Chronic stress and anxiety are common issues that many people experience at least once in their lives. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) have said that anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States every year. Similar to anxiety, adults can experience stress. A Gallup Global Emotions Report revealed that about 55% of adults in the United States said they had experienced stress throughout the day. (1)(2)
Anxiety and stress can manifest through a wide variety of physical and psychological symptoms, such as:
- Muscle tension
- Trouble concentrating
- Sleeping issues
- Panic attacks
If left unattended, these symptoms can take a toll on the overall quality of your life. Although stress and anxiety affect millions of people, they are both manageable conditions. Whether your symptoms are mild or severe, there are many options to consider when managing stress and anxiety.
For many, anti-depressants are a great solution for chronic anxiety. However, prescription drugs can also have unwanted side effects. Fortunately, there are alternative options, including natural remedies such as CBD or meditation, that may provide some relief or supplement a regimen arranged by you and your healthcare providers.
Herbal supplements and herbal medicine have long been thought to offer many positive benefits due to their calming effects. Below are a few herbs that could possibly help with stress and anxiety.
Valerian, a plant native to Europe and Asia, is commonly used for insomnia as a result of anxiety. Valerian may help to provide a good night’s rest, as it encourages relaxation. Valerian comes in many forms such as tea, tablets, and tinctures. Since it has sleep-inducing properties, taking this herb in combination with sedatives and alcohol can have dangerous effects. (3)
Lavender is a plant from the mint family, commonly used in aromatherapy as an essential oil. A Physiology & Behavior study showed that 200 people who breathed in lavender while awaiting dental work had lessened anxiety and an improved mood afterwards. Lavender may also improve sleep, which can be affected by stress and anxiety. Lavender comes in many forms, such as pills, essential oils, and even pillow spray. (4)
Chamomile is a gentle herb that has potential benefits in managing stress and anxiety. It is commonly used in tea, but also comes in the form of skin cream and tablets. A Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology study showed that chamomile capsules appeared to have helped patients with anxiety symptoms. (4)
Studies have shown that passionflower, a native Peruvian plant with around 550 species, can help with restlessness, nervousness, and anxiety. Passionflower comes in the form of a tablet and liquid tincture. Keep in mind that passionflower is known to cause drowsiness, so it’s best to take this herb at the end of the day or before bed. (3)
Kava kava is a popular herbal remedy used for anxiety. Kava kava is commonly taken in pill form, and promotes relaxation. Its potential benefits include muscle relaxation and improved cognitive skills. (4)
Lemon balm is a lemon-scented herb. Some early studies have shown that lemon balm can help to reduce nervousness and excitability, which are both symptoms of anxiety. Overall, it is considered beneficial for short-term use, but has also been linked to nausea. (5)
Rhodiola rosea is a bright yellow-green plant, also known as golden root. It is a popular adaptogen herb used in traditional medicine. Adaptogenic herbs can help restore balance in the body, especially if it’s under stress. Rhodiola rosea can help to manage stress levels, and it has beneficial properties that could alleviate anxiety. (4)
Ashwagandha has traditionally been used to help with anxiety, aging, and low energy levels. It can help to balance the hormones that are connected to anxiety, as well as with relaxation and rest. A 2019 study showed that patients who took ashwagandha had lower anxiety levels afterward. (3) (4)
In addition to potentially helping with anxiety and stress, herbal remedies are believed to have many positive benefits for overall wellness. However, you shouldn’t consider herbal remedies as an alternative to prescription drugs as they can sometimes have unwanted side effects. It is important to know that herbs are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the same way that medications are.
Before trying herbal supplements, you should consult your doctor—especially if you’re taking any medications. As with any product, you should check the quality of the herbs and make sure that they come from a trusted manufacturer. If your anxiety and stress disrupt your day-to-day activities, make sure that you talk with your doctor for medical advice, as more serious forms of treatment may be required.
Disclaimer: This article is based on our independent research. While our team does everything in their power to provide accurate and current information from credible state-run websites and resources, we are not lawyers or legal experts. As such, none of the following information should be interpreted as legal advice. Content on these pages is provided for informational purposes only and those with legal concerns should consult experts within their state, such as the FDA.
1) “Facts & Statistics”, SOURCE: https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
2) “Gallup 2019 Global Emotions Report”, SOURCE: https://www.gallup.com/analytics/248906/gallup-global-emotions-report-2019.aspx
3)” 9 herbs for anxiety”, SOURCE: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/herbs-for-anxiety
4) “8 Effective Herbal Supplements for Anxiety”, SOURCE: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/calmer-you/202004/8-effective-herbal-supplements-anxiety
5) “Herbal treatment for anxiety: Is it effective?”, Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/generalized-anxiety-disorder/expert-answers/herbal-treatment-for-anxiety/faq-20057945