Anxiety can be a part of life during specific & challenging life events, but when it becomes more of a common occurrence it’s important to look for potential hormone disruptions that are fuelling the fire. A particular type of PMS for example, known as PMS-A - relates to anxiety along with nervous tension, irritablity, mood swings and insomnia - in other words - an overdrive of the nervous system that is causing excessive adrenaline release.
Melissa, otherwise known as Lemon balm is a favourite herb of mine for treating these kinds of symptoms. It has a beautiful nourishing quality to calm down the nervous system, and there have been some interesting studies around its use for improving stress, anxiety and depression in teen girls age 14-17 years old. Using the herb daily for 3 months significantly improved symptoms when dosed appropriately. This is thought to be due to lemon balm’s antispasmodic & anxiolytic effects. This lovely herb also increases GABA levels - which is a neurotransmitter in your body that calms down an overactive nervous system (fight or flight) to balance brain function and bring it back to normal.
Histamine is another aspect of chronic inflammation that can contribute to hormonal anxiety, as it drives oestrogen higher and vice versa. Oestrogen is one of the major hormones of the menstrual cycle, and when elevated will create problems.
Ways to get started with reducing pre menstrual anxiety -
~ eliminate cow dairy for a couple of months as this can certainly drive histamine levels higher. See how you feel for leaving it out. You may be able to tolerate sheep or goat dairy, or maybe cut out all together in favour of dairy free options.
~ drink lemon balm tea daily - 3 cups is medicinal so try having particularly on your PMS days
~ vitamin B6 - this helps to boost GABA, the calming neurotransmitter but also clears histamine. Try having 100mg daily for a while and gauge how your body responds.
~ magnesium in a form such as bisglycinate or citrate at around 3-400mg daily can be a great supporter of many hormonal symptoms including anxiety. Particularly if the mix contains the amino acid taurine (there are some available on the shelf, or ask your health practitioner for brand recommendations.
If you find you struggle with ongoing stress or mood imbalances, these can be gentle ways to support your body and help with calming down.
Always consult your health care professional before starting any supplements or herbs. This is for information purposes only.
Written By Mikaela Duffy