Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder, in which you experience obsessive fears and thoughts which are unreasonable, and this leads to repetitive behaviours (compulsions). For instance, you may wash your hands to the point of soreness because of your irrational fear of contamination with germs.
But if you realize the unreasonable nature of your obsessions and try to stop them, then that only further exacerbates your anxiety and distress, which leads to more compulsive behaviours.OCD may be brought on by stress, particularly in those with a family history of the disorder. However, specific genes responsible for the disorder have not yet been identified. Low levels of serotonin, a chemical messenger in the brain, have also been held responsible for the disorder. This is borne out by the fact that symptoms seem to improve with medications that facilitate serotonin’s action.
Top Herbal Remedies for OCD
While psychotherapy and medications can help you cope with the symptoms, you can also take the help of these herbal remedies either alone or in combination with conventional therapy. However, always consult a psychiatrist before trying out any of these herbal remedies.
St. John’s Wort
Some studies have shown that St. John’s wort may be no better than a placebo in the treatment of OCD. However, there are other studies that show that it is as efficacious as some of the SSRIs that are prescribed for OCD. St. John’s wort preparation is got from the leaves and flowers of Hypericum perforatum. Its active ingredients are hypericin and pseudohypericin.
The dose is 300 mg, thrice daily. It may take up to 4 weeks for the effects to be significant. Do not stop it at once, but gradually taper the dose whenever you want to stop taking it. It has mild side effects, such as stomach upset, fatigue, skin rash, headache, dizziness and dry mouth.
Several studies have shown that kava extract may be as efficacious as some of the antianxiety drugs that are prescribed commonly. Kava extract is prepared from the root of Piper methysticum, the active ingredients being kavalactones or kavapyrones, such as methysticum, kawain and dihydrokawain.
These chemicals affect the chemical messengers in the brain (neurotransmitters). Dose is 300 mg/day. Because of concerns of liver toxicity with the use of kava, you should give a gap of 2 weeks for every 3 months of being on it.
Valerian extract is derived from the root of Valeriana officinalis. It acts as a sedative on the nervous system and brain. Dose is 200 mg 3-4 times/day. It is generally safe at medicinal doses, though occasionally it can cause mild side effects, such as headache, uneasiness, or sometimes sleeplessness.
American ginseng is prepared from the root of Panax quinquefolius. It contains the chemicals called ginsenosides, which have a calming effect and relieve the stress. Take 100-200 mg, twice or thrice daily. Some if its side effects are diarrhea, sleeplessness, itching, nervousness, and headache.
Gotu kola extract contains the chemicals called triterpenoids, which decrease anxiety and improve mental function. It is derived from the aerial parts of Centella asiatica. Dose is 50-250 mg, 2-3 times/day. Side effects include headache, nausea, stomach upset, dizziness, and drowsiness.
Caution: Please use Remedies after Proper Research and Guidance. You accept that you are following any advice at your own risk and will properly research or consult healthcare professional.