Natural remedies for panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Anxiety
HEALTH HERBS & NUTRITION - REMEDIES - CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS - ANXIETY

· General Description

· Herbal & Homeopathic Remedies

· Helpful Dietary Habits

· Dos and Don'ts

Natural herbal & homeopathic products for anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorders, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

General description and overview of anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorders, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

(This matter also comes under the heading of panic disorders, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD))

Our body and brain with respect to our behavior are so intricately entwined that mental health poses problems and diseases that are more widespread, varied and complex than diseases linked to any other organ of our body. In spite of many researchers making great progress in probing, understanding and treating various mental illnesses, both in terms of the biochemistry of the brain and of the genetic factors that may predispose certain people, this area is still as intriguing as it has always been.

Like physical illness, many mental illnesses are identified by a number of characteristic symptoms, ages of onset and patterns of recurrence. Some of them include anxiety disorders, stress, insomnia, depression, schizophrenia, manic-depressive disorders etc.

Around 10% of the population suffers from some form of mental illness excluding those who suffer from alcohol and drug abuse, and anxiety disorders are the most common. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), phobias, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive problems.

Herbal & homeopathic products recommended for anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorders, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

SocialFear Relief

Homeopathic remedy relieves social fear; anxiety; nervousness; shyness and stage fright.

Product Details

PureCalm

Aids nervous system in stress resistance for balanced moods and feelings of well being

Product Details

MindSoothe™

Promote balanced mood, emotional health and feelings of wellbeing.

Product Details

ANXIETY

Anxiety (medically known as GAD-generalized anxiety disorder) can be broadly termed as a state of fear generally arising from a particular cause or threat, which may or may not be obvious to the sufferer. This feeling of apprehension, tension or uneasiness comes when you expect danger. Remember, a little bit of anxiety is needed to perform difficult tasks well but too much of it normally interferes with your functioning, constricts your life and restricts you from generating a positive response in a given situation. Its intensity varies from slight anxiousness to terror, and depending upon the circumstances, it becomes acute or chronic.

For a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) to be made, at least three of the following four categories of anxiety symptoms must have been present for a minimum of a month:

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Motor tension - restless, cannot relax, muscle tension, trembling, shaky, jumpy, facial tics.

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Autonomic hyperactivity - sweating, cold, feeling hot or cold, a thudding heart, fast heartbeat (tachycardia), clammy hands, dry mouth or copious amounts of saliva, dizzy, chest pains, fatigue, light headed, hands/feet tingling, upset stomach, boating, desire to urinate and defecate, fast or troubled breathing (dyspnea), feeling of suffocation.

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Apprehensive expectation - anxiety, fear, constant worry and anticipation of misfortune to self and others.

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Vigilance and scanning (looking out for nothing) - distractible, dizziness or poor concentration, sleep disturbances including insomnia and more rarely tremor, irritable, impatient, anxious thoughts, feeling a need to escape, constantly on the lookout.

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In extreme cases, a feeling of utter helplessness and inability to carry out normal everyday activities.

Anxiety disorders are usually psychological in origin, but they are also linked to stress. Anxiety symptoms may sometimes accompany medical problems like hyperthyroidism, nutritional deficiencies, chemical and hormonal imbalances and other conditions. Factors such as genetics and early life experiences may play a role. Certain drugs which you take may also be responsible for your anxiety. At times, no specific cause can be attributed to the sufferer’s condition.

Herbal supplements & remedies for anxety, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The word ‘cure’ in itself is difficult to define with respect to mental diseases and a primary reason to it has been the elusive nature of any remedy for such diseases. But off late, increased degrees of control over them have been successfully exercised

PANIC DISORDER/PANIC ATTACKS

When anxiety becomes so acute and intense that it paralyzes the sufferer, s/he is in a state of panic disorder. An example includes: you are standing in a shopping mall and suddenly your heart starts pounding and you feel you are going to die. You in all probability will think of it to be a heart attack, but after such attacks have recurred several times, you will realize that the sudden shortness of breath, heart palpitations and the feeling of impending death are not the result of cardiac problems, but a fear inside. These unpredictable attacks are of short duration but very intense, and generally occur in people who otherwise don’t feel as anxious in the same circumstances as they feel during the attack. If left untreated, such panic disorders can develop into a psychological syndrome of avoidance known as agoraphobia (discussed below) which is even more difficult to treat.

PHOBIAS

Phobias are defined as obsessive, persistent, irrational, involuntary, unrealistic, inappropriate and intense fear reaction to certain objects or specific situations. These reactions generally lead the sufferer to an avoidance of common places, objects and situations. Phobias can be classified into three types-simple, social and agoraphobia.

Simple phobias are fairly common, affecting about 3% of the population, and they hardly interfere with daily life. Simple phobic people experience a dread for a particular object, place or situation like someone being afraid of crossing a bridge. Acrophobia-fear of heights, claustrophobia-fear of confined places, mysophobia-fear of dirt and germs, xenophobia-fear of strangers are all examples of simple phobias. Some others, and quite strange, phobias include aulophobia-fear of the flute, iophobia-fear of rust etc.

Social phobias make people avoid public situations, like parties, because they are afraid of doing something to embarrass themselves or get humiliated.

Agoraphobics are victims of a complex phenomenon which is based on a fear of strange places and crowd, which makes them stay back at the familiar set up of the home.

Although not classified separately, panophobics fear everything.

Phobia is always irrational and phobics know that. Therefore, it is considered that phobia is a fear of fear itself and a fear of one’s impulses. Phobics anticipate a panic attack and have fear of loosing control over themselves. Although they usually organize their daily schedules to avoid the objects they fear (although it is not possible in each case and every time), without treatment, most of them become isolated in their homes.

Recent research shows that phobia may not be related to your mental state only. In effect, there is a very high chance that it is nothing but the result of an underlying malfunction within the inner ear system. Therefore, it makes complete sense to check out with an ear specialist in case you have some phobia, particularly those related to fear of heights or falling down.

OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE PROBLEMS/OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD)

Although low on count, people suffering from this disorder are plagued with recurrent, persistent and intrusive obsessions (thoughts, images, ideas or impulses) and feel compelled to perform these seemingly useful rituals (compulsions like washing hands or combing hair) to the point of absurdity. Compulsions are basically repetitive and stereotyped behaviors usually intended to produce or prevent some future event or situation.

The disease sufferer realizes that the urge is uncalled for, but is unable to resist it and gives up to it. Off course, after the action, there is a temporary relief from the tension and extreme anxiety that gets build up in the process. As the sufferers are unable to change their behavior on their own, they become depressed due to extreme distress caused. This further deteriorates their social, occupational and relationship functioning.

Symptoms & homeopathic medicines & remedies for anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Also, it is generally seen that if one of your parents had a phobia, you may be predisposed to one, though it may not be the same as your parent’s. That is why; many practitioners feel that phobias are not only psychological but also biologically based. In effect, much evidence suggests that they are a combination of both

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

This is experienced by people who have been subjected to traumatic events such as combat exposure, and soon develops into a long term stress reaction. The symptoms may appear or intensify long after the trauma has passed. The sufferer experiences recurrent, troubling thoughts and memories and frightening dreams or nightmares. S/he tends to become extremely anxious and irritable and gets startled quite easily.

Sometimes, the patient may seem to just withdraw in his own shell, lose interest in things he usually enjoys, and say that he feels detached from others and feels numb. S/he is also likely to develop other disorders such as alcoholism and depression along with PTSD, hence the immediate family’s involvement is essential to take him out of the current situation.

In the US alone, more than 5 million people get affected by PTSD due to events such as war, physical or sexual assault or abuse, accidents such as an airplane crash or a serious motor vehicle accident, or a mass disaster. These subjects may have faced the trauma themselves or might have been a witness to it.

It is believed that when one suffers from PTSD, one’s mind isn't able to process all the thoughts and feelings as it usually does. It is also believed that certain areas of the brain involved with the feeling fear may be hyperactive in people with PTSD. People who are generally susceptible to PTSD are :

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with a history of depression or other psychological disorder

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with a history of sexual or physical abuse

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working in a high-risk occupation, such as army, firefighting or law enforcement

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alcoholics or drugs users

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with social insecurity

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women, as they are twice as likely as men to have symptoms of PTSD

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Herbal & homeopathic remedies for anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorders, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

There are a number of herbal and homeopathic ingredients which may be of assistance, without the negative side effects of prescription drugs.

A holistic approach that addresses not only the symptoms of anxiety disorders, but the root cause and underlying imbalances, can help provide all-round support and natural health. Natural remedies have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years to support the healthy functioning of the body, helping to encourage normal and efficient functioning of all the body systems. In more recent times, research has confirmed this traditional wisdom. Natural remedies for anxiety disorders can include herbs such as St John’s Wort. Clinical studies have demonstrated that this herb can be just as effective as prescription drugs, without the side effects. The calming effects of other herbs such as Passiflora incarnata, Scutellaria laterifolia (Scullcap) and Valerian, can help to take the edge off the initial exposure to the feared object or situation and reduce over-all anxiety. These remedies can be taken without the worry of unwanted side-effects and can help to restore the body’s natural balance and serenity.

There are also certain homeopathic remedies which are prescribed for specific Phobias and which can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and panic which accompany the phobia. Discuss these options with your doctor or consult a homeopath or naturopath for advice.

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Hypericum perforatum (also known as St. John’s Wort) - This ancient herb, which has become slightly controversial of late, is found throughout Europe and America. It is being used since last 2000 years for treating nervous disorders and burns and skin irritations. St. John’s Wort is distinguished from other similar looking plants by black spots on the flower petals and translucent spots on the leaves. The yellow flowers of this plant give brick red colored oil which it gets from a pigment known as hypericin. Other elements contained are flavonoids, tannins and hyperforin. Together, these constituents of St. John’s wort give it excellent antidepressant qualities. In today’s world, this herb’s mood lifting property has gained considerable fame and importance and its use in modern herbal medications as an antidepressant and for fighting nervous fatigue, negativity and sleeping difficulties has increased by the day. Hypericin is supposed to act similarly as MOAIs - monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressants, and on the other hand hyperforin, the other important constituent of St John’s Wort, enhances this antidepressant activity by having a positive effect on the serotonin activity in the brain.

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Passiflora incarnata (also known as Passion Flower) - This climbing shrub is native to South America but some of its 450 odd species can be found in colder climate of North and Central America as well. This medicinal variety is some times confused with the cultivated variety that produces passion fruit. All its aerial parts; the stamen, three lobed indented leaves and bright showy flowers that have white petals covered over by pinkish violet filaments, have medicinal properties. The main constituents are maltol, ethyl maltol, indole alkaloids and various antioxidants. Mainly maltol and ethyl maltol and to some extent the antioxidants present impart the sedative property to this herb for which it is quite famous. In effect it is so effective yet gentle, that even children are given preparations based on passionflower for treating insomnia, anxiety and nervous system originated palpitations and digestive problems. It is believed that passionflower works by increasing levels of a chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA lowers the activity of some brain cells, resulting in relaxation.

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Lavandula augustifolia (Lavender) - This bushy shrub belongs to the Mediterranean herbs family, and well, since the Roman times. In effect, Romans used to perfume their bathing water with lavender. Although the whole plant is aromatic, including the its narrow silvery leaves and thin erect stems, it’s the lavender flower which is most aromatic of the lot and also the one used extensively and quite popularly in herbal medicinal preparations. The main production zone of lavender oil is southern France. The essential oil of lavender’s purple flowers appearing on the spikes is rich in a lot of constituents having medicinal properties, mainly linalool, terpinene-4-ol and linalyl acetate. Lavender is a well known herbal remedy for treating mental stress, depression, anxiety and tension headaches. It is due to the calming and sedative effects of its constituents.

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Kalium phosphate (Kali. phos. D6) is a homeopathic brain and nerve tonic par excellence as well as an amazing nerve nutrient. Used regularly it helps to calm and uplift the spirit and soothe common nervous tension and everyday stress. Kali. phos. is the most widely recommended tissue salt for soothing worry and distress.

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Natrium sulphate D6 (Nat. phos.) is derived from sodium sulphate. The principal function of Nat. sulph. is a cell cleanser and regulator. Optimal levels of Nat. sulph. in the body will help to ward off those common feelings of discouragement and dismay – when even the thought of getting out of bed seems too much to cope with! Short tempers, sudden furies and dismal moods – all respond well to Nat. sulph. - an excellent general mood tonic for people of all ages!

   

Herbal & homeopathic products recommended for anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorders, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

SocialFear Relief for anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

SocialFear Relief

Homeopathic remedy relieves social fear; anxiety; nervousness; shyness and stage fright.

Product Details

PureCalm for anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PureCalm

Aids nervous system in stress resistance for balanced moods and feelings of well being

Product Details

MindSoothe for anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

MindSoothe™

Promote balanced mood, emotional health and feelings of wellbeing.

Product Details

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Dietary recommendations in anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorders, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Though it is a psychological state, anxiety usually manifests itself in physical symptoms, and now it is widely believed by many physicians that diet can help ease, and may even eliminate, some of these symptoms.

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Anxiety causes or aggravates depletion of essential nutrients which is further increased if you skip a meal or loose appetite, e.g. it is known that our body rapidly uses up reserves of vitamin C when under stress. Therefore, it is crucial to have a balanced diet and eat regularly. This habit will also help in maintaining balanced blood sugar which in turn will help to stabilize mood.

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Take small amount of protein and avoid processed and refined foods. Eat whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, protein from plants (legumes and nuts, for example) and fish to nourish the nervous system and avoid common food allergens are dairy, soy, citrus, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, fish, wheat, fish, eggs, corn, food colorings, and additives.

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A lack of magnesium and vitamin B6 in your body may also be associated with your anxiety. Magnesium is believed to relieve from mild anxiety attacks. Other than dietary magnesium, some doctors also recommend soaking in a hot tub containing 1–2 cups of magnesium sulfate crystals (Epsom salts) for 15 to 20 minutes. Vitamin B6 believed to work in the brain similar to valium-like drugs, hence their importance in your diet or as supplements.

Good dietary sources of vitamin B6 and magnesium are
- B6 vitamin – B6 vitamin is easily found in chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, shrimp, beef liver, lentils, soybeans, nuts, avocados, bananas, carrots, brown rice, bran, pulses, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, and whole-grain flour.
- Magnesium – shellfish, fish, whole grains, leafy greens, Soya beans, bananas, beans, apricots

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Inositol, which is a part of the vitamin B-complex is found quite effective in treating anxiety, especially obsessive-compulsive problems and PTSD, as it helps the nervous system function properly. Its dietary form is phytate and its rich sources include nuts, beans, wheat and wheat bran, cantaloupe, citrus fruits like oranges and meat.

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The age old remedy of having sweet milk or other sweet milky drinks at bed time has its own scientific background. These products contain the amino acid tryptophan and carbohydrates in the form of sugar. Tryptophan stimulates the production of serototin which calms the mind and induces sleep. Sugar helps indirectly by making your body release insulin which in turn binds to other amino acids, thereby giving tryptophan an easier access to the brain. This makes the release of serototin even faster, thereby helping you in overcoming anxiety.

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Many people feel that alcohol is a tranquillizer or stimulant; in fact it is a depressant. It is detrimental for your health to the extent that during the withdrawal phase, which occurs 6 to 12 hours after drinking, when blood sugar levels are low, people are highly susceptible to anxiety attacks.

Helpful dietary habits in anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Caffeine – which is mostly taken through coffee, tea, plain-dark chocolates, caffeine-containing madicines and certain cola drinks – is a stimulant. Although it enhances the mental as well as physical performance if taken in small quantities, it can lead to agitation if taken in large amounts. The situation is grave if you are sensitive to caffeine, like generally in the case of people who have repeated panic attacks. This is so because caffeine re-creates some of the symptoms they have during panic attacks

Dos and don'ts and precautions in anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorders, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Some of the above mentioned problems can be treated with medications while others react more favorably to psychotherapy in which the patient is encouraged to confront the sources of his fear.

A few techniques available are

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Stay away from stressful situations as this can help alleviate anxiety. If a physical cause is attributed to as the reason for your anxiety, your doctor will treat you accordingly. Otherwise, short-term counseling can boost your self-esteem and help you learn coping strategies and problem-solving techniques. Stress management therapy can help you overcome fear and anxiety, and to break the cycle of negative thoughts.

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The reversal of negative thinking is extremely important in dealing with phobias. Let the fear come but shift away from the negative thoughts by assuming you will not get hurt instead of assuming the opposite.

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You should try and expose yourself to the objects you fear, albeit little by little. It is difficult but this exposure treatment will definitely help you in getting used to the object. Each encounter that you overcome should be praised by yourself as this will boost your self-confidence and further help you in controlling the situation.

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Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) - Play mind games when time calls for, like while you are traveling by air if you have a phobia of air travel. Do simple things, which are quite manageable, like reading a book or taking deep-measured breaths, so that your involvement with fear-generating thoughts and images is reduced. You may also drift yourself away, mentally, into far fetched pleasant thoughts to avoid anxiety. Basically, the goal of cognitive therapy is to allow you to control your fear and anxiety, and a qualified psychotherapist can help you learn techniques in this regard.

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Don’t rest when panic attack comes. People feel that rest will calm down your nervous system when you are agitated, but the reverse is true. You got to burn your excess adrenaline to calm down instead.

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Acupuncture - Acupuncture can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety, particularly when combined with behavioral desensitization (including psychotherapy). Although acupuncture has been the subject of limited research as a therapy for anxiety, studies show that benefits continue as long as one year after treatment. Acupuncturists believe that it is the excess or deficiency of qi located in various meridians which determines the treatment. In case of anxiety, a qi deficiency is usually detected in the kidney or spleen meridians. Generally, acupuncturists also employ breathing techniques along with herbal medications and dietary recommendations.

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Biofeedback is another technique used for overcoming anxiety. It involves a machine, which examines your bodily functions that occur involuntarily, like heart rate and temperature. As you see how your body reacts to stress, you learn to control the reactions, and eventually you can perform the techniques to control the reactions without using a machine. It is particularly helpful in treating PTSD.

Dos & don'ts and natural herbal & homeopathic remedies for anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is seen that people having panic attacks and phobics are generally perfectionists who are usually hard on themselves. This makes exposure treatment a little difficult as step by step exposure and reassurance and appraisal from within at every step is extremely important. This, these perfectionists are hardly willing to give themselves as the quantum of perceived success is very small. So, don’t be so hard upon yourself and take full credit for clearing every hurdle.

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Hypnosis - A trained hypnotherapist can successfully treat certain PTSD cases very effectively, especially those related to war, sexual assault (including rape) and vehicle accidents. Hypnosis induces a deep state of relaxation, which makes the sufferer feel safe and less anxious. This decreases the intensity of intrusive thoughts and lets the patient become involved in daily activities again. As is the case with other alternative therapies, hypnosis is also generally used along with psychotherapy like group or family therapy. Hypnosis is also used in treating phobics.
 

 

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Herbal & homeopathic products recommended for anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorders, panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive-compulsive problems and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

SocialFear Relief

Homeopathic remedy relieves social fear; anxiety; nervousness; shyness and stage fright.

Product Details

PureCalm

Aids nervous system in stress resistance for balanced moods and feelings of well being

Product Details

MindSoothe™

Promote balanced mood, emotional health and feelings of wellbeing.

Product Details