Prescription medications are rarely the first choice for those suffering from mental health issues. While most doctors are quick to prescribe these powerful medicines, far too many have severe side effects - including personality changes - that should make them a last resort for those seeking help with anxiety.
Luckily, there are many herbal remedies and supplements available for those living with anxiety. These natural remedies have fewer side effects and are made with all natural ingredients, and some of them are as powerful or more powerful than many prescription medications.
In this article, we'll take a look at a comprehensive selection of the herbs that may be effective at treating specific types of anxiety, as well as specific anxiety symptoms. These herbs are considered _effective for anxiety_ itself, as well as several herbal remedies that are perfect for issues related to anxiety, such as:
- Heart Palpitations.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Emotional Instability and More.
How Severe is Your Anxiety?
Natural herbal remedies are great for mild anxiety, but the more severe your anxiety is, the more you need additional treatments. Take our free 7-minute anxiety symptoms test to score your anxiety severity and receive other natural anxiety remedy solutions.
Herbal and natural remedies are simply a great way to treat your anxiety and your anxiety symptoms. They're non-addictive, won't change your personality, and are considered free of side effects when taken as directed.
Before you even begin to examine natural anxiety treatments, remember that the only way to effectively fight anxiety is to understand your anxiety and your symptoms. Check out my free 7-minute anxiety test now. I developed it specifically so that you can get a free snapshot of your anxiety and treatment recommendations.
Natural Treatments to Reduce Anxiety Symptoms
Catnip is a unique herbal anxiety remedy. Part of the mint family, catnip is designed to treat many of the various symptoms of anxiety. It may be used to alleviate stomach cramps, spasms, and irritations (which often occur in those with anxiety). It may also reduce some of the headaches caused by insomnia, improve appetite, and - perhaps most importantly - ease muscle tension and stress in those with severe anxiety.
Chamomile is a natural sedative that is best for mild anxiety.
Chamomile is used to calm nervousness, both in the mind and in the stomach. It can reduce digestive discomforts and improve appetite in those with a great deal of stress.
It has also been linked to reducing headaches and improving liver and lung health. Most experts recommend that chamomile only be used as a temporary treatment, not a long-term solution. Chamomile is also popular for anxiety in children.
Fennel isn't for anxiety specifically, but it is linked to treating some of the most common symptoms of anxiety, including digestion, coughing (many with anxiety have a nervous cough), and asthma (anxiety can exacerbate asthma symptoms). It may also act as an analgesic, diuretic, and antispasmodic - the latter being useful for some types of anxiety.
Kava (also known as Kava Kava) is possibly the most effective herbal supplement for moderate and severe anxiety. The Kava root has been extensively researched for its effects on stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Unlike other herbal anxiety supplements, kava is not only useful for anxiety symptoms - it's useful for anxious thoughts as well. However, kava has been linked to a few health scares, so it's advised to talk to your doctor before taking kava, especially if you drink alcohol, take any other medicines, or have any liver problems.
Hops are useful for more than just beer. Hops have a long history of medicinal applications. It's used to fight insomnia, stress, and headaches. It's also beneficial for indigestion, general nervousness, and may help reduce fever.
Hops have also been used for lowering uric acid levels in the body, treating infections and skin disorders, and provide some relief from rheumatism, though these are often unrelated to anxiety.
Motherwort's primary medicinal use is for treating menstrual discomfort. But it is also favored by pregnant women as a way to manage stress and pregnancy tension and anxiety. It's not recommended for those in the first two trimesters, but it is believed to be effective at stimulating circulation without an increase in pulse rate, lowering blood pressure, fighting heart palpitations, and inducing calmness without any associated fatigue.
Passionflower is a lot like Kava, except without the side effects. Passionflower is considered best for mild to moderate anxiety, although it may still be valuable for severe anxiety. It works by reducing muscle tension and insomnia, calming the nerves to prevent agitation, mood swings, headaches, and hot flashes from anxiety. It's not recommended to take passionflower if you are using any MAOIs.
Skullcap has sedative, tonic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Skullcap may be used to sooth overly twitching muscles and may help manage both epilepsy and restless leg syndrome (RLS). Many people use the natural sedative properties of skullcap to fight insomnia, restlessness, rapid heartbeat, and even depression. It should be taken as directed, and should not be used by pregnant women.
St. John's Wort
St. John's Wort is not designed for anxiety specifically, but it is very effective for fighting depression, which is often comorbid with anxiety symptoms. St. John's Wort is also a capable mood lifter. It has also been used for diarrhea, gastroenteritis, viral infections of the chest, lungs, and genitals, and many other valuable medicinal uses.
Valerian Root is an incredible effective sedative. It's used primarily as a sleep aid, but the sedative qualities of valerian are effective in soothing muscles and reducing mental and physical tension so that you can easily relax. It may also be used to relieve uterine cramps, persistent coughs, and bronchial spasms. It is not recommended for children under 12, pregnant women, or anyone taking other antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs.
General Guidelines for Using Herbal Supplements for Anxiety:
- Avoiding mixing herbs with prescription medications or alcohol without consulting a doctor.
- Never abuse herbal remedies (take more than recommended).
- Do not use herbal remedies for an extended period without talking to a doctor.
- Check to make sure you are not allergic to an herb before you use it.
- Always combine herbal supplements with healthy lifestyle choices.
How to Use Natural Remedies to Treat Anxiety
No medicine (natural or otherwise) should be the only treatment for anxiety.
The reason herbal medicines are so beneficial is that while you use herbal supplements, you can also learn valuable anxiety-coping strategies. Prescription anxiety medications dull anxiety and the brain too much, and make it much harder to learn to cope with stress, while herbal and natural remedies keep your mind intact for learning to control anxiety symptoms.
In addition to herbal supplements, there are several breathing exercises, alternate coping strategies, diets, and physical exercises that are effective for anxiety. Some people also find relief by reducing their ingestion of stimulants (coffee, soda, etc.) and alcohol. Drinking more water may also be effective.
Finally, remember that non-medicinal strategies are also natural ways to treat anxiety. Desensitization and improving your internal dialogue are both effective anxiety control methods.
Before you can treat your anxiety, however, you need to make sure you understand it in full. The best place to start is with my free 7-minute anxiety test. I developed it specifically so those like you living with anxiety can get an idea of what their anxiety is and how it affects them. Only by understanding this can you hope to treat it effectively.
So if you haven't already, take the free anxiety test now.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Nov 29, 2017.