Nancy Dell: Chamomile to help relax

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1.  A few weeks ago you discussed chamomile to help relax.  Is there anything else that can help?
-Karen

Life is hectic and many of us look for help to reduce anxiety. Besides chamomile, here are 3 other options. A compound found in tea leaves called L-theanine increases the calming brain chemical dopamine. It also counteracts the stimulation effect from the caffeine in the tea.
Experts recommend an L-theanine supplement or you can drink real tea. A study in The Journal of Nutrition found drinking 4 cups of green tea provides the 100 milligrams of L- theanine recommended for anxiety. You can drink it hot or cold in place of some water.
A second option is lemon balm. A 2011 study gave participants with mild to moderate anxiety 300 mg of lemon balm twice a day. After 2 weeks, signs of anxiety were reduced 18 percent and insomnia reduced 42 percent. The researchers say lemon balm promotes relaxation by boosting the brain chemical GABA.
Kava is a third option. It has been used for centuries as a ceremonial drink in the Pacific Islands. A review of 7 studies show, Kava can be effective in just 1 week and as effective as valium to reduce anxiety.
FDA has a warning for Kava because in rare cases Kava may harm the liver. Experts think it may be from contaminated Kava or high alcohol use. This is why you should be under a doctor’s supervision to watch your liver function.

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