This article is for anyone looking to reduce anxiety naturally. Anxiety is one of the most common psychiatric conditions.
Disorders like PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), GAD (General Anxiety Disorder), Social Anxiety Disorder, and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) affect millions of people across the globe, including myself.
I've struggled with several of these issues myself, including recurrent suicidal thoughts since the fifth grade. I talk in in detail about my mental health journey here, and cover the supplements and nutrition tips that helped me the most.
Lifestyle factors, environmental triggers, and nutritional deficiencies combine to make anxiety symptoms worse.
These 51 natural anxiety remedies are proven to be effective at relieving anxiety and reducing stress.
Lifestyle + Therapy
1. Flotation Therapy
2. Breathing Exercises
3. Sardines in Olive Oil (Wild Planet or Matiz
4. Eat plenty of green veggies (broccoli + leafy greens like Swiss chard.
5. Probiotics (Kevita beverage and VSL#3)
Supplements + Herbs
6. Vitamin B-12 (Garden of Life Vitamin Code)
7. Omega-3 Fish Oil (Nordic Naturals)
8. Magnesium (Natural Calm by Natural Vitality)
9. Ashwagandha (Organic India)
10. GABA (Natural Factors chewable GABA)
51 Natural Anxiety Remedies
Live a life full of anxiety-reducing activities and embrace the calm. Experiences and environment impact mental health, stress hormone production, digestion, and immunity.
Healthy habits like breathing exercises and getting out in nature are proven to reduce stress and anxiety.
Early research suggests that controlled breathing exercises can reduce anxiety and stress.
Dr. Richard Brown, professor of psychiatry at the University of Columbia, told the New York Times in an interview that breath work may reduce stress by changing the response of the autonomic nervous system.
Patients begin to gain control over processes like digestion and the release of stress hormones through focused breathing exercises. (R)
When Wim Hof's wife commited suicide in 1995, he began to search for ways to reduce anxiety and stay strong for his four children.
The Dutchman proceeded to pioneer revolutionary breathing techniques in search of calm. When combined with cold exposure therapy, Wim is able to train his students to withstand incredible cold and even fight infection in clinical trials. Check out the study here. Participants in his program report reduced anxiety and depression.
The incredible part is that he trains his students in less than a week. Researchers believe that his techniques increase the release of anti-inflammatory compounds by elevating epinephrine levels.
Meditation is proven to lower stress hormone levels, reduce stress, and lower anxiety. Most meditation practices focus on breath work as a core element.
Mindfulness meditation is a modern variation on the practice that’s well-documented to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and improve focus.
Other benefits that have been empirically linked to mindfulness meditation include increased cerebral blood flow, reduced blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, respiratory rate, and metabolic activity. (R)
Yoga is a combination of breathing exercises, meditation, and exercise, so it makes sense that yoga would also help manage stress and anxiety. Dozens of small-scale research studies support yoga's effectiveness at reducing anxiety.
However, there’s surprisingly little clinical research examining yoga in a clinical setting. More intensive studies need to be done to confirm yoga's anti-anxiety benefits.
But with so much evidence supporting the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects of meditation, exercise, and breathing exercises, it's hard to imagine yoga not being confirmed to have similar benefits once researchers focus on studying it further. (R)
The Japanese are big on what they call forest-bathing, which amounts to going for a stroll in nature.
The natural sounds of the wind in the trees, the flowing creeks, sights, and smells are proven to lower concentrations of cortisol, lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, increase parasympathetic nervous system activity, and lessen sympathetic nervous system activity.
The ability for regular exercise to reduce stress and anxiety is indisputable in modern medicine. Adults who exercise regularly report fewer episodes of high-anxiety.
Studies indicate that regular aerobic exercise reduces stress response and encourages parasympathetic activity. In other words, you get stressed less often, and when your do you calm down more easily.
Medium to high-intensity exercise is proven to reduce the occurrences of chronic disease and brain degeneration through the expression of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). (R)
According to a recent research study conducted at the University of North Carolina, people who are chronically stressed have lower levels of magnesium on average.
Magnesium deficiency enhances stress reactions. Epsom salt, also known as magnesium sulfate, is highly absorbable through the skin and can provide an anxiety-reducing effect.
Soaking in Epsom salt can reduce stress and along with symptoms of various neuropsychiatric disorders. (R)
Chronic anxiety and elevated stress hormone levels are disruptive to the sleep cycle.
Excessive cortisol interferes with the production of melatonin while you're trying to fall asleep. Quality sleep can help return stress hormone levels to normal. (R)
Tips for getting a better night’s sleep
1. Eat two teaspoons of raw honey before bed.
2. Avoid watching T.V., working on the computer, or using other electronic devices within an hour of bedtime.
3. Turn off all the bright lights in the house a half an hour before bedtime.
4. Sleep in complete darkness.
5. Try a weighted blanket.
6. Avoid caffeine and nicotine late in the day.
Research shows that individuals who have a social support group exhibit a healthier stress response.
Social support is defined as support you receive through social ties rather than through counseling.
Having a support system is especially helpful in treating PTSD. In a sample of childhood sexual abuse survivors, the presence of a support system was influential in reducing the severity of PTSD and associated anxiety. (R)
Treating anxiety involves doing a little self-exploration. Several alternative therapies show a lot of potential for helping decrease symptoms of anxiety.
Float, listen, massage, and guide your stress away with these cutting-edge techniques for anxiety reduction.
Flotation therapy involves floating in a giant tub of body-temperature Epsom salt water. You then lie there in complete silence and darkness, usually for an hour or more.
Justin Feinstein is a neuropsychologist and researcher who’s dedicated his entire career to the study to flotation therapy on the brain. Feinstein recently conducted the first-ever study on flotation therapy involving MRI imaging.
According to his findings, float therapy reduces activity in the amygdala, the area of the brain responsible for initiating a stress response. Prescription anxiety drugs like lorazepam (Ativan) also reduce anxiety by shutting off the amygdala, but they have a high rate of addiction among other nasty side effects. (R)
In 2016, Titus Nakagawa was an anxiety-ridden, depressed 35-year old salesmen from Honolulu, HI. He had spent the prior four years on a rotating cocktail of medications ranging from SSRIs like Prozac to benzodiazepines like Xanax.
According to Nakagawa, the result was that he felt like a zombie. After six months of weekly float sessions, Nakagawa was able to get himself entirely off meds.
Ten months later and Nakagawa continues to manage his mental health without the help of prescription drugs. (R)
When a 23-year-old Michael Harding was medically discharged from the Australian military in 2012, he was suffering from severe PTSD. Harding couldn’t hold a water bottle without it shaking violently and was plagued by nightmares and night sweats.
According to his wife, his entire personality had changed for the worse. Harding tried multiple types of therapy and was on four different prescription drugs.
Then his wife ran across flotation therapy on the internet, and they found a local float center. Harding says that after three floats his anxiety subsided significantly. After three months of weekly floating, his night sweats were gone. Harding no longer needs medications. (R)
In a professional setting, music therapy involves patients listening to calming music while responding to visualization cues given by the psychologist.
Music has an immediate effect on emotions by triggering the release of “feel good” neurochemicals like endorphins.
In one study published in the Southern Medical Journal, music therapy reduced anxiety in patients by exerting a direct influence on the activity of the autonomic nervous system that controls the fight or flight response. (R)
Reflexology is a 4,000-year old practice whose effectiveness is now supported by research studies from across the globe.
Reflexologists believe that certain regions of the foot impact different body processes when massaged. Two of the most commonly cited benefits of reflexology are a reduction in anxiety and pain response.
Patients preparing for invasive and risky surgery report significantly decreased anxiety and pain reduction following reflexology treatment. (R)
Compelling evidence from several studies suggests that hypnotherapy may be an effective treatment for anxiety. But the evidence isn’t yet conclusive.
Early research shows that self-hypnotic therapy may be an especially promising treatment for both anxiety-related disorders and irritable bowel syndrome, which are often correlated. (R)
In 2016, the University of Sau Paulo, Brazil conducted a comprehensive study of the existing literature on acupuncture as a treatment for anxiety.
Out of the 67 medical articles they fully reviewed, 11 were found to present substantial evidence. The study concluded that acupuncture might be a promising treatment for anxiety, but more detailed research is needed. (R)
Biofeedback therapy involves connecting electrodes to the scalp of the patient to monitor everything from heart rate and respiratory rate to the presence of tranquilizing alpha brain waves.
Researchers give the patient feedback about their stats in real time, allowing the subject to try and consciously influence their blood pressure, heart rate, and alpha brain waves.
A 2014 overview of existing literature determined that biofeedback therapy may have applications in the treatment of PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression. (R)
The food that you eat has a huge impact on mental health. Research shows that the biological processes of the gut and brain are closely tied and in constant communication. Protect your gut and protect your brain!
Top Five Anti-Anxiety Foods
1. Sardines and Salmon: high in Omega-3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation and improve brain function
2. Leafy Greens: high in micronutrients, antioxidants, and magnesium
3. Broccoli: dense fiber to act as a prebiotic for healthy gut bacteria; high in antioxidants
4. Grass-fed beef: healthy fat + high Vitamin B content
5. Fermented food like sauerkraut: probiotic food to colonize healthy gut bacteria
Anxiety is associated with higher levels of inflammation in the gut and brain. Eating a low-inflammation diet can greatly reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Chronic inflammation can lead to high cortisol levels in the blood. This can create hormone imbalances throughout the body, weaken the immune system, and exacerbate anxiety.
Inflammation In The Gut
Inflammation can compromise the gut lining. When the gut is healthy, it acts as a barrier between your bloodstream and the inflammatory toxins you digest with food.
When your gut lining is chronically inflamed, toxins can sneak through this barrier and allow inflammation to spread throughout the body and brain.
Good Bacteria vs. Bad Bacteria
The gut lining is also the home to bacteria that either promote mental health or fuel anxiety. Good bacteria in produce neurotransmitters that positively impact overall health and strengthen the gut lining. Bad bacteria can increase anxiety and promote obesity.
Unhealthy bacteria loves sugar and is why a diet high in sugar is terrible for anxiety. The modern western diet is full of foods that promote inflammation and bad bacteria.
Lowering anxiety with diet means eating foods that heal and repair the gut while eliminating foods that cause inflammation and damage good gut bacteria.
Foods To Eat + Which To Avoid
Protein to eat: Salmon, sardines, oysters, macadamia nuts, grass-fed beef, eggs
Fat to eat: Coconut oil, grass-fed beef, olive oil, avocado oil
Carbs to eat: Rice, sweet potatoes
Sugar to eat: Raw honey; raw Manuka honey has strong anti-bacterial properties; eating two teaspoons encourages healthy sleep by preparing the brain for restorative processes.
Foods To Avoid: Sugar other than raw honey, refined and trans fat, caffeine, alcohol, heavy carbs
Eating fermented foods can help colonize your gut with healthy bacteria. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, and kefir are probiotic. This means that during fermentation the food produces bacteria that's beneficial to gut health.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Psychiatry Research, 710 participants self-reported the effects of consuming fermented foods.
Results indicate that eating probiotic food may serve as a low-risk intervention for reducing symptoms of social anxiety. (R)
People who have anxiety are more likely to have a zinc deficiency. Researchers have found that anxiety symptoms improve when zinc levels return to normal.
In a recent 38-person study, participants received both antioxidant therapy and zinc therapy. The study concluded that low levels of zinc increase oxidative stress and result in lower GABA levels in the brain.
Foods rich in zinc: liver (also high in Vitamin D), beef, egg yolks, oysters, and cashews.
Omega-3s (EPA and DHA) are essential fatty acids that are critical for reducing inflammation in the brain and improving overall cognitive function.
In 2011, a randomized control study conducted on medical students at Ohio State University confirmed that supplementing with Omega-3 fish oil lowers inflammation.
Participants frequently reported lower rates of anxiety. Several other human studies support omega-3s as being an effective treatment for anxiety. (R)
Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids: sardines, salmon, other wild-caught fatty fish, and grass-fed meat
Low magnesium levels in the brain can cause a host of health problems, including worse anxiety.
In a recent rodent study, researchers noticed that low levels of magnesium correlated to worse anxiety. One of the many ways that magnesium reduces anxiety is by promoting healthy levels of GABA in the brain. (R)
Foods high in magnesium: legumes, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens like Swiss chard and spinach.
When you’re deficient on vitamins B-12 and B-6, nearly all of your body systems can be negatively affected. B-12 deficiency can cause adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalances, mood disorders, chronic fatigue, and cardiovascular issues.
B-6 deficiency can result in GABA deficiency in the brain, GABA is the neurotransmitter responsible for helping you stay calm under stress. (R)
Foods high in vitamin B-12: salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, beef and chicken liver, tuna, trout, avocado, and almonds.
Foods high in vitamin B-6: turkey breast, grass-fed beef, pistachios, tuna, pinto beans, avocado, chicken breast, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds.
Several studies suggest that oxidative stress is linked to increased anxiety. High-anxiety is also correlated to lower total levels of antioxidants. Eating foods that are high in antioxidants can reduce anxiety by addressing oxidative stress.
According to the USDA (US Department of Agriculture), the following foods have the highest antioxidant content.
Vegetables: broccoli, kale, spinach, artichokes
Fruit: apples, cherries, plums, prunes
Berries: raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, blackberries
Nuts: pecans & walnuts
Spices: turmeric & ginger
Several rodent studies point to the anti-anxiety effects of asparagus. Subjects exhibited fewer anxious behaviors after injections of asparagus extract.
Researchers believe that a component of asparagus may influence the expression of GABA and serotonin in the brain.
Mood disorders like anxiety and depression often arise from imbalances in neurotransmitters in the brain. Crucial neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, GABA, glutamate, and norepinephrine need to be present in the right ratios for the brain to function healthily.
The brain synthesizes these neurotransmitters from amino acids that function as building blocks.
Supplementing with amino acids can alleviate anxiety by promoting a healthy balance of these neurotransmitters. Other supplements like omega-3s and probiotics protect the brain from the inflammation.
The body builds the amino acid 5-HTP from another amino acid, tryptophan, before being converted into serotonin. In at least three separate studies, 5-HTP supplementation reduced anxiety in test subjects.
In one study involving young adults, subjects reported reduced anxiety after three weeks of regular supplementation with 5-HTP. The study found that individuals exhibited raised levels of serotonin and BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). (R)
In another set of human clinical trials, 5-HTP elevated GABA levels, decreased anxiety, and promoted a sense of relaxation. (R)
The chain reaction that leads to serotonin production starts with the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan isn't produced in the body, so you need to get it through diet or supplementation.
Without adequate dietary tryptophan, anxiety symptoms can get worse by leading to a deficiency in serotonin. Studies conducted on tryptophan and mood disorders indicate that eating foods high in tryptophan is the best way for most people increase tryptophan in the body.
The University of Michigan Department of Health recommends 2-6 grams of tryptophan a day to treat symptoms of anxiety and depression. (R)
Taurine is an amino acid that’s a precursor to the production of GABA in the brain. GABA is an important neurotransmitter for stress and anxiety reduction.
Taurine deficiency can lead to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increased inflammation.
Research studies suggest that taurine supplementation may be an effective means for the control of anxiety in clinical settings. (R)
Taking branch-chain amino acids can in addition to taurine can can ease increase energy and aid liver function.
Theanine is the amino acid in green tea that provides anxiety-reducing effects. It works as an antagonist to the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate.
In clinical studies, lysine reduces anxiety symptoms in subjects with PTSD, OCD, and generalized anxiety disorder.
Lysine helps address adrenal fatigue by regulating cortisol production. Supplementing with lysine can help act on serotonin receptors in individuals whose digestive health is compromised. (R)
Glutamine supplementation reduces symptoms of anxiety by healing the gut.
When gut health is compromised, healthy bacteria that produce serotonin struggle to survive, and inflammatory agents enter the bloodstream.
Glutamine is the most common amino acid in the body. The synthesis of GABA in the brain is likely affected by glutamine supplementation according to a recent study. (R)
GABA is fast and effective at reducing my social anxiety. Not everyone has the same experience with GABA supplements.
For many, GABA supplementation isn’t effective. Researchers think this is because GABA doesn’t readily cross the blood-brain barrier.
My favorite GABA supplement is Natural Factor’s chewable GABA. It tastes great and is fast-acting. If GABA doesn’t work for you, several other supplements can increase GABA expression.
Magnesium, for instance, is instrumental in the function of GABA, and low levels are associated with increased anxiety. Supplementing with magnesium can help stabilize GABA levels. Passionflower, valerian root, and California poppy also act on GABA. (R)
Probiotics are healthy gut bacteria that you can take in pill-form to help recolonize your gut flora.
Prebiotics are the fiber that healthy gut bacteria thrive on.
Both are needed to maintain a healthy gut lining and protect the body and brain from inflammation. (R)
Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. EPA is the direct precursor to prostaglandins and leukotrienes, two primary anti-inflammatory substances.
ALA is a fatty acid found in flax seeds that acts as a precursor to the production of EPA and DHA. Conversion in the body from ALA to EPA and DHA is poor, so supplementing with fish oil is the best way to increase omega-3 content in the body.
Both fish oil and flax oil supplements are prone to going rancid. My favorite fish oil is Nordic Naturals. They take the extra steps necessary to prevent oxidization. (R)
Without adequate vitamins and minerals, amino acids like 5-HTP and taurine can’t be synthesized into serotonin and dopamine.
The vitamins B-12 and B-6, along with minerals zinc and magnesium are important cofactors in this conversion process. Studies indicate that anxiety symptoms can be reduced by addressing deficiencies in these nutrients.
B vitamins impact a lot of different functions throughout the body. They’re involved in everything from mood stabilization and cognitive function to cellular energy and heart health.
Vitamin B-6 is a necessary cofactor for the production of GABA, serotonin, and norepinephrine in the brain. Not having enough vitamin B-6 can lead to increased anxiety and insomnia.
Researchers believe that vitamin B-6 supplementation may reduce symptoms related to ADHD, as the condition has been linked to low serotonin levels. B-6 helps maintain both a healthy nervous system and healthy blood flow by regulating homocysteine levels in the brain. (R)
Vitamin B-12 deficiency is one of the most prevalent nutrient deficiencies in the world. The elderly are most at risk because of poor digestive absorption.
Vegans and vegetarians are also at risk since dietary B-12 is hard to come by if you don't eat meat. Increased anxiety is a common side effect of vitamin B-12 deficiency. Anxiety can be reduced by regular supplementation and eating food that’s rich in B-12.
Vitamin B-12, along with folate, is responsible for producing a compound called SAM-e (S-adenosyl methionine), which is critical for mood regulation and cognitive function. (R)
The neurotransmitters GABA, serotonin, acetylcholine, dopamine, and norepinephrine all rely on inositol to communicate between neurons.
At least one widely cited study focuses on inositol's relationship to anxiety. The study compared the commonly prescribed anxiety medication fluvoxamine to inositol.
Researchers concluded that inositol was just as effective at reducing anxiety as fluvoxamine, but with no negative side effects. (R)
Vitamin D is an anti-inflammatory and immune system booster. It isn’t technically a vitamin, but it functions like one in the body.
We synthesize vitamin D from cholesterol in the skin when combined with ultraviolet-B sunlight. Low vitamin D is connected to higher rates of anxiety and depression.
In the northern half of the United States, UV-B rays don't penetrate the ozone layer between October and April. This results in severe vitamin D deficiency for much of the population. (R)
Magnesium is often referred to as the original “chill pill,” and for a good reason. When I supplemented with magnesium for the first time an incredible feeling of relief hit me in less than 20 minutes.
Magnesium reduces anxiety by increasing GABA, decreasing stress hormones, reducing inflammation, removing toxic heavy metals, and improving brain plasticity. (R)
Zinc is found in high concentrations in the brain and plays a major role in managing stress response. Studies suggest that low levels of zinc are associated with increased oxidative stress and lower levels of GABA in the brain.
Supplementing with zinc is proven to raise GABA levels and thereby reduce anxiety symptoms. (R)
Adaptogens are herbs that help balance the adrenal gland. High-stress is correlated to adrenal fatigue.
Chronic stress can result in overproduction of stress hormones in the adrenal gland, making anxiety symptoms worse.
By addressing adrenal fatigue and balancing hormone levels, adaptogenic herbs help relieve anxiety.
Several studies point to ashwagandha’s ability to treat various types of anxiety disorders. In one human study, 32 subjects with a history of chronic stress were treated with two, 300-milligram doses of highly-concentrated ashwagandha root extract.
Subjects reported reduced stress and had significantly decreased serum cortisol levels. In another study, 88% of the people who took ashwagandha reported reduced anxiety. (R)
Studies show that passionflower can be just as effective as pharmaceutical drugs at reducing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
Passionflower acts on GABA in the brain and has potent antioxidant properties along with mild anti-inflammatory benefits. (R)
Valerian root is another adaptogenic herb that reduces anxiety by increasing the expression of GABA.
It’s significantly more sedative than passionflower and is a common ingredient in herbal sleep-aid products. (R)
Lemon balm is another adaptogenic herb that provides anti-anxiety effects while increasing GABA in the brain.
Lemon balm boosts BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor production), enhances dopamine synthesis, and is a powerful antioxidant. (R)
Rhodiola is one of the best-studied herbs for anxiety and depression. It increases both mental and physical energy while optimizing the body’s stress response and boosting serotonin.
Researchers think that Rhodiola reduces cortisol by acting on endorphins and opioid neuropeptides.
In one study involving 80 participants, those in the experimental group reported a significant reduction in anxiety and a substantial improvement in overall mood. Participants took two, 200 mg doses of Rhodiola a day for two weeks. (R)
Licorice root is an important supplement to take if you have anxiety along with digestive issues like IBS or leaky gut.
It’s a strong anti-inflammatory with proven antimicrobial benefits that help treat fungal overgrowth in the gut and restore healthy gut bacteria. Licorice root is also rich in antioxidants and helps restore natural cortisol levels. (R)
Kava can boost the immune system and promote better sleep. Recent studies demonstrate its ability to reduce anxiety in patients with generalized anxiety disorder.
Kava is most commonly consumed as a tea. One concern about kava root is that it can lead to liver toxicity when mixed with alcohol. If you decide to experiment with kava, make sure not to combine it with alcohol. (R)
Bacopa is known for its use as a natural stress reliever and studies indicate that it may be an effective anxiety reducer.
In one animal study published by the University of Michigan Health System, bacopa had positive brain effects that included decreased anxiety and depression.
Researchers think that bacopa achieves these effects by acting on acetylcholine and possibly GABA and serotonin. (R)
Ginkgo biloba has been widely studied for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Modern research supports ginkgo’s ability to reduce stress, improve cognitive function, stabilize mood, and increase energy.
Its ability to normalize stress hormones makes ginkgo helpful for people with generalized anxiety disorder. (R)
Holy basil can lower cortisol levels and reduce anxiety. It has an amazing ability to keep hormone levels balanced naturally.
Holy basil has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, counter metabolic stress, and improve memory and cognitive function. (R)
Ginger is an inflammation reducer and a potent antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals and toxins.
Ginger's value in anxiety treatment lies in its function as a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Individuals who have stomach issues appreciate its ability to soothe digestive inflammation. Ginger root promotes cognitive function while improving blood circulation. (R)
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has over a dozen different benefits that outweigh the effectiveness of conventional medicine.
One study found that turmeric may be a potential treatment for anxiety due to its ability to boost levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA in the brain. (R)
DHA encourages healthy neuronal function and reduces inflammation. This is one of several mechanisms through which curcumin operates as a potent anti-inflammatory.
In another study, anxiety was induced in rodents by injecting them with the food preservative sulfite. Rodents treated with curcumin displayed decreased anxiety. (R)
These hops won’t get your drunk, but they will make you sleepy and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety according to clinical studies.
In one study, 36 participants reported reduced anxiety after supplementing with dry hops extract over a four-week period. (R)
Chamomile is widely known for its anti-anxiety effects. Despite this, researchers still aren't sure exactly how it works its magic.
One possible explanation is that the flavonoid content in chamomile modifies serotonin, dopamine, and GABA neurotransmissions in the brain.
A recent study found that apigenin, a constituent of chamomile, is 30-times more potent than benzodiazepines like Xanax at acting on benzodiazepine receptors. (R)
The l-theanine in green tea is proven to reduce anxiety. Theanine is an amino acid that’s known for its ability to reduce anxiety by acting on GABA, serotonin, and dopamine.
It also increases relaxing alpha brain waves in the brain. Green tea is a milder form of caffeine than coffee, making it better suited for people with anxiety. (R)
Essential oils can have a fast-acting ant-anxiety effect. They can be inhaled with aromatherapy, ingested orally, or absorbed topically through the skin.
Lavender oil has the most clinical research surrounding it. Try placing some in your bath to help you unwind at the end of the day.
1. Lavender: In several different clinical studies, lavender has been shown to reduce anxiety in patients awaiting surgery. In another set of studies, lavender reduced anxiety and lowered blood cortisol levels. (R)
2. Bergamot: Most commonly an ingredient in Earl Grey tea, this essential oil has been studied for its anti-anxiety and anti-depressive effects. In one recent human study, a mixture of bergamot oil and lavender reduced feelings of anxiety and depression compared to the control group. Bergamont is also a natural way to reduce blood pressure and heart rate. (R)
3. Ylang Ylang: Commonly used in east Asia to treat anxiety and depression with it's uplifting effects. A 2006 study conducted in South Korea treated human subjects with a mixture of ylang ylang, bergamont, and lavender oil for four weeks. Patients experienced lowered cortisol levels and reduced stress response. (R)
Treating anxiety is rarely a quick fix. Nutrition and lifestyle need to be aligned with your mental health goals if you want to make a lasting impact on brain chemistry.
Healing digestive issues and optimizing gut health is often part of the process. Attack anxiety from all angles and you'll soon be rocking a full-body smile!