Herbal Remedies for Anxiety


Anxiety is the result of the release of fight or flight chemicals from the brain into the bloodstream. Prominent among these chemicals is adrenaline whose release results in symptoms such as increase in heart rate, dilation of the pupils and nervousness. In the modern world, anxiety is usually caused by stress but certain conditions such as hyperthyroidism and heart conditions can result in symptoms such as those found during anxiety. Prolonged anxiety can result in the damage of the body’s organs due to presence of high amounts of fight or flight chemicals in the blood.

Although anxiety is treatable using pharmaceutical drugs, moderate to severe side effects have been reported after extended use of such drugs. Herbal remedies on the other hand have been used for centuries with little or no side effects. Some of the herbs that can be used to treat anxiety include the following.


Chamomile has been used for centuries for the treatment of anxiety. This herb contains agipenin, a compound that binds to brain receptors in a similar way to valium. This ingredient reduces the action of chemicals that cause anxiety symptoms. It can be used to treat mild anxiety.

Green tea

Green tea is another herbal remedy that has been used to treat anxiety for centuries. It contains L-Theanine a chemical that has been found to reduce rising heart rate and blood pressure, common symptoms associated with anxiety.

St. John’s Wort

This herb has been used to treat various nervous disorders for over 2 centuries. This perennial plant grows in different parts of the world including North America and Europe. The leaves and petals of this plant have been found to contain active ingredients such as hyperforin and hypericin. Although not confirmed, it is believed that these compounds prolong the action of serotonin. Studies show that the absence of serotonin in the brain increases anxiety symptoms.


Valerian is another herb commonly found in North America and Europe that’s used to treat anxiety. This herb contains two main active ingredients, valerenic acid and valeranon. These two chemicals have a relaxant effect. It’s commonly used alongside other herbs such as lemon balm.


Although commonly used in the preparation of beer, hops have also been found to contain chemicals with sedative effects. The main ingredient in hops is volatile oil which helps to calm the nervous system. Due to their bitter taste, they are usually mixed with other herbs such as chamomile.


Passionflower is native to the south Americas but is widely cultivated in other parts of the world. Passionflower contains various chemicals including glycosides, alkaloids and steroids. These act on brain receptors producing a sedative effect.


The kava root is one of the herbs that although commonly used in the treatment of anxiety, can have adverse side effects. Studies show that the kava can be used in the treatment of moderate to severe anxiety. However, reports indicating its link to liver damage resulted in it being banned in various countries.

Herbs can be effectively used for the treatment of anxiety. However, due to the limited studies conducted on some of these herbs it’s recommended that you consult your physician before taking any of these herbs. In addition, some of these herbal remedies can interact with some of the pharmaceutical drugs and it’s highly recommended that you avoid taking them alongside drugs especially antidepressants.

About Nidhi Agarwal

Professor of Institute Of Post-Graduate Ayurvedic Education & Research.She has vast experience in the field of Ayurveda and Yoga. She has his clinical expertise in the Use of Rasayana in Jara (Geriatrics), Panchakarma chikitsa in Bone and joint disorders especially Osteopenia & Osteoporosis, Diabetes, Obesity, Hypertension, Skin diseases and application of Yoga in various psycho-somatic disorders.