12 Herbs for Managing Anxiety Naturally

How to use herbal remedies to relieve anxiety

Herbal tinctures, tablets and tea can be very effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety.

In this article I’ve compiled a list of 12 of the best herbs for managing anxiety naturally.

Important Note: These herbs can be helpful for relieving anxiety symptoms but they’re not a cure for anxiety. Please talk to your doctor about treatment options for anxiety.

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Best herbs for anxiety

I’ve suffered from anxiety since childhood but I only discovered the benefits of herbs for anxiety in my first year of studying Western Herbal Medicine.

One of the first herbal supplements I tried was Valerian and it was amazing for helping me to get a good night’s sleep.

I still use Valerian now and then when I’m having trouble sleeping.

Ashwagandha and Rhodiola have also been really helpful for supporting my adrenals and dealing with stress.

For some people herbs are enough to control their anxiety but for others prescription medication is necessary. If you’re suffering from acute anxiety, please see your doctor for treatment and management.

Herbal remedies for anxiety

12 BEST HERBS FOR ANXIETY

1. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha is a calming herb that has anti-inflammatory and mild sedative actions.

It’s helpful for anxiety, insomnia, excessive thinking and worrying. [1]

Ashwagandha increases the body’s tolerance to stress and helps with nervous exhaustion.

It also supports thyroid and adrenal health and helps with recovery from chronic illnesses.

2. Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

Rhodiola is a popular adaptogenic herb that increases the body’s resistance to stress.

Rhodiola also enhances the transport of serotonin precursors into the brain and studies have shown that it can increase serotonin by up to 30%.

3. Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)

Bacopa is used in Ayurvedic medicine to relieve stress, anxiety and depression.

Bacopa has been shown to improve mental function, enhance memory and assist with learning.

4. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian helps to sedate and calm the central nervous system.

Valerian is used mostly for insomnia, but its sedative qualities are also effective for soothing tired muscles and reducing mental and physical tension.

Calming herbs

5. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

Chamomile is a natural sedative that is best for mild anxiety. [2]

It helps to calm nervousness, both in the mind and in the stomach.

Chamomile is helpful for reducing digestive discomfort and improving appetite when suffering from stress.

6. Kava (Piper methysticum)

Kava is a powerful Fijian remedy for reducing anxiety.

It has a long tradition of use in Polynesia for its sedative and pain-relieving properties. 

Over-consumption of kava may damage the liver, so it should not be used by anyone with liver problems.

Kava is also not recommended to be used alongside alcohol or acetaminophen (paracetamol).

7. Magnolia (Magnolia officinialis)

Magnolia is an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine for anxiety, stress and memory problems.

Magnolia helps to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with weight gain, particularly in the abdominal region.

8. Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

Passionflower is helpful for insomnia, headaches and nervous irritability.  

It is especially helpful in cases where anxiety leads to diarrhea.

Passionflower also helps to reduce muscle tension and mood swings.

Herbal medicine

9. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is a common kitchen herb that has anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects.

It can also improve memory, mental performance and concentration.

Rosemary is also available in capsules.

10. Saffron (Crocus sativus)

Saffron is a brightly colored spice that helps to reduce anxiety, depression and insomnia. [3]

Saffron also helps to relax the muscles of the digestive tract to reduce spasms and assist with digestion.

11. Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

Skullcap is a helpful herb for anxiety, muscle tension, restlessness and jaw clenching.

12. St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

St. John’s Wort is most commonly used for depression but it’s also effective for relieving anxiety.

It works by optimising serotonin levels, but it usually needs to be taken for a few weeks before its effects are felt.

St. John’s Wort is not to be used with anti-depressants, blood thinners or birth control pills.

Here are two recommended supplements for managing anxiety naturally:

Nooflux Zen helps to support mood, stress relief and adrenal health.

It contains Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, L Theanine, Kava Kava Extract, Saffron Extract and Black Pepper Extract.

Now Foods True Calm helps with neurotransmitter production, reduces anxiety symptoms and encourages a calm response to stress.

It contains Niacin, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, GABA, Glycine, Taurine, Inositol and Valerian.

It’s a good idea to discuss any nutritional supplements or herbal remedies for anxiety with your healthcare provider because some supplements and herbs can interact with prescription medications.

I hope these herbs will help you to reduce the symptoms of anxiety naturally.

RELATED ANXIETY POSTS

Have you tried any herbal remedies for anxiety? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Are you on Pinterest? I have boards dedicated to Natural Treatments for Anxiety and Anxiety & Stress Relief that you may enjoy. You can also find me on Facebook.

Best herbs to relieve anxiety

Herbs for anxiety and stress

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Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a qualified Nutritionist and Herbal Medicine Practitioner. I have a passion for all things natural, healthy and holistic. I created this blog to share my knowledge and inspire women who are looking for natural health solutions. Read more

This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. I’m bookmarking this. I love my job, but it does come with its share of stress. Anything I can do to help alleviate anxiety is welcome.

  2. I’ve heard of a few of these. I didn’t realize there were so many options.

  3. This is so new to me …Thanks for sharing this knowledge!!

  4. Some of these herbs sound new to me. Thanks for having this list. Gotta save this when an attack will happen. Thank you!

  5. Valerian…. I need to try this. This is the first time hearing about this herb. What a great article. Thank you for the breakdown of each herb and use. I am going to be booking marking this page.

  6. I love Chamomile. It helps me relax. Also, it’s very calming. So yummy too! Perfect as tea flavor!

  7. I haven’t heard of some of these herbs, but I use Valerian and chamomile to help relieve my anxiety. Especially in a tea closer to bedtime, so I can ease my mind before I have to sleep.

  8. We all suffer from stress from time to time for sure. so this is a really useful list and I will be keeping a note of these xx

  9. I didn’t know that there are so many herbs that can manage anxiety symptoms. Nothing better than managing anxiety and stress in natural ways.

  10. Great ideas here! I find that CBT is a good and well-studied way of fighting anxiety as well. It really helped me a lot.

  11. Anxiety can be a real demon for a lot of folks. I am glad this is a resource that people will actually look to before pharmaceuticals.

  12. I’ve been already using a few of them and would love to dig out more about Nooflux Zen! It sounds very effective.

  13. This was super helpful! I knew about a few of them (Valerian, especially), but not a bunch. It’s always a good idea to have a list you can try. Although I might stay away from chamomile. I’m allergic. 🙂

  14. What a useful post. Some of the herbs, I have heard of before, but others are totally new to me. I’ve always got chamomile tea in my cupboard.

  15. My son is struggling with anxiety right now and it can be quite debilitating. I’m going to suggest he talk to his doctor about some of these. Thanks for the info.

  16. Nature is wonderful! it can provide us of some really nice solutions…thanks for sharing those herbs! there were lots of them that i didn’t know about. Totally sharing for those in need!

  17. I definitely need to try some of those out, didn’t know some of those are used for anxiety. Sometimes it good to use natural products instead of the others.

  18. This is such a great post. I feel like I need to start taking something. Being a single mum and working is very stressful.

  19. I love using essential oils and prefer using natural remedies over pharmaceuticals whenever possible. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful options for managing anxiety naturally.

  20. Thank you for sharing this wonderful information. I’ll definitely look into it.

  21. I found this very helpful but I’m wondering if you should just take a couple of these or if you are taking all of these. Or most of them. I’m also wondering if Valerian is better than melatonin. I took Valerian a very long time ago and I don’t think it helped much with sleep. Melatonin helps me fall asleep but I usually wake up one or two hours later and it has worn off. Thanks for this post!

    1. I’d only take one or two of these herbs at a time Alexandra. Valerian works really well for most people, but for about 5% of people it doesn’t work at all. Melatonin is good as well, but it’s also important to support the body’s natural production of melatonin which happens when it gets dark, provided that we’re not exposed to lots of artificial light at night. It’s also important to make sure that your bedroom is completely dark. I hope that helps!

  22. It’s amazing what nature has to offer! I am a big fan of chamomile. Typically, I will have hot chamomile tea with honey before bedtime and it really helps calm my nerves.

  23. I don’t generally suffer from anxiety, but muscle tension is a big issue for me. I was particularly interested in the Skullcap. Not something I’ve heard of before, but it spoke to me because jaw clenching is a huge problem for me. I have massive TMJ issues and I’ve had my jaw dislocated. So clenching is a pretty normal thing for me to do, it seems. I know I don’t notice it until it starts to hurt either. Anything to help that, especially something natural, would simply be amazing.

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