Holistic medicine practitioners have long known about the many herbal remedies that are effective at reducing anxiety and stress. Since these seem to be so common in our culture today, it’s important to look for natural ways to manage these emotions and get the help you need when it gets to be too much. Incorporating these herbs into your daily routine could help you work on projects more effectively, get out of bed each morning, and focus on the most important tasks each day. Here are ten herbs to add to your diet if you’re looking for an all-natural way to deal with anxiety:
Valerian is an herb that is used to reduce anxiety, stress and insomnia. It’s one of the most widely used herbs in Europe and has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal herb. Valerian can be effective on its own or in combination with other herbs to reduce anxiety and stress. Some people like the simplicity of valerian capsules or tincture, while others find drinking it in a tea form can be a great way to ease stress or anxiety.
Chamomile is an herb that has been used in teas and tinctures for centuries. It’s known to help reduce anxiety and stress, as well as insomnia and headaches. Chamomile is also good at treating cramps — in addition to the physical discomfort caused by muscle tension, these cramps can lead to other symptoms like nausea or vomiting in women. Chamomile tea is often thought to be safe for children as well. Many health practitioners might even recommend it as part of adolescent anxiety treatment, especially if you are trying to avoid medications first.
Chamomile is thought to work through its mild sedative properties, which can calm nerves without causing drowsiness. The plant also contains compounds called flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory effects on the body, thus reducing inflammation throughout the body when you consume it regularly in your diet.
Ashwagandha is a plant native to India that has been used as a medicinal herb for over 3,000 years. It’s known as an adaptogen and can help reduce stress, decrease anxiety and depression, boost immunity and improve sleep. Ashwagandha is also an anti-inflammatory which means it can reduce pain in the body by reducing swelling and inflammation caused by injuries or illness.
Fields of lavender flowers can be a relaxing sight. And it’s no wonder. Lavender is an aromatic herb that has a relaxing effect and can be used to reduce stress and anxiety. It can be included in bath water, as a massage oil or even placed in a diffuser. Some people even find help through lavender essential oil that they mix with a carrier oil in a roller bottle and carry with them.
Lemon balm is a powerful anti-anxiety herb that can be used to treat anxiety disorders as well as general feelings of nervousness and tension. It has been shown to have similar effects on the brain as other common anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines, but without the side effects that many people experience from those drugs. Lemon balm also has other health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties, antidepressant effects, and anti-insomnia effects. All of these are tied to anxiety and stress as well.
Kava kava is a traditional medicinal herb that has been used in the Pacific Islands for thousands of years. It’s thought to be effective in treating anxiety, stress, and insomnia. The rootstock of this plant contains chemicals known as kavalactones, which have sedative properties that work by increasing GABA levels in your central nervous system. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps calm down neurons in your brain that are overactive when you feel stressed out or anxious.
Passionflower is a perennial herb that grows in the United States, Europe, and Asia. The leaves are used to make medicine. You don’t need a prescription to buy passion flower as a dietary supplement in the United States. However, other regions have regulations that limit the distribution of this flower.
Passionflower is often used for anxiety disorders like panic attacks, general anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some research has suggested that passionflower may be helpful for sleep problems such as insomnia.
Magnolia bark is a popular herb in traditional Chinese medicine and is used to treat anxiety, stress, insomnia, depression, and pain. The most common way to get the benefits of magnolia bark is to steep it in a tea. Many people find that making tea with multiple herbs and plants that have similar anti-stress properties is even more effective than simply taking one.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort is a perennial flowering plant native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It has been used in folk medicine for centuries. St John’s wort is used to treat a number of conditions, including anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It is also used to treat nerve pain and skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.
Skullcap is a calming herb that can help reduce anxiety, stress, and nervousness. Taking a capsule with this in the morning before work can help to alleviate tension and nervousness associated with presenting big projects and more.
Final Thoughts on Herbs for Stress and Anxiety
Herbs are natural and safe to use, unlike many of the prescription drugs out there. While there are some contraindications that people should be aware of, most herbal remedies are gentler and safer for the average person to take. Herbs are not addictive or habit-forming, nor do they contain toxic chemicals when they are grown in the right conditions.
It’s important to work with an herbalist or holistic doctor who is trained in using herbal remedies if you would prefer to go this route. There are many benefits to using these herbs, and as thousands of years’ worth of experience reveal, the side effects are minimal, if not negligible. As long as you are not on other medications and you have no medical conditions that would be a contraindication to taking these herbs, steeping a hot tea can reduce your anxiety and stress.