Natural Remedies for Anxiety and Stress

Herbs for Anxiety and Natural Anxiety Relief

July 3, 2018

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.

Herbal Teas

  • 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


  • 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.
–Irish proverb


This page was first published in 2009 and is regularly updated.


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Reader Comments

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Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is also another good herb for anxiety. You can add some fresh leaves to your water as you make some hot tea.

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Unfortunately, I'm very allergic to lavender or anything that has lavender or the oils in it, even candles. Is there another oil you can recommend?

essential oils for stress

The Editors's picture

Although lavender is the most popular, there are several essential oils that are recommended for relieving stress and anxiety, and having an overall calming effect. Instead of lavender, you might try something like rose, rose geranium, chamomile (both Roman or German, although Roman is said to be a little more effective), jasmine, or sandalwood. There are several more options–an aromatherapy supplier can help choose the best oil for you. To be sure that you are not allergic to an untried essential oil, dilute it first before using. Also, since you are allergic to lavender, to be safe, you might want to stay away from other oils from plants in the same family. Lavender is part of the mint family, Lamiaceae, as are bergamot and clary sage–two oils also said to be good for stress. (Even if you are not allergic to bergamot essential oil, it should not be applied to the skin.) Hope this helps!

Thanks for the tips but what

Thanks for the tips but what is one to do when you love to be outside and gardening but the husband causes you anxiety by saying being outside is a waste of time.

Reply to Colleen

Colleen, I suggest you grow lavender, breathe deeply, smile and tell him that you're so sorry he feels that way. Then learn to just ignore your husband's comments about gardening.


I have found a tincture made of Basil to be helpful w/ sleep. 1 ml. will suffice. Herbs are wonderful in many ways. Get to know them.

best home remedy.

best home remedy.


Thanks !!

Catnip tea is another good

Catnip tea is another good one; it's very relaxing and good for both anxiety and to promote sleep. It has a grassy, slightly bitter taste, so it's best to include it in a blend. I like to do two parts catnip, two parts spearmint, and one part lavender.

herbal tea such a good

herbal tea such a good remedies as follow us by me take better relief for insomnia and Practice of breathing exercise daily.

while reading about

while reading about phytothrapy and the use of each plants i noticed it's not necessary to know the role of each one, but each person demand what he need to be healthy

What if you own a trucking

What if you own a trucking business, drive team, and have to sleep while your partner drives. cross country, all of the lower 48, winter time flipping between temp extremes wreaks havoc on health, too.

I find the onions keep me

I find the onions keep me awake

I have found the raw onions

I have found the raw onions really work well for me. The Indians were quit smart when it came to natural remedies.

i hate onions but i will give

i hate onions but i will give it a try