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    Drug-free tranquility (Valium without the Valium) 
    #1
    I'm a 27 year old male. I was addicted to Valium/Xanax for several years. Other things too, like opiates, but benzos were my favorite. I quit about three years ago and have been free of it since, but I've always chased after that feeling of tranquility I got from using these drugs. I felt so relaxed that nothing could bother me; I was effectively invincible against any kind of emotional upset and so could have a great day, every day. Of course, being drugs, that wasn't sustainable and eventually my tolerance rose, then my addiction, etc. But I still wanted to chase that feeling. I've just about got it back, using supplements, dietary changes, and nutrition.

    I'm going to talk a little about chemistry and psychology here, but I'm only a layman. I wish I had found a guide like this before I spent a few thousand dollars testing different herbs and supplements, so I've compiled what worked for my particular body chemistry in the hopes that someone else may find this and save themselves a lot of time and money. These are just starting points, please research the herbs/supplements I write about on your own to verify things for yourself.

    Right now and for the past several weeks, I have been able to go sit on a chair on my back porch and just completely melt away any stress or thought. I can recreate the heavy-body feelings and even the chills I used to get on Valium and Xanax. I can feel as though I am backfloating down a warm river without a care in the world, and that feeling goes with me as I go to work, etc., assuming I am able to stay mindful of my emotional states. I feel I have successfully recreated the sensations I was seeking without the use of a hard pharmaceutical drug. You may opt to try this without the dietary or meditation components, or mix and match as you see fit. I can only vouch for the results of combining all these things, however, as that's what I'm doing now.

    What I'm doing right now to feel tranquil:


    Valium and Xanax (any benzodiazepine) works by enhancing your GABA-A receptors, which are your brains inhibitory neurons. This is the part of the brain we want to focus in on if we want to recreate the sensations of using a benzo. Because everything in your brain has an opposite, it's important to note that glutamate is the opposite of GABA - glutamate is your excitatory neuron, and GABA is your inhibitory. GABA = good. Got it.

    My routine:

    - low-carbohydrate diet. This puts your body into a state of ketosis. This diet was originally formulated because of its stabilizing effect on the brain; it actually reduces the rate at which epileptics have seizures. This has been well-documented. It is thought this occurs because fat creates a more stable, "cleaner-burning" energy source for your brain than using glucose (carbohydrates.) Google "Ketone diet" for the exact science on this.

    - Meditation! I personally am Buddhist, but meditating has been proven to raise GABA. It's no wonder that controlling your brain and quieting it down exercises your inhibitory neurons. You don't need to be religious to meditate, though. The current psychology buzz-word for it is "mindfulness" and you can find plenty of non-religious self-help books on mindfulness and meditation and how they can change your brain. I highly recommend the book "Buddha's Brain" (available on Amazon and for Kindle) which gives a neuroscientist's perspective on meditation.

    My stack:
    This stuff is subtle. These are supplements I take every day to slowly support my brain's GABA systems, and form the baseline of my efforts (along with diet and meditation.)

    - A good B vitamin. Particularly one with lots of P5P, which is necessary to build your GABA.

    - A lot of magnesium. Potentially a supplement that doesn't also have calcium, which shares the same channels as magnesium. Chelated magnesium is going to absorb the best.

    - American Ginseng. Expensive, and hard to prove its efficacy. However, some experiments have shown it potentiates GABA.

    - Theanine. A compound found in green tea, an amino acid with an effect on GABA.

    - Picamilon. A form of GABA synthesized with niacin, available online. Has been proven to pass the blood-brain barrier, where standard GABA does not.

    Some other good, non-GABA supplements are: Fish oil, huperzine-A, and a good multi-vitamin.

    Things to avoid:
    Raising your GABA naturally isn't just about taking steps to increase it, it's also about recognizing the things you do which reduce it.

    -Caffeine. I still use caffeine to get by, but I try to drink primarily green tea. Matcha tea is amazing for this - it is about 20x stronger than standard green tea and is absolutely one of my best finds on my journey to reduce anxiety without hard drugs. Matcha tea is green tea in a finely powdered form, prepared for thousands of years by Japanese monks. You mix the green tea powder (has the consistency of flour) into warm water and actually consume the tea leaf, rather than simply steeping it in water. You can easily get the same amount of caffeine from a cup of Matcha as from a cup of coffee, but the Matcha will be loaded with l-theanine, which will help balance out the caffeine and give you less jitters. It is also loaded with more vitamins and minerals than I can count. Research Matcha.

    -Alcohol. I still drink, but it's important to recognize that hangovers are going to wreck your GABA supply. A few drinks are fine, but if you are waking up every morning feeling dry and brittle and hungover, then you will not be able to reach the state of calm you are seeking.

    -Marijuana antagonizes GABA, and will reduce your feeling of calm while under its effects.

    -Other powerful drugs. GABA is subtle and requires clarity to experience. You cannot be tranquil and also racing along with a rush of opiates or adrenaline, so recognize that you aren't going to naturally maintain a feeling of calm, alert tranquility while you are using these other drugs. This includes Kratom, which will cause anxiety in its withdrawal stages.

    -Sugar! Sugar is a stimulant.

    Things that help for occasional usage:

    - Phenibut. This is a pretty powerful way to calm yourself down, though it also makes me sleepy. It is a prescription drug in some countries (Russia) and shouldn't be taken daily. However, if I am having a panic attack or know I'm in for a really tough day, I rely on Phenibut to get me through. I personally only take one or two pills a week, and I wouldn't recommend taking more than four a day and never two days in a row. It does not bring the feeling of euphoria or relaxation that benzo's do, and is not a very pleasant drug to take - but it can get the job done.

    -Taurine. You can buy a bottle of a 100 pills for about $7 at most nutritional stores. At times when I feel I have a very high, jittery energy level, taking about ten of these will cause an intense calming effect. Taurine has shown to be harmless and seems to affect your brains inhibitory systems. They put this stuff in energy drinks to try and balance out the jitteryness you get from so much caffeine. Again, it only works situationally, and taking this every day seems to lessen its effect. Another one to add to the arsenal for a bad day, but not to take every day.

    - Valerian root. Valerian Root contains valeric acid, which is very very similar to valproic acid, which is the anti-seizure medicine Depakote. There are many other compounds at work in Valerian root, and it never seems to work for me after extended periods of time. Perhaps the body builds up a tolerance quickly, but it just don't work for me as a daily supplement. However, if I get a good strong (standardized) brand and take 4-6 of them at once, maybe once a week, I will get a very strong "Xanax-esque" feel. Warning: Valerian root STINKS AWFUL.

    - Skullcap. Another great herb that has definite anti-anxiety qualities. Again, like with Valerian, tolerance seems to come on very quickly. It's a great one to combine with Valerian (more later). Skullcap feels much "lighter" than Valerian, whereas Valerian can come with a heavier, sleepy feeling.

    - Lotus Flower. I use this primarily in tinctures, which I will explain below. It definitely has a sedative effect, though it is very subtle. Sometimes subtle is best, though. Ignore any reports that this is a hallucinogen, because it's not, but it will definitely act as a mild sedative. Another good one to use occasionally if things get bad. You are looking for the active compound 'nuciferine' here, and this comes in a few forms. Pink Lotus/Blue Lotus are the names you're looking for, the exact plant I use is 'nelumbo nucifera.'

    All of these solutions work much better on an empty stomach!


    TINCTURES: Because I use the herbs above primarily as "emergency measures" to stack atop my meditation/nutritional/vitamin regiment, I like to make tinctures out of them. Take a giant glass jar, fill it half-full with dried herbs (order online, perfectly legal) and then fill it to the brim with vodka. Shake it up every few days. I filter out a little to drink after about 5 days, as needed, but leave the herbs/vodka together for up to five or six weeks as it will continue to get more potent. Right now I have a combination skullcap/valerian tincture that will cause a very strong GABA-ergic effect if I drink less than a shot of it. Tastes awful, so have a chaser ready.


    Things that didn't work/backfired on me:

    - Adjusting my serotonin levels was my first attempt at capturing a feeling of calm. This is mainly done by taking either 5-HTP or Trytophan, both of which will boost your serotonin. St. John's Wort is a natural and somewhat effective SSRI, as well. Serotonin works to regulate your mood and is the opposite of Dopamine, which is your brain's pleasure/reward system. Raising Dopamine will make you horny, emotional, and may cause feelings of euphoria and friendliness. Raising Serotonin will cause a sort of emotional deadening. If you have ever taken an SSRI (Paxil, Zoloft, etc.) then you know the feeling of having artificially enhanced Serotonin.

    Ultimately I did not like having enhanced serotonin. It caused erectile dysfunction (much like prescription SSRI's) and left me feeling very sleepy and dead inside. The sleepiness is probably because melatonin (makes you sleepy) shares a lot of the same precursors as serotonin, and raising one might raise the other. I did not feel alert or mindful with enhanced serotonin, like I do on my present GABA plan.

    - Taking a GABA amino acid. The idea that you can just eat whatever substance is happening in your brain, and that it will simply appear in abundance in your brain because you ate it, is flawed. Eating GABA actually made my heart race and gave me a coppery taste in my mouth, and gave no anti-anxiety effect. Do not recommend. Picamilon is the better choice, here, and even its effects could be placebo.

    - Enhancing my dopamine. I did this with tyrosine/mucuna pruriens. Felt good in some ways, sorta opiate-like, but increased cravings and anxiety.

    - Things that sorta worked/failed:

    Kava Kava: Pretty weak on me, mixed results even trying from multiple suppliers. Definitely GABA-ergic, though. Others have reported much better results, so it could be a result of my biochemistry.

    Chamomille: Very mild, causes as much sleepiness as anti-anxiety.

    Melissa/Lemon Balm: Meh. Almost no anti-anxiety effects I could notice. Does make a delicious tincture though.

    St. John's Wort: More of a long-term SSRI. I was able to get some of the same side-effects as a prescription SSRIs. Leads me to believe this works, but only as a mood stabilizer and not as a way to achieve tranquility.

    Sam-E: Felt like a stimulant/upper. Not bad, but not going to make me calm. Also, very expensive.

    Rhodea Rosea: Excellent herb for general energy and well-being, but not for inducing calm.

    Phosphatidylserine: No noticeable affect on calmness.

    "Calms" supplements: Made by Hylands. Did nothing for me.


    One of the most important things about capturing a feeling of calm is to remember that it's as much about what you do not do, as what you actively do. Meditation is very important here, as is staying away from stimulants and hangovers. Because I am not taking any sorts of drowsiness-inducing drugs during the day, I feel fine subsisting on small amounts of caffeine from green tea and matcha. It is worth noting that I have an otherwise healthy brain, except for the years of drug abuse I put it through. I do not think I am naturally prone to ADHD, depression or mania. I have some generalized anxiety disorder which this has treated nicely.

    Anyway, I hope this helps anyone else out there interested in finding a calm state of mind. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer. I tried pretty much every herb or amino acid that claimed to calm anxiety, and these were the winners for me.
    Last edited by Nocks; 01-06-2012 at 19:18.
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    #2
    Bluelighter
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    good post
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    #3
    Very nice post. I'm going to try some of this. Thanks.
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    Bluelighter stef^on^e's Avatar
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    This is such a usefull and informative post. Definitely surprised to hear about the effects of taurine, I always presumed this was a stimulat seeing as its in so many energy drinks
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    #5
    Sourcing is not permitted anywhere on Bluelight - CO2 extracted kava so its way more natural and safe than any alcohol or solvent based extraction and it is a juice drink so it tastes really good too. Pretty strong kava as well - I definitely feel the effects better than any other kava product I've tried. It definitely takes the edge off and I don't even drink alcohol now because of it. Different things work for different people but I truly believe kava is the next big natural anti-anxiety / good time elixir.
    Last edited by CHiLD-0F-THE-BEAT; 03-06-2012 at 00:59.
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by miggitymike View Post
    Sourcing is not permitted anywhere on Bluelight - CO2 extracted kava so its way more natural and safe than any alcohol or solvent based extraction and it is a juice drink so it tastes really good too. Pretty strong kava as well - I definitely feel the effects better than any other kava product I've tried. It definitely takes the edge off and I don't even drink alcohol now because of it. Different things work for different people but I truly believe kava is the next big natural anti-anxiety / good time elixir.
    I will have to try that out. I have tried Kava from multiple sources, including from a grower in Hawaii. Like I said, it definitely had a calming effect on me, it just didn't work as strong as Valerian/Skullcap or Phenibut. Because I hated the taste of Kava (it numbs your mouth) I wasn't prone to try it too much. That said, I definitely agree that Kava has a calming effect and is the real deal. All of these remedies are very dependent on the chemical makeup of the user and so some things are going to be stronger with some people than others. I'll try this juice though and see what's up, thanks for the information.
    Last edited by CHiLD-0F-THE-BEAT; 03-06-2012 at 00:59.
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    #7
    Nocks: Fantastic write up, really do appreciate it!

    For someone who has just started having problems with anxiety in the past few years and has only experimented with Valerian, St Johns, and Rhodiola, what would you say is the 1 best supplement to take when in emergency situations?
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Giog View Post
    Nocks: Fantastic write up, really do appreciate it!

    For someone who has just started having problems with anxiety in the past few years and has only experimented with Valerian, St Johns, and Rhodiola, what would you say is the 1 best supplement to take when in emergency situations?
    I do one of two things presently if I am having a serious panic day.

    1 gram of Phenibut and 300 mg of Picamilon. The Phenibut is my strongest anti-anxiety supplement but it takes a long time to kick in (hour or so). On an empty stomach, Picamilon is pretty immediate. It is lighter and easier on the brain and hits fast. Just search Amazon for capsules of these, they are legal and all, but a little pricey ($20 for a couple month's worth).

    My other option, one I used for longer and still a very effective, requires eating a lot of capsules. It's...


    6 Standardized Valerian (get something which says it is standardized with a certain level, the higher the percentage of the valerinic acid, the better) and 6 Skullcap (there are some excellent organic brands for skullcap but no standardized/enhanced versions I've seen.)

    With herbs you want to try and get reputable companies who understand you can't just dry out some weed and throw them in a capsule.

    A great herb to go with the mix above is Damiana. It has a mood lifting quality but gives some people headaches. It is a little like marijuana but much milder, and has sometimes lifted me straight out of serious depressions, if only for a few hours.

    Another thing you can pretty much always takes that is sometimes very potent is just magnesium supplements. These have a calming effect on me often, and you don't have the issue of taxing your liver/kidneys as much as you might with the solutions above.

    To directly answer your question:
    If I could only take one supplement out of my whole batch for emergencies, it would probably be Phenibut. That is the most potent anti-anxiety supplement I have found so far. It is actually a prescription anti-anxiety medication in Russia. Also, Phenibut can be habit forming and it can cause anxiety when you withdraw from it. For this reason you must be very careful about using it, it is not a long-term "take it every day" solution. If you find yourself taking it for more than 4 or 5 days in a row you MUST stop taking it for a few days or you will pay for it later.

    If I could only take one herb, it would probably be Valerian Root, but Skullcap is a good contender because it is less sleepy.
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    #9
    Nice thread mate.

    What kind of Magnesium do you recommend? I have Mg Oxide and I heard that is the weakest version you can get. I just want to know if I'm wasting my time with it.

    Also what brand of B vitamins do you recommend (are we allowed to post brands here; don't know.)? I occasionally take Vitamin B6, something like 40 mg/day. I feel a bit calmer after that.
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by kx_ View Post
    Nice thread mate.

    What kind of Magnesium do you recommend? I have Mg Oxide and I heard that is the weakest version you can get. I just want to know if I'm wasting my time with it.

    Also what brand of B vitamins do you recommend (are we allowed to post brands here; don't know.)? I occasionally take Vitamin B6, something like 40 mg/day. I feel a bit calmer after that.
    I am told that Chellated Magnesium (chellation is a process by which the magnesium is prepared) is the most bio-absorbable. You can get blends of chellated magnesium, though I'm told that Magnesium Glycinate is the best. I haven't been able to find that, so I use a supplement that has several types of Magnesium in it, all chellated. There is also an excellent powdered magnesium called "Calms" that you dissolve into water, and though it is a bit pricey, it does seem quite potent.

    Re: B vitamins - I am told that the most important B vitamin for anxiety is P5P. This is the nutrient your body needs to build up your GABA receptors, which are what make you calm. Especially if you're doing a low-carb diet like me, you need B vitamins because you won't be getting them from fruit.

    No commercial information on brands etc. Keep it generic please.
    Last edited by CHiLD-0F-THE-BEAT; 08-06-2012 at 04:59.
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    #11
    Bluelighter deaf eye's Avatar
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    damn i feel like i got a long lost brother or something

    did ya ever try holy basil ?

    does your tinctures have extra gaba potential cuz of the alcohol
    i thought alcohol affects your gaba receptors the way benzos do

    but i havent done my benzo homework since i lost the obbsession with them 5 months ago
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    #12
    Bluelighter panic in paradise's Avatar
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    check out Ashwagandha / Withania Somnifera.

    that is what i use and it has a many benefits.
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    #13
    Bluelight Crew Bomboclat's Avatar
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    Have you tried using an Alpha-Stim machine or acupuncture? Nothing is more tranquil without druggin' than those two (especially combined).


    Great write up btw!
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    #14
    Bluelighter panic in paradise's Avatar
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    ^i love acupuncture, have been meaning to go back actually.
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    Hell yea! This is exactly what I was looking for, I have been trying to come up with a solid plan for a cool minute now... I just got out of a month rehab program few weeks ago (6 weeks sober!) and yes, benzos and norcos were my main thing... and then I totally lost control and even caused self-harm from being too fucked up! Now that I'm clean, I honestly don't feel too happy still, surprisingly, I don't know if I'm actually depressed or something but my emotions go up and down daily, I really wish I was "barred out" again, I feel like I cannot manage without it... but ughhhh I'm never taking another benzo again!

    One thing I've been thinking about (and you mention) is not to overdo it with Kratom, which I use daily (and make some profit from!), cause I kinda depend on it for my anxiety and for mood lifts... but I KNOW I need to take a little break at least cause I can feel I'm becoming a little too dependent on it for sure...

    I have recently purchased Kanna, Aniracetam, and Kava! I can HIGHLY suggest Kanna dude, it's definitely worth a try just don't buy it from any "shaman" websites, it's definitely an uplifter and very safe! Aniracetam I've read over and over that it helps with anxiety but honestly I'm just not sure if I'm feeling that, or maybe I'm not taking enough, either way I'd also recommend a -racetam supplement no doubt (among other reasons)! And KAVA... Nocks, I think you need to buy or try it from a reputable vendor (PM me I have a good site) because I also never had luck with it buying and trying the 40% extract, and all kinds in stores, which is a huge mistake buying in a store they're worthless! I have since bought some LEGIT Instant Kava and I'm playing around with the dosage but it felt great when I tried it 2 nights ago though now I shall be buying a plain root, for best results.

    Phenibut is something I've been depending on for a long while hehe, definitely cannot use it more than twice a week, and actually combining it with a -racetam potentiates the hell out of it and makes it feel as if you're trying it for the first time You cannot combine it with Picamilon they cancel each other out ... Now I definitely wanna try Skullcap, never did before, and I wanna try making a tincture with your steps, sounds great!
    Also, thank you for reminding me to MEDITATE, damn it.. my lazy ass hasn't been doing that at all ever since I got back though we did it almost daily there in rehab... Need to start! Love this thread I'll be keeping an eye on it and trying to contribute as well, WE must attain enlightenment somehow someway!

    Quote Originally Posted by panic in paradise View Post
    check out Ashwagandha / Withania Somnifera.

    that is what i use and it has a many benefits.
    What exactly do you get out of it?? Is it something that effects you right away or like gotta build up in your system??

    Oh, and does anyone include that Yerba Mate in their life?? I've been wanting to purchase that as well and replace my morning coffee with it!
    Last edited by CHiLD-0F-THE-BEAT; 30-07-2012 at 11:57.
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    #16
    Bluelighter panic in paradise's Avatar
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    ^its one of the most beneficial things we can consume.

    Stress, environmental toxins, and poor nutrition all have a detrimental impact on our nervous systems.
    Scientific studies support ashwagandha’s ability not only to relieve stress, but also to protect brain cells against the deleterious effects of our modern lifestyles.
    For example, in validated models of anxiety and depression, ashwagandha has been demonstrated to be as effective as some tranquilizers and antidepressant drugs. Specifically, oral administration of ashwagandha for five days suggested anxiety-relieving effects similar to those achieved by the anti-anxiety drug lorazepam (Ativan®), and antidepressant effects similar to those of the prescription antidepressant drug imipramine (Tofranil®).

    Scientists speculate that some of ashwagandha’s benefits stem from its antioxidant properties and ability to scavenge free radicals.10
    Two main classes of compounds—steroidal alkaloids and steroidal lactones—may account for its broad range of beneficial effects. Steroidal lactones comprise a class of constituents called withanolides. To date, scientists have identified and studied at least 12 alkaloids and 35 withanolides. Much of ashwagandha’s pharmacological activity has been attributed to two primary withanolides, withaferin A and withanolide D.11
    Other studies reveal that ashwagandha has antimicrobial properties, with antibacterial activity against potentially dangerous bacteria, including Salmonella, an organism associated with food poisoning. This activity was demonstrated in cell cultures as well as in infected laboratory animals.12
    Additional studies show that ashwagandha root extract enhances the ability of macrophage immune cells to “eat” pathogens, as compared to macrophages from a control group that did not receive ashwagandha.13
    source

    No it isn't euphoric, and tastes awful...supposedly like horse piss, hence the name, but it is for the wild horse.
    Last edited by panic in paradise; 30-07-2012 at 09:26.
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    Bluelighter Zerix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by panic in paradise View Post
    ^its one of the most beneficial things we can consume.

    Stress, environmental toxins, and poor nutrition all have a detrimental impact on our nervous systems.
    Scientific studies support ashwagandha’s ability not only to relieve stress, but also to protect brain cells against the deleterious effects of our modern lifestyles.
    For example, in validated models of anxiety and depression, ashwagandha has been demonstrated to be as effective as some tranquilizers and antidepressant drugs. Specifically, oral administration of ashwagandha for five days suggested anxiety-relieving effects similar to those achieved by the anti-anxiety drug lorazepam (Ativan®), and antidepressant effects similar to those of the prescription antidepressant drug imipramine (Tofranil®).

    Scientists speculate that some of ashwagandha’s benefits stem from its antioxidant properties and ability to scavenge free radicals.10
    Two main classes of compounds—steroidal alkaloids and steroidal lactones—may account for its broad range of beneficial effects. Steroidal lactones comprise a class of constituents called withanolides. To date, scientists have identified and studied at least 12 alkaloids and 35 withanolides. Much of ashwagandha’s pharmacological activity has been attributed to two primary withanolides, withaferin A and withanolide D.11
    Other studies reveal that ashwagandha has antimicrobial properties, with antibacterial activity against potentially dangerous bacteria, including Salmonella, an organism associated with food poisoning. This activity was demonstrated in cell cultures as well as in infected laboratory animals.12
    Additional studies show that ashwagandha root extract enhances the ability of macrophage immune cells to “eat” pathogens, as compared to macrophages from a control group that did not receive ashwagandha.13
    source

    No it isn't euphoric, and tastes awful...supposedly like horse piss, hence the name, but it is for the wild horse.
    Awesome! I read before it had something to do with anxiety too thank you for confirming, and didn't know it was antimicrobial heh pretty cool.. I shall definitely give this a try gonna order bulk powder and capsule myself I think

    And since we're on topic of anxiety herbs... anyone had success with Mulungu before?
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    the best thing which helped with my anxiety was long distance running every morning upon waking, left me with a feeling like i was on opiates for the rest of the day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bighooter View Post
    the best thing which helped with my anxiety was long distance running every morning upon waking, left me with a feeling like i was on opiates for the rest of the day.
    Yes running and other forms of cardio exercise do help. Even if it's just going on a long walk.

    Also getting into daily meditation can help anxiety too.
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    #20
    I keep hearing magnesium.

    I have heard mag. Chloride topical is absorbed best.
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    Ex-Bluelighter Dunno's Avatar
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    How does Phenibut compare with Alprazolam? Would it be a good replacement? If yes, what dose am i looking at? eg. what would be a good dose of Phenibut in comparison to say for example 6mg Alprazolam?
    Last edited by Dunno; 05-08-2012 at 10:47. Reason: Added more to post
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    Bluelight Crew Mysterie's Avatar
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    ^ from what I read phenibut withdrawals are terrible so i think id heed the advice of using sparingly on 'bad' days

    does anyone have any good links to healthy ketone recipes / meal plans? or able to expand on what to focus on/avoid eating
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    Ex-Bluelighter Dunno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nocks View Post
    I'm a 27 year old male. I was addicted to Valium/Xanax for several years. Other things too, like opiates, but benzos were my favorite. I quit about three years ago and have been free of it since, but I've always chased after that feeling of tranquility I got from using these drugs. I felt so relaxed that nothing could bother me; I was effectively invincible against any kind of emotional upset and so could have a great day, every day. Of course, being drugs, that wasn't sustainable and eventually my tolerance rose, then my addiction, etc. But I still wanted to chase that feeling. I've just about got it back, using supplements, dietary changes, and nutrition.

    I'm going to talk a little about chemistry and psychology here, but I'm only a layman. I wish I had found a guide like this before I spent a few thousand dollars testing different herbs and supplements, so I've compiled what worked for my particular body chemistry in the hopes that someone else may find this and save themselves a lot of time and money. These are just starting points, please research the herbs/supplements I write about on your own to verify things for yourself.

    Right now and for the past several weeks, I have been able to go sit on a chair on my back porch and just completely melt away any stress or thought. I can recreate the heavy-body feelings and even the chills I used to get on Valium and Xanax. I can feel as though I am backfloating down a warm river without a care in the world, and that feeling goes with me as I go to work, etc., assuming I am able to stay mindful of my emotional states. I feel I have successfully recreated the sensations I was seeking without the use of a hard pharmaceutical drug. You may opt to try this without the dietary or meditation components, or mix and match as you see fit. I can only vouch for the results of combining all these things, however, as that's what I'm doing now.

    What I'm doing right now to feel tranquil:


    Valium and Xanax (any benzodiazepine) works by enhancing your GABA-A receptors, which are your brains inhibitory neurons. This is the part of the brain we want to focus in on if we want to recreate the sensations of using a benzo. Because everything in your brain has an opposite, it's important to note that glutamate is the opposite of GABA - glutamate is your excitatory neuron, and GABA is your inhibitory. GABA = good. Got it.

    My routine:

    - low-carbohydrate diet. This puts your body into a state of ketosis. This diet was originally formulated because of its stabilizing effect on the brain; it actually reduces the rate at which epileptics have seizures. This has been well-documented. It is thought this occurs because fat creates a more stable, "cleaner-burning" energy source for your brain than using glucose (carbohydrates.) Google "Ketone diet" for the exact science on this.

    - Meditation! I personally am Buddhist, but meditating has been proven to raise GABA. It's no wonder that controlling your brain and quieting it down exercises your inhibitory neurons. You don't need to be religious to meditate, though. The current psychology buzz-word for it is "mindfulness" and you can find plenty of non-religious self-help books on mindfulness and meditation and how they can change your brain. I highly recommend the book "Buddha's Brain" (available on Amazon and for Kindle) which gives a neuroscientist's perspective on meditation.

    My stack:
    This stuff is subtle. These are supplements I take every day to slowly support my brain's GABA systems, and form the baseline of my efforts (along with diet and meditation.)

    - A good B vitamin. Particularly one with lots of P5P, which is necessary to build your GABA.

    - A lot of magnesium. Potentially a supplement that doesn't also have calcium, which shares the same channels as magnesium. Chelated magnesium is going to absorb the best.

    - American Ginseng. Expensive, and hard to prove its efficacy. However, some experiments have shown it potentiates GABA.

    - Theanine. A compound found in green tea, an amino acid with an effect on GABA.

    - Picamilon. A form of GABA synthesized with niacin, available online. Has been proven to pass the blood-brain barrier, where standard GABA does not.

    Some other good, non-GABA supplements are: Fish oil, huperzine-A, and a good multi-vitamin.

    Things to avoid:
    Raising your GABA naturally isn't just about taking steps to increase it, it's also about recognizing the things you do which reduce it.

    -Caffeine. I still use caffeine to get by, but I try to drink primarily green tea. Matcha tea is amazing for this - it is about 20x stronger than standard green tea and is absolutely one of my best finds on my journey to reduce anxiety without hard drugs. Matcha tea is green tea in a finely powdered form, prepared for thousands of years by Japanese monks. You mix the green tea powder (has the consistency of flour) into warm water and actually consume the tea leaf, rather than simply steeping it in water. You can easily get the same amount of caffeine from a cup of Matcha as from a cup of coffee, but the Matcha will be loaded with l-theanine, which will help balance out the caffeine and give you less jitters. It is also loaded with more vitamins and minerals than I can count. Research Matcha.

    -Alcohol. I still drink, but it's important to recognize that hangovers are going to wreck your GABA supply. A few drinks are fine, but if you are waking up every morning feeling dry and brittle and hungover, then you will not be able to reach the state of calm you are seeking.

    -Marijuana antagonizes GABA, and will reduce your feeling of calm while under its effects.

    -Other powerful drugs. GABA is subtle and requires clarity to experience. You cannot be tranquil and also racing along with a rush of opiates or adrenaline, so recognize that you aren't going to naturally maintain a feeling of calm, alert tranquility while you are using these other drugs. This includes Kratom, which will cause anxiety in its withdrawal stages.

    -Sugar! Sugar is a stimulant.

    Things that help for occasional usage:

    - Phenibut. This is a pretty powerful way to calm yourself down, though it also makes me sleepy. It is a prescription drug in some countries (Russia) and shouldn't be taken daily. However, if I am having a panic attack or know I'm in for a really tough day, I rely on Phenibut to get me through. I personally only take one or two pills a week, and I wouldn't recommend taking more than four a day and never two days in a row. It does not bring the feeling of euphoria or relaxation that benzo's do, and is not a very pleasant drug to take - but it can get the job done.

    -Taurine. You can buy a bottle of a 100 pills for about $7 at most nutritional stores. At times when I feel I have a very high, jittery energy level, taking about ten of these will cause an intense calming effect. Taurine has shown to be harmless and seems to affect your brains inhibitory systems. They put this stuff in energy drinks to try and balance out the jitteryness you get from so much caffeine. Again, it only works situationally, and taking this every day seems to lessen its effect. Another one to add to the arsenal for a bad day, but not to take every day.

    - Valerian root. Valerian Root contains valeric acid, which is very very similar to valproic acid, which is the anti-seizure medicine Depakote. There are many other compounds at work in Valerian root, and it never seems to work for me after extended periods of time. Perhaps the body builds up a tolerance quickly, but it just don't work for me as a daily supplement. However, if I get a good strong (standardized) brand and take 4-6 of them at once, maybe once a week, I will get a very strong "Xanax-esque" feel. Warning: Valerian root STINKS AWFUL.

    - Skullcap. Another great herb that has definite anti-anxiety qualities. Again, like with Valerian, tolerance seems to come on very quickly. It's a great one to combine with Valerian (more later). Skullcap feels much "lighter" than Valerian, whereas Valerian can come with a heavier, sleepy feeling.

    - Lotus Flower. I use this primarily in tinctures, which I will explain below. It definitely has a sedative effect, though it is very subtle. Sometimes subtle is best, though. Ignore any reports that this is a hallucinogen, because it's not, but it will definitely act as a mild sedative. Another good one to use occasionally if things get bad. You are looking for the active compound 'nuciferine' here, and this comes in a few forms. Pink Lotus/Blue Lotus are the names you're looking for, the exact plant I use is 'nelumbo nucifera.'

    All of these solutions work much better on an empty stomach!


    TINCTURES: Because I use the herbs above primarily as "emergency measures" to stack atop my meditation/nutritional/vitamin regiment, I like to make tinctures out of them. Take a giant glass jar, fill it half-full with dried herbs (order online, perfectly legal) and then fill it to the brim with vodka. Shake it up every few days. I filter out a little to drink after about 5 days, as needed, but leave the herbs/vodka together for up to five or six weeks as it will continue to get more potent. Right now I have a combination skullcap/valerian tincture that will cause a very strong GABA-ergic effect if I drink less than a shot of it. Tastes awful, so have a chaser ready.


    Things that didn't work/backfired on me:

    - Adjusting my serotonin levels was my first attempt at capturing a feeling of calm. This is mainly done by taking either 5-HTP or Trytophan, both of which will boost your serotonin. St. John's Wort is a natural and somewhat effective SSRI, as well. Serotonin works to regulate your mood and is the opposite of Dopamine, which is your brain's pleasure/reward system. Raising Dopamine will make you horny, emotional, and may cause feelings of euphoria and friendliness. Raising Serotonin will cause a sort of emotional deadening. If you have ever taken an SSRI (Paxil, Zoloft, etc.) then you know the feeling of having artificially enhanced Serotonin.

    Ultimately I did not like having enhanced serotonin. It caused erectile dysfunction (much like prescription SSRI's) and left me feeling very sleepy and dead inside. The sleepiness is probably because melatonin (makes you sleepy) shares a lot of the same precursors as serotonin, and raising one might raise the other. I did not feel alert or mindful with enhanced serotonin, like I do on my present GABA plan.

    - Taking a GABA amino acid. The idea that you can just eat whatever substance is happening in your brain, and that it will simply appear in abundance in your brain because you ate it, is flawed. Eating GABA actually made my heart race and gave me a coppery taste in my mouth, and gave no anti-anxiety effect. Do not recommend. Picamilon is the better choice, here, and even its effects could be placebo.

    - Enhancing my dopamine. I did this with tyrosine/mucuna pruriens. Felt good in some ways, sorta opiate-like, but increased cravings and anxiety.

    - Things that sorta worked/failed:

    Kava Kava: Pretty weak on me, mixed results even trying from multiple suppliers. Definitely GABA-ergic, though. Others have reported much better results, so it could be a result of my biochemistry.

    Chamomille: Very mild, causes as much sleepiness as anti-anxiety.

    Melissa/Lemon Balm: Meh. Almost no anti-anxiety effects I could notice. Does make a delicious tincture though.

    St. John's Wort: More of a long-term SSRI. I was able to get some of the same side-effects as a prescription SSRIs. Leads me to believe this works, but only as a mood stabilizer and not as a way to achieve tranquility.

    Sam-E: Felt like a stimulant/upper. Not bad, but not going to make me calm. Also, very expensive.

    Rhodea Rosea: Excellent herb for general energy and well-being, but not for inducing calm.

    Phosphatidylserine: No noticeable affect on calmness.

    "Calms" supplements: Made by Hylands. Did nothing for me.


    One of the most important things about capturing a feeling of calm is to remember that it's as much about what you do not do, as what you actively do. Meditation is very important here, as is staying away from stimulants and hangovers. Because I am not taking any sorts of drowsiness-inducing drugs during the day, I feel fine subsisting on small amounts of caffeine from green tea and matcha. It is worth noting that I have an otherwise healthy brain, except for the years of drug abuse I put it through. I do not think I am naturally prone to ADHD, depression or mania. I have some generalized anxiety disorder which this has treated nicely.

    Anyway, I hope this helps anyone else out there interested in finding a calm state of mind. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer. I tried pretty much every herb or amino acid that claimed to calm anxiety, and these were the winners for me.
    How much Taurine do you use?

    I know you said about ten pills but how many mg is in one pill?
    thanks
    Last edited by Dunno; 06-08-2012 at 09:29. Reason: Added more to post
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    #24
    Bluelighter System7's Avatar
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    congratulations on quitting the benzos, staying off these for the last three years surely must have helped your sober state if mind.
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    #25
    Ex-Bluelighter Dunno's Avatar
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    Out of that whole list from the OP & others, what are some (If any) that are close or come pretty close to Alprazolam?

    Thanks
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