Anxiety can be a formidable adversary, but the potential side effects of anxiety medication can throw a wrench in your workout plans. Fear not; there's a natural solution to help you regain control. But first, let's unravel the mysteries of anxiety.
Anxiety has been a part of human existence for as long as we've had brains capable of fretting. However, it's on the rise, evolving into a more significant issue. In the United States, anxiety reigns as the most common mental disorder, impacting the lives of 40 million adults.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) stands as the prevailing form. Temporary anxiety escalates into GAD territory when you experience three or more of the following symptoms regularly for a continuous six-month stretch:
- Restlessness or a persistent sense of unease
- Frequent fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating or a mind that often goes blank
- Muscular tension
- Sleep disturbances
In simpler terms, GAD might feel like an ongoing battle with that relentless inner critic.
Conventional Approaches and Their Caveats
Typically, physicians turn to benzodiazepines (tranquilizers) to combat anxiety, with one example being oxazepam. Oxazepam is a fast-acting benzodiazepine, but it brings along a less-than-thrilling entourage of side effects, including clumsiness, daytime drowsiness, a sensation of spinning, and headaches. Not to mention, it has the potential for addiction, a perilous pitfall that can sabotage your workouts.
The Herbal Alternative: Passionflower
The silver lining? There exists an herbal alternative, and no, it's not what you might be thinking. It's passionflower, a botanical remedy that has been used for centuries to address anxiety and various other ailments, and now, scientific research is casting its spotlight.
In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, passionflower went head-to-head with oxazepam.
In this double-blind randomized trial, individuals diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder were divided into two groups:
Group one received 45 drops of passionflower extract alongside a placebo tablet (a clever ruse by scientists) daily for 28 days.
Group two was prescribed oxazepam, 30 mg per day, combined with placebo drops for 28 days.
Throughout the 28-day period, each participant was evaluated by a psychiatrist on days 4, 7, 14, 21, and 28, using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A).
Passionflower and oxazepam proved equally effective in alleviating anxiety symptoms, but here's the kicker: passionflower clinched the victory when it came to fewer side effects. The oxazepam group reported impaired job performance due to drug side effects the following day, a concern absent in the passionflower group.
As the study concluded, passionflower represents "a significant improvement over benzodiazepines in the management of GAD, especially when drug-induced impairment of job performance is to be avoided."
So, why wait? Embrace a touch of the hippie spirit and introduce passionflower extract or tea into your life to achieve that coveted state of tranquility.
Navigating the Realm of Passionflower
Passionflower extract is readily available at health food stores or online. You'll find two types of extracts: alcohol-based and glycerin-based (for those who prefer to avoid alcohol). The study used an alcohol-based extract, but glycerin is a worthy alternative. If you prefer, passionflower can also be enjoyed in tea form. To prepare passionflower tea, procure loose-leaf passionflower and a tea ball, steep for 10-15 minutes or longer for intensified potency.
You can call upon passionflower whenever anxiety takes hold. Keep in mind that it carries a calming effect. Passionflower proves especially beneficial when consumed before bedtime to silence that inner critic that often awakens just as you're seeking to unwind.
The study suggested a daily dose of 45 drops. However, you have the flexibility to adjust the dosage to suit your individual requirements. In general, one "serving" equals 1 ml of extract or 20-30 drops, which can be taken up to three times a day as needed.