Written by Nigel Ford
Treating anxiety doesn’t have to require pharmaceutical medication. While it’s always a good idea to get some help with anxiety – be that with holistic treatments, psychotherapy, or self-analysis and reflection – you can also seek the assistance of healing herbs.
There are a variety of healing herbs that have been used for millennia to help reduce and fight symptoms of stress and anxiety. These are some of the most common and effective anxiety-fighting herbs.
Gotu Kola is a very powerful adaptogenic herb that has a number of interesting effects. In addition to being helpful for almost all aspects of human health, gotu kola can also be profoundly beneficial for helping to reduce anxiety.
Gotu kola has a mild affinity for the brain’s GABA receptors – the same receptors that are targeted by many of the dangerously powerful pharmaceutical anxiety medications. Gotu kola works as a fantastic relaxant and can help reduce symptoms of physical and mental stress.
Kava kava is another useful herb that has been used for millennia to help fight anxiety. It has a more powerful affinity for the GABA receptors than gotu kola, and produces much more profound effects. Kava kava is one of the few herbs on this list that can be considered intoxicating.
That said, its ability to fight anxiety is rivaled by very few other herbs. Kava kava also exhibits a reverse tolerance, meaning that the more you use it the more powerful its effects will become.
Passion flower is another herb that has an affinity for the brain’s GABA receptors. While it’s not as intoxicating as kava kava, passion flower is one of the most effective herbs for helping to reduce general anxiety.
Passion flower can also be very relaxing. It’s particularly useful when used in the evening before bed as it can help to lull you into a comfortable sleep.
Rhodiola rosea is an interesting herb that differs from the others on this list because it can be very stimulating. Generally, people with anxiety want to avoid stimulating herbs because they can promote anxiety.
While some people do report that rhodiola worsens their anxiety, many people find that it helps to reduce it. It’s certainly fantastic for reducing stress and related symptoms.
Lemon balm is another herb that can be great for helping to reduce anxiety. It mostly does this by promoting relaxation. For this reason, it’s another herb that’s great to take in the evening or if you don’t have much planned for the day.
Ashwagandha is part of a class of plants known as adaptogens. Adaptogens help the body adapt to different conditions – such as stress.
There are many different adaptogens (including rhodiola, mentioned above) but ashwagandha excels for its ability to promote relaxation. It is less stimulating than rhodiola and prefers to exert its effects ‘in the background,’ though many people find that it can also help them fight fatigue without necessarily jump-starting them.