Herbs and natural remedies can help calm anxiety and stress. Here’s a list of ways to relieve anxiety naturally.
First, attempt to calm thyself. If gardening or another relaxing activity doesn’t calm your nerves and make you sleep well, you’ll have to try some of these other tips involving herbs for anxiety and anxiety remedies. If gardening does help, you can grow some of these herbs (try our Herb Growing Guide) so that you can beat your anxiety in two ways.
Insomnia can often be caused by stress or anxiety, or insomnia can lead to anxiety. For this reason, we include some natural remedies for insomnia here as well. If these don’t help, try these tips for insomnia and sleep deprivation.
- Teas of chamomile, basil, marjoram, sage, or mint help ease stress. Use about 1 ounce fresh herbs (half of that if dried) for every 2 to 3 cups water.
- A tea of elderberry flowers is considered relaxing to the nerves and is sleep-inducing, too. (Caution! Avoid if pregnant.)
- For insomnia, drink bee balm. It acts as a mild sedative, calming the nerves and aiding sleep. Take an infusion of 2 teaspoons chopped leaves in 1 cup boiling water.
- Drink rosemary tea to alleviate melancholy or depression.
- Native American tea ingredients for insomnia included lady’s slipper (decocted), yarrow, mullein, hops, and purslane (decocted).
- Valerian tea (or capsules) is a natural sleep aide. In infusions, 1 ounce of the roots in 1 pint boiling water is a common recipe, consumed by wineglass as needed. (Caution: Too high a dose may lead to negative side effects!)
Home Remedies for Anxiety: Food
- First, do not eat your final meal late in the evening, and keep the meal light.
- Eating lettuce with your dinner is supposed to be calming, helping you to sleep and have pleasant dreams. Some say you should not have vinegar with your lettuce.
- Mandarin oranges are soporifics, so consider adding them to your evening meal to help insomnia.
- Native Americans reportedly ate raw onions to induce sleep. (They also used a variety of herbal syrups and poultices, but they’re a bit too complicated for most of us today.)
- Trying to remain relaxed but alert? Some studies suggest that the smell of apples, apple cider vinegar, or spiced apples have this effect. The right smell can make all the difference.
- Adding some calm-inducing foods to your diet can also be helpful. Try this collection of herb recipes to see if you can incorporate beneficial herbs into your meals.
Natural Anxiety Relief: Massages and Rubs
- Massage your temples with lavender oil.
- A warm bath with a couple of drops of chamomile oil aides sleeping. Add a splash of lavender oil for a relaxing aroma.
- For a relaxing body rub, soak equal parts finely chopped dandelions, burdock (roots and/or aerial parts), yellow dock, and lobelia in a mason jar of vodka for two weeks. Apply externally (and avoid the temptation to drink the solution).
How to Relieve Anxiety at Bedtime
- Strew lavender in the linen closet to scent your bed sheets with this mildly narcotic herb.
- Try putting a few drops of lavender oil in or right under your nose—gently, with a cotton swab (Q-tip).
- Sprinkle infusions of dill on your pillowcases and quickly iron them dry or fluff them in a clothes dryer.
- Dill will also lull cranky babies to sleep. Add dill infusion to the bath, sprinkle on a baby’s blanket, or use as a hair rinse. (We all know babies can cause stress—if they can sleep, maybe you can sleep, too!)
- Sage is considered a “ghost medicine,” used to prevent stressful nightmares. Strew it on the floor or in the bed.
- Keep in mind: Not every fragrant herb is suitable for a good night’s sleep. Some can have the reverse effect. You may wish to consult an herbalist.
A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.