Chronic stress, overwhelm, anxiety, and panic attacks are becoming an inherent part of modern life. But that doesn’t mean these symptoms are normal. Mental health therapy, meditation, bodywork, lifestyle changes, supplements, and even medication can change how you handle stress.
Let’s explore anti-anxiety remedies to help you lead a more peaceful life.
What causes stress and anxiety?
Chronic stress and anxiety are signs of a hypervigilant nervous system. Constantly juggling work, family life, and commuting in an effort to “have it all” can trigger the alarm on your body’s stress response. Throw in some family drama, a car accident, or a health scare, and you have a recipe for disaster!
If the stress continues, it may manifest in mental health issues like anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and even heart problems.
So, what can you do about it?
Top natural herbal remedies for stress and anxiety
Pharmacological medication can be a lifesaver for people with anxiety — we have nothing against it. However, medication can come with serious side effects.
Herbal medicine may be more appealing for those who want a gentler option with minimal risk of side effects. Plus, herbs come in various forms – like capsules, tinctures, and teas.
Here are 7 herbal remedies for anxiety that we love:
Ashwagandha is a nervous system tonic and a powerful herbal remedy for stress. It’s known as an adaptogenic compound as it provides support to your stress glands, helping you adapt to physical and mental stress. If your adrenal glands are pumping out unhealthy levels of the stress hormone cortisol, ashwagandha can regulate cortisol production (1) and bring you into a balanced state.
Grab some ashwagandha if you’re dealing with insomnia and poor concentration due to burnout!
How to take it: Researchers have found doses of 250-600 mg of standardised ashwagandha extract are effective.
Are you dealing with repetitive or racing thoughts?
Valerian is a herbal remedy for anxiety that brings calm to your mind and body thanks to valerenic acid, an active compound with sedative properties. Interestingly, studies have demonstrated valerian can change your brain activity (2) by enhancing levels of the relaxing neurotransmitter GABA (3).
How to take it: Valerian extract is available in capsules, tinctures, and herbal tea. 300-600 mg of valerian extract per day is the recommended dose to manage anxiety and insomnia. Loose valerian root also makes a popular herbal tea. However, don’t take valerian alongside conventional sleeping pills without speaking to your doctor.
3. Chamomile Tea
What’s the first thing most Brits reach for when overwhelmed and anxious?
Yep, a cup of tea!
Tea is a balm for the soul – just the ritual of making tea is enough to relieve some level of stress. Chamomile tea goes a step further, offering active compounds that ease anxiety and boost sleep quality (4).
It’s a slightly sweet, floral tea that’s caffeine-free and won’t make you jittery. You can sip on a cup of chamomile when you’re feeling on edge or struggling to sleep due to anxious thinking.
How to make it: Steep a teaspoon of loose-leaf chamomile tea – or a teabag – in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. You can add a teaspoon of raw honey for extra sweetness but we suggest avoiding milk.
4. Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogenic herb that may help if you’re frazzled by chronic stress and burnout. Known as the golden root, ancient tribes used it to enhance stress resilience and support mental and physical stamina before long journeys. Studies have found taking Rhodiola improves burnout symptoms like low mood, low libido, poor cognitive function, and depression (5).
How to take it: Most studies show that 100-300 mg of Rhodiola extract daily helps stress and anxiety.
5. Holy Basil
Nope, not the same stuff you add to your pizza and pasta! Holy basil – also known as Tulsi – is an Asian herb prized in Traditional Indian Medicine as a natural stress remedy. Like Ashwagandha and Rhodiola, holy basil is an adaptogenic herb, helping you manage the anxiety roller-coaster (6).
How to take it: Benefits have been noted for doses of 400-1000 mg daily to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
6. Lavender Oil
This remedy is a little different; it’s inhaled not ingested.
Lavender essential oil, extracted by cold-pressing lavender flowers, is a potent plant extract popular for promoting calm and enhancing sleep quality. Inhaling the floral aroma stimulates the olfactory nerve in your nose, sending calming messages to a part of your brain called the amygdala involved in regulating emotions like fear. Essential oils snap you back into the present moment and out of repetitive thinking.
How to use it: Lavender oil can be inhaled and applied topically.
Add 4 drops to your ultrasonic diffuser and run it for 30-60 minutes to let the aroma spread through your home. You can also inhale it directly from the bottle when on the go.
Always dilute essential oils when using them on your skin. We suggest adding 4 drops to a tablespoon of carrier oil (like jojoba, almond, apricot, or castor oil). Rub it onto the soles of your feet before bed to soothe the nervous system.
7. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is a medicinal herb commonly used to relieve stress and nervousness. Research shows it enhances calmness, mood, and mental alertness (7).
The dried leaves make a delicious herbal tea with a sweet, lemony flavour. It works well when combined with other calming herbs like chamomile and valerian.
How to take it: 600–1800 mg of lemon balm daily in capsule form may be effective for stress and anxiety. To make lemon balm tea, steep ½-1 teaspoon of the dried leaves in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes and add honey to taste. Sip on a cup 2-4 times daily.
Herbal remedies can be life-changing when stress and anxiety are weighing you down. Ashwagandha, valerian, Rhodiola Rosea, chamomile, holy basil, lavender, and lemon balm are our favourites!
Remember that regular exercise, meditation, good sleep, breathing exercises, and mental health therapy are also crucial to manage stress.
Note: Certain herbal extracts interact with pharmaceutical medications, so speak to your doctor before taking any new supplements.
Other herbal remedy guides
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