Herbs for Anger – How Are They Meant to Help?
Advocates for herbal remedies for anger suggest they work by exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics:
- Adaptogens i.e. normalize body and brain processes.
- Anti-anxiety and de-stress properties.
- Counter dehydration.
- Calm the nervous system.
- Decrease pain.
- Cardiovascular function.
- Detoxification – Help the liver, kidney’s and digestive system to eliminate toxins better.
- Digestive function.
- Energy levels.
- Oxygen uptake.
- Hormonal imbalances.
- Blood sugar levels.
- The mind.
- The body and muscles.
- Support the immune system and it’s response to anger stressors (anger causes or triggers).
Therefore, herbs can help with anger issues by working:
- Directly e.g. helping to calm, relax or sedate the body and/or mind e.g. Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca).
- Indirectly e.g. helping to eliminate the toxin build-up in the body that may trigger outbursts e.g. Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum).
- Combination of both above e.g. St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum).
Herb Usage and Terminology
Herbs can be used in a variety of ways but an optimal outcome will depend on a number of variables such as where and how it was grown, the part of the plant used and the form available, as well as the method of preparation used. Therefore, not all points below will be applicable to all herbs.
Growing classifications of herbs:
- Wildcrafted – gathered from natural or indigenous habitat i.e. ‘the wild’.
- Certified organic – cultivated on unpolluted soil without chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides and free from genetic modification or enhancements.
- Commercial – greenhouse/farm cultivated, non-organic.
Parts of plant used may include:
- Roots or tubers.
- Stems or bark.
- Leaves or flowers.
- Fruits – soft or hard/dried.
Form of herb available:
- Live plant.
- Whole dried plant part e.g. rhizome, bark, flowers.
- Cut and sifted dried plant part.
- Granules or pellets made from ground and compressed dried plant part.
- Powder of dried plant part.
Method of preparation or usage:
- Bitters or elixirs (i.e. syrups).
- Decoctions (i.e. docoction).
- Eating raw (only applicable to certain herbs).
- Extracts or tinctures.
- Tisanes (i.e. herbal teas or infusions).
- Topical and facial applications.
Which is the best herb preparation method?
There are pro’s and con’s to each method of preparation/usage and finding the best one for you may ultimately come down to a process of trail and error. For example:
- Although most people think consuming fresh raw herbs or using them in cooking represents the ‘best’ or ‘most natural way’ to take them, this approach is not always possible or optimal. Herbs are seasonal and not necessarily available in all locations. Some herbs cannot be ingested in food quantities and furthermore, in order to concentrate and stabilize the active ingredients, a process of extraction and preservation using a storage medium may be the optimal approach e.g. alcohol, glycerine etc.
- Some people prefer to take a commercial herb capsule or tablet because it is both convenient and they know precisely the dose they are receiving. However, most commercial tablets come with fillers and additives which may not appeal to everyone and furthermore, some people have difficulty swallowing pills.
- Extracts or tinctures can be added to a small glass of water or juice and when consumed, the ingredients are quickly adsorbed by the body. However, some herbs may have an unpleasant taste and not everyone can tolerate the alcohol preservative used in them; glycerine-based alternatives are not always be available and these tend to have a shorter shelf life.
- Using loose dried/powdered herb (e.g. to make herbal tea) may be less convenient but advocates of this approach feel it is the best way to obtain the full spectrum of active ingredients of a herb. Ultimately, the user knows their body best and what works optimally for them and their lifestyle.
35 Herbs For Anger
The following list of herbs for anger is simply a starting point for those interested in pursuing a complementary/alternative way of treating this problem. A comprehensive account of these herbs covering botanical descriptions, modus operandi, uses, contra-indications, warnings, interactions, side-effects etc. could fill many books worth of information and is beyond the scope of this article. Anyone interested in a particular herb should apply due diligence and take the time to investigate further. Please note the following:
- Remember that a particular herb will contain various active ingredients and therefore exhibit a range of properties i.e. treating anger will be just one property of the plant e.g. Agrimony is also said to aid various digestive, liver and kidney problems.
- Read the information located below the following list – it relates to important considerations one should be aware of before taking any herb or natural remedy.
- Most of the herbs listed below can be obtained in either capsule, extract/tincture, tablet and herbal tea/loose dried herb forms. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe usage.
Warning: NEVER ingest an essential oil form of the following herbs unless under strict guidance of a qualified herbalist. Swallowing an essential oil can prove extremely serious or even fatal. The topic of anger, essential oils and aromatherapy is dealt with in a separate article.
Agrimonia or Agrimony (Family: Rosaceae and Genus: Agrimonia)
The genus Agrimonia is a member of the rose family and contains some 15 species. Common Agrimony is the name applied to both Agrimonia eupatoria (Africa/Asia/Europe) and Agrimonia gryposepala (North America).
Helps reduce anxiety, fear, pain, tension and facilitates sound sleep.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)
Burdock (Arctium lappa)
Cannabidiol CBD (dervived from Cannabis)
The cannabinoid CBD (Cannabis has more than 113 known active cannabinoids) is legal in an increasing number of states and countries for numerous medical applications and conditions e.g. anti-inflammatory, countering anxiety, depression and pain.
Catnip (Nepeta cateria)
Chamomile or Camomile (Matricaria chamomilla, syn. Matricaria recutita)
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
Ginseng (Family: Araliaceae and Genus: Panax)
11 species in the genus Panax e.g. American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) or Asian/Chinese/Korean Ginseng (Panax ginseng).
Adaptogen properties – can calm and relax when a person is stressed yet invigorate and boost energy and vitality.
Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica)
Hawthorn (Family: Rosaceae and Genus: Crataegus)
Heshouwu (Fallopia multiflora, syn. Polygonum multiflorum, syn. Reynoutria multiflora)
Hops (Humulus lupulus)
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
Kava (Piper methysticum)
Lavender or Lavandula (Family: Lamiaceae and Genus: Lavandula)
The genus Lavandula is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae and contains 39 species of which English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is the most cultivated species.
Lavender helps balance moods and its soothing and mild sedative nature help release tension.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citrodora, syn Aloysia triphylla, syn. Lippia citrodora )
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
Oats (Avena sativa)
Passiflora (Family: Passifloraceae and Genus: Passiflora)
Peppermint (Mentha × piperita, syn. M. balsamea Willd)
Rhodiola (Rhodiola Rosea)
Rose Hips (Numerous species e.g. Rosa canina)
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Soursop (Annona muricata)
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Tumeric (Curcuma longa)
Excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Verbena (Verbena officinalis)
Wild Lettuce (Lactuca virosa)
Important Considerations Before Taking Herbs and Natural Remedies for Anger
Before starting any herbal treatment or natural remedy/therapy for anger, best practice would be to seek the advice from a qualified practitioner or healthcare professional because:
- Herbal medicines have active ingredients and like conventional pharmaceuticals (many of which are developed or derived from plants) they will have an effect on the body. As a result, treat the marketing terms ‘natural’ or ‘100% safe’ with caution; many ‘natural’ plants are poisonous and furthermore, one cannot say categorically whether a particular individual will be predisposed to having an adverse reaction (e.g. allergy reaction) to a herbal ingredient labelled ‘100% safe’.
- There is the potential for drug interactions between natural remedies and prescribed or over-the counter anger medications e.g. Chamomile may possibly interact with certain heart medications and blood thinners.
- Natural treatments may impact pre-existing or other undiagnosed health conditions and they may produce side effects e.g. Chamomile can increase uterine contractions associated with miscarriages. People with kidney, liver or other serious health conditions should always seek professional advice before taking herbal medicine.
- In general, do not take herbal medicines when pregnant and nursing. If in doubt, consult a qualified health care provider.
Guidelines concerning food safety ratings are published by government regulatory bodies such as the FDA and other organizations e.g. NMCD.
Although common food herbs e.g. Rosemary, are usually safe when taken in normal food preparation amounts, large doses may pose a risk problem. For example, in the case of Rosemary, the recommendations for pregnant women based on its uterus stimulant effect is: ‘Generally Recognized as Safe’ (GRAS) in food amounts but ‘Possibly Unsafe’ in medicinal amounts.
Additional examples regarding pregnancy are: Red Raspberry leaf, Peppermint leaf, Lemon Balm and Oats are considered ‘Likely or Possibly Safe’. Dandelion, Rose Hips and German Chamomile are considered ‘Insufficient Reliable Information Available’.
- Professional advice must always be sought before giving herbal treatments to children. Even when recommended, they must be used with caution.
- Patients must inform their doctors before any surgical procedure is carried out if they are taking herbal medicines. Herbal practitioners will often recommended stopping all herbal medicines 10 -14 days before surgery.
- Herbs, supplements and CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) tend not to be regulated in the same way as conventional pharmaceuticals in most countries. They tend to be classed as foods rather than drugs. Therefore, government bodies e.g. FDA, may not have tested or be able to draw on independent studies undertaken by reputable sources and backed by peer reviewed articles regarding their safety and effectiveness. This means they may in fact be unsafe, ineffective and even fraudulent.
However, advocates of natural treatments counter these claims, for example by noting that many expensive pharmaceutical medications were/are derived from inexpensive herbs in the first place; herbal treatments have been used successfully for millennia and are still used extensively in many parts of the word today; herbs minimize the risk of antimicrobial resistance developing (as seen increasingly with conventional antibiotics) due to their complex nature; they are used in an holistic manner (i.e. every person is different and requires tailored treatment) as opposed to reductionist conventional treatment (i.e. one pill treats everyone equally well regardless of age, gender, immune status etc.); may have fewer unwanted side effects than conventional drugs etc.
- Herbal products should always be sourced from a reputable supplier due to the risk that they may have been incorrectly prepared (e.g. too weak/strong alcohol medium used) or stored (e.g. facilitating high levels of mycotoxins) or alternatively, contaminated with adulterated compounds (e.g. heavy metals, pesticides, traces of other herbs etc.). In addition, the product should always list the ingredients, the herbal strength as well as a use by date.
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This article is for informational and educational purposes only and was not evaluated by the FDA. It is not intended to help diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult a licensed physician or doctor for advice before undertaking any treatment.