I travel a lot for work, but I have a fear of flying. I get incredibly anxious before each flight.
Q. Dear Terry, “I travel a lot for work, but I have a fear of flying. I get incredibly anxious before each flight and sometimes have to use prescription drugs to relax. I would like to use something natural instead, what can I try?” — Shay S., Eagan, MN
A. Dear Shay, To rule out other potential causes of what you are experiencing, I encourage you to consider discussing this with your healthcare practitioner.
Whether you suffer from occasional or frequent anxiety, I would recommend adding narrow-leaved coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia) to your daily regimen. Researchers have discovered that compounds in this unique type of coneflower can help reduce anxiety as effectively as certain prescription medications, without the side effects. These compounds have been shown to attach to certain brain receptors, which helps to instill a sense of calm and relaxation.
I would take 20 to 40 mg once or twice per day of the coneflower extract on the day of, or several days before you have to fly. You can also take this echinacea daily to help prevent anxiety as well. Make sure you look for a clinically studied, narrow-leaved coneflower root extract that is standardized for echinacosides.
Other techniques like breathing exercises, meditation, and visualization can also be very helpful for calming anxiety.