Anxiety can be a debilitating illness. Anxiety is the most under-diagnosed and undertreated disease, and those who suffer from it might even be completely unaware of it. But constant stress and worries will end up disrupting your day-to-day activities. Treating anxiety usually involves a long-term regimen of prescription medicines and therapy, which come with many behavioral and physical side effects. However, certain herbs make it easier to manage and treat anxiety with a lower risk of adverse effects or withdrawal symptoms.
Some of the most effective natural relaxants for anxiety include kava, valerian root, passionflower, skullcap, St John’s wort, and chamomile. These herbs are used alone or in combination. Not sure which herbs to use? Here are 6 herbs that can help you calm down your anxiety issues without making you drowsy.
1. Kava – A Natural Tranquilizer
Kava is derived from a type of pepper plant. In smaller doses, this miracle herb is capable of calming the mind
In larger doses, kava can lead to lethargy, drowsiness, and reduced muscle tension, so you need to strike a balance. Do not take kava if you are on medication for liver-related ailments as higher doses can induce liver damage. Also, do not use kava with other tranquilizers like Xanax, Klonopin, or alcohol.2
2. Valerian Root – A Nervous System Depressant
Valerian root is a herbal tranquilizer with amazing anti-anxiety properties. This herb exerts a regulatory effect on the autonomous nervous
Valerian root is available as capsules, liquid extract, essential oil, or tea and works well in combination with other relaxing herbs such as passionflower, skullcap, hops, or chamomile. But, do not use the valerian herb on a daily basis for more than 6 months due to the possible risk of allergic reactions like increased anxiety, restlessness, or heart palpitations.
3. Passionflower – An Anxiolytic Folk Remedy
Passionflower is a natural tranquilizer commonly used as a folk remedy for anxiety issues. The passionflower fruit is popularly used to make a beverage for the treatment of nervousness, restlessness, and sleep disorders. It can also relieve nervous tension, relax the muscles, and instantly reduce anxiety.
You can take passionflower in the form of tablets, dried herbs, or liquid extracts without worrying about acute or chronic toxicity. However, larger doses may result in nervous system depression and heart problems.5
4. Skullcap – A Mood Enhancer
American skullcap is a popular herb used in traditional medicine to treat anxiety and insomnia. It enhances the mood and reduces anxiety with a minimal loss of energy or cognition. Skullcap is also widely used in the treatment of cancer, inflammation, and viral infections.6
Always look for organic sources of this herb as impure skullcap products may be contaminated with liver-toxic herbs like germander.7
5. St. John’s Wort – A Herbal Antidepressant
St. John’s wort is a widely used herb in treating physical issues like burns, bruises, and swelling and psychological issues like anxiety and mild-to-moderate depression. Imbalances of chemical neurotransmitters like serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine can cause anxiety. But as an effective antidepressant, St. John’s wort inhibits these neurotransmitters. No other antidepressant is found to have as broad an inhibitory profile as this herb.8
Higher doses of St. John’s wort can induce phototoxicity, a chemically induced irritation to light. Gastrointestinal symptoms, allergic
6. Chamomile – A Soothing Herb
Chamomile is a traditional herb known for its calming effect and is widely used for its medicinal application in treating mood disorders. The most popular preparation using this herb is chamomile tea – nearly 1 million cups touch lips every day.
Apart from treating anxiety, chamomile also aids digestion and lowers inflammation and fever. However, do not take this herb if you’re pregnant or suffering from unstable medical conditions like renal problems, malignancy, and known sensitivity to chamomile. Also, avoid using this herb concurrently with other anxiolytic pills or antidepressants, mood stabilizers, sedatives, or other herbal remedies.10
Note: Evaluate all possible side effects and choose a suitable herb when going down the natural route for treating anxiety. Also, never use any herbal remedy for a long time and stop if you observe side effects.
|↑1||Singh, Yadhu N., and Nirbhay N. Singh. “Therapeutic potential of kava in the treatment of anxiety disorders.” CNS drugs 16, no. 11 (2002): 731-743.|
|↑2||Pittler, Max H., and Edzard Ernst. “Efficacy of kava extract for treating anxiety: systematic review and meta-analysis.” Journal of clinical psychopharmacology 20, no. 1 (2000): 84-89.|
|↑3||Imbalance, Anxiety. “Nutrients and botanicals for treatment of stress: adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalance, anxiety, and restless sleep.” Alternative Medicine Review 14, no. 2 (2009): 114-140.|
|↑4||Mirabi, Parvaneh, and Faraz Mojab. “The effects of valerian root on hot flashes in menopausal women.” Iranian journal of pharmaceutical research: IJPR 12, no. 1 (2013): 217.|
|↑5||Miyasaka, L. S., A. N. Atallah, and B. G. Soares. “Passiflora for anxiety disorder.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev 1 (2003).|
|↑7||Hyman, From Dr. “Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Valerian.”|
|↑8||Müller, Walter E. “Current St. John’s wort research from mode of action to clinical efficacy.” Pharmacological Research 47, no. 2 (2003): 101-109.|
|↑9||De Smet, P. A., and Willem A. Nolen. “St John’s wort as an antidepressant.” BMJ: British Medical Journal 313, no. 7052 (1996): 241.|
|↑10||Amsterdam, Jay D., Justine Shults, Irene Soeller, Jun James Mao, Kenneth Rockwell, and Andrew B. Newberg. “Chamomile (Matricaria