It’s normal to feel anxious. Everyday stressors – like work and family – might be the cause. Or, maybe you have an anxiety disorder, the most common mental illness in America. It affects about 40 million adults aged 18 and up. That’s 18 percent of the population!1
Fortunately, anxiety is treatable. Does it mean you need to pop a few pills? Definitely not! With these five holistic remedies, you can naturally control anxiety.
Nothing says “stress relief” like a lavender. It promotes calmness and relaxation, making it perfect for anxiety. This fragrant herb will also improve your mood.
In fact, lavender oil has been used in medical settings. The aroma has been shown to help dental patients and mothers during the postpartum period.2 It can even ease anxiety right after breast biopsy surgery.3
Rosemary is another fragrant herb that reduces anxiety. The essential oil is especially useful. According to a research, it can benefit anyone from nervous nursing students to elderly women.4 5
For a greater effect, combine rosemary oil with lavender. You can also take a whiff from the bottle or add it to a diffuser. Want to use fresh rosemary? Toss it in your rice, pasta, or salad. Even a live rosemary plant will work wonders.
For centuries, ancient Chinese medicine has used ginseng for anxiety. Even the Western world uses it to enhance mood.
Ginseng works by inhibiting monoamine oxidase – an enzyme that breaks down “feel good” neurotransmitters. Drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors or MAOIs are actually prescribed to block this enzyme. However, ginseng can get the job done – naturally.6
To use it, add dried ginseng powder to your favorite meals. You can also drink ginseng tea or take capsules.
You might know valerian as a natural sedative. But it can control anxious feelings, too! This herb increases the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid – the primary neurotransmitter of the central nervous system.7
Valerian is so effective that it can manage anxiety in bipolar disorder.8 Yet, even if you don’t have bipolar, you can reap the benefits of valerian.
Like most herbs, valerian is available as a tea and capsule. The essential oil can also be used in aromatherapy.
5. Lemon Balm
Despite the name, lemon balm isn’t a type of lemon. It’s actually a part of the mint family. Lemon balm has also been used to treat anxiety since the Middle Ages.9
In a study by Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers found that lemon balm enhances both mood and memory. It also induces sleep and relaxation, making it ideal for those stressful days.10
Lemon balm works really well with valerian. Together, this combination kicks insomnia and anxiety to the curb.11
Some herbs can interact with certain conditions or medications. This can pose a risk to your health. Before using any of these natural remedies, talk to your doctor.
These herbs are just one part of anxiety relief. Practice healthy lifestyle habits like eating well, exercising, and getting enough rest. It’s also crucial to avoid smoking cigarettes. You might think that it eases anxiety, but it can actually make it worse.12
|↑1||Did You Know? Anxiety and Depression Association of America.|
|↑2||Zabirunnisa, Md, Jayaprakash S. Gadagi, Praveen Gadde, Nagamalleshwari Myla, Jyothirmai Koneru, and Chandrasekhar Thatimatla. “Dental patient anxiety: Possible deal with Lavender fragrance.” Journal of research in pharmacy practice 3, no. 3 (2014): 100.|
|↑3||Koulivand, Peir Hossein, Maryam Khaleghi Ghadiri, and Ali Gorji. “Lavender and the nervous system.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).|
|↑4||McCaffrey, Ruth, Debra J. Thomas, and Ann Orth Kinzelman. “The Effects of Lavender and Rosemary Essential Oils on Test‐Taking Anxiety Among Graduate Nursing Students.” Holistic nursing practice 23, no. 2 (2009): 88-93.|
|↑5||Rho, Kook-Hee, Sun-Hee Han, Keum-Soon Kim, and Myeong Soo Lee. “Effects of aromatherapy massage on anxiety and self-esteem in korean elderly women: a pilot study.” International Journal of Neuroscience 116, no. 12 (2006): 1447-1455.|
|↑6||Liu, Lei, Changhong Liu, Yicun Wang, Pu Wang, Yuxin Li, and Bingjin Li. “Herbal medicine for anxiety, depression and insomnia.” Current neuropharmacology 13, no. 4 (2015): 481-493.|
|↑7||Santos, M. S., F. Ferreira, A. P. Cunha, A. P. Carvalho, C. F. Ribeiro, and T. Macedo. “Synaptosomal GABA release as influenced by valerian root extract–involvement of the GABA carrier.” Archives internationales de pharmacodynamie et de thérapie 327, no. 2 (1993): 220-231.|
|↑8||Baek, Ji Hyun, Andrew A. Nierenberg, and Gustavo Kinrys. “Clinical applications of herbal medicines for anxiety and insomnia; targeting patients with bipolar disorder.” Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry (2014): 0004867414539198.|
|↑9, ↑11||Lemon Balm. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑10||Kennedy, D. O., G. Wake, S. Savelev, N. T. J. Tildesley, E. K. Perry, K. A. Wesnes, and A. B. Scholey. “Modulation of mood and cognitive performance following acute administration of single doses of Melissa officinalis (Lemon balm) with human CNS nicotinic and muscarinic receptor-binding properties.” Neuropsychopharmacology 28, no. 10 (2003): 1871.|
|↑12||Stress Relief Without Smoking. SmokeFree.Gov.|