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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.

Irritability and depression

The indication area of the passion flower includes nervous restlessness, agitation and irritability in combination with difficulties in falling asleep. Passionflower extract contains flavonoids which, like the ingredients of valerian, modulate the GABAA receptor and enhance the inhibitory effect of the neurotransmitter. In addition, the retention time in the synaptic cleft is prolonged because the resumption via the GABAB receptor is inhibited. Both together have a relaxing effect, but do not make you tired. The passionflower herb is available as a tea or in the form of various ready-to-use medicines. To treat nervous sleep disorders, it is often combined with lemon balm, valerian or hops. A combination with St. John’s wort is also possible.

From 18 years

The lavender oil preparation Lasea® is considered to be a well-researched phytopharmaceutical against restlessness in combination with anxiety and sleep disorders. There is no fatigue or attention deficit during the day, but there may be increased unpleasant belching after taking it. Taking it with food and cold liquid reduces the discomfort. The preparation is approved for adults over 18 years of age, but should not be combined with benzodiazepines.

Rose root extract can also be recommended from the age of 18. Rose root belongs to the so-called adaptogenic plants. It increases the body’s resistance to stress factors and improves mental performance in demanding, stressful situations. In addition, there are indications that it also strengthens physical resilience.

Deutsch/German Englisch/English
Adaptogen adaptogen
Angst fear
Ätherisches Öl essential oil
Aufmerksamkeit attention
Aufstoßen belching, burping
Baldrianwurzel valerian root
Belastbarkeit resilience
Botenstoffe neurotransmitters
Fahrtüchtigkeit driving ability
Hopfenzapfen hop cone
Lavendelblüten lavender flowers
Leistungsfähigkeit performance
Melissenblätter lemon balm leaves, melissa leaves
Müdigkeit fatigue
Nervös nervous
Passionsblumenkraut passion flower herb
Neurotransmitter neurotransmitter
Rastlosigkeit restlessness
Schilddrüse thyroid gland
Stress stress
Überfunktion hyperfunction
Unruhe anxiety, agitation

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