Natural Beta Blockers: Herbal Alternatives for Anxiety
Beta-blockers are medications that reduce blood pressure. They do this by blocking the hormone epinephrine, which is otherwise known as adrenaline.
Beta-blockers, as the name suggests, disrupt epinephrine receptors, thereby reducing the reaction that causes your heart to race, your stress response to rise, and your body to get ready for a dangerous situation.
Beta-blockers such as Propranolol work by making your heart beat less forcibly and more slowly, thus reducing your blood pressure. They are also often prescribed to treat anxiety, due to the fact that they reduce your adrenaline, or ‘fight or flight’, response, which, in modern society is often overactive, or even inappropriate to our modern foibles and threats.
Beta-blockers can be cardioselective, which block only specific types of beta or non-cardioselective, which affect beta 1 and beta 2.
Some of our Favorite Natural Beta Blocker Products:
Gaia Herbs Kava Kava
Nature's Way St. John's Wort
Passion Flower 350mg
What are Natural Beta Blockers and why would you want them?
Due to the prevalence of high blood pressure (about 80 million people or 1 in 3 adults) and the veritable epidemic proportions of anxiety, many people are using beta-blockers and some have attempted to seek more natural methods to lower their blood pressure or treat their anxiety.
Some believe that natural beta-blockers can reduce or eliminate your reliance on pharmaceuticals, whilst maintaining the therapeutic benefits. Some natural beta-blockers work in the same way their pharma equivalents, blocking epinephrine.
However, others called cardiotonics, diuretics and vascular tonics, work in a different way, by affecting your blood circulation, retention of water and the blood vessels in your heart.
Natural beta-blockers are becoming increasingly popular as consumers become more health conscious and seek more natural alternatives to possibly damaging pharma products. As well as this general trend, people are searching for more natural alternatives because of the potential side effects of beta blockers, such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Gastrointestinal problems such as Diarrhea
- Problems with vision
As a result, for many the promise of reduced anxiety, as well as fewer side effects, is too good to resist. Below are a few suggestions of beta-blockers you could try as you search to find the product that is best for you, as well some examples and reviews.
Examples of Natural Beta Blockers
Passion flower – This popular natural beta-blocker is said to be very effective in treating anxiety. As well as this, it is useful for those with heart problems and high blood pressure, as it is known to increase relaxation.
It is known to work to treat insomnia, tension, stress, pain and muscle stiffness. Most take passionflower in capsule form, though it is also available as a liquid.
Arginine – This is an amino acid that can widen your arteries, which has the welcome side effect of lowering blood pressure. Arginine naturally occurs in foods such as nuts, but a supplement will give you a more concentrated effect.
Arginine, though many state it has a number of potentially damaging side effects such as brain toxicity, is widely used to treat a number of vascular disorders.
St John’s Wort – This herb is widely used for anxiety and mild depression, and it gets such positive results that even some medical doctors, and they are loath to admit the efficacy of herbal remedies, prescribe it. St John’s Wort works by raising serotonin and dopamine levels, while reducing adrenaline.
It is also thought to aid the liver in ridding the body of excess estrogen, which can lead to depression, panic attacks and general difficulties with cognition. However, be aware that it can cause photo-sensitivity, so perhaps use sunscreen if you are planning on spending time in the sun.
Kava Kava – This herb acts upon the limbic system, which is the emotional centre of the brain, and also the part of the brain that drives our survival instinct.
Kava Kava helps us manage our fear and anxieties better by acting on the amygdala, and it has been said to improve well-being through a variety of mechanisms, such as increasing serotonin, reducing cortisol and inhibiting the uptake of adrenaline in your brain.
Natural Beta Blockers Products
Obviously each of the above examples is available in many different forms (capsules, tinctures, liquids, powders, even in the form of tea). However, below we outline some options for you to consider if you are thinking of trying a natural beta-blocker, and give you some idea of what users think of the product.
Passion Flower 350mg - 100 Capsules by Solaray
This package contains 100 350 mg capsules. Customer testimony on his product is generally very good, with users giving it high ratings for effectiveness. Reviewers have been particularly happy about:
- Can treat a variety of psychological disorders: anxiety, PTSD, agoraphobia.
- Reduces tension, e.g. in the muscles.
- Can be used with some other natural beta-blockers, e.g. St John’s Wort.
- May help you to sleep.
- Can reduce restless legs.
One user called the product ‘the real thing’ and claimed that it completely changed their lives: helping them to cope with a multitude of psychological disorders, from minor to extremely serious.
Another said using he the supplement had really helped them to get more restless sleep, and that it had also noticeably reduced their blood pressure. They believe that the product had made a holistic impact on their health, and they had made it part of their everyday regimen.
The most common complaint is that it does not work. One who had taken it for a month said they hadn’t noticed any benefit, whilst another said that it did not help them with their insomnia.
NOW Sports L-Arginine Powder
This supplement is in powder form, as some may believe that a powder supplement is more versatile as it can fit into their lifestyle more effectively: you can use the powder in a smoothie, or even stir it into soups. Again, this product has had pretty positive testimony amongst users, including;
- Well priced
- Improves general blood vessel function
- Reduces blood pressure
- Helps to get ‘pumped’ for a work out
Many of the customers who have used this l-arginine power have said the price is fantastic, and that it is excellent value for money. Another user claimed that they were able to cease taking their regular beta-blockers for their blood pressure, as the supplement was so effective in reducing their blood pressure.
The main draw back with this product seems to be the taste. Many users have expressed that l-arginine supplements taste awful (in fact, this is a sign that it is bona fide arginine), and one customer compared the taste to ‘wet rag’.
Some have found this too much, and have discontinued the supplement, though others say it is easy to mask the taste using juice or by blending it into a smoothie.
Nature's Way St. John's Wort Herb 350mg, 180 VCaps
Nature’s Way is a well-known purveyor of herbal remedies, and they guarantee the quality and purity of their product. Many users have claimed that St John’s Wort is an excellent product for improving your mood, and that it:
- Works for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Is good value
- Is great for mild depression
- Is from a trusted brand
- Convenient size capsule
One customer said that they have often tried supplements, but that all of those that they have tried have not worked. However, with St John’s Wort they found a supplement that actually does what it claimed to do, i.e. treat mood disorders. Others have said that any product from Nature’s Way can be trusted.
Another person who takes St John’ Wort recounts the story of her mom who has mild depression and uses the supplement with great effect. She herself is planning on transitioning from SSRIs to St John’s Wort in the near future as she has seen the effects first hand.
Others have been less enthusiastic, mainly as a result of:
- The lack of effectiveness of the supplement.
- Side effects, e.g. blurry vision.
One user actually said that the capsules, after about a months use, made them feel worse. However, they do seem to be in the minority, as most users noted a positive effect.
Gaia Herbs Kava Kava Root Liquid Phyto-Capsules, 60 Count
The makers of this product claim that it helps to improve mood, increase calm and bring relaxation. Gaia herbs, the makers, produce organic supplements and pride themselves on their natural products. Many users have been impressed with Gaia Herbs’ Kava Kava Root, because:
- It effectively controls stress and anxiety.
- The capsules help users get a good nights sleep.
- Lacking in side effects.
One user who was particularly impressed with this product noted that they are fantastic. A couple of tablets will help you to control your stress levels, whilst a couple more will give you a ‘buzz’. He says that this supplement is the best of its type on the market. He also notes that these are liquid capsules, and that they are probably so successful because Kava Kava is not water soluble.
Others noted some negative side effects, such as:
- Gastro intestinal issues like diarrhea.
- Hinders sleep.
- Doesn't work.
One user summed up his complaints with one word: ‘lame’, whilst others have said that the product simply did not work. Others have described it as a ‘waste of money’.
Some consumers have been very positive, whilst others have been less so. In all probability, each individual will have a different experience with any supplement. The best way to see if it works for you is to try it.
The testimony for natural beta-blockers is in the main positive, and, given the risk of side effects from their pharmaceutical equivalents, it is no wonder that more and more people are trying them.
Be aware though that they are by no means miracle workers, that they too possibly come with side effects, and that many foods, such as red meat, seafood and green vegetables, amongst others, will give you similar, if admittedly less potent, effects.
Likewise, you may want to consult a medical professional if your blood pressure is extremely high or your anxiety is serious. There is nothing to stop you from trying these products, and positive consumer testimony and burgeoning research suggests they just might work!