Stress and anxiety have become common conditions many of us deal with. Sometimes these issues crop up due to workplace burnout or other life situations. Other times, people may experience anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety.
Regardless of why you experience these symptoms, they can be hard to deal with. What’s more, not everyone enjoys taking prescription medications as a way to deal with the stress and anxiety they experience. Thankfully, there are several herbal remedies for stress and anxiety that you can purchase over-the-counter and take as a supplement, use in aromatherapy, or enjoy as part of an herbal tea.
Disclaimer: Although the information contained in this article was heavily researched before publication, neither the author nor the publication have formal medical training. Always seek professional advice before using any natural remedies for stress and anxiety.
1. 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
Believe it or not, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a naturally occurring compound in your body. It’s what later becomes the neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) in your body, like serotonin. Because of this relationship, doctors have studied it as a natural remedy for anxiety.
Although initial results look promising, this compound can interact with prescription medications that include serotonin, such as antidepressants. Therefore, you should absolutely discuss this option with your doctor before trying it out yourself.
Withania somnifera, more commonly known as winter cherry or ashwagandha, is an evergreen shrub that primarily grows in the Middle East and parts of Africa. Some small studies have determined that this herbal remedy can lower anxiety symptoms and reduce stress hormones within the body. However, not much is known about how this ancient herb interacts with modern medications, and it hasn’t yet been tested in a large clinical trial.
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is one of many cannabinoids that can be extracted from cannabis plants. Unlike THC, CBD appears to have no psychoactive properties. Although no clinical trials have happened just yet, several studies have found that CBD may offer calming effects to users, meaning it may help individuals with anxiety disorders. CBD is widely available throughout the United States in many forms, including tablets, tinctures, vaping, or as topical ointment.
Many people are aware of chamomile’s calming properties. In fact, it’s often one of the herbs included in teas and supplements that are designed to help individuals with sleep disturbances. Therefore, it’s no surprise that chamomile is also one of the herbal remedies for anxiety that made it onto this list.
Although this herb is mostly safe, individuals on blood-thinning medications should not ingest chamomile without first consulting a doctor since it can cause increased bleeding for those on blood thinners. Also, some people experience severe allergic reactions to chamomile and related plans, like ragweed, daisies, and marigolds.
5. Galphimia Glauca
The small evergreen shrub galphimia glauca grows in the tropical and subtropical regions of North America, including Mexico. It has been used as a natural tranquilizer in the past due to its calming effects. In smaller doses, it can provide natural anxiety relief to anyone who uses it. Common side effects include drowsiness and slowed breathing, so it should not be taken in conjunction with other sedatives.
6. Holy Basil
Ocimum tenuiflorum, more commonly known as holy basil, is a staple in ancient Indian holistic medicine. Because it can decrease swelling and inflammation in the body, many people use holy basil for an antioxidant or anti-inflammatory treatment.
However, some studies have noted how beneficial this herb can be for treating anxiety. Some early studies determined that this herbal remedy for anxiety works well over time, with little risk of negative side effects.
Kava is a plant extract obtained from the roots of the Piper methysticum plant, which is commonly found in the Pacific Islands. It comes in drink, capsule, and powder form. Although it seems to a promising natural remedy for anxiety, it also comes with a lot of risks, especially since it can affect everyone in vary different ways based on small changes to the dose.
Most notably, kava users reported river damage after just short-term use. Therefore, the FDA has issued a warning for anyone considering this supplement for anxiety treatment.
Most people know about lavender and its incredible scent. However, there is also evidence that suggests this plant’s strong smell could work as an herbal remedy for anxiety through aromatherapy. The plant can also be taken orally, although some people complain about headaches and constipation after ingesting the plant.
9. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is an herb that falls within the mint family. Historically, people have used the herb as a natural stress relief treatment since the Middle Ages. Although it can cause nausea and abdominal pain, it can also help reduce some common anxiety symptoms like nervousness or excitability.
Magnesium is an important mineral for our bodies. However, most of us don’t get nearly enough of it within our diets. Although it offers many benefits, some research has found that increased magnesium levels can help reduce anxiety symptoms.
Unfortunately, there’s a fine line between enough to help and too much. If you ingest too much magnesium, you may notice symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
11. Passion Flower
Passion flower is a a climbing vine that produces white and purple flowers. The chemical compounds within this flowering vine produce calming effects, making it a great herbal remedy for anxiety. It is generally safe to take, but can cause dizziness and confusion if you eat too much.
12. Valerian Root
Valerian is a flowering plant found in parts of Europe and Asia. Valerian root has been used as herbal remedies for anxiety since Greek physicians discovered its calming effects all the way back in 460 B.C. Unfortunately, this is more of a short-term solution, as taking the supplement for extended periods can cause headaches and dizziness.
Other Natural Ways to Cope with Stress and Anxiety
As you can see from the list above, there are numerous herbs and supplements people can take as natural remedies for stress and anxiety. However, not all of these herbal remedies work for everyone. In some cases, you may need other natural coping skills or suggestions that don’t require you to eat a specific plant or swallow a vitamin.
Many people find meditation to be helpful as a way to cope with stress and anxiety. You can practice meditation in many different ways, such as paced breathing exercises, guided meditations, or by simply relaxing and connecting to your body. You may even find that nature walks or similar forms of mindfulness work better than what we call “traditional meditation.”
Other people find that regular exercise and clean eating habits actually reduce their anxiety symptoms. This may include jogging, lifting weights, or even yoga. It may also involve cutting out sugar, caffeine, cigarettes, and alcohol from your diet.
Whether you try one of the herbal remedies for stress and anxiety or another method mentioned here, remember that stress reduction is a constant process that you must commit to daily.
With the right approach, you can lower your stress levels and reclaim your life from constant worrying.
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