8 Herbal Remedies for Anxiety Relief

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While taking medication for anxiety should never be shamed, for some people it does not align with their belief system and they may wish to take natural alternatives to anxiety medication instead.

 

If you’re one of those people, you’ll be happy to know that there are several herbal remedies for anxiety that can be equally as effective as pharmaceutical medications for anxiety, such as SSRIs and benzodiazepines.

 

Here are 8 well-known herbs for anxiety treatment without medication, which you should try if you’re wanting to ditch the drugs!

 

Related: 10 Life Changing Tips to Manage Anxiety Without Medication

 

If you're looking for natural alternatives to anxiety medication, look no further than these 8 herbal remedies for anxiety relief. Some of these herbs for anxiety work just as well as anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines and SSRIs!

 

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Herbal Remedies for Anxiety

 

Passion Flower

 

passion flower for anxiety

 

Passion Flower (Passiflora Incarnata) is an effective remedy for anxiety, insomnia, hysteria and seizures. It has been shown to be effective in cases of acute anxiety as well as in treating Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

 

You may wish to consume Passion Flower towards the end of the day due to its mild sedative effects in some people.

 

Dosage of Passion Flower for anxiety

 

 

Potential side effects of Passion Flower

 

Although rare, side effects may include drowsiness, nausea and vomiting. However, it is generally regarded as safe and non-toxic.

 

Interactions with other substances

 

Potential drug interactions with Passion Flower include benzodiazepines, antihistamines, narcotics, barbiturates, SSRIs, blood thinners, anti-inflammatories, alcohol and caffeine.    

 

Valerian Root

 

valerian root for anxiety

 

Valerian is most commonly used to treat insomnia, reducing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and improving sleep quality. Its effectiveness has also been demonstrated in reducing signs of stress such as high blood pressure and elevated heart rate.

 

Preliminary results from this pilot study suggest that Valepotriates (Valerian extract) may have anxiolytic effects on the psychic symptoms of anxiety in patients with generalised anxiety disorder.

 

Valerian is most commonly taken in capsule/tablet form due to its strong odour.

 

Dosage of Valerian Root for anxiety

 

 

Potential side effects of Valerian Root

 

Reported side effects of Valerian include headache, stomach upset, sluggishness and vivid dreams.

 

Interactions with other substances

 

Known interactions with Valerian include benzodiazepines, alcohol and sedatives.  

 

Chamomile

 

chamomile for anxiety

 

Chamomile, or German Chamomile more specifically, is used to relieve anxiety, stomach issues and inflammation. It is known for its effective use to calm down and unwind before bedtime, promoting a more restful sleep.

 

When compared to placebos, Chamomile may have slight anxiolytic effects on mild to moderate cases of generalised anxiety disorder.

 

While Chamomile is most often consumed in tea form, it is also available in capsules/tablets and tinctures, allowing for easier consumption of higher doses.

 

Dosage of Chamomile for anxiety

 

 

Potential side effects of Chamomile

 

Reported side effects of Chamomile include severe allergic reactions (if allergic to flowers in the daisy family) with anaphylactic shock, skin reactions e.g. eczema and vomiting.



Interactions with other substances

 

Chamomile has the potential to interact with benzodiazepines, barbiturates, narcotics, anti-seizure medications, some antidepressants, blood thinners and alcohol.



Lavender

 

lavender for anxiety

 

Lavender is well-known for its calming aroma and is commonly used in aromatherapy to relax and de-stress. Lavender can be used to treat restlessness, nervousness, insomnia, depression, inflammation and agitation, which may all be symptoms of anxiety. 

 

Lavender oil has been shown to be just as effective as Lorazepam in treating anxiety, minus the sedative effects and addictive qualities.

 

Dosage of Lavender for anxiety

 

  • Aromatherapy: 8 drops in diffuser or cotton pad for inhalation
  • Tea: 1-2 teaspoons dried leaves

 

Potential side effects of Lavender

 

Reported side effects of Lavender when ingested include constipation, headache and increased appetite.

 

Interactions with other substances

 

Lavender may interact with benzodiazepines, narcotics and some antidepressants.

 

Don’t know which lavender oil to purchase? Check out The Top 8 Best Lavender Essential Oils of 2019

 

Lemon Balm

 

lemon balm for anxiety

 

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) may be effective at relieving anxiety, restlessness and insomnia, as well as digestive problems and menstrual cramps. Research also supports its use for improving mood and cognitive function.

 

Lemon Balm is typically consumed in capsule/tablet form but it can also be used as a tincture or added to tea.

 

Dosage of Lemon Balm for anxiety

 

 

Potential side effects of Lemon Balm

 

Possible side effects of Lemon Balm include increased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness and wheezing.

 

Interactions with other substances

 

Lemon Balm may interact moderately with sedatives and thyroid medications.

 

Ashwangandha

 

ashwagandha for anxiety

 

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb commonly used in Ayurveda medicine.

 

Ashwagandha is useful for treating anxiety, depression, social dysfunction, gastrointestional problems, stress and insomnia. It may help to balance hormones and can calm the nervous system. Studies have shown that this plant can significantly lower cortisol levels.

 

A review of five studies on the effects of Ashwagandha revealed that the Ayurvedic herb has significant effects on stress and anxiety reduction. However, according to the review each of the studies had an unclear or high risk of bias.

 

Dosage of Ashwagandha for anxiety

 

 

Potential side effects of Ashwagandha

 

Side effects are uncommon but in large doses it may cause stomach upset, diarrhea and vomiting.

 

Interactions with other substances

 

Ashwagandha is known to interact with immunosuppresants, benzodiazepines, sedatives and thyroid hormone pills.

 

Rhodiola

 

rhodiola for anxiety

 

Rhodiola, also known as golden root, is an adaptogen meaning it is helpful in reducing stress. It has also been shown to increase serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, and therefore also helps with low mood and fatigue.

 

A pilot study on Rhodiola Rosea revealed that it significantly improves symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder. Any side effects observed were generally mild to moderate.

 

Dosage of Rhodiola for anxiety

 

 

Potential side effects of Rhodiola

 

Side effects are rare and usually mild to moderate but include headache, stomach upset, drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, and difficulty sleeping.

 

Interactions with other substances

 

Rhidiola may interact with SSRIs, SNRIs and MAOIs.

 

Skullcap

 

skullcap for anxiety

 

Skullcap is a mild natural sedative, which evidence suggests may be helpful in treating anxiety, insomnia and seizures. It may also be beneficial for symptoms of PMS.

 

Surveys with herbal medicine practitioners reveal that American Skullcap is often used as the alternative treatment of choice in patients with anxiety disorders in the UK.

 

Dosage of Skullcap for anxiety

 

Tincture: 1-2ml thrice daily

 

Potential side effects of Skullcap

 

Skullcap may potentially cause drowsiness as it is a mild sedative. Diabetics should also not consume Skullcap without consulting a doctor because it can lower blood sugar.

 

Interactions with other substances

 

Skullcap may interact with anticonvulsants, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, sedatives, tricyclic antidepressants and SSRIs.

 

Related: Coming off antidepressants: here’s what not to do!

 

Other Considerations

 

  • The information provided in this article is merely a guideline, and will vary between different products
  • Do not exceed the recommended dose on the information label
  • You should not use any of the aforementioned herbal remedies for anxiety without consulting a doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Supporting evidence for the effects of herbal remedies for anxiety are often from small scale pilot studies, further research may be necessary in order to support their efficacy

 

I hope that this post has provided some helpful options if you are wanting to try natural alternatives to anxiety medication.

 

Remember, everyone is different and if these herbal remedies for anxiety don’t work for you then that’s okay. There is no shame in taking medication if it is necessary to ensure your safety and well-being.

 

If there is any other herbs for anxiety that you think should make the list then don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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