Anxiety and Stress Relief: Natural Supplements, Vitamins, Herbs, & More (Science Based)

Supplements, Vitamins, Herbs

Anxiety and stress can severely impact your mental and physical well-being. Knowing how to treat anxiety can help reduce tension, panic, agitation, a fast heart rate, and trembling. In many cases, natural supplements can help to relieve anxiety disorders and stress.

Dietary supplements, certain herbs and vitamins can help to promote good emotional well-being. Herbal supplements such as ginger, ginseng, ashwagandha, and St John’s Wort can help to ease chronic anxiety. It is also essential to ensure that you get enough vitamins from your diet to help prevent anxiety and stress disorders.

In this article, you will find out about the best supplements for anxiety and stress. You will also learn about scientific research that backs up claims about certain natural remedies that are good for stress and anxiety.

If you have to deal with chronic stress and anxiety disorders, you will also find other helpful natural solutions at the end of this article.

The Difference Between Anxiety and Stress

Although stress and anxiety are closely related, they are not the same thing.

Stress can be a normal part of life and may even have some benefits. Anxiety, however, is a mental health disorder and is usually associated with fear, worry, and obsessive thoughts.

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic say that stress can be a positive factor that keeps us alert mentally, protects from harm, and helps to motivate us. Stress becomes a serious health issue when it builds up and become relentless or chronic. Prolonged stress can turn into distress and create anxiety. (1)

The journal Neuropharmacology says that anxiety is the condition that remains when the stressful situation has passed. Chronic stress can affect the chemicals in the brain and lead to long-term mood and anxiety disorders. (2)

So, stress is generally your body’s reaction to a current event whereas anxiety is an inordinate fear and worry about a past or future event (real or imagined). One researcher stated that anxiety is negative emotional feelings, insecurity, fear, and panic even when there is no stressor. (3, 1)

Supplements for Anxiety and Stress

How can natural supplements for anxiety help you cope with stressful situations better?

The Nutrition Journal reported that nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety can sometimes be as effective as pharmaceutical solutions. Many supplements such as kava, passionflower, and magnesium can help with anxiety-related conditions. Very often herbal supplements for anxiety come with few, if any, side effects. (4)

However, it is important to remember that certain herbal anti-anxiety supplements may interact with other medications. Natural supplements aren’t regulated, and it is not always possible to get information on specific dosage for your condition, so consulting with your doctor before taking any supplement is important.

Let’s look in more detail at scientific studies that show the most effective herbal supplements for anxiety.

Ginger for Stress and Anxiety

Ginger is an effective natural remedy for a number of health issues including helping to relieve anxious feelings.

A 2018 study found that compounds in dried ginger powder have an anti-stress effect. Mice who received ginger powder supplementation showed fewer signs of cognitive disturbance. The results were less anxiety and improvement in symptoms of depression. (5)

How to use ginger as an herbal supplement for anxiety

You can buy ginger powder supplements online for providing emotional support during chronic stress, or make your own ginger tea.

You can also make your own anti-anxiety ginger remedy by mixing 1 teaspoon of minced ginger, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of raw honey. Take the ginger home remedy 3 times a day to help reduce feelings of anxiety.

Learn more about why ginger is an amazing herb with many benefits.

Ginseng Supplements for Anxiety and Stress

Ginseng helps improve circulation in the brain, has an anti-anxiety effect and can help relieve depression.

A 2017 medical review found that ginseng is an effective remedy for stress-related anxiety and depression. Ginseng supplementation has the potential to suppress stress and improve the signs of anxiety. Ginseng also helps to protect the brain from cell damage due to inflammation. (6)

How to use ginseng for anxiety and depression

To use ginseng as a natural remedy for anxiety, take 200 to 400 mg of Panax ginseng once a day for up to 12 weeks. (7)

Ginkgo Biloba is an Anti-Anxiety Supplement

Taking ginkgo biloba as a supplement can help deal with anxiety and stress better.

One study on animal subjects found that gingko biloba supplementation can help to both relieve the effects of stress and prevent stress. Researchers found that ginkgo biloba helps improve mood, treats anxiety disorders, and improves memory function. (8)

How ginkgo biloba supplements can help with anxiety

One study found that taking 480 mg of ginkgo biloba supplements daily can assist with treating anxiety disorders. (9)

Other studies have shown that taking 120 mg of dried ginkgo biloba for 6 weeks can help to reduce anxiety and mental fatigue. (10)

Ashwagandha Herbal Supplement to Relieve Stress

Ashwagandha (also called Indian ginseng) is an effective herbal supplement for anxiety.

A review of 5 studies found that treating anxiety disorders with ashwagandha supplements can help to reduce stress and anxiety and improve mental well-being. In both animal and human studies, ashwagandha has shown an anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) effect. Researchers noted that ashwagandha is a safe herbal supplement for anxiety relief. (11)

How to use ashwagandha to get rid of anxiety naturally

Take 1,000 mg ashwagandha extract daily to help relieve stress and anxiety. (11)

You can learn more about the health benefits of taking ashwagandha supplement.

Chamomile May Treat Anxiety and Stress Naturally

Chamomile is a well-known herbal supplement that has soothing properties to relieve stress and signs of anxiety.

There are a number of ways you can use chamomile to treat chronic stress. For example, a 2010 review reported that chamomile can help treat generalized anxiety disorder. Chamomile extracts have an anti-anxiety effect and can help deal with mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety. (12)

How to use chamomile as a natural anxiety remedy

To get stress relief by using chamomile, put a chamomile tea bag in a cup of boiling water, cover, and allow to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink the relaxing tea to help ease some of your stresses away.

You can also use chamomile as an aromatherapy treatment to deal with stressful situations by diffusing chamomile essential oil. Simply put a few drops of chamomile essential oil in your diffuser and breathe in the soothing vapors. Read more about it in my article about proven essential oils for anxiety based on science and how to use them.

Kava Kava

Kava kava supplements can also help treat anxiety.

Studies have shown that kava kava helps to increase the effectiveness of GABA receptors in the brain. This works in a similar way to anti-anxiety medication. Kava kava is used to help relieve stress-related insomnia and anxiety. (13)

Other studies have shown that a combination of kava kava and valerian can help you sleep better if you are feeling stressed. (14)

How to use kava kava as a natural anti-stress supplement

Some studies have shown that kava kava supplement dose of 250 mg per day is good for anxiety-related conditions. (15)

It should be noted that kava kava has been linked to liver damage and has been banned or restricted in many countries, but not in the USA. (45) However some studies have found that kava kava is relatively safe for a short-term treatment. (46, 47)

St John’s Wort Helps with Anxiety

Scientific studies back up the traditional use of St John’s wort as an herbal remedy to cure stress and anxiety.

Scientists found in animal studies that the relaxing effect of St John’s wort helps to calm the mind and reduce anxiety. St John’s wort helped alleviate many of the symptoms of anxiety in stressed mice. (16)

Some studies have found that herbal supplements such as St John’s wort can help treat depression and anxiety symptoms. There is also some evidence that St John’s wort can help remedy seasonal affective disorder (SAD). (17)

How to use St John’s wort for natural anxiety and depression relief

The recommended dose of St John’s wort for mood disorders is 300 mg of the herbal supplement 3 times daily. (18)

St John wart is also one of the supplements that increases serotonin levels in your brain to treat mood disorders.

Omega-3 for Anxiety Relief

Omega-3 supplements are usually related to promoting good cardiovascular health. However, omega-3 fish oil also helps treat anxiety.

Various studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids reduce anxiety symptoms and inflammation. Omega-3 supplementation promotes good mental well-being and helps deal with stressful situations. Researchers have noted that omega-3 supplements help to produce a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms. (19)

How to use omega-3 for natural anxiety relief

Researchers from Harvard Medical School say that taking 2,000 mg a day of omega-3 helps reduce feelings of anxiety. (20)

Find out more about the ways omega-3 supplementation can boost your health.

Lavender to Help Relieve Stress

Inhaling the soothing aromas of lavender essential oil can help to soothe away stress, tension, anxious feelings, and depression.

One clinical trial involving 140 women found that aromatherapy using lavender scent helped reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. The women inhaled lavender essential oil aromas every 8 hours. The result was a significant reduction in symptoms of anxiety disorders. (21)

How to use lavender as an herbal remedy for anxiety

Put a few drops of lavender in your diffuser and breathe in deeply for stress relief. Or, you could put some drops of lavender essential oil on a tissue and inhale whenever you feel anxious.

Learn more about how to use lavender oil to calm your mind, ease pain, and sleep better at night.

Lemon Balm for Anxiety and Stress

Lemon balm is another effective herbal remedy for anxiety and stress-related health conditions.

The journal Nutrients reported that lemon balm has a calming effect on the mind. Taking lemon balm capsules, tablets, or using aromatherapy can all help to calm nerves and make you relax easier. Some studies showed that a lemon balm drink helped people to feel more at ease and less anxious. (22)

How to use lemon balm supplements for anxiety relief

Make your own herbal anti-anxiety drink by putting a few fresh lemon balm leaves in a cup of boiling water. Cover for 10 minutes then drink 2-3 times a day to help soothe anxiety and calm your mind.

To take lemon balm supplements for anxiety, take 300 mg of lemon balm extract 2 times a day and continue taking for 2 weeks. (23)

Passionflower Supplements for Anxiety

Passionflower (Passiflora) extracts have natural stress-relief and anti-anxiety properties.

One study involving people with generalized anxiety disorder found that taking passionflower drops helped to manage anxiety. When compared with benzodiazepine drugs, passionflower supplements were just as effective for anxiety without many of the side effects. (24)

How to take passionflower to remedy anxiety disorders

Put 25 drops (or as per manufacturer instructions) of passionflower extract in a small glass of water and drink twice a day to help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Magnesium to Treat Anxiety Naturally

Supplementing your diet with magnesium can give you symptomatic relief from anxiety.

Studies have shown that magnesium deficiencies are often related to anxiety disorders and depression. A 2017 review on the benefits of magnesium supplements found that magnesium supplementation can help improve anxiety symptoms. Magnesium also has a positive effect on GABA receptors in the brain that helps to alleviate anxiety naturally. (25)

How to use magnesium for anxiety-related disorders

You need between 300 mg and 400 mg of magnesium daily. (26) You should be able to get enough magnesium from your diet by consuming foods such as seafood, green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and oatmeal.

Learn more about the best magnesium supplements to take to help your body and mind function better.

L-Theanine Supplements for Stress and Anxiety

L-theanine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in green tea leaves and can help to calm anxiety.

Studies have shown that L-theanine can block certain receptors in the brain that affect anxiety. One small study found that L-theanine supplementation can help people deal with stress better. L-theanine can help offset the negative impact that stress has on the brain. (27)

How to use L-theanine for its anti-stress effects

One of the best ways to benefit from the stress-relieving effect of L-theanine is to drink green tea. A cup of green tea or oolong tea can help to increase dopamine and serotonin levels which have a positive effect on your mind.

You can also buy L-theanine supplements for anxiety and take between 100 mg and 400 mg per day.

GABA Supplements for Anxiety

Taking GABA supplements can help deal better with anxiety and relieve symptoms of depression.

The journal Frontiers in Psychology reports that GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain. Anxiety conditions can worsen if there is not enough GABA. There is some evidence that GABA supplementation may have a calming effect on the central nervous system. (28)

How to take GABA as a natural anxiety medication

Studies have shown that taking 100 mg – 300 mg  GABA supplement daily can help manage stress-related conditions. (29, 28)

5-HTP for Anxiety and Depression

The anti-anxiety supplement L-5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can help increase serotonin levels that can lessen the effect of anxiety disorders.

Research into the cognitive benefits of 5-HTP has found that this supplement can benefit people with generalized anxiety disorder and depression. However, 5-HTP should only be used for anxiety under the supervision of a qualified medical professional. (30)

How to take 5-HTP supplements for anxiety

Some studies have shown that taking up to 2,400 mg of 5-HTP a day can help to reduce anxiety. (30)

Vitamins for Anxiety and Stress

Taking vitamins to help manage daily anxiety and stress may be useful if you can’t get enough from your diet. Enjoying a nutritious, well-balanced diet is one of the natural ways to help deal with the psychological effects of stress.

However, chronic stress may also affect how your body absorbs certain vitamins and minerals. Some studies point to the fact that vitamin supplementation can be useful in managing long-term stress. (31)

Let’s look at some of the best vitamins for anxiety.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an important antioxidant that is needed to help deal with stress effectively.

One study found that a combination of vitamins A, C, and E helped to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress over a 6-week period. The anti-anxiety vitamin supplement contained 600 mg of vitamin A, 1,000 mg of vitamin C, and 800 mg of vitamin E. (32)

Foods rich in vitamin A include beef liver, green leafy vegetables, apricots, carrots, cantaloupe, salmon, and dairy products. (33)

Learn more about the consequences of a vitamin A deficiency and what you can do about it.

B Vitamins

B-group vitamins are necessary to keep your nerves and brain healthy and working properly. (34)

Research into the effect of B vitamin supplementation found that these supplements can have a positive effect on mood. High doses of B-group supplements may help to relieve perceived stress, anxiety, and lift your mood. (35)

Learn more about the signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency and what you can do to resolve it.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin to keep your immune system healthy and protect your brain from the negative effects of stress.

One randomized trial involving high school students found that taking 500 mg of vitamin C daily helped deal with stress and anxiety. Students taking the vitamin C supplement performed better in stressful situations. (36)

The best foods for getting vitamin C are citrus fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, red pepper, kiwifruit and tomatoes. (37)

Learn more about the important role of antioxidants in keeping you healthy.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays an important role in many functions in the body and can be helpful in treating depression.

A 2015 study found that people with depression and anxiety disorders tend to have lower levels of vitamin D. Boosting vitamin D levels with vitamin supplements can help reduce anxiety and protect against depression. (38, 39)

You can get vitamin D from eating fatty fish, dairy products, eggs, and mushrooms. (40)

Apart from increasing feelings of anxiety, find out about other health complications caused by a vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin E

Another antioxidant that plays an important role in your mental health is vitamin E.

Researchers have found that vitamin E is often deficient in people with various anxiety disorders. It is important to either get enough vitamin E from your diet or take vitamin supplements for reducing anxiety-related conditions. (32)

Foods containing vitamin E include olive oil, nuts, seeds, and green vegetables. (41)

Learn more about how vitamin E can benefit your general health.

Other Ways to Treat Anxiety

It may be that you don’t have to resort to taking herbal supplements for anxiety and stress. A healthy diet should provide most of the vitamins and minerals that help to promote good emotional well-being.

There are also other ways that can help to bring your stress levels down and prevent feelings of anxiety. Here are a few natural ways to treat anxiety:

Exercise. Various studies have shown that regular physical exercise can be an effective natural treatment for anxiety. (42)

Mindfulness. Many people turn to mediation as a way to manage long-term anxiety. Studies have also shown that mindfulness meditation can help deal with mood problems and anxiety-related issues. (43)

Effective time management. A 2018 study found that learning how to manage time effectively can do much to alleviate anxiety, stress, and depression. Women in the study even slept better because of a reduction in anxiety. (44)

Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy treats anxiety, stress and depression by talking about your condition with a mental health provider such as a counselor, clinical psychologist or psychotherapist who can teach patients healthier, more effective ways to cope with their condition. (48) Ask people you trust for recommendations or ask your physician about suitable counseling options for you.

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