What is a natural anxiety remedy
Natural Remedies for Anxiety: 10 Ideas
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It’s a feeling of fear or worry that could be caused by a combination of factors that researchers believe range from genetics to environmental to brain chemistry.
Some common symptoms of anxiety include:
- increased heart rate
- rapid breathing
- trouble concentrating
However, it’s important to note that anxiety can present itself in different ways for different people. While one person may experience a butterfly feeling in their stomach, another might have panic attacks, nightmares, or painful thoughts.
With that being said, there’s a difference between everyday anxiety and anxiety disorders. Feeling anxious about something new or stressful is one thing, but when it gets to an uncontrollable or excessive point and starts to affect your quality of life, it could be a disorder.
Some anxiety disorders include:
- panic disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- separation anxiety
- illness anxiety
- generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- social anxiety disorder
Anxiety can be treated in a variety of ways. One common treatment option is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps provide people with tools to cope with anxiety when it occurs.
There are also certain medications, like antidepressants and sedatives, that work to balance brain chemistry and prevent episodes of anxiety. They may even ward off the most severe symptoms.
If you’re looking to go a more natural route, though, there are little and big ways you can help combat anxiety.
You can make adjustments to habits, like exercise, sleep, and diet. You can also try something totally new, like aromatherapy or meditation. No matter what your lifestyle demands, there’s a natural way to help reduce anxiety for everyone.
1. Stay active
Regular exercise isn’t just about physical health — it can be a huge help to your mental health, as well.
A 2013 study found that people with anxiety disorders who reported a high level of physical activity were better protected against developing anxiety symptoms.
This could be for a variety of reasons. Exercise can divert your attention away from something that’s making you anxious.
Getting your heart rate up also changes the brain chemistry to create more space for anti-anxiety neurochemicals, like:
- gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
- brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), regular exercise leads to an enhancement of concentration and willpower, which can help certain anxiety symptoms.
When it comes to what type of exercise, this is more of a personal preference. If you’re looking to really get your heart rate up, something like a HIIT class (high-intensity interval training) or running is your best bet.
But if you’re looking to start off with something with a little lower impact, workouts, like Pilates and yoga, could also be just as beneficial for your mental health.
2. Steer clear of alcohol
Drinking alcohol may take the edge off at first, since it’s a natural sedative. However, research suggests there’s a link between anxiety and alcohol consumption, with anxiety disorders and alcohol use disorder (AUD) occurring hand-in-hand.
A 2017 review that looked at 63 different studies showed that decreasing alcohol intake can improve both anxiety and depression.
Heavy drinking can interfere with the balance of neurotransmitters, which can be responsible for positive mental health. This interference creates an imbalance that may lead to certain symptoms of anxiety.
Anxiety may temporarily increase in early sobriety but can improve in the long run.
Alcohol has also been shown to disrupt your body’s natural ability to sleep by interfering with sleep homeostasis. And as we’ll later point out, a good night’s sleep is incredibly helpful when combating anxiety.
3. Consider quitting smoking cigarettes
Smokers often reach for a cigarette during stressful times. Yet, like drinking alcohol, taking a drag on a cigarette when you’re stressed is a quick fix that may worsen anxiety over time.
Research has shown that the earlier you start smoking in life, the higher your risk of developing an anxiety disorder later. Research also suggests nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke alter pathways in the brain linked to anxiety.
If you’re looking to quit, there are lots of different ways you can get started. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends finding a safe substitute for cigarettes, like toothpicks.
You can also take up habits that may distract you in order to create an environment that works for your smoke-free life. Additionally, you can make a plan with a support system who can provide everything from encouragement to distractions.
4. Limit caffeine intake
If you have chronic anxiety, caffeine is not your friend. Caffeine may cause nervousness and jitters, neither of which is good if you’re anxious.
Research has shown caffeine may cause or worsen anxiety disorders. It may also cause panic attacks in people with panic disorder. In some people, eliminating caffeine may significantly improve anxiety symptoms.
Similar to alcohol, caffeine and anxiety are often linked, due to caffeine’s ability to alter brain chemistry.
For example, a 2008 study showed that caffeine increases alertness by blocking the brain chemical adenosine, which is what makes you feel tired, while at the same time triggering the release of adrenalin.
With all this being said, a moderate intake of caffeine is safe for most people.
However, if you’re looking to cut back or completely cut out caffeine, you’ll want to start by slowly reducing the amount of caffeine you drink daily.
Start replacing these drinks with water to quench the thirst. This will not only satisfy your body’s need to drink a liquid, but it will also help flush caffeine from your body and keep you hydrated.
Gradually reducing your caffeine over the course of a few weeks can help adjust the habit without the body going through withdrawal.
5. Prioritize getting a good night’s rest
Sleep has been proven time and time again to be an important part of good mental health.
Even though a 2012 survey found that nearly a third of adults get less than 6 hours of sleep a night, the CDC recommends that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day.
You can make sleep a priority by:
- only sleeping at night when you’re tired
- not reading or watching television in bed
- not using your phone, tablet, or computer in bed
- not tossing and turning in your bed or going to another room if you can’t sleep
- avoiding caffeine, large meals, and nicotine before bedtime
- keeping your room dark and cool
- writing down your worries before going to bed
- going to sleep at the same time each night
6. Meditate and practice mindfulness
A main goal of meditation is full awareness of the present moment, which includes noticing all thoughts in a nonjudgmental way. This can lead to a sense of calm and contentment by increasing your ability to mindfully tolerate all thoughts and feelings.
Meditation is known to relieve stress and anxiety and is a primary facet of CBT.
Research from John Hopkins suggests 30 minutes of daily meditation may alleviate some anxiety symptoms and act as an antidepressant.
How to meditate
There are 9 popular types of meditation:
- mindfulness meditation
- spiritual meditation
- focused meditation
- movement meditation
- mantra meditation
- transcendental meditation
- progressive relaxation
- loving-kindness meditation
- visualization meditation
Mindfulness meditation is generally the most popular form. To mindfully meditate, you can close your eyes, breathe deeply, and pay attention to your thoughts as they pass through your mind. You don’t judge or become involved with them. Instead, you simply observe them and take note of any patterns.
7. Eat a balanced diet
Low blood sugar levels, dehydration, or chemicals in processed foods, such as artificial flavorings, artificial coloring, and preservatives, may cause mood changes in some people. A high-sugar diet may also impact temperament.
If your anxiety worsens after eating, check your eating habits. Stay hydrated, eliminate processed foods, and eat a balanced diet rich in complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins.
8. Practice deep breathing
Shallow, fast breathing is common with anxiety. It may lead to a fast heart rate, dizziness or lightheadedness, or even a panic attack.
Deep breathing exercises — the deliberate process of taking slow, even, deep breaths — can help restore normal breathing patterns and reduce anxiety.
9. Try aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that has been used by humans for thousands of years. The practice uses natural plant extracts and essential oils to promote the health and well-being of the mind, body, and spirit. Its goal is to enhance both physical and emotional health.
The essential oils created by the natural plant extracts may be inhaled directly or added to a warm bath or diffuser. Aromatherapy is suggested to:
- help you relax
- help you sleep
- boost mood
- reduce heart rate and blood pressure
Some essential oils believed to relieve anxiety are:
- clary sage
- ylang ylang
10. Drink chamomile tea
A cup of chamomile tea is a common home remedy to calm frayed nerves and promote sleep.
A 2014 study showed chamomile may also be a powerful ally against GAD. The study found people who took German chamomile capsules (220 milligrams up to five times daily) had a greater reduction in test scores that measure anxiety symptoms than those who were given a placebo.
Another 2005 study found that chamomile extract helped sleep-disturbed rats fall asleep. Researchers believe that the tea may function like benzodiazepine, binding to benzodiazepine receptors and having benzodiazepine-like hypnotic activity.
Interested in other resources for mental health?
We’re here to help. Explore our evidence-driven reviews of top providers, products, and more to support your physical and emotional well-being.
If you’re feeling anxious, the above ideas may help calm you down.
Remember, home remedies may help ease anxiety, but they don’t replace professional help. Increased anxiety may require therapy or prescription medication. Talk with your doctor about your concerns.
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CBD, Herbal Supplements & More
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Everyone may experience anxiety from time to time. Whether temporary or constant, anxiety can affect your quality of life, and finding relief can be a challenge.
It’s always best to talk with your doctor or a mental health professional as a first action. But sometimes, you may need or want to seek alternative coping methods in addition to more traditional therapies.
Read on to learn about a few research-backed natural remedies for anxiety. They may help you find relief for anxious feelings.
Chamomile is a common herbal tea ingredient. Some people drink chamomile tea because of the taste, while others may find it helps soothe and calm the mind.
According to a 2016 study, regularly drinking chamomile tea may reduce symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Given that, should you try it out? It may be worth it. A chamomile tea drinking ritual is unlikely to have any side effects, so you don’t have to worry about it doing more harm than good.
However, it is important to note that chamomile tea, or extract, is not a replacement for traditional anti-anxiety medication.
Shop for chamomile tea online.
Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0. 3 percent THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3 percent THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is becoming increasingly popular, in part due to emerging research suggesting that it can help lower anxiety levels. While researchers do not totally understand the link between CBD and anxiety, current research is promising.
Animal studies suggest that CBD may help counteract stress in rats, while human studies point to CBD’s ability to help with the following anxiety disorders:
- social anxiety disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and GAD
- anxiety-induced insomnia
Research suggests that CBD is typically safe to use. And unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products, it will not leave you feeling “high.” However, taking too much can still cause side effects.
CBD can also interact with medications, so talk with your doctor before you start taking it.
CBD products for anxiety
If you’re interested in trying CBD for anxiety, here are a few products that may be helpful. Learn about how we select CBD products.
- Medterra CBD Gummies, Sleep Tight. With added melatonin, these gummies may be useful for sleep. Shop now. Use code “health25” for 15% off.
- Charlotte’s Web Hemp Extract-Infused Gummies, Calm. In addition to CBD, the lemon balm in these gummies may help soothe anxiety. Shop now. Use code “HEALTh25” for 15% off.
- CBDistillery CBD Oil. Made with CBD isolate, this oil is a good option if you’re looking to avoid THC altogether. Shop now. Use code “healthline” for 20% off.
- Lord Jones Royal Oil. A multipurpose product, this CBD oil can be used topically or orally. Shop now.
- Joy Organics CBD Bath Bombs. If taking a bath helps you relax, these lavender-scented bath bombs may be a good choice. Shop now. Use code “healthcbd” for 15% off.
A popular herbal supplement for anxiety is valerian root. There’s some evidence that this perennial plant’s herbal preparation can help with anxiety.
A 2020 literature review found that valerian extract helped reduce symptoms of anxiety in multiple studies. Dosages in these studies ranged from 100-milligram (mg) single doses to 600 mg per day.
Learn more about valerian root dosage for anxiety here.
Oral lavender oil supplements may also help reduce anxious feelings. A 2017 literature review found that lavender oil supplements can be effective in reducing anxiety and depression symptoms, and improving sleep.
Drinks containing lemon balm may also help you reduce general feelings of anxiety.
However, supplements are not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and they may have side effects. That said, they may be a suitable option for treating mild anxiety symptoms.
It’s critical that you talk with your doctor before taking supplements since they can interact with certain medications. It’s also possible to take too much of a certain supplement.
Writing down your thoughts can help you process your emotions and sort your thoughts. You may find that there is something cathartic about writing, or typing, out your feelings.
Positive affect journaling (PAJ), where you regularly write down positive feelings about yourself, may help reduce feelings of anxiety. A study published in 2018 involving adults with elevated anxiety symptoms found that regular PAJ was associated with fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety after 1 month.
Other mindfulness practices, like meditation, can also help reduce stress and anxiety.
One literature review from 2014 concluded that meditation has some ability to reduce psychological stress. However, meditation is not a substitute for other treatments like medications and therapy.
Read our review of Headspace versus Calm.
If you’re already into the fitness scene, chances are you’ve spotted a T-shirt at some point that proudly states, “[insert fitness activity] is my therapy.”
While exercise is not the same thing as therapy, it can play a significant role in reducing anxiety. Regular exercise can also have a positive effect on depressive disorders and generally improve your overall health.
Exercises that increase your heart rate can help relieve stress and encourage your brain to release serotonin, a natural mood stabilizer.
Like the other remedies listed here, exercise is not a magic bullet. It’s often most effective when paired with other treatments.
Similarly, “dosage” might vary from person to person. There isn’t any research that quantifies the ideal amount of exercise to combat anxiety.
Get started with these at-home exercises.
Natural treatments will not work for everyone. If you have severe anxiety that affects your day-to-day life, talk with your doctor about the following treatment options:
- Prescription medications. Your doctor may prescribe medications to help you manage your anxiety. This may include short-term symptom relievers like alprazolam (Xanax) and long-term antidepressants like fluoxetine (Prozac).
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can often help identify the root cause of anxious feelings and assist you in dealing with them.
- Support groups. Feeling anxious is common. There are many online and in-person support groups that may help you understand and manage your anxiety better.
- Aromatherapy. People often use aromatherapy as a natural remedy for anxiety. There is a broad range of essential oils that you can use for this alternative treatment.
- Limit caffeine. Consuming too much caffeine can induce feelings of anxiety, so limiting your intake may be beneficial.
- Limit alcohol. Drinking alcohol is not an anxiety treatment. In fact, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol may even cause anxiety symptoms.
- Stop smoking. Like alcohol, many people feel that smoking helps them deal with stress and anxiety. However, smoking tobacco can increase feelings of anxiety. Cutting down or quitting entirely may help.
Combining natural treatments with mechanical therapies, like breathing exercises and physical activity, is safe.
However, combining natural supplements with prescription medications may be risky.
It’s best to talk with your doctor before combining supplements with prescription medication — even if you’ve been using the supplements for a long time without negative effects.
It can be challenging to live with anxiety, but there are ways to cope. People with mild symptoms may be able to manage their anxiety with natural remedies, like CBD, exercise, and herbal supplements.
Not everyone will find relief with natural therapies, though.
If you have high anxiety levels and feel overwhelmed, talk with your doctor or a mental health professional. CBT and other psychotherapies are proven strategies for coping with anxiety.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.
Only Peace of Mind: Natural Remedies to Reduce Anxiety
While pharmaceutical science and medical technology are constantly surprising with new advances, confidence in natural healing products has not waned in the slightest. On the contrary, the popularity of health products that have helped our ancestors for centuries is growing by leaps and bounds - we want to know everything about the miraculous power of Ayurvedic herbs, aromatherapy, qigong exercises and paleo diets.
The most sought after are remedies that can calm frayed nerves and reduce anxiety, a trendy ailment that, as it turns out, has knocked down almost everyone. And with all the wealth of drugs that guarantee indifference to stress, no psychotherapist will dispute the benefits of chamomile tea, lavender oil, or meditation, which help to cope with anxiety, and with pleasure. Let it be just a placebo effect - but it works!
Our "nature's first aid kit" contains an arsenal of nine natural anti-stress remedies that you should keep in mind when your nerves fail.
1. Protein-rich breakfast
First thing! Since a drop in blood glucose is accompanied by symptoms similar to anxiety, doctors advise eating on a schedule and starting the day with a high-protein breakfast to keep glucose levels stable. For the same reason, it is recommended to snack on nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts) and constantly include legumes, fish and leafy greens (everything you like from spinach to arugula) in the menu.
2. Regular exercise
Movement is life, remember? Sports bring a lot of benefits to physical, emotional and mental health. According to the findings of the American Anxiety and Depression Association, regular exercise helps to overcome stress, and even one active session (aerobics or weight training) relieves anxiety symptoms for several hours.
It doesn't hurt to consult a doctor, because not every herbal remedy works for everyone in a positive way - allergies or unpredictable reactions with the opposite effect are possible. However, there are several phytochites that have long been known in traditional medicine. Topping the list is Rhodiola rosea (known as golden or rose root), an extremely effective adaptogen that boosts the immune system and is guaranteed to reduce symptoms of anxiety and fatigue. Those suffering from insomnia should try an infusion of passionflower (aka passionflower, or passion fruit when ripe to fruit state), which, despite the name, will help calm down and fall asleep. And, of course, motherwort and chamomile, scientifically proven facts can significantly reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorder - up to a severe degree.
4. B12, Omega-3 and others
Deficiencies in vitamin D, B12, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and magnesium can affect anxiety. Consult with a specialist and order vitamins and supplements in the dosage you need - for example, on iHerb.com (when choosing brands, read the reviews of experienced buyers). And don't forget about foods rich in the above nutrients: salmon is a great source of vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega-3s, while green vegetables, beans, oatmeal, and nuts help combat magnesium deficiency.
5. Essential Oils
Excellent sleep, stress relief and relaxation natural oils used topically and in aromatherapy. Lavender-lemon balm and peppermint oil work especially well if something a little more stimulating is needed. This is not a shamanistic promotion or a marketing gimmick - research confirms that the aroma of lavender affects certain neuroreceptors, triggering the same biochemical reactions in the body as some anti-anxiety drugs.
6. Spiritual health practices
If your mind spends most of its time imagining a bleak future instead of enjoying the present, you should turn to spiritual health practices like yoga, tai chi or qigong. In particular, yoga three to four times a week for a month and a half has been shown to help alleviate chronic anxiety disorder, which sounds serious. Just don’t sign up for a Bikram class right away (who knows how your body will react to loads in an overheated gym), but start with a relaxed immersion in hatha yoga.
Another way to bring yourself into a stable state of awareness is meditation. It is recommended to start at least with a daily minute of silence alone with yourself, focusing on breathing, in order to develop this useful habit. If you find it difficult without outside support, use the Headspace or Calm apps. Especially for residents of megacities - regardless of whether you are on the subway or walking around the city - try meditation by combining steps and breathing: inhale for five steps, and then exhale for eight to ten. Gradually increase the ratio, lengthening the exhalation, and you will notice that the anxiety subsides.
- Getty Images
You've probably heard that probiotics help to improve the skin and digestive system, as well as increase energy and strengthen the immune system. But what can they do about anxiety? The study of this issue is still at the research stage, but scientists have already found that the dosed use of probiotics reduces the level of anxiety in animals. Let's wait for more convincing verdicts, although in general the conclusion is expected: it's no secret that good digestion eliminates sad thoughts.
9. Healthy sleep
The link between anxiety and insomnia is well known: brain regions that regulate emotions and help you stay calm are very sensitive to lack of sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, the herbs, supplements, and practices recommended above will help. Keep in mind that neither chamomile nor magnesium capsules will give an immediate effect. But if you approach the issue in a complex way, having developed a long-term strategy, you will be surprised how calm, strong and confident a person was hidden inside, allowing anxieties to take over.
- Healthy lifestyle
3 herbal drinks that help with anxiety
Herbal tea helps with anxiety.
Natural herbs and remedies from them have a calming effect on the nervous system of any person.
Anxiety causes nervous tension, fear, bad thoughts. In a person who is constantly on an emotional platoon, the heartbeat quickens, shortness of breath appears. Treatment is with antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, physical activity, and meditation.
But before you turn to medicine, try to get rid of anxiety in natural ways. Some plants contain compounds that act on the nervous system, help you relax and promote a sense of well-being.
3 herbal home remedies for anxiety
1. Broccoli and lettuce. An excellent natural remedy for anxiety is broccoli and lettuce. They both have calming properties that reduce stress and excitability of the central nervous system.
1 liter of water;
1 lettuce leaf;
350 g broccoli.
- Boil water, add chopped lettuce and broccoli. Cover the pot with a lid and let it brew for about 20 minutes. Strain and drink this infusion instead of water for 5 days.
2. St. John's wort tea. An excellent remedy for anxiety is St. John's wort. It has calming and sedative properties.