Anxiety comes in different forms, and can limit or disrupt daily routines if not properly cared for. We've compiled a list of the best herbs for anxiety.
Herbs have been used in medicine for hundreds of years, particularly Ayurvedic medicine. They do not require a prescription from a doctor, and are more gentle on the body than antibiotics or over-the-counter medicines.
If you have anxiety, try one of these natural herbs, but always check with a doctor if you are taking other medications that might cause a reaction. Keep reading for the best herbs for anxiety.
Chamomile flowers are known for their calming effects, and can be consumed through tea, extract, or pill form. Studies have shown it may even lessen the severity of an anxiety relapse if taken consistently. Chamomile can also be consumed to help deal with sleep problems, and to help aid digestion.
Valerian has been used for years to help lessen anxiety and promote better sleep. The acid in the plant help relax the body. Be aware that taking valerian may make you feel sleepy, as it has a sedative effect – studies show that it’s effective in treating sleep problems as well. You can consume valerian in tea, tincture, or tablet form.
Tip: Learn how to make tinctures to create a concentrated botanical extract out of a herb.
Ashwagandha is one of the best herbs for anxiety and stress. This type of plant is an adaptogen and helps the body better deal with cortisol, the stress hormone. You can take this as a tea or in supplement form. With time, this plant should help the body naturally adapt to stress, returning it to baseline levels.
Learn more: Ashwagandha Health Benefits & Drawbacks
A 2010 study found that passionflower may work similarly to stress reducing prescription drugs in reducing anxiety. This flower has been shown to produce calming and sedative effects on the body, so it is best taken before bed, not during the day.
This herb for anxiety works to soften the body’s alarm system, calming the system back to more-normal levels. Drink this in your tea or in liquid form as an extract.
You may have heard lavender used as a calming herb, as even its scent alone is said to reduce stress. Lavender can help reduce anxiety, and can be taken in a tea form, oil, or added into a bath. The chemicals in lavender are said to calm the brain and work well as short term remedies for anxiety. If taken one hour before sleeping, lavender may help ease the brain into a natural sleep.
Did you know that you can use lavender to make a calming herbal tea as well?
The kava plant has been studied for its affect on anxiety – results show that consuming it helped to reduce anxiety and stress. Taking low doses daily over a few weeks can reduce anxiety, though taking it on the spot may also work. Always contact a doctor before consistently taking high doses of herbs and supplements. Kava can be taken in liquid form (as in a tea or drink) or in tablet form.
7. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is another one of the best herbs for anxiety and to calm the body. It may produce a sedative effect, so it is recommended to take before bed rather than during the day. Taken in tea form or capsule, lemon balm is a good addition to other teas, like chamomile or lavender.
8. St. John's Wort
St. John’s Wort can help reduce anxiety by naturally increasing serotonin in the brain. This herb is commonly taken as a capsule, and can be a good short term answer to anxiety levels spiking. Often this herb is used to help treat depression as well as anxiety.
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