Herbal remedies have been used to treat depression, stress, and anxiety for centuries around the globe. Western societies, in particular, have moved away from traditional herbal treatments towards prescription medications. There are some proven herbal (herbs) options that may be worth a try.
1. St. John’s Wort | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
Probably the best-known herb used to treat both anxiety and depression is St. John’s Wort. It is used first-line in Germany for mild to moderate depression and is well-established as an effective antidepressant—equivalent in effectiveness to prescription antidepressants—with fewer side effects. Like the SSRIs, St. John’s Wort also has an anti-anxiety effect.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), St. John’s Wort may help milder forms of depression, although its effects haven’t been conclusively proven either way. A 2008 review of 29 studies on St. John’s wort found that the plant was just as effective for treating mild to moderate depression as antidepressants, yet resulted in fewer side effects. On the other hand, the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health sponsored two separate studies that found it wasn’t better than a placebo for treating depression.
The recommended dose of St. John’s Wort is 450 milligrams twice daily. It is best to start at half dose for a few days and then increase to the full 450 mg. St. John’s Wort takes 4 weeks to achieve full effect, and its major risk involves interactions with other drugs and supplements. If you are taking medications, it should absolutely be monitored by your doctor to be sure that there are no toxic side effects.
It’s important to note that St. John’s wort is known for interacting with lots of medications. This is especially true for blood thinners, birth control pills, and chemotherapy medications. Always check with your doctor before taking this herb.
Learn more about St.John’s Wort and its relationships with Anxiety, Depression, and Stress. Learn about Side Effects, Interactions and Dosages in the following article -> https://alifehealthy.com/st-johns-wort-may-fight-depression-and-anxiety//
2. Lavender Oil | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
Lavender oil has been used as an inhalant—in sachets, sprays, oils, and lotions—for centuries. The smell induces calm and sleep. Lavender oil is now available in an oral form, collected into microscopic bubbles and placed in a capsule that allows it to cross the intestinal barrier. Once it does, it induces calm and reduces anxiety. It is marketed as Lavela. It’s not addictive or dangerous.
Lavender is an anxiety treatment that doesn’t make you tired. It can be used as needed—when anxiety arises, or regularly, depending on your needs.
ⓘ Learn more about Lavender Oil and its relationships with Anxiety, Depression, and Stress. Learn about Side Effects, Interactions and Dosages in the following article -> https://alifehealthy.com/lavender-oil-can-beat-anxiety-and-depression/
3. Valerian root | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
Valerian works as a mild antidepressant and anxiolytic and has demonstrated through testing not to have a sedative effect. The extract phytofin Valerian 368 has been shown to have sleep-enhancing qualities.
Valerian root is the most effective herb for sleep, according to research. It is also a great anti-anxiety herb, but, unlike lavender or L-theanine, it will definitely make you tired! It’s a good option for more severe anxiety spells and for evening use when you won’t be driving or working.
Valerian can be taken during the day in very small doses, 20 milligrams or less. In fact, it is widely available in “sleep teas” at a dose of about 20 milligrams. For sleep or more severe anxiety in the evening, you can use doses as high as 600 milligrams. It is important not to combine valerian with alcohol or other depressant medications.
Learn more about Valerian Root and its relationships with Anxiety, Depression, and Stress. Also, get informed about the Side Effects, Interactions and Dosages in the following article -> https://alifehealthy.com/valerian-root-beats-anxiety-depression-insomnia/
4. Kava | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
Kava root has been used as a ceremonial tea in the Polynesian islands for centuries. It is non-addictive and has been shown to be effective in generalized anxiety disorder. Kava has a feel similar to alcohol—relaxing and anxiety-reducing, but with no addictive quality. Some studies over a decade ago showed that kava caused liver toxicity, but those studies used the incorrect parts of the kava plant, and the supplements used may have had contaminants in them.
Kava has been shown in several studies to have an effect similar to that of valium in treating anxiety. 300mg once a day causes a decrease in anxiety, while also improving cognitive function. This is in contrast to pharmaceuticals like valium, which help with anxiety but also decrease cognitive function
Kava should not be taken for more than 4 weeks, nor should it be taken if you have hepatitis or other liver problems.
Learn more about Kava and its relationships with Anxiety, Depression, and Stress. Also, get informed about the Side Effects, Interactions and Dosages in the following article -> https://alifehealthy.com/kava-for-anxiety-and-depression/
5. Rhodiola | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
Rhodiola (Rhodiola Rosea), sometimes called Arctic root or golden root is considered an adaptogenic herb, meaning that it acts in non-specific ways to increase resistance to stress.
This herb grows at high altitudes in the arctic areas of Europe and Asia, and its root has been used in traditional medicine in Russia and the Scandinavian countries for centuries. Studies of Rhodiola Rosea’s medicinal applications have appeared in the scientific literature of Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, the Soviet Union, and Iceland. Rhodiola Rosea is still widely used in Russia as a tonic and remedy for fatigue, poor attention span, and decreased memory.
A study published in 2007 in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, showed that patients with mild-to-moderate depression who took a Rhodiola extract reported fewer symptoms of depression than those who took a placebo. A small human trial of Rhodiola at UCLA published in 2008, reported significant improvement in 10 people with generalized anxiety who took the herb for 10 weeks. Side effects were generally mild or moderate in severity. The most common unwanted effects were dizziness and dry mouth. Rhodiola appears to work faster than conventional antidepressants, often in less than a week.
Tieraona Low Dog, M.D. says it is one of her favorite herbs for treatment of patients suffering from “21st-century stress”: fatigue, mental fog, trouble concentrating, low energy and, perhaps, mild depression. She recommends using a standardized extract. Look for products that are similar to those studied in clinical trials containing 2-3% rosavin and 0.8-1% Salidroside. Start with 100 mg once a day for a week and then increase the dosage by 100 mg every week, up to 400 mg a day, if needed.
Learn more about Rhadiola Rosea and its relationships with Anxiety, Depression, and Stress. Also, get informed about the Side Effects, Interactions and Dosages in the following article -> https://alifehealthy.com/rhodiola-rosea-for-anxiety/
6. Ashwagandha | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
Ashwagandha, sometimes known as Indian ginseng, is an herb that has been used in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, that can be traced back 6000 years. Ashwagandha has been used for numerous conditions, many of which have been studied scientifically.
This herb has shown effectiveness in reducing stress hormones, promoting intellect and memory, protecting against neuronal injury in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s. It can also reverse or slow neuritic atrophy and synaptic loss in those diseases.
A treatment group in a randomized, double-blind study of Ashwagandha compared to placebo demonstrated that the blood cortisol levels after 60 days showed a marked decrease, and the side effects were minimal. Usage of ashwagandha was shown to be a good protector against stress.
The treatment dosage in humans is one 300 mg capsule of high-concentration full-spectrum extract from the root of the Ashwagandha plant twice daily. Again, all studies showed only minimal side effects and no major side effects were noted.
One 2012 study of 64 volunteers randomized asked subjects to take either ashwagandha or a placebo twice a day for 60 days. The ashwagandha group’s capsule contained 300 mg of a concentrated extract made from the root. During the treatment period, regular telephone call check-ins assured volunteers were consistently taking the herbs or placebo and were used to note any adverse reactions. The treatment group given the ashwagandha root extract exhibited a significant reduction in anxiety scores after two months relative to the placebo group, without side effects. Most notably, serum cortisol levels were substantially reduced in the herbal group. Cortisol is the stress hormone that goes up when we are stressed out. Cortisol also creates longer-term fatigue and mental fogginess, and brain structures for emotion and memory are damaged when cortisol is too high.
Several studies, including one published in the journal Phytomedicine back in 2000, have found that ashwagandha works as well as, or better than, antidepressant drugs at relieving anxiety and treating depression symptoms. And ashwagandha naturally prevents stress-induced free radical damage without causing harmful side effects.
Learn more about Ashwagandha and its relationships with Anxiety, Depression, and Stress. Also, get informed about the Side Effects, Interactions and Dosages in the following article -> https://alifehealthy.com/ashwagandha-for-anxiety-and-stress//
7. Chamomile | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
Chamomile is particularly beneficial for those dealing with both depression and anxiety.
There are two main species of chamomile used medicinally, German or wild chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman or English chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).
German chamomile is more commonly used but both offer very similar health benefits.
Recently, a study was conducted comparing chamomile extract with placebo for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. After 8 weeks of this randomized, double-blind study, results showed that people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder had a statistically significant reduction in anxiety.
Learn more about Chamomile and its relationships with Anxiety, Depression, and Stress. Also, get informed about the Side Effects, Interactions and Dosages in the following article -> https://alifehealthy.com/chamomile-tea-treats-anxiety-stress-and-depression/
8. Gingko Biloba | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
Ginkgo extract is widely used in Europe where it’s available by prescription or as an approved over-the-counter medication.
In one year alone, West German doctors wrote 5.24 million prescriptions for ginkgo leaf extract.
Here in the US, ginkgo is sold as a nutritional supplement, usually as a standardized Ginkgo biloba extract made from dried ginkgo leaves.
Standardized extracts are currently used for treating a wide range of conditions including memory loss, concentration problems, mental confusion, depression, anxiety, dizziness, tinnitus, and headache.
Ginkgo is believed to work by increasing blood supply, reducing blood viscosity, boosting neurotransmitters, and reducing harmful free radicals. It can help to treat depression by increasing uptake of both serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters often low in those with depression.
Ginkgo extract can also reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Ginkgo leaves contain long-chain alkylphenols which are highly allergenic. These are similar to the irritating compounds found in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. If you have a known allergy to any of these plants, it’s best to avoid taking ginkgo.
A typical ginkgo dose is 40 mg three times a day for a total of 120 mg. It’s usually advised to start at a low dose and take with meals to avoid gastrointestinal distress. Doses of up to 240 mg per day are often recommended for therapeutic purposes.
Read more about how Ginkgo Biloba treats anxiety, depression, and stress on the following article -> https://alifehealthy.com/ginkgo-biloba-for-treating-anxiety-depression/
9. Maca | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
Maca has been traditionally used in Peru to treat depression in men and women and to stimulate libido.
In a 2008 study published in the journal Menopause, researchers found that maca helps reduce anxiety and depression symptoms in women with menopause. A group of 14 postmenopausal women completed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. One group was given 3.5 grams of Maca powder per day, while the other group was given a placebo. At the end of the 12-week trial, the researchers reported, “… significant reduction in scores in the areas of psychological symptoms, including the subscales for anxiety and depression and sexual dysfunction after Maca consumption.“
The researchers conclude that Maca is indeed effective for treating psychological symptoms like anxiety and depression. Another study published in 2006 treated mice with depression over a 21-day period using Red, Black and Cream colored Maca roots. They discovered that while Black Maca helped improve cognitive function the most, all colors of Maca were helpful for depression.
-> Learn more about how Maca treats Anxiety, Stress and depression in the following link: https://alifehealthy.com/maca-root-treats-anxiety-and-depression/
10. Rosemary | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
Rosemary is a woody plant, and its leaves are used for flavoring meats, potatoes, cooking oils, and many other seasoning purposes. This seasoning shows good effects as an antidepressant and anxiolytic.
Rosemary is great with many Middle Eastern dishes, and also can be used in peas, lamb, veal, and fish.
11. Thyme | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
The carvacrol found in this medicinal herb has been studied and shown to have some very positive mood-boosting effects. Research published in 2013 showed that when carvacrol was administered for seven consecutive days to animals, it was able to increase both dopamine and serotonin levels in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Dopamine and serotonin are two key neurotransmitters when it comes to your mood.
The data from this study suggests that carvacrol is a brain-active molecule that clearly influences brain activity through the modulation of neurotransmitters. If thyme is regularly ingested in low concentrations, this study suggests that it might improve feelings of well-being.
12. Passionflower | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
A few small clinical trials suggest that passionflower might help with anxiety. In many commercial products, passion flower is combined with other herbs, making it difficult to distinguish the unique qualities of each herb. Passionflower is generally considered safe when taken as directed, but some studies found it can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
13. Lemon balm | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
Preliminary research shows lemon balm can reduce some symptoms of anxiety, such as nervousness and excitability. Lemon balm is generally well-tolerated and considered safe for short-term use, but can cause nausea and abdominal pain.
14. Green Tea | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
The Chinese have long been using green tea to treat depression, but it might come as a surprise that green tea can also treat anxiety. Green tea comes with L-theanine, an amino acid that helps reduce stress and relaxes your mind and body. When going out to dinner, try swapping your water for a glass of green tea. You can also purchase green tea extract or L-theanine supplements.
Green tea seems to be the main source for L-theanine, but some people don’t like the taste. If you prefer not to drink green tea, try eating one of these L-theanine rich foods.
Green Tea has a lot of other health benefits.
15. Hops | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
Yes, it’s in beer, but you won’t get the tranquilizing benefits of the bitter herb hops (Humulus lupulus) from a brew. The sedative compound in hops is a volatile oil, so you get it in extracts and tinctures—and as aromatherapy in hops pillows.
“It’s very bitter, so you don’t see it in tea much unless combined with chamomile or mint,” says Blumenthal. Hops are often used as a sedative, to promote sleep, often with another herb, valerian. Note: Don’t take sedative herbs if you are taking a prescription tranquilizer or sedative, and let your doctor know any supplements you are taking.
Hops have a lot of other health benefits for your whole body.
16. Ginseng | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
Ginseng has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. This supplement is found in the gnarled root of the American or Asian ginseng plant. Siberian or Eleuthero ginseng are different plants and have different active ingredients.
This herb has been linked to helping improve mental clarity and energy and reducing the effects of stress. These properties can make ginseng particularly helpful for dealing with low energy and motivation associated with depression. Like St. John’s Wort, ginseng has been found to trigger mania in people with bipolar disorder.
Also, Ginseng has a lot of other health benefits.
17. Saffron | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
In a meta-analysis (5 RCTs of 30 to 42 humans each), saffron significantly improved mood [R].
In another study (DB-RCT) of 40 women with postpartum depression, saffron supplementation for 6 weeks was more effective in treating mild to moderate depression than the common antidepressant Prozac [R].
It can also relieve anxiety in mice. One study in mice found that saffron extract reduced anxiety-like behaviors (elevated plus maze test) and increased sleeping time. This indicates that saffron may be effective in treating insomnia and other sleep-related disorders [R].
Similar improvements in depressive symptoms were seen in 61 patients (DB-RCT) with schizophrenia given saffron extract for 12 weeks. It was well tolerated and is considered safe to use, but more research is needed to determine if saffron is as effective as the current therapies used in treating schizophrenia [R, R,].
Hey, Saffron has a lot of other health benefits! You can read more about Saffron by clicking below:
18. California Poppy | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
Used successfully for mental and physical exhaustion, as well as acting as a general analgesic in the body, this little-known herb is often recommended for people suffering from depression. It can provide a better mindset by alteringlevels, while also stimulating the metabolism and energizing users.
You can also:
19. Skullcap | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
Before the advent of pharmaceutical tranquilizers, Skullcap was the go-to herb for the relief of anxiety and nervous tension. As one excerpt from an old herbal encyclopedia puts it, “Skullcap is one of the finest nervines and antispasmodics are given to humanity. It should be on every physician’s shelf”.
Studies have since shown it exhibits “anxiolytic activity” in animals and humans – meaning it inhibits anxiety. Herbalist Richard Whelan has noticed in his own clinical use of Skullcap that in strong doses (especially with the tea), it has quite a strikingly calming effect on agitated individuals.
Oxidative stress affects some brain-related diseases, such as anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and Parkinson’s disease. It may neutralize and even get rid off toxic free radicals from the body. When they are eliminated, oxidative stress is greatly reduced. Thus skullcap may provide significant antioxidant effects, which could make it a great option for reducing anxiety.
A 2003 double-blind study shows Skullcap offers significant anti-anxiety benefits for healthy individuals.
If you are suffering from occasional bouts of serious depression, you can take skullcap to reduce inflammation, soothe the stomach, and stimulate cognition in a positive way, which can help with depression.This herb should only be used for short periods of time, as continual use could result in a worsening of your symptoms.
Also, Skullcap has a lot of other great and amazing health benefits:
-> Learn about all the health benefits of Skullcap + Potential Side Effects + Dosage + Interaction by clicking here <-
20. Gotu Kola | Herbal Remedies for Decreasing Anxiety, Depression and Stress
In Ayurvedic medicine, the effects of Gotu Kola classify it as a Rasayana, or rejuvenating herb, due to its ability to restore functioning, balance, and health to many parts of the mind and body. For example, it is an extremely healing herb for the nervous system and has been shown to repair and restore axons, which are used to transmit nerve impulses throughout the brain and body. As such, it has been used as an anti-anxiety, anti-stress and anti-insomnia medicine throughout its long history of human use.
The ability of Gotu Kola to improve blood quality and circulation is likely one of the main components of its rejuvenating effects, as our blood comes into contact with and nourishes nearly every single area of our mind and body, supplying oxygen and other essential nutrients.
Hey, Gotu Kola has a lot of other great and amazing health benefits:
You can treat both anxiety and depression with natural remedies including permanent lifestyle changes, natural herbs, vitamins, and minerals.
Learn which foods will help you fight Anxiety and Depression in this article ->
Note: Before deciding on a dose for any of these herbs for anxiety and depression, speak with your doctor about potential risks, interactions with other drugs, or possible complications with pre-existing conditions. A person who is taking herbal supplements must inform their physician, as there is potential for side effects and other drug interactions. Depression is a treatable disease, but it may take some trial and error to work out which medication or supplement regimen is best for an individual.
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