Are there any foods (excluding St. John’s Wort) which has been scientifically proven in well designed studies to have a beneficial effect in people with generalised anxiety disorder and/or panic disorder? I tried googling but all I could find were thousands of pages of obvious woo bullshit.
Thanks in advance.
Kava has been show to be effective in treating GAD:
Dark chocolate and the soothing crashing of the waves on a nearby beach.
By coincidence, here’s a blog post from today by a medicinal chemist. In the comments, which are generally well-informed and well-reasoned, there’s a side-discussion that Saint John’s Wort has not in fact been proven to work any better than placebo.
I’m not competent to assess the evidence myself. I can say these are folks I generally listen to. Who generally *are *competent to asses the evidence.
I thought of several, including
Valerian root, but in looking that up. Yeah, I see the OP’s point.
I think that this may be one of those “try it and see if it works for you” things. Even if it’s a placebo effect, if it works it works.
(In my case, it definitely works. For a while. Then there’s a noticeable bounce-back effect that questions whether taking it at all was really worth it. But the same holds for Rx stuff.)
I know two people that swear by ashwagandha for relieving stress and anxiety and helping them to sleep better without some of the side effects they were getting from prescription meds, such as weight gain. There seems to be some evidence of this.
Discussion and Conclusion
The available scientific data support the conclusion that Ashwagandha is a real potent regenerative tonic (Rasayana of Ayurveda), due to its multiple pharmacological actions like anti-stress, neuroprotective, antitumor, anti-arthritic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory etc. It is useful for different types of diseases like Parkinson, dementia, memory loss, stress induced diseases, malignoma and others.
Ashwagandha is used as a household remedy by Indians, who consider it as the best tonic for old people and children, and as aphrodisiac by young people. It is one of the best nervine tonics of Ayurveda, the most ancient system of Medical Sciences. Our clinical experience showed that besides the enumerated neurological conditions, brain strokes causing paralysis and neuronal deficit also improve in the long term treatment with Ashwagandha. We are also using it in all forms of cancer including prostate and lung cancers, especially in last stages, giving the patients lot of health benefits. We have some cases of lung cancer who have refused modern therapy and recovered clinically and radiologically with our therapy of Ashwagandha. (Singh N., 2010- unpublished data). In a recent seminar (Singh, 2005) on essential drug concept, it was projected as one of the six essential medicinal herbs.
Thus, the above findings clearly indicate that the traditional use of Ashwagandha has a logical and scientific basis. Large scale clinical studies are needed to prove the clinical efficacy of this herb, specially in stress related diseases, neuronal disorders and cancers.
The present review revealed a limited number of human clinical trials testing WS as a treatment for anxiety and stress. The range of study design and outcome measures, as well as the identified sources of bias, should be considered while analyzing the given findings. Those that qualified for inclusion offered somewhat promising but early, and possibly biased, results. Most studies concluded with significant improvement in symptoms for the WS group when compared to a variety of controls, including placebo and psychotherapy. While WS appears to alleviate these prevalent conditions in these limited controlled trials, additional research in larger samples and in more clinical contexts is essential to validate its therapeutic capabilities for widespread use.
Objective: To assess existing reported human trials of Withania somnifera (WS; common name, ashwagandha) for the treatment of anxiety.Design: Systematic review of the literature, with searches conducted in PubMed, SCOPUS, CINAHL, and Google Scholar...