PTA-Forum online
Calming down

These herbal medicines help

Restless and nervous during the day, too tense to fall asleep in the evening. Permanent stress can quickly end in a vicious circle. Self-medication with herbal sedatives offers a way out, but it also has its limits.
Marta Campbell
22.02.2021  15:45 Uhr

In the case of self-medication of stress-related restlessness and exhaustion, herbal sedatives have proved to be effective. Valerian root, St. John’s wort, hop cones, lavender flowers, lemon balm leaves, passion flower herb and rose root can be used individually or in combination. Additionally, valerian root, hop cones, lavender flowers, lemon balm leaves and passion flower herb have a sleep-promoting effect. Phytopharmaceuticals do not impair performance or driving ability, do not lead to habituation or dependence and are free from side effects or have hardly any side effects. Nevertheless, they are not suitable for everyone. Sometimes there are causes underlying those complaints which require medical consultation. For example, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, dementia or depression can also cause symptoms of restlessness and exhaustion. Numerous medicines, excessive consumption of caffeinated drinks and alcohol as well as nutrient deficiencies can also be responsible.

Be guided by the complaint pattern

If the discussion with the patient reveals no indication of triggers in need of treatment, phytopharmaceuticals can be recommended. When making a choice, the client’s individual complaint pattern should be the main consideration.

Restlessness and nervousness which go along with agitation and excitability are well receptive to valerian. It is the root that is pharmaceutically used; relevant ingredients are the essential oil, the valepotriates and lignans. Valerian extracts reduce dose-dependently neuronal activity in the brain. Responsible for this is the interaction of the valerian ingredients with the GABA metabolism. Valerian extract increases the release of the calming neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and modulates the GABAA receptor so that the effect of the neurotransmitter is enhanced. The lignans contained bind to adenosine receptors in the brain and thus enhance the sleep-promoting effect of adenosine. Mild states of restlessness can sometimes be alleviated by taking a relaxing bath with a valerian additive. If valerian is taken orally, the dosage recommended by the manufacturer should be adhered to, as over- and underdoses can increase restlessness.

Valerian extracts can be used as monotherapy or in combination preparations. Here, hops and lemon balm have proven to be good combination partners. Hop cones contain bitter substances, essential oil and flavonoids. They are traditionally used for nervous restlessness, anxiety and difficulty falling asleep. The essential oil of lemon balm leaves inhibits the GABA-degrading enzyme GABA transaminase, which has a relaxing and sleep-promoting effect. In addition, lemon balm leaves have a spasmolytic impact, which has a positive effect on nervous gastrointestinal complaints such as flatulence or bloating. They are therefore a good recommendation for people whose stomach gets upset by stress.


Mehr von Avoxa