Herbs for Anxiety


The quickening pace of modern life can leave many of us feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Often, anxiety feels like an overall sense of uneasiness, tension, or restlessness. The body perceives these feeling states as a potential threat, which triggers a cascade of stress hormones. This activates a fight or flight response in our nervous system and spikes our adrenaline and cortisol, impairing our digestion and contracting our breath.

Chronic anxiety and stress states strain the adrenal and pituitary glands and, over time, contribute to health disorders, weight gain, and feelings of constant fatigue + eventual burn-out.

Our breath is one of the best tools for shifting the body out of an anxious state, and it’s available to us at any time. Taking mini breath breaks or using guided meditation throughout the day does wonders for alleviating anxiety. Herbs are also a wonderful option for anxiety and serve as gentle remedies for everyday ailments. There are several supportive options, so try a few out & see what works best for you.  

*Be sure to speak with a holistic practitioner prior to taking or combining herbs, especially if you’re on any medication.

Herbs for Anxiety

Lemon Balm is a gentle nervous system relaxant that’s a wonderful option for anxiety. Lemon balm tea can be sipped all day and it supports digestion by helping to reduce gas and stomach discomfort.

How to use: Try as a tea or infusion and sip daily.

Chamomile is a calming nervine relaxant that helps with nervousness and irritability. It is also helpful for sleep and a great herbal option for children.

How to use: Enjoy as a tea.

Oat Straw & Milky Oat Tops are nutritive herbs that act as gentle nervine tonics which relax and nourish the nervous system. Through long-term use, oat straw can increase strength and stamina and ease anxiety from stress and exhaustion.

*Avoid with celiac disease.

How to use: Sip tea or infusions daily.

Holy Basil (Tulsi) is an adaptogen, anti-stress herb, and immune tonic that balances blood sugar and helps relieve anxiety and depression. Holy Basil promotes a relaxed state and is used widely for meditation. It also helps improve resilience and recovery from stress.

*Avoid with blood thinning medications and during pregnancy.

How to use: Try as a tincture or tea/infusion daily.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen used to increase vitality and longevity. This gentle nervine tonic is used to ease stress and anxiety, improve mental function, and restore health to the nervous system.

*Avoid during pregnancy and lactation.

How to use: Try as a tincture 1-3x per day.

Skullcap is a nervine tonic used to ease stress and anxiety. When taken long-term, it can help to relieve ongoing nervous system tension. Skullcap improves mood, reduces oxidative stress, and supports cognitive function.

How to use: Try as a tincture or tea before bed.

Passionflower is a mild sedative and a hypnotic which aids the body by relieving tension and anxiety. It is also a powerful ally for insomnia as it supports deep and restorative sleep.

How to use: Best taken at bedtime in tea or tincture form.

Valerian root is a sedative and nervine tonic that assists the body with stress-related disorders, insomnia, and pain relief. Valerian supports a deeper night’s sleep and can act as a gentle laxative for some.

How to use: Best taken at bedtime in tincture or capsule form.

Flower Remedies

Flower remedies, or flower essences, are herbal remedies made from the flowering part of wild plants. They are used to address the mental and emotional components of one’s health, in which anxiety symptoms are often rooted. Bach’s Rescue Remedy is a fantastic option.

Rose flower essence uplifts the heart and mind, calms hyperactivity of the mind and body, and can calm panic attacks and anxiety.

Lifestyle Support

Breathing Technique for Anxiety: Our breath is one of the most important tools when it comes to dealing with stress and anxiety. It’s available to us anytime and anywhere, and simply taking space to do some deep breathing can do wonders! This is especially helpful for those feeling a bit panicky.


-Inhale slowly through the nose for a count of 5

-Hold your breath for a count of 2

-Exhale from the mouth slowly for a count of 7

-Hold for a count of 2

-Inhale slowly through the nose for a count of 5

-Repeat this sequence 3x or until the anxiety subsides

Regular breathwork can help reduce stress and calm the mind. Techniques to include in your routine are alternate nostril breathing, humming bee breath, and one-minute breath.

*Unplug from phones & tech as often as possible! Placing a limit on the amount of screen time you take per day is critical. Not only will doing so take away the comparison game of seeing how other people live their lives, it will allow you to connect with the real world. Try reading a book, playing a board game with friends or family, cooking a meal, or going for a walk instead.

Earthing is walking barefoot and making contact with the earth. This act, however small it seems, helps the body to release tension built up in the body and nourishes with the negative ions from the earth. This grounding practice can help to reduce anxiety and improve feelings of well-being.

Mandarin Essential Oil helps to alleviate the oppressive feelings of anxiety and depression. It can be breathed in, rubbed onto the skin, added to bathwater, or added to a diffuser.

*If you think you are experiencing a nutritional imbalance, reach out to a holistic practitioner for support.

kristin dahl