5 Natural Remedies for Anxiety

Anxiety is a just a natural fight or flight reflex gone awry, being triggered at inappropriate times when there is nothing to fear or when the fear is far below what the reaction is. The adrenal gland releases adrenaline, which then causes the feelings of fear and anxiety.

Most of the best treatments for anxiety revolve around either prescription drugs like Xanax and other benzodiazapines, or psychotherapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy.

There are also some natural remedies for anxiety that may help out.

Valerian: One of the more popular ones is the root of valerian, a plant native to Europe and Asia. Valerian has long been used as a sedative, but studies are conflicting. A 2007 study on its effectiveness with helping insomnia found no difference between valerian and a placebo. On the other hand, several studies have shown that it is about as effective for anxiety as a benzo (Xanax, valium and the like). Side effects are similar to those for benzos, including withdrawal symptoms with long term use.

Passionflower: Like valerian, this herb has long been used for a variety of remedies, not least among them treatment of anxiety and insomnia. There are not many studies of passionflower, and so it’s effectiveness and safety are both unknown.

Kava: A plant of the pepper family that is grown and harvested in Asia, the kava also has sedative properties. Traditionally, only the root was used, but supplement makers have taken to using the stems and leaves as well. Since this makes a stronger extract, there is evidence that taking long term heavy doses can lead to liver damage, high blood pressure, and possibly even pulmonary hypertension, a deadly disease.

Orange Aromatherapy: Inhaling the smell of citrus may also help relieve anxiety. In a study on dentist offices, those where a smell of oranges were pumped into the waiting room experienced less anxiety than the control group.

Vitamin B Complex: Although vitamin B deficiency is rare (mostly only in vegans and those with gastrointestinal diseases), some sufferers of anxiety have reported success with taking either a B complex or a B12 pill specifically. There is not much in the way of scientific confirmation of this effect, however.