As a doctor of Chinese medicine, a single mother to a child with a rare genetic disorder, and an entrepreneur, I understand the importance of addressing stress and anxiety.
I have found that Chinese medicine can be incredibly helpful to understand how stress affects us (mind and body) and how we can support ourselves to become more resilient to the challenges that will inevitably arise!
Understanding Anxiety from a Chinese Medicine Perspective:
In Chinese medicine, anxiety is seen as an imbalance or disharmony in the flow of Qi (vital energy) and the balance of Yin and Yang. When Qi becomes stagnant or disrupted, it can manifest as anxiety, restlessness, and a sense of unease.
By identifying the underlying patterns of disharmony, Chinese medicine offers a holistic approach to addressing anxiety and restoring emotional balance.
Identifying Patterns of Anxiety and Corresponding Herbal Remedies:
When Qi fails to flow smoothly, it can lead to feelings of irritability, chest tightness, and a sense of being “wound up.”
The following herbs and herbal formulas may be helpful:
- Chai Hu (Bupleurum): Known for its ability to regulate Qi and soothe the Liver, Chai Hu can help alleviate irritability and promote emotional balance.
- Xiao Yao San (Free and Easy Wanderer): This traditional Chinese formula combines herbs like Chai Hu, Bai Shao (White Peony Root), and Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica) to address Liver Qi stagnation and ease anxiety symptoms.
- FLOW STATE is our version of Xiao Yao San: We used Xiao Yao San as the base formula and then I added various herbs that help balance hormones and support gut health. This formula is available with and without hemp based on your needs, but trust me, the Hemp version is gold!!
A study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that Xiao Yao San demonstrated significant anti-anxiety effects and improved mood among participants experiencing anxiety and depression.
When the Heart’s Qi is weak or deficient, it can lead to palpitations, insomnia, and a sense of insecurity. The following herbs and formulas may be beneficial:
- Suan Zao Ren (Sour Jujube Seed): Known for nourishing the Heart and calming the Shen (spirit), Suan Zao Ren can help reduce anxiety and promote restful sleep.
- Gan Mai Da Zao Tang (Licorice, Wheat, and Jujube Decoction): This formula combines Suan Zao Ren, Fu Xiao Mai (Wheat), and Da Zao (Jujube) to nourish the Heart, calm the Shen, and alleviate anxiety and emotional instability.
- REST AND RELAX: is our Heart Tonic. I typically recommend this formula for the above patterns and what we often see as classical generalized anxiety. This formula can also be used to help you get deeper sleep so you can optimize your day!
A randomized, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that Gan Mai Da Zao Tang significantly reduced anxiety symptoms and improved sleep quality among participants with generalized anxiety disorder.
Kidney Yin Deficiency:
Kidney Yin deficiency can manifest as chronic anxiety, fearfulness, and difficulty in coping with stress. Consider the following herbs and formulas:
- He Huan Pi (Mimosa Tree Bark): With its calming properties, He Huan Pi can help nourish Kidney Yin, soothe the mind, and alleviate anxiety.
- Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (Six-Ingredient Rehmannia Pill): This classic formula contains Rehmannia, Cornus, Dioscorea, and other herbs that nourish Kidney Yin and help address anxiety associated with Yin deficiency.
A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that Liu Wei Di Huang Wan exhibited anxiolytic effects and improved cognitive function in animal models of anxiety.
Remember, it’s essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or Chinese medicine practitioner to determine the most suitable herbs and formulas for your individual needs. They can provide personalized guidance and adjust dosages as necessary.
By embracing the holistic approach of Chinese medicine and incorporating supportive herbal remedies, we can nurture emotional well-being and manage anxiety.
Chinese herbs like Chai Hu, Suan Zao Ren, and He Huan Pi, along with formulas such as Xiao Yao San, Gan Mai Da Zao Tang, and Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, offer valuable support in addressing different patterns of anxiety.
Let’s prioritize our emotional health, seek balance, and cultivate a sense of calm amidst life’s challenges.
- Chen, X., Liu, Y., & Zhu, W. (2018). The Effects and Potential Mechanisms of Chinese Herbal Medicine on Anxiety-Like Behavior in Animal Models. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 227, 139-150.
- Yeung, W. F., Chung, K. F., Ng, K. Y., Yu, Y. M., Ziea, E. T., & Ng, B. F. (2014). A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study of Chinese Herbal Medicine Gan Mai Da Zao Decoction for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 28(5), 464-473.
- Yu, J., Zheng, J., & Liu, J. (2016). Efficacy and Safety of Xiaoyaosan in Treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 95, 20-27.