15 Natural Treatments For Anxiety (That Really Work)

Discover some of the very best natural treatments for anxiety. In this article you will find 15 research backed natural treatments for anxiety. All 15 treatments have an evidence base showing positive impact on anxiety. We start by tackling some common misconceptions about anxiety.

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Misconceptions About Anxiety!

Anxiety is a serious mental health condition that affects millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions and myths about anxiety that can make it difficult for people to understand and cope with their condition.

Below are the most common myths about anxiety and why they are wrong. By understanding the truth behind these myths, we can be better equipped to help yourself or those you know who are suffer with anxiety.

Misconception 1: People with anxiety are weak.

One of the most widespread misconceptions about anxiety is that people who suffer from it are weak. This could not be further from the truth. People with anxiety are often incredibly strong and resilient, having managed to survive and continue functioning despite dealing with an incredibly debilitating disorder. Anxiety can be hugely taxing and exhausting, and it requires immense inner strength and courage to overcome.

Misconception 2: Anxiety is Genetic.

A common misconception is that anyone who gets diagnosed with depression or anxiety must have been born with the condition because it’s genetic. This is absolutely wrong! The reality is that while anxiety and depression can be linked to biological factors (such as genetics), there are also around 20 other known factors that have nothing to do with your hereditary.

Misconception 3: Anxiety is just part of life.

While a panic attack isn’t likely to cause you any harm, anxiety, if left untreated, can pose serious risks to your mental and physical health alike. It interfers with activities that would otherwise keep you healthy, such as eating well, sleeping, exercising, and spending time with family and friends. Anxiety also has associated physical symptoms such as stomach aches, headaches, and muscle pain. So if you suffer from anxiety, you deserve to access the care you need to overcome your symptoms.

Minsconception 4: Anxiety is just worrying too much.

There is a big difference between feeling nervous or uncomfortable in certain situations and becoming so anxious that it interferes with your life and brings about intense feelings of fear. Anxiety, in some cases, can prevent people from leaving their home and avoiding the activities they once enjoyed. Anxiety is most definitely not worrying too much.

Misconception 5: Only adults develop anxiety.

It is a pure myth that anxiety is limited to adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health, around 9.4% of children between the ages of 3 and 17 have anxiety. 

Before we begin offering our natural treatments for anxiety first a couple of disclaimers.

  1. You should always check with your doctor before making any changes to medication or before starting any new course of treatment.
  2. I am not anti-medication. I recommend that you consider the pros and cons of multiple treatment approaches. And I advise consuklting your medical professional also. Complementing medical advise is the basis of all holistic therapy.

So let’s start!

The 15 Best Natural Treatments For Anxiety.

multi vitamin supplements - natural treatments for anxiety

1. Multi Vitamin Supplements.

Most essential micro nutrients are absorbed through food. This is especially true for food types such as fruits, nuts and vegetables. For many people, taking vitamins and supplements is actually a waste of money.

However for those people who don’t absorb vitamins from food, or have a poor diet, often develop vitamin deficiency. This is a common occurance in those who have anxiety. Many research studies2Top 10 evidence-based supplements for anxiety have been done in this area with evidence given in support of multi vitamin supplements being beneficial for anxiety sufferers.

A deficiency in vitamin A, B6, B12, C, D, and E can all contribute to anxiety symptoms worsening.

The best source of vitamins is a healthy diet that is high in plant food types and low in processed food.

Vitamin D deficiency is very common. One study3Vitamin D deficiency soars in the U.S. found that around 40 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient and this is closely associated with anxiety.

It is possible to get tested for D deficiencies. If you are D deficient you can supplement with Vitamin D and make sure you get out into the sunshine! Sunlight is known to help your body process and absorb vitamin D.

Research4Vitamin B6: A new approach to lowering anxiety, and depression? also shows that for some people supplementing with vitamin D, B6 or B12 can have a positive impact on their anxiety and depression.

Taking a multivitamin has been shown to help with general anxiety disorder.

Vitamins make it onto our 15 Natural Treatments For Anxiety because they are safe to use, they are economical and they have no known side effects when taken as directed and they are backed by numerous clinical studies.

magnesium supplements

2. Magnesium Supplements.

Magnesium is a common natural element and is essential for hundreds of our bodily functions.

Every cell in our body needs magnesium to perform its day to day routine. That’s because magnesium assists with energy creation, with protein formation, with gene maintenance, and our nervous systems cell regulation.

Magnesium is naturally found in food. It is especially prevalent in dark leafy greens, nuts, avocados, and bananas.

Research5The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review shows magnesium supplements to have a positive effect on both anxiety and depression.

In one randomised controlled trial of depressed older adults it was shown that 440mg of magnesium daily improved mood as effectively as an antidepressant.

Magnesium supplements are a relatively safe and inexpensive. They have few side effects with the worst that will happen is loose bowel movements. So consider adding magnesium for anxiety. It really is worth trying.

zinc supplements

3. Zinc Supplements.

Zinc is another naturally occurring element that we gain from the food in our diet.

Recent clinical studies6Decreased Zinc and Increased Copper in Individuals with Anxiety have shown OCD, panic attacks and generalized anxiety have links to a zinc deficiency.

This study suggests that low levels of zinc may lead to lower gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that blocks specific signals to reduce fear, worry, and stress. Zinc supplements help to increase the production of GABA.

Studies also show that adding zinc supplements to the diet reduces the levels of anxiety symptoms.

Zinc supplements are easy to find, inexpensive and have few side effects. Our suggested supplement are included below.

omega3 fatty acids - natural treatments for anxiety

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

Another supplement that has been shown to be helpful with anxiety is Omega 3. Omega-3 fatty acids are really important for your body and brain.

The are few nutrients that have been studied as thoroughly as omega-3 fatty acids. One study7The Importance of Marine Omega-3s for Brain Development and the Prevention and Treatment of Behavior, Mood, and Other Brain Disorders linked the importance of Omega-3 for healthy brain development and its effectiveness for both the prevention and treatment of behavior, mood and brain disorders

Omega 3 supplements have been found to be very safe and studies show positive impact on brain health, depression and anxiety.

licorice root extract - natural treatments for anxiety

5. Licorice Root.

People usually like licorice root because of its bitter-sweet taste, which is why traditionally we use it in candies and beverages.

However, this healthy herb also carries loads of benefits for those who suffer with anxiety. Studies8Licorice: An Essential Herb for Adrenal Fatigue have shown licorice root to be beneficial for anxiety due the impact it has on the adrenal glands.

Within the body, the adrenal glands produce our stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Licorice helps regulate the production of these hormones, buffeting the body’s defenses against stress and reducing anxiety symptoms.

Licorice also contains compounds that inhibit monoamine oxidase, the enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters like serotonin. And we know that increased levels of serotonin should result in decreased anxiety.

Licorice root is also wonderful for aiding gastrointestinal upset, which is common among many people with anxiety.

Most modern drinks and candies that say they contain licorice actually only contain a licorice flavoring. This does not provide the same benefits as licorice root.

To gain maximum benefit it is best to consume licorice as an extraction in its pure form.

Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) is the safest and most effective variety of medicinal licorice root available.

DGL is sold in capsule, powder, tea and chewable tablet forms. Our recommended Licorice Root Supplements are below.

inositol vitamin b8 supplements

6. Inositol Vitamin B8.

Inositol is often called “Vitamin B8”. Confusingly this is actually wrong.

It is not a vitamin nor is it a member of the vitamin B family. Inositol is actually a naturally occurring sugar found in foods such as fruits, beans, grains, and nuts.

From the foods we eat, inositol is consumed in quantities of about one gram per day on average.

Whereas Inositol supplements are dosed significantly higher, at up to 18 grams per day.

It is highly unlikely anyone could get the amount of inositol needed from their diet alone, so for the treatment of anxiety you need to supplement your diet with it. 

It is a recommended aid for anxiety and depression because of the role it plays with Serotonin and Dopamine production.

Serotonin and dopamine are two of the four brain chemicals responsible for our minds feeling good (the other two being oxytocin and endorphin), and inositol functions as a messenger for their production in the brain.

People suffering from anxiety and panic disorders have been shown to have reduced amounts of inositol in their systems. Likewise clinical research studies9Double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of inositol treatment for panic disorder have shown Inositol supplements were effective at reducing levels and intensity of anxiety and panic disorder symptoms.

Therefore it’s a fairly straightforward move to try and help the body produce more serotonin and dopamine by way of providing the brain with more inositol in supplement form.

Our recommended Inositol supplements are listed below.

passion flower supplements

7. Passion flower – Natural Treatments For Anxiety.

There are about 500 known species of passion flower, and this beautiful plant has been proven effective for treating anxiety and insomnia.

Native Americans have used passion flower to treat a variety of conditions, including boils, cuts and wounds, earache, liver problems and anxiety.

In Europe people have used passion flower to treat restlessness and agitation for centuries as well as using it to treat anxiety.

Traditionally it’s considered more of a calming herb. The effects of Passionflower are said to be similar to Valerian Root and Kava, but not as potent. Research has shown Passion Flower to be effective at reducing stress before surgery.

In 2010 three clinical research trials10Passiflora incarnata in Neuropsychiatric Disorders—A Systematic Review showed passion flower as an effective treatment for anxiety related disorders.

We recommend the following Passion Flower supplements.

valerian root supplements - natural treatments for anxiety

8. Valerian Root.

Valerian root is often referred to as nature’s valium. This herb has been used since ancient times to promote tranquility and sleep.

It has received a lot of positive attention for its effectiveness treating anxiety, however there have been a small number of trials that raised doubts about its effectiveness as a home remedy and also whether it was safe.

It is said that valerian Root impacts the gaba receptors and amygdala. Therefore having impact upon our fear receptors in the brain. This causes a calming and peaceful state of mind, similar to the effects of valium and xanax.

There is clinical research11The Effects of Valerian on Sleep Quality, Depression, and State Anxiety in Hemodialysis Patients: A Randomized, Double-blind, Crossover Clinical Trial that suggests Valerian Root is helpful for treating anxiety and insomnia.

As a supplement it has very rare and fairly mild side effects. So Valerian Root is an option you shouldn’t rule out. Try it for yourself and see how it works for you.

chamomile supplements

9. Chamomile.

Chamomile is a flowering herb similar in appearance to a daisy. There are two types of chamomile that people can use medicinally: Roman chamomile and German chamomile.

Some people use chamomile in the following forms to help relieve stress and anxiety:

  • tea
  • extract
  • tablet
  • skin cream
  • supplements

2016 clinical trial12Long-term chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) treatment for generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized clinical trial investigated the efficacy and safety of chamomile as a long-term treatment for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

All 93 participants received 1,500 mg of chamomile daily for 12 weeks. Some then continued taking chamomile for the next 26 weeks, while the remainder switched to a placebo.

Researchers observed that those participants who continued taking chamomile were no less likely to experience a relapse of GAD symptoms than those switching to placebo. However, when relapse did occur, the symptoms were less severe.

Some people may experience allergic reactions to chamomile, particularly if they experience reactions to the following plants:

  • ragweed
  • chrysanthemums
  • marigolds
  • daisies

Chamomile may interact with certain drugs, including the blood thinner warfarin, and the antirejection drug cyclosporine.

Anyone taking any type of medication should check with their doctor before consuming chamomile teas or supplements.

saffron - natural treatments for anxiety

10. Saffron.

Saffron has been used for centuries to treat cramps, depression and asthma.

A recent clinical trial and study13Effects of Saffron Extract Supplementation on Mood, Well-Being, and Response to a Psychosocial Stressor in Healthy Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Parallel Group, Clinical Trial showed Saffron had a positive effect on depression and anxiety.

In one study the participants took saffron by itself and the other study combined its active ingredient with an antidepressant medication.

The research showed that the group taking saffron did better than the placebo group or the medication only group.

Saffron is nicknamed the “sunshine spice.”

That’s not just due to its distinct color, but also because it may help brighten your mood.

In a review of five studies14Safety and Efficacy of Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) for Treating Mild to Moderate Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, saffron supplements were significantly more effective than placebos at treating symptoms of mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety.

Other studies found that taking 30 mg of saffron daily was just as effective as Fluoxetine, Imipramine, and Citalopram, which are conventional treatments for depression. Additionally, fewer people experienced side effects from saffron compared to other treatments

What’s more, both the saffron petals and thread-like stigma appear to be effective against mild-to-moderate anxiety and depression.

Our recommended Saffron Supplements are below.

lysine - natural treatments for anxiety

11. Lysine Essential Amino Acids.

Lysine, or L-Lysine, is an essential amino acid that can be found in food.

Several recent studies15Oral treatment with L-lysine and L-arginine reduces anxiety and basal cortisol levels in healthy humans have shown that Lysine may play a role in reducing anxiety.

One study found that it blocked receptors involved in stress response. Researchers observed that rats given lysine had reduced rates of stress-induced loose bowel movements

And a one week study in 50 healthy people noticed that supplementing with 2.64 grams of lysine and arginine lowered stress-induced anxiety and reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol

Similarly, adding 4.2 grams of lysine per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of wheat flour in deprived villages in Syria helped reduce anxiety scores in males with very high stress levels

After three months, consuming the lysine enriched flour also helped reduce cortisol levels in women.

Though research is still in its early stages, lysine may have the potential to improve schizophrenia symptoms in combination with prescribed medication.

gaba gamma aminobutyric acid

12. GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid)

GABA, or Gamma Aminobutyric Acid, is a naturally occurring amino acid.

It works as a neurotransmitter in our brain and helps us calm down. When it is released naturally in the brain it helps reduce feelings of anxiety as well as stress and fear.

Low GABA levels have been linked to depression and anxiety.

A pair of studies conducted16Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans by a maker of GABA supplements in Japan reported that GABA had an anti-anxiety effect.

In the first study, the researchers found that taking GABA had a relaxing effect on brain waves. In the second, people afraid of heights were asked to walk across a narrow pedestrian bridge after taking GABA or a placebo. The participants who took GABA had lower levels of anxiety, as measured by a stress marker in saliva samples.

Our recommended Gaba supplements are below.

l-theanine- natural treatments for anxiety

13. L-Theanine.

L-theanine is an amino acid it’s most commonly found in green and black tea. You can also find a very small amount in bay bolete mushrooms.

Studies17Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial show that increasing our intake of L-Theanine can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety, such as a racing heartbeat and increased secretion of immunoglobulin A in saliva.

Its effects are somewhat similar to those of a sedative. L-Theanine is actually considered to be an effective anxiolytic, which helps to prevent the brain from producing an anxious response to stressful situations.

Theanine has also been found to aid in sleep, which is a huge proponent of anxiety. Young boys with ADHD were studied to find if theanine would help their sleep.

The scientists saw a significant increase in sleep percentage and sleep efficiency scores, and saw less activity during sleep in the boys who took the L-theanine.

Our recommended L-Theanine Supplements are below.

st john's wort

14. St. John Wort.

St.John’s Wort is a very popular natural treatment for depression. Most of the current research surrounding St. John’s wort is for its use in treating depression. However, depression and anxiety are closely linked.

An estimated 50 percent of people with depression also suffer from some form of anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

St. John’s wort is thought to work by keeping the brain from using up neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and norepinephrine.

As a result, the neurotransmitters are more used more effectively in the brain. This acts like an antidepressant feel-good effect in the brain. As a result, people experience fewer bouts of anxiety.

St. John’s wort has been shown to help those who suffer from mild to moderate depression symptoms. It is believed, and supported by research18St. John’s Wort Versus Placebo in Social Phobia – Results From a Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study, that people who exhibit similar symptoms with anxiety will equally benefit from St. John’s Wort .

If you are considering trying St. John’s Wort, talk with your doctor. They can make sure it won’t interfere with other medications you may currently be taking.

probiotics

15. Probiotics.

The gut is often referred to as the “second” brain because it contains the same form of tissue and can produce many of the same chemical messages as the brain.

If you have ever experienced “butterflies in your stomach” when you are nervous or excited, then you have experienced the “Gut-Brain Connection”.

Probiotics are microorganisms known for their benefits to digestive health.

Recent research19Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis has revealed that probiotics can also have a profound impact on mental health.

Research into probiotics and anxiety20Effects of Probiotics on Depressive or Anxiety Variables in Healthy Participants Under Stress Conditions or With a Depressive or Anxiety Diagnosis: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials show that a healthy balance of bacteria in the body can boost the body’s ability to cope with stress, improve overall mental health and bolster cognitive functioning.

Probiotics are found in a wide variety of foods and drinks, particularly those created through fermentation.

Some of the most common sources include sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, tempeh, kombucha, miso and pickles.

I hope this guide to the natural treatments for anxiety has been useful and that you consider trying one or more of the natural remedies listed. If you do try them, or have used them in the past, do write in and let us know your thoughts and experience. If you have questions you can ask them in the comments below or contact me here.

15 natural treatments for anxiety (that really work)

References

  • 1
    Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health
  • 2
    Top 10 evidence-based supplements for anxiety
  • 3
    Vitamin D deficiency soars in the U.S.
  • 4
    Vitamin B6: A new approach to lowering anxiety, and depression?
  • 5
    The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review
  • 6
    Decreased Zinc and Increased Copper in Individuals with Anxiety
  • 7
    The Importance of Marine Omega-3s for Brain Development and the Prevention and Treatment of Behavior, Mood, and Other Brain Disorders
  • 8
    Licorice: An Essential Herb for Adrenal Fatigue
  • 9
    Double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of inositol treatment for panic disorder
  • 10
    Passiflora incarnata in Neuropsychiatric Disorders—A Systematic Review
  • 11
    The Effects of Valerian on Sleep Quality, Depression, and State Anxiety in Hemodialysis Patients: A Randomized, Double-blind, Crossover Clinical Trial
  • 12
    Long-term chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) treatment for generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized clinical trial
  • 13
    Effects of Saffron Extract Supplementation on Mood, Well-Being, and Response to a Psychosocial Stressor in Healthy Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Parallel Group, Clinical Trial
  • 14
    Safety and Efficacy of Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) for Treating Mild to Moderate Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
  • 15
    Oral treatment with L-lysine and L-arginine reduces anxiety and basal cortisol levels in healthy humans
  • 16
    Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans
  • 17
    Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  • 18
    St. John’s Wort Versus Placebo in Social Phobia – Results From a Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study
  • 19
    Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis
  • 20
    Effects of Probiotics on Depressive or Anxiety Variables in Healthy Participants Under Stress Conditions or With a Depressive or Anxiety Diagnosis: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

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Author
HolisticJB
Educator and International Leadership Consultant with over 20 years experience, and still loving it! Qualified and Licensed Reiki Master Teacher, Hypnotherapist and Chakra Energy Health Body Worker. A traveler, a foodie and a knowledge seeker with a passion for all things healthy, herbal and energy holistic!