Q: I’ve heard that echinacea can help with anxiety, but I thought that echinacea was an immune booster. Can you explain?
A: It’s understandable that there would be some confusion about this. The fact is, while echinacea is well known for bolstering the immune system, a specialized extract may have the ability to calm the nerves and relieve anxiety.
The echinacea extract (EP107) has shown promise in studies for anxiety relief, suggesting a relaxing effect in the brain similar to Valium or Librium, but potentially without their pharmacological side effects.
The discovery and development of this specialized extract of Echinacea angustifolia came about at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Researchers found that it contained compounds that could influence brain chemistry, including cannabinoid receptors. Endocannabinoid receptors are known to influence the way the brain experiences anxiety. A subsequent study published in Phytotherapy Research also suggested the extract may be fast acting.
Women and men with anxiety, assessed using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, a validated method in measuring the condition’s levels, used this specialized echinacea extract for one week and evaluated their anxiety before, during, and after using the product. Self-reported anxiety levels were significantly lower after three days and the effects remained stable for the duration of the seven-day trial as well as for two weeks following treatment.
One of the most important benefits of this echinacea extract (EP107) may be that it could provide individuals with a sharp contrast to conventional medications in terms of safety and side effects. It may prove to be an effective herbal option to relieve nervousness, tension, and restless nights for those dealing with anxiety—whether from occasional stressful situations or long-term daily struggles.
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