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The 11 Best Herbs for Anxiety and Stress Management
In today’s fast-paced life, more and more people find themselves suffering from anxiety and high stress levels.
Anxiety comes in many forms. It can cause worry, unease, fear or panic and can interfere with your life, including your health, your job and your relationships. It can drain your energy and people who deal with immense stress tend to resort to more coffee, sugar and other stimulants leading to an unhealthy lifestyle.
If you’re looking for a natural way to help alleviate your symptoms of stress, we’ve listed a few natural remedies for anxiety as well as our top herbs for anxiety. Keep reading to discover which supplements are best for you.
Before we get into our list, it’s important to note that each herb affects individuals differently as they are natural products. What works for one may not work for another. For a more specific recommendation, be sure to check with a doctor or herbal practitioner before adding anything new to your regimen.
How to Reduce Anxiety Naturally
Before we dig into our favourite herbs for relieving stress, we want to share with you a few other natural remedies for anxiety. These methods don’t require herbal help, but instead focus on other aspects of your life.
Cut down on caffeine
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that triggers various reactions within our body. Most notably, it causes us to become super alert and gives us a short-term rush of adrenaline. Not quite what we expect when we think of calm and anxiety relief. In fact, caffeine has been known to trigger panic and anxiety attacks.
Try eliminating any caffeine from your diet and give your body, and brain, a chance to power down and rest. Want to know more about caffeine? Find out how it can impact your skin and cause acne here.
Pass on the alcohol
Much like caffeine, alcohol can have a similar effect on the body in that can make your anxiety worse. Alcohol, in the short term, is a sedative. It can ease your worries and make you feel more comfortable, however when these effects wear off, you may feel worse than before. That’s because it lowers the levels of serotonin in the brain, and low levels of serotonin can cause poor sleep and mood swings, amongst other side effects.
Burn off some steam
Sometimes anxiety can be caused by an accumulation of adrenaline, and exercising is a great way to use any built up adrenaline. A high intensity workout can do wonders for some people, however if you’re not feeling up for it, even simply going outside for a walk can help to relieve stress and improve your wellbeing.
Remember to stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is crucial for maintaining optimal health, and dehydration can cause a plethora of health issues. In fact, studies have even shown that there is a link between water intake and mood. A 2018 study found that those who drank a higher amount of water had a lower risk of anxiety and depression than people who drank less. Another study also researched the effects of water intake on mood, finding that people felt less calm and more tense when they decreased their water intake.
Meditation has long been practised as a way of finding calm and inner peace. It uses breathing techniques to help you centre yourself and clear your mind of any stress. Even setting 10 minutes aside in the morning to practise meditation can really help to ease any anxious thoughts and feelings you may have. There are many different forms of meditation to choose from but our favourite is transcendental meditation. Find out what it is and how to do it here.
Herbal Remedies for Anxiety
Ashwagandha (Withania sominifera or Indian ginseng) is one of the most popular herbs for supporting both mental and physical health. It is a well-rounded adaptogen that has been used for medicinal purposes in Ayurvedic medicine. It balances and restores the body into a normal state after chronic stress. Studies have concluded that ashwagandha significantly reduces symptoms of stress and anxiety. It works by increasing serotonin and GABA in the brain – the happy hormones – and lowering cortisol levels – the stress hormones.
Find out more about the best adaptogens for stress, sleep, fatigue and health here, or try our Organic and Fresh-Ground Ashwagandha Capsules today.
Rhodiola Rosea, also known as golden root, is an adaptogen and nootropic that helps to make the body more resistant to stress. It has been used to treat anxiety, mental and physical fatigue. The roots of the plant have been chewed for centuries to activate its fatigue-fighting and energy-boosting properties. It works by lowering cortisol levels – the stress hormone - while improving cognitive functions and boosting your mood.
View our Organic, Fresh-Ground Rhodiola Rosea Capsules here, or learn more about the Best Nootropics for Focus, Anxiety, Memory and Energy here.
California Poppy has wonderfully relaxing and calming properties. There have been a few small clinical and pharmacological studies carried out on the Californian Poppy which have confirmed that the plant is useful as a sleep aid and to treat anxiety. It has also been found to help relieve nervous tension. The herb exhibits anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), analgesic, spasmolytic (antispasmodic) and sleep-inducing properties. It can be used for a variety of disorders, from anxiety and sleep disturbances to digestive system problems, nerve problems and pain management.
Passion Flower (Passiflora) is used to help relax the body and treat anxiety and nervousness. It has sedative properties as well as antispasmodic. Preparations of Passion Flower leaves and fruit are commonly used to help manage and treat anxiety, insomnia, nervousness and hyperactivity.
Discover our Organic, Fresh-Ground Passion Flower Capsules to reduce anxiety and help improve sleep.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a milder, anti-anxiety herb of the mint family. Extracts, herbal infusions and various preparations are often recommended for inducing sleep and relieving stress. Lemon balm is said to have a calming, rather than sedative, effect. Due to this, it has a milder action compared to other anti-anxiety herbs. Combining it with other anxiolytic plants, such as valerian, could increase its potency and benefits.
Browse our Organic Lemon Balm Tincture to find out the full list of benefits.
Wholefood Calmaid is formulated with a blend of nutrients and herbs that are proven to help support the nervous system. While it’s not technically a herb itself, it does contain Holy Basil, an adaptogen herb that enhances the body’s natural response to physical and emotional stress. Added B vitamins rejuvenate your energy metabolism at the cellular level, while magnesium supports the nervous and psychological system. Tryptophan and calcium help to bring balance to the body. It also includes essential amino acids that act as precursors to neurotransmitters in the brain that help regulate mood and the sleep-wake cycle.
View our Wholefood Calmaid here today.
Hemp extract oil
Hemp extract oil is the active cannabinoid compound found in the marijuana plant. Hemp extract oil doesn’t have the psychoactive effect that THC has and won’t make you “high”. Research has found that Hemp extract oil reduces inflammation in the body and anxiety significantly. Fushi Hemp Extract also contains organic sea buckthorn oil, MCT oil and black cumin seed oil. These added oils increase the absorption of Hemp Extract in the body.
Shop our Hemp Extract here.
Valerian root (Valeriana officianalis) is a perennial herb with white, pink or lavender flowers. It’s traditionally used for the relief of sleep disturbances and mild anxiety. While studies have shown that it has sedative effects, it’s not been scientifically proven how it works. It’s believed that the herb increases levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, and GABA has a calming effect in the body. Prescription drugs for anxiety, like Xanax and Valium, also work by increasing GABA levels in the brain. This has caused Valerian root to often be referred to as “nature’s Valium”.
Shop our Organic, Fresh-Ground Valerian Root Capsules here to help ease your feelings of anxiousness.
St. John’s Wort
St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a wild plant with yellow flowers. It’s commonly taken as a herbal supplement to relieve depression, anxiety or issues sleeping. St. John’s Wort is a popular herbal aid and can be taken as capsules, in tea or as a liquid tincture. The herb works by inhibiting the stimulation of serotonin, dopamine, GABA and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are therefore used more effectively in the brain, resulting in less feelings of anxiety.
One of nature’s most popular plants for improving mood and calming feelings of nervousness, lavender is another plant that’s part of the mint family. With its distinctive purple petals and potent scent, lavender is often added to many health and wellbeing products to alleviate anxiety. It’s thought that the chemicals linalool and linalyl acetate found in it may help to soothe and calm the chemical receptors in the brain, giving it its anxiety-alleviating powers. Lavender is also antibacterial and an antioxidant, helping to balance hormones and boost the immune system. The scent of lavender is also very popular for inducing calm and helping people to get to sleep.
Try adding a few drops of our Organic Lavender Essential Oil to your bath or essential oil burner today.
Chamomile is a daisy-like flower that’s part of the Asteraceae family. The plant is used in traditional medicine as a herbal remedy for anxiety and to aid insomnia. It’s believed to work by binding to benzodiazepine receptors, helping you to feel relaxed and fall asleep. Most commonly found as a herbal tea, chamomile can also be taken as an extract or applied topically as cream. Despite it’s soothing properties, allergic reactions to the herb have been reported, particularly if someone has experienced a reaction to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds or daisies as they are all part of the same family of plant.
We believe that these are the best herbs for anxiety and stress relief, however you can find more natural and organic solutions to help relieve stress from our mental health page of organic, fresh-pressed capsules and tinctures.