What helps anxiety naturally?

Anxiety is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While medication can be effective, many people prefer natural remedies to help manage anxiety symptoms. There are many lifestyle changes and natural supplements that may help reduce anxiety.

What causes anxiety?

Anxiety disorders are multifactorial – caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, psychological and biochemical factors. Some potential causes include:

  • Brain chemistry – Neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and GABA help regulate mood. Imbalances in these chemicals may contribute to anxiety.
  • Childhood trauma – Events like abuse, neglect, or loss in childhood may increase anxiety risk.
  • Substance abuse – Both intoxication and withdrawal from drugs and alcohol can prompt anxiety.
  • Medical conditions – Health issues like hyperthyroidism, heart disease and irritable bowel syndrome are linked to anxiety.
  • Stress – High levels of chronic stress from work, relationships or finances can trigger anxiety symptoms.
  • Genetics – Anxiety disorders tend to run in families, suggesting a hereditary component.

While the exact causes are complex, natural remedies can help manage anxiety by addressing some of these underlying factors.

Lifestyle changes for anxiety

Certain lifestyle habits may help lower anxiety levels naturally. Some beneficial practices include:

  • Exercise – Regular exercise boosts feel-good endorphins and neurotransmitters in the brain. Aim for 30-60 minutes per day.
  • Healthy diet – Limit caffeine, alcohol, refined carbs and sugar. Eat more veggies, fruits, lean proteins and omega-3 fats.
  • Yoga and meditation – These mind-body practices calm the nervous system and reduce stress.
  • Sufficient sleep – Lack of sleep exacerbates anxiety. Stick to a regular sleep-wake cycle and aim for 7-9 hours nightly.
  • Nature exposure – Spending time outside and away from technology helps lower anxiety.
  • Social connection – Close relationships provide emotional support and buffer anxiety.

Making lifestyle adjustments may help keep anxiety under control, especially when combined with natural supplements.

Herbal remedies for anxiety

Several herbs have traditionally been used to help calm anxiety. Some of the most popular include:


Passionflower has sedative properties that promote relaxation. Studies indicate it may help ease generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks. The suggested dosage is 90 mg per day.


Valerian is a sedative herb that may reduce anxiety and improve sleep. Take 500 mg two to three times per day. Use lower doses at first as high amounts may cause headaches.


Chamomile is commonly used as a mild sedative to reduce anxiety and insomnia. Drink 2-3 cups of chamomile tea daily. It’s generally safe but may cause drowsiness.

Lemon balm

Lemon balm has anti-anxiety effects in research studies. The standard dose is 300-600 mg up to three times per day. Lemon balm is considered safe for short-term use.


Lavender aromatherapy or oral supplements may alleviate anxiety symptoms. Use lavender oil in a diffuser or apply diluted oil to skin. Take 80-160 mg capsules once or twice daily.


Kava root preparations reduce anxiety in clinical trials. However, liver toxicity is a concern with long-term use. Only use kava under medical supervision at the lowest effective dose.

Herbs may take several weeks to notice an effect. Consult your healthcare provider before using herbal anxiety remedies, especially with other medications.

Probiotics for anxiety

Emerging research suggests probiotics may lessen anxiety by reducing inflammation and balancing gut bacteria. Some evidence indicates probiotic strains like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium may improve anxiety symptoms and quality of life.

Food sources of probiotics include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented foods. Probiotic supplements in capsule form are widely available as well. Always choose reputable brands tested for purity and potency.

Essential oils for anxiety

Inhaling essential oils activates smell receptors in the nose that trigger neurotransmitters in the brain influencing mood and emotions. Some calming essential oils for anxiety include:

  • Lavender – Promotes relaxation and sleep.
  • Bergamot – Eases stress and improves mood.
  • Rose – Uplifts mood and reduces anxious thoughts.
  • Clary sage – Lessens depression and relieves anxiety.
  • Ylang ylang – Lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Chamomile – Soothes the nervous system.

Use a diffuser to disperse essential oils in your home or apply diluted oils to pulse points like wrists, temples and neck. Essential oils should not be ingested.

Nutritional supplements for anxiety

Certain vitamins, minerals and other natural compounds may help stabilize mood and ease anxiety symptoms. Some supplements to consider include:

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3s may have brain-boosting properties that reduce anxiety. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are good food sources. For supplements, take 1,000-2,000 mg EPA/DHA omega-3s daily.


Magnesium deficiency is linked to increased anxiety. Supplementing with 200-400 mg of magnesium glycinate or citrate may help calm anxiety.


As mentioned, probiotic supplements may lessen anxiety by balancing gut bacteria. Look for broad-spectrum formulas with 5-50 billion CFUs.


GABA is a neurotransmitter that inhibits anxiety signaling in the brain. Take 500-1,000 mg up to twice daily for anti-anxiety effects.


L-theanine is an amino acid in green tea that boosts alpha waves in the brain. Take 100-400 mg daily to promote relaxation without drowsiness.


Glycine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that may decrease anxiety. Take 1,000-3,000 mg daily. It’s generally well tolerated, but high doses may cause stomach upset.

When buying supplements, look for reputable brands that are independently tested for purity and potency. Talk to your doctor before combining nutritional supplements, especially with medications.

Adaptogen herbs for anxiety

Adaptogens are herbs that help the body manage stress and promote emotional well-being. Some adaptogens used to treat anxiety include:


Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to calm the mind and reduce anxiety. Take 500-600 mg per day for anti-anxiety benefits.


Rhodiola lifts mood, eases depression and improves resilience to stress. Dosages of 300-600 mg daily are commonly used for anxiety relief.

Holy Basil

Also called tulsi, holy basil acts as an adaptogen to modulate the stress response. Steep 2-3 grams dried leaves in hot water for tea or take 300-600 mg per day in capsules.


Reishi is a medicinal mushroom used to lessen anxiety and depression, especially in those with stressful lives or chronic illnesses. Take 1,500-3,000 mg per day.


Schisandra berry stabilizes mood and normalizes cortisol levels. Take 500-3,000 mg daily. Use lower doses at first, as high amounts may increase anxiety temporarily before lowering it.

Adaptogens are generally safe for extended use. However, they can interact with medications, so consult your healthcare provider before using adaptogenic herbs.

Homeopathic remedies for anxiety

Homeopathy uses highly diluted preparations of plant, mineral and animal sources to trigger the body’s self-healing response. Some commonly used remedies include:

Aconitum Napellus

Aconitum Napellus is used for sudden, intense anxiety or panic attacks. It’s most appropriate in the early stages of anxiety.

Argentum Nitricum

Argentum Nitricum relieves anticipatory anxiety and fear of unfamiliar places or situations like flying, heights and claustrophobia.

Arsenicum Album

Arsenicum Album treats obsessive worry and anxiety with restlessness and rumination. It suits worriers who are perfectionists with fastidious tendencies.


Gelsemium helps calm performance anxiety and nervous trembling before public speaking or exams. It’s ideal for individuals with stage fright.

Dosage varies based on the remedy. Only purchase homeopathic products from reliable manufacturers. See a certified homeopath to determine the appropriate remedies for your anxiety symptoms.

Aromatherapy for anxiety

Aromatherapy uses concentrated essential oils from plants to promote emotional healing. Essential oils may reduce anxiety when inhaled or applied topically. Oils commonly used for calming anxiety include:

Essential Oil Aromatherapy Uses
Lavender Lowers heart rate and blood pressure
Bergamot Lessens stress and improves mood
Cedarwood Relieves nervous tension
Clary sage Reduces depression and anxiety
Frankincense Promotes relaxation and wellbeing
Ylang ylang Eases panic and hyperventilation

To use essential oils for anxiety, add 5-10 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil. Apply topically to wrists, temples, neck or soles of feet. Or diffuse 5-7 drops in your home using an essential oil diffuser according to manufacturer directions.

When to see a doctor

Natural remedies may help manage mild to moderate anxiety. However, see your doctor right away or call 911 if you experience:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid, racing heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or others
  • Worrying or panic that disrupts daily living

Consult a mental health professional if anxiety symptoms persist despite natural interventions. Unmanaged anxiety can negatively impact work, school, relationships and overall quality of life.


In many cases, natural remedies can effectively complement conventional anxiety treatment. Lifestyle changes, herbal supplements, essential oils and homeopathic remedies may help manage anxiety. Work with a healthcare provider to determine the safest natural interventions for your needs.

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