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Public Speaking Phobia Dissolves with Herbs

Q. I have been a middle school teacher for 37 years. I have never had a problem speaking to my students or their parents, but otherwise public speaking turns me to Jell-O.

I recently needed to give a speech at my own retirement party. After worrying for a month, I logged on and found an article about valerian and hops. I checked with my pharmacist to make sure there were no interactions with my meds, then went ahead (said some prayers) and took a capsule about 15 minutes before I had to speak.

It was like a miracle–I was able to get up and do a four-page thank-you speech that was actually funny! It just took the edge off and my voice didn’t even waver.

A. Thanks for sharing your story. Valerian is sometimes paired with other herbs such as lemon balm or skullcap to help overcome daytime anxiety. Hops are more often used in the evening to promote sleep.

Another reader shared her success with a valerian and skullcap mixture. She used it to get good sleep the night before a performance and half an hour before it started to calm her nerves.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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