6 Herbs That Can Calm Anxiety Without Making You Drowsy

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 herbs can calm anxiety

Kava is derived from a type of pepper plant. In smaller doses, this miracle herb is capable of calming the mind and positively enhancing your mood, without being addictive. Kava reduces the activity of the brain center that is associated with anxiety but does not impair memory or aggravate depression.1


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 – 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 system and acts as a nervous system depressant and mild sedative. Valerian extracts are also beneficial in reducing anxiety during the day and treating sleep disturbances like insomnia.3 It also works well on dizziness, neural pain, headaches, menopausal hot flashes, and sleeplessness, all of which are common causes of significant anxiety and stress, especially in older women.4

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 can calm anxiety

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 can calm anxiety


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 can calm anxiety

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 reactions, and fatigue are some of the other noted minor side effects of long-term use of St. John’s wart.9

6. Chamomile – A Soothing Herb

Chamomile can calm anxiety

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.