What are some of the different kinds of anxiety?
There's the nervous type, the fearful type, and the grief type.
Are different herbs better for different types of anxiety?
Absolutely! Chamomile is great for the nervous type, juniper for the fearful type, and lemon balm for the grief type.
What are some of the best herbs to blend for anxiety?
Check out the rest of this article for 3 recipes for herbal tea for different kinds of anxiety!
CBD recipes for anxiety: The mind-body connection.
Although clinical anxiety is most often treated with pharmaceutical intervention and psychotherapy, herbal medicine has a lot to offer and teach us in the way of mental health.
Traditional medical philosophies remind us that the physical and mental body are deeply, inextricably intertwined, and we can use and think about these principles when managing mental health conditions like anxiety. CBD is the perfect example of an herb that helps nourish the mind and emotions by working through the body.
This becomes more apparent when we have a look at CBD’s most vital targets in the body: the head (mind) and the endocannabinoid system (body).
Also known as the ECS, the endocannabinoid system is a little-known system that has been called a "microcosm of the mind-body connection. Its job is to maintain homeostasis (physiological balance) by regulating all your other systems, making sure they're balanced. A strong endocannabinoid tone is clinically studied to keep you resilient to stress and disease.
But when the emotional body is hit, the physical body follows.
Here's what that means in your day-to-day.
When stress overwhelms you, or you don't make time for the easy rituals that increase the level of endocannabinoids in your body — like mindfulness practices (meditation or yoga), joyful movement (dance or exercise), or nourishing your body with a healthy omega 3-rich diet (the building blocks of endocannabinoids) — your systems go out of whack. That's because your ECS is overwhelmed.
This manifests as anxiety, depression, irritability, fatigue, autoimmune conditions, neurodegenerative disease, and more.
If you want to be in a better mood, have a clearer mind, feel more energized, enjoy better sleep, strengthen your immune system day after day, and just generally live a longer and healthier live, then you'll want to take care of your endocannabinoid system.
Traditional wisdom's take on anxiety.
CBD has been on the receiving end of some serious media buzz for its potential to treat mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and insomnia. At the same time, it’s highly regarded by scientists like Ethan Russo for its potential to treat gastrointestinal problems that are otherwise treatment-resistant, like Crohn’s Disease and other forms of IBD.
With mental health conditions such as anxiety, there’s an opportunity to “look in the belly” for signs of distress. This is why we sometimes say that a belly can be “nervous,” or “sour,” or “atonic.” These aren’t really physiological symptoms, but rather, they are energetic feelings produced by a dysfunction of the belly.
This is one example of how we could use the belly as a potential portal for treating “nervousness”, “sourness” and “atony”.
As an herbalist, I’m always fascinated by the places where we can store disharmonious humours (or energetics) in different organs. Sometimes, the symptoms of this are mental, even if there are no physical manifestations. Then, those organs become a means of purging that disharmonious humour.
And you’d be amazed by how differently anxiety can manifest in a person depending on where it’s being stored in the body.
Pretty remarkable, right?
In this article, I’m going to share some of my most popular (read: most effective) herbal recipes for anxiety that also include CBD. The recipes are different depending on what kind of anxiety is present, where it’s stored in the body, and how that manifests in a person. Please - don’t use this as a way to self-diagnose or as replacement for medical advice. That, dear friends, is the job of your doctor.
Different kinds of “clinical” anxiety.
There is a long list of symptoms that make up the general understanding of clinical anxiety. Some symptoms of anxiety include:
- Nervousness, restlessness, or tenseness
- A sense of impending doom or fear
- Difficulty controlling worry and excessive worry
- Increased heart rate
There’s a combination of different emotional and physical states that make up the clinical picture of anxiety. But in herbal medicine, fear and worry are two distinct emotions and they are housed in different parts of the body.
For example, excessive worry may be housed in the stomach, causing a nervous, sour, colicky stomach. But a sense of impending doom and fear is housed in the kidneys, making it difficult to efficiently excrete waste products from the blood. That waste continues circulating and accumulating, becoming morbid… and the sense of doom continues.
So, depending on how anxiety presents itself in you, different herbal formulas should be chosen to manage that. It’s what makes a certain cup of tea therapeutic for one person, but just a delicious drink for another person.
Which CBD product is best for anxiety?
For example, edibles aren't as bioavailable as tinctures. And, depending on the severity of your anxiety, you may want to opt for a full-spectrum CBD product or a CBD isolate. Lastly, dosage is a factor. My Supply Co. designs all of its products with clinical-level actives to meet you wherever you are on your journey.
Best form: CBD oils.
Oils offer the highest benefit with the lowest risk.
In terms of their bioavailability, sublingual tinctures sold as oils can have a bioavailability that's as high as 70%, although they usually fall within the 50% range. That means for every 100mg of CBD you ingest, up to 70mg of it does what you want it to do. On the other hand, you would at best get 20mg out of every 100mg of CBD you consume through an edible.
Smoking and vaping CBD are also highly bioavailable methods of consumption, but they present you to the cardiovascular risks associated with those acts.
On that note, you would be consuming these CBD teas orally. As a result, their bioavailability will generally be lower. Instead, these recipes rely on the synergies between the ingredients to help alleviate your anxious symptoms.
Best profile: Full spectrum.
As with most plant medicines, whole-plant is almost always superior to the isolated compound. That's because beneficial actives don't develop in a vacuum; they evolve by co-existing and interacting with countless other compounds within a plant's environment.
In cannabis, the benefit derived from the whole is referred to as the "entourage effect," and it relies on the synergy between the cannabinoids, terpenoids, flavonoids, and other naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant.
CBD isolate is a great choice for a daily supplement that supports energy, mood, and focus. If you have anxiety that's easy to manage, it's a great option. But full-spectrum CBD is far more effective for halting those bouts of anxiety that pick up momentum and can't seem to stop.
If you need these teas to help you get a good night's sleep, we recommend our CBD Sleep Solution or CBN Sleep Solution, instead. These formulas are designed with ingredients that are clinically studied to help regulate multiple pathways that are involved in sleep, so you can repair and rebuild better, night after night.
Best dose: up to 150mg of CBD taken twice daily.
Clinical studies show that 300mg of CBD daily is the optimal dose and frequency, leading to a significant decrease in stress and its manifestations (anxiety, depression, PTSD, burnout).
We suggest starting at a lower dose, such as 100mg, and working your way up. Everybody's body works differently, so what works for those in the studies might be different than what works for you.
How to make a CBD tisane that noticeably soothes your anxiety.
Now you know about the importance of the mind-body connection and traditional wisdom's take on anxiety, different symptoms of clinical anxiety, and the best form, profile, and dose of CBD for alleviating it.
So I won’t make you wait any longer for those delicious CBD tisane recipes. Let’s get brewing!
1. For nervous anxiety: CBD, chamomile, & californian poppy.
Who is it for?
I like to call this the CCC recipe. It contains CBD, chamomile, and californian poppy.
So who might get the most out of this tea?
Nervous anxiety is when you don't necessarily feel anxious every day, but get arrested by it when the trigger arrives. You know you’re right for the CCC recipe if you are the kind of person who lives their stress 100 times over.
If someone speaks to you the wrong way at the bus stop, then you call your friend and repeat the story, and then when you get home, you live through the story all over again with your housemates. Each time you recount the story, all the feelings bubble up in you all over again. You’re literally arrested by the trigger.
When it happens, there’s usually an aspect of a "nervous belly." There’s an element of anger or rage in this kind of anxiety, and a strong sense of entitlement. There can be a sudden urge to go to the toilet, and the belly itself starts to “run away” with the sensations.
The CCC recipe has two main functions. The first is to cool down the belly that has become hot with bile. The second is to cool down the mind, which consequently becomes hot from the vapours travelling upwards from the belly.
Why the CBD, chamomile, & californian poppy recipe works, according to science:
One of our mantras at My Supply Co. is "inspired by nature, informed by wisdom, backed by science." This is the science that inspired this recipe:
- CBD: CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid and a few other targets in the brain, regulating mood and anxiety by influencing stress response, the way we process fear, and improving neuroplasticity (the mind's ability to adapt to change and stress). It also modulates the release of neurotransmitters and BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and promotes relaxation.
- Chamomile: Chamomile contains compounds like apigenin that interact with GABA receptors in the brain. This interaction can have a calming effect on the central nervous system, reducing nervousness.
- Californian Poppy: Californian poppy contains alkaloids like californidine, which may bind to GABA receptors as well, exerting mild sedative and anxiolytic effects that alleviate restlessness and promote a sense of calm.
How to make CBD tea for nervous anxiety:
Step 1: Add 1 teaspoon of chamomile and californian poppy to 150 mL of boiling water. Let it steep for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Strain into a cup and add your desired dose of CBD oil.
2. For fearful anxiety: CBD, juniper berries, & valerian root.
Who is it for?
Earlier in this article, we talked about the person with the sense of “impending doom." Someone with this kind of anxiety is constantly afraid or on the verge of panic, whether it’s fear of losing a loved one, fear of the end of the world, or even fear that a secret will come out of the closet. In any case, this kind of anxiety is usually longer-lived than the “nervous” type. It can occur every day, and its severity can fluctuate.
Fear lives in our kidneys; as an herbalist, should I encounter the fearful anxiety type, I would look to the kidneys as one of the first lines of treatment.
The kidneys have a downward flow of energy (producing urine), and so does fear. When fear clogs up the kidneys, there can be slow or infrequent urination. There can also be “swellings” in the body, accumulations of morbid fluid that should have otherwise been expelled. The kidneys are home of the element of “letting go.” When they are functioning properly, it’s generally easy to let go of fear and anxiety.
Today, we know that adrenal glands sit on the kidneys. Adrenals release cortisol in response to fear and anxiety, triggering the body's stress response, and leading to physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety.
In this kind of anxiety, there can also be sudden and uncontrolled urination. It happens sometimes to children when they are confronted with something particularly terrifying. When it occurs in adults, we generally accept that there’s an underlying emotional or neurological problem.
In herbal medicine, this accumulating morbid fluid can try to escape the body in the form of tears or night sweats. It’s a kind of cold, depressing fluid, unlike the heat associated with the nervous type of anxiety. It slows a person down, makes sleeping difficult, and makes it next to impossible to feel the warmth associated with joy and happiness.
As such, this recipe has two main functions:
- The first is to warm the kidneys and belly to loosen up fluids in the body and encourage the downward flow of energy.
- The second is to bring on sleep, which is a moment of relaxation that allows the body to restore its normal function.
Why the CBD, juniper berries, & valerian root recipe works, according to science:
How do we know this works? Because tradition is our preacher and science is our teacher.
- CBD: CBD can balance cortisol levels and adrenal health while reducing activity in the Amygdala, the part of the brain that processes and responds to fear. It is also clinically studied to balance the HPA Axis, which plays a central role in anxiety.
- Juniper Berries: Juniper berries contain compounds that might affect the adrenergic system by influencing the release and reuptake of norepinephrine. This interaction can boost confidence and reduce fear.
- Valerian Root: Valerian root interacts with the GABA pathway, enhancing the inhibitory effect of GABA in the brain. This interaction can have a sedative effect, which is beneficial for calming anxiety driven by fear.
How to make CBD tea for fearful anxiety:
Step 1: Add one teaspoon of juniper berries and one teaspoon of valerian root to 150 mL of boiling water. Allow it to steep for 15 minutes.
Step 2: Strain into a cup and add your desired dose of CBD (larger doses are tolerated here, as this is a night time recipe).
Enjoy the taste, and a warm night’s sleep.
3. For grief-motivated anxiety: CBD, anise, rose petals, and lemon balm.
Finally, there is the anxiety that is caused by prolonged grief. It’s the “I can’t breathe” kind of anxiety that leads to panic attacks. In some kinds of traditional medicine, the space inside the lungs is called “psychic space”, and it’s what gives a person the sensation that they have “breathing space”. When that breathing room is taken away (because grief invades it), there can be the sensation of not being able to breathe. This is a common symptom of anxiety attacks.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the lungs are the first accumulation site of grief. There can be an ongoing issue with lung health, such as chronic asthma. It’s restrictive and suffocates the individual from the inside out. It literally robs the person of the vital energy of breath.
The lungs and the heart are closely related. Aside from the fact that they are close in physical proximity, the lungs oxygenate the blood that the heart distributes around the body. So what happens in the lungs naturally affects the heart, and what happens in the heart also affects the job of the lungs. And this is why this herbal tea recipe also nourishes the heart.
So - this recipe has a few functions. The first is to open up the lungs and to fill them with pride and courage. The second is to soothe feelings of sadness and grief that can explode into anxiety. Finally, the rose petals nourish the subtle element of the heart, preventing it from the spasm caused by the feeling that there is no breathing space.
Why the CBD, anise, rose petals, and lemon balm recipe works, according to science:
- CBD: CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, potentially modulating the emotional response to grief by regulating mood and reducing the intensity of emotional distress.
- Anise: Anise may influence the release of neurotransmitters related to mood regulation, such as serotonin and dopamine. It interacts with pathways that can alleviate emotional distress and sadness associated with grief.
- Rose Petals: Rose petals are known for their potential to interact with pathways related to emotional well-being. They may promote a sense of love and comfort during the grieving process.
- Lemon Balm: Lemon balm interacts with GABA receptors, promoting a calming effect on the central nervous system. This interaction can alleviate anxiety related to grief and improve overall mood.
How to make CBD tea for grief-motivated anxiety:
- Add one teaspoon of lemon balm and one teaspoon of rose petals to 150 mL of boiling water. Add 2 or 3 star anise, too. Let it steep for 10 minutes
- Strain into a cup and add your preferred dose of CBD.
Enjoy the taste, and your new breathing space.
A world of personalised medicine.
Hopefully, this article sheds some light on the more dynamic ways we can understand mental health. If there is anything that herbalism has taught me, it is that it’s unfair to lump all sufferers of a particular disease in a single compartment. Every body truly is different, and putting everyone under the same umbrella somewhat trivializes what that person is going through.
The three recipes I provided in this article are much closer to personalised medicine, although the true essence of personalised medicine can only really happen in the clinic after consultation. But even anxiety has many forms, and it’s more pertinent to treat the person based on the form that presents itself.
Let us know in the comments which recipe you tried and how it worked for you!
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