp, and flaxseeds
It should be noted that omega-3 fatty acids can interfere with some medications, so it’s important to speak with your doctor or naturopath before starting to take a new supplement.
3. The B-Complex Of Vitamins
B-complex vitamins are important for many different roles in the body, including the management of stress levels.
Additionally, a 2018 study in the Journal of Functional Foods found individuals who ate a diet high in foods containing B-vitamins had lower stress and anxiety scores than those who didn’t.
Foods high in B-complex vitamins include yogurt, cheese, eggs, nutritional yeast, and fortified cereals.
Book An Appointment At The Mindful Healing Clinic
Are your anxiety levels at an all-time high right now?
Do you need some help coming up with a plan to help take back control over your thoughts?
Here at the Mindful Healing clinic, we want to help.
Although our doors are currently closed for in-person visits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still offering virtual and phone consultations for essential treatments.
We are here to help you through this difficult time – contact us today for more information.
Until next time,
Dr. Maria Cavallazzi is a medical doctor from Colombia where she practiced as a family physician for 8 years until she moved to Canada 16 years ago and became a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga.