Stress and anxiety is common and can have a big impact on your daily life. It can be triggered by a range of different life pressures including big life changes, health, work and mental health conditions. The good news is there are lots of great herbal remedies that work effectively for reducing stress and anxious feelings. Today we’re going to cover our top 5 favorite herbs to reduce stress and anxiety.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
We couldn’t start this list without mentioning the queen of medicinal plants: Lavender. Lavender is renowned for helping to reduce stress and anxiety and has been used for centuries as a medicinal aid. Several studies have suggested that lavender possesses antidepressant, anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, sedative and neuroprotective properties. Unlike other herbs there have been many studies into the effect that lavender has on humans.
One particular study conducted in 2014 found that Lavender helps a person to feel calmer, lowers anxieties and restlessness, compared to conventional drugs. Another 2010 study found that oral lavender capsules were as effective as lorazepam (a benzodiazepine medication used to treat anxiety disorders) for treating adults with generalized anxiety disorder.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Valerian is a herb native to Europe and some parts of Asia. Valerian has been used for centuries as a powerful sedative. It was a popular herbal tool used by the Ancient Greeks and Romans. It was a popular choice for both Hippocrates and Galen, especially for treating insomnia. During the 16th century it was used to treat headaches, nervousness and heart palpitations. In World War II it was used to help relieve the stress of air raids. Today it is used mainly as a sleep aid and can be particularly beneficial for menopausal people.
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L)
Chamomile is another herb that has been used throughout history as an aid for anxiety and stress, as well as other disorders such as insomnia and gastrointestinal conditions. It was an important medicinal herb in ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece. There have been many studies into the effect chamomile has on nervous disorders. One particular study conducted in 2016 found that chamomile significantly reduces a person's symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha, native to Asia and Africa, is an adaptogenic Ayurvedic herb that is known for helping with stress and fatigue. A study conducted in 2012 found that ingesting the root extract can significantly reduce stress levels. A further 2014 studyfound that Ashwagandha can help to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety.
Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata)
The passion flower was discovered in 1569 in Peru by a Spanish doctor called Monardes. It was originally used as an ornamental flower and it wasn't until the 1950’s that it was used as a herbal remedy in the west. It’s native to Florida, Mexico, Central and South America.
Studies on the effect that passion flower has on stress and anxiety are still relatively new but there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that it’s effective in treating anxiety and insomnia. It is believed, by scientists, that it works by increasing the levels of a chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in our brains. GABA can help to lower some of the activity in brain cells helping you to feel more relaxed. A study conducted in 2001 found that passionflower is effective for the management of generalized anxiety disorder.
There are many different herbs that can help to regulate the stress response in the body and calm feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. These are just a few of our favorites that we have found effective and useful.
Do you have a specific herb that works well for you in moments of stress and anxious feelings? Let us know in the comments below.