Do you suffer from severe anxiety in social situations? Have you had one or more unexplainable panic attacks in your lifetime? Do you have trouble sleeping due to insomnia? Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness, affecting 40 million adults in the United States alone. If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it might be time to consider one of many natural remedies for anxiety and depression.
What is Anxiety & Why You Have It
Anxiety can come in many forms and is different for each individual. Some people may experience very short anxiety-related attacks, while others suffer from ongoing anxiety. And with our busy go-go-go lifestyles, anxiety seems to be the norm for many.
Coping with feelings of distress, worry, or fear can be a difficult task for many. Still, most men and women aren’t ready to commit to prescription medications that are often loaded with adverse side effects. Anxiety may be caused by a variety of factors that may not benefit from pharmaceutical intervention including:
- Environmental Factors
- Medical Factors
- Brain Chemistry
Because there are numerous causes for anxiety, the best remedy will depend on the individual. Choosing a natural anxiety treatment can sometimes be a trial and error process but a worthwhile one in the long run. Many men and women are able to lead full, anxiety-free lives by implementing simple natural alternatives.
Our Top 5 Picks: Natural Remedies for Anxiety
We’ve broken down our top picks into five different categories of natural remedies for anxiety and depression. We decided to focus our efforts on choosing solutions that were either clinically-proven to be effective or backed by an overwhelming amount of science. Along with each, we’ve provided some quick tips on how you can implement them into your day-to-day life.
#1 – Lifestyle Changes
The average person puts themselves at risk for anxiety many times throughout the day. You may not even be aware your habits are the cause of some of your anxiety, depression, or insomnia. These habits include:
- Smoking, Drinking, & Recreational Drugs
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- Consuming Caffeine
- Not Getting Enough Sleep
If any of the above sounds familiar, it might be time to consider breaking some of your bad habits and replacing them with ones that are good for natural anti anxiety.
What Habits are Good for Natural Anti Anxiety?
There are plenty of healthy habits that are easy to add to your regular routine if you’re looking to reduce feelings of anxiety. Consider trying some of the following:
- Regulate your sleep patterns – The average person functions best at around 7-9 hours of sleep. But aside from the number of hours, researchers suggest that waking up and going to bed around the same time may be more important. Sleeping in on the weekends might be doing more of a disservice than you’d like to believe.
- Mind-body practices – These can include things like yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and even journaling.
- Lead a more active lifestyle – Regular exercise (even 30-minutes five times a week) promotes good physical and mental health.
- Eat a healthy diet – You may want to check your eating habits if you notice your anxiety worsens after certain foods (like those containing high sugar).
It’s important to remember, what works for one person might not always be the best for another.
How to Implement Lifestyle Changes
Don’t push yourself too hard too soon when making lifestyle changes. Otherwise, you can risk worsening your anxiety rather than helping it. Choose 1-2 simple habits that you feel comfortable changing. After a while, you can make further changes as you see fit.
While some habits should be stopped completely (like smoking), you might be okay practicing an “in moderation” approach to others. Having the occasional cup of coffee or cocktail probably isn’t going to send you into a state of depression. The goal is to determine what will work for your individual needs.
#2 – Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil
When used correctly, CBD oil can be one of the best home remedies for anxiety. Although clinical trials are fairly new, CBD oil is high on our list for a variety of reasons. Many cultures have used cannabidiol oil combat anxiety and depression for centuries. It’s a natural anxiety treatment that provides near-instant relief without any side effects.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is derived from the hemp plant and comes in a wide range of strains and strengths. Each is designed to address specific concerns you might be facing (such as physical pain, anxiety, or depression). CBD does not produce a euphoric “high” or psychoactive effect. This allows you to enjoy all the benefits of the plant while avoiding the mind-altering effects commonly associated with marijuana.
The Science Behind CBD Oil
There is plenty of science backing CBD oil’s ability to naturally improve our physical and mental health. While the majority of clinical studies have been done to test the effects of CBD in relation to our physical well-being, we’re going to focus on those that look at whether CBD could be used as a natural medicine for anxiety.
One of the most promising studies includes a large retrospective case review. Just over 100 adult patients with anxiety or sleep complaints were chosen for this lengthy trial. Baseline anxiety scores were measured before, during, and after the study. More than half the patients reported a 79.2% decrease in anxiety within the first month alone. The case review concluded that CBD can be beneficial for various anxiety-related disorders.
Another double-blind 2010 study found that cannabidiol oil actually changed the way patients’ brains responded to social anxiety. Patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) saw a positive impact on the severity of their anxiety with CBD compared to those who were given a placebo. These results suggest that CBD reduces anxiety in SAD.
There are plenty of other preliminary studies being done to determine the benefits of CBD oil as a natural anti anxiety remedy. However, the existing evidence has us convinced. If you’re looking to a way to minimize anxiety and/or depression, we’d highly suggest adding CBD to your regular routine.
How to Use CBD Oil
CBD oil is very versatile. You can add it to your daily routine or simply use it as needed to tame your anxiety. A few drops is usually all you need, and the effects are often seen within 20-30 minutes.
You can easily add CBD to food, drinks, or smoothies. However, to get the best response, we typically recommend using it as a tincture. Simply place anywhere from 1-3 drops under your tongue and hold it there for several seconds. It’s that easy.
Why Choose CBD for Natural Anti Anxiety Relief?
One of the reasons we really like CBD oil for anxiety relief is the fact that there are very few if any, adverse side effects. You can start your doses low and build them as you like without worry. Also, if you don’t like the taste or smell of CBD oil, there are plenty of other high-CBD options like gummies, capsules, and creams that produce similar results.
#3 – Supplement Your Diet
When meditation and getting more sleep isn’t enough, it might be time to take a more direct approach. By supplementing your diet, you can take a proactive approach to reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. While certain foods can help, getting optimal dosages is difficult. That’s why many doctors recommend supplementing your diet with clinically-proven herbals which are known to stabilize your mental and emotional well-being.
Which Natural Anti Anxiety Herbs Are Best?
There are many herbals that can act as a natural medicine for anxiety. Some of our favorites include:
- Valerian – a clinically-proven herbal that helps with insomnia
- Ashwagandha – known for its stress-lowering effects
- Lavender – has a calming effect that corrects mood imbalances
- Kava Kava – is used for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Passionflower – known to increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical the brain makes to help regulate mood
- Lemon Balm – a calming herb used to reduce stress, anxiety, and promote sleep
- Chamomile – reduces stress and anxiety while treating symptoms of insomnia
Of course, you’ll be able to find numerous herbals out there claiming to be effective for anxiety. For our purposes, we’ve only chosen the most well-known and all-natural, evidence-based dietary supplements.
How Do Natural Herbs for Anxiety Work?
Natural herbs for anxiety usually come in the form of daily supplements that build within your body over time. Rather than a quick-fix for your anxiety, these herbals provide long-term relief by regulating your nervous system. You should experience the positive effects from your supplementation as long as you keep taking them.
#4 – Natural Anti Anxiety Teas
Ditch caffeine-laden coffee, which can worsen anxiety disorders and grab a cup of tea instead. Many teas are naturally good for anxiety relief and provide a safe, cost-effective, and tasty way to get through your day. Enjoy a cup as needed or as routine therapy or an underlying condition.
What Teas Are Best for Anxiety?
Tea is one of the most common home remedies for anxiety in just about every culture. But, there are some teas that are much more effective than others. Let’s take a look at some of our top picks.
- Chamomile – This well-known stress-soothing tea alleviates anxiety and helps treat insomnia.
- Peppermint – This refreshing tea is ideal for combating feelings of frustration, anxiety, and fatigue.
- Lavender – A great option for men and women looking for a mood-stabilizer with natural sedative effects.
- Green Tea – The polyphenol in green tea helps combat anxiety and stress. Just be aware, green tea does actually contain a lot of caffeine, so it might be best to skip it in the evenings.
- Licorice – If you’re feeling stressed, this might be your best bet. Licorice extract has been shown to enhance the effects of certain anti anxiety medications.
- Ashwagandha – This clinically-proven ingredient helps alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety.
- St. John’s Wort – When it comes to natural remedies for anxiety and depression, St. John’s Wort is the perfect solution. However, be aware that this powerful stress reliever may have adverse interactions with certain medications.
Aside from pure leaf teas, there are plenty of herbal blends that promote optimal well-being. You should be able to find many options in your local grocery store, farmer’s market, or online.
When Should You Take Tea for Anxiety?
Almost anytime is a good time to drink tea. Enjoy a cup in the morning before starting your day, or opt for a glass of iced tea in the afternoon to take the edge off and relieve stress. Certain teas are best suited for before bedtime to help you relax and reduce insomnia. We recommend drinking your tea in a calm, relaxing environment for best results.
#5- Aromatherapy for Natural Anxiety Treatment
Aromatherapy (sometimes referred to as essential oil therapy) is a unique option for people who want to combat social anxiety, tame panic attacks, or reduce depression. Natural herbs for anxiety can include plant extracts such as flowers, seeds, fruits, and roots. Many essential oils are clinically-proven to have a calming effect without any dependence, tolerance, or symptoms of withdrawal.
How Aromatherapy Works
Aromatherapy is designed to stimulate the smell receptors in your nose. They act as a natural anxiety medicine by sending calming messages to your nervous system. They’re also thought to have a subtle effect on the body’s chemical systems. Essential oils that are used in aromatherapy work in one of two ways to treat anxiety.
- Nervine – Some essentials work to strengthen your nervous system. Those labeled as having a “nervine effect” will soothe and calm the nerves without making you tired.
- Sedative – These types of essential oils are ideal for before bedtime. They’ll calm your nerves while also promoting healthy sleeping patterns.
Depending on your individual needs and goals, you may be better suited for nervine, sedative, or a combination of essential oils.
Which Essential Oils Are Best?
While there are tons of essential oils that can be used as a natural anxiety treatment, we’ll focus on a few of our favorites. Each of the below oils has shown to have a calming effect on the nervous system, which is perfect for anxiety and depression.
- Bergamont – (sedative) This calming oil has an invigorating citrus scent that is proven to help relieve anxiety and improve mood.
- Lavender – (sedative/nervine) You’re probably familiar with the smell of this herbal. It’s ideal for panic, insomnia, and depression.
- Grapefruit – (nervine) Like many citrus-based oils, grapefruit has natural anti anxiety effects.
- Clary Sage – (sedative/nervine) When inhaled, this refreshing scent has been shown to relieve tension and improve overall mood.
- Ylang Ylang – (sedative) This floral-scented oil helps promote relaxation and can help tame immediate panic.
- Sandalwood – (sedative) A powerful herbal that’s know to combat anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
- Chamomile – (sedative/nervine) Chamomile helps regulate mood and stress levels by calming the nervous system.
Many store-bought essential oils for aromatherapy will contain multiple ingredients. Be sure to check the packaging to ensure you’re getting the desired effects you want.
How to Use Essential Oils
The right way to use essentials oils can vary based on the goals you’d like to accomplish. There are four (4) main ways in which people typically practice aromatherapy. Let’s take a look.
- Inhale – This method is often best for a quick-fix. If you’re having a panic attack or simply want to boost your mood, you can try inhaling your essential oils for a few seconds while practicing breathing exercises.
- Burn/Diffuse – If you’re looking to promote a calm, welcoming environment in your home, this is the best route to take. Many people burn or diffuse their oils while meditating or before bedtime.
- Dilute – Opting to dilute your essential oils while taking a bath can be extremely relaxing. It’s a good way to either start or end your day feeling refreshed.
- Massage – Essential oils are perfect for rubbing into your skin. Just make sure to pre-dilute it with another carrier oil because essential oils can be very strong. Five or so drops should be plently to achieve the desired effect.
Implementing natural herbs for anxiety through aromatherapy is incredibly easy. Feel free to test out different methods until you find which works best for you!
Which Natural Anxiety Treatment is Best for You?
That’s a question only you can decide. For some, a simple change to their daily routine will be enough to combat anxiety. Moderate to severe anxiety may require more direct intervention. Options like CBD oil and dietary supplements can help regulate your nervous system for long-term positive outcomes. Teas and aromatherapy can have a calming effect as needed.
All the above treatments can be beneficial for people who are looking for natural remedies for anxiety without self-medicating. However, whichever route you decide to take should not replace the advice of your doctor. If your anxiety continues or worsens with time, pharmaceutical intervention could be necessary.