The appeal of home remedies for anxiety is understandable…anxiety is a common symptom, just like the common cold, headaches, and muscular pain. So when you get unbearable anxiety, you naturally want to see if you can do something for yourself with a home remedy. So we have home remedies for other symptoms like the common cold and the flu…chicken soup, warm water with lemon and honey, salt water gargle, and over the counter (OTC) cold and cough medications. Fortunately, there are home remedies for anxiety, but these are not widely known, as self-help for anxiety is a new phenomenon. These home remedies for anxiety include herbal teas, OTC medications Benadryl and melatonin, and burning incense:
Chamomile is a daisy-like plant, an herb that has been used for centuries for various medicinal purposes. Matricaria recutita, also known as German chamomile, is the most popular source of chamomile, although there are other species used as chamomile. The fresh and dried flowers of chamomile have been used in teas. Chamomile tea has been known to be helpful for anxiety, insomnia, stomach cramps, and headaches. With regards to anxiety, a study revealed that chamomile was effective for generalized anxiety disorder (Amsterdam et al., 2009).
L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. Green tea can help to reduce anxiety and reduce high blood pressure. L-theanine has been shown in studies to reduce anxiety in healthy subjects and in a clinical sample of subjects with psychosis (Unno et al., 2013; Ritsner et al., 2011).
Lavender is a flowering plant in the mint family. Also known as Lavandula angustifolia, Lavender is associated with a pleasant fragrance and bright purple flowers. Lavender is popular as it has a soothing aroma, and is used in soaps, shampoos, and potpourri. It can also be made into a tea, and used for medicinal purposes such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression. With regards to anxiety, studies have shown that lavender is effective for anxiety, and lavender is associated with fewer side effects than prescription medications for anxiety (Kasper et al., 2014; Woelk and Schläfke, 2010).
Passion Flower Tea
Passion Flower, also known as Passiflora, is a climbing plant and has a purple flower. Passion Flower tea has been used by Native Americans for over 200 years, as it is calms anxiety and it is sedating. Other effects include restful sleep, lower blood pressure, less muscle tension, and fewer headaches. With regards to anxiety, a study revealed that Passion Flower was as effective as oxazepam for generalized anxiety disorder (Akhondzadeh et al., 2001).
Valerian, also known as Valeriana officinalis, is a flowering plant with a massive root system. This root system is ground up and used for medicinal purposes, for its calming and pain-relieving abilities. It is also used as a sedative for sleep problems. Valerian tea works almost immediately in its calming effects for anxiety. A study showed that valerian was effective for obsessive compulsive disorder when compared to placebo, and the only side effect was somnolence (Pakseresht et al., 2011).
Ginkgo biloba, also known as maidenhair tree, is a tree that can live for a thousand years, and is the oldest living tree on earth. The leaves from the ginkgo biloba tree can be made into a tea, which is gaining popularity. Ginkgo has multiple medicinal effects, which include decreased anxiety, improved mental function, improved dementia, just to name a few. With regards to anxiety, a study showed that ginkgo was effective for decreasing anxiety in study subjects with generalized anxiety disorder and adjustment disorder with anxiety, when compared to placebo, and was well-tolerated and safe (Woelk et al., 2007).
Lemon Balm Tea
Lemon balm, also known as Melissa officinalis, is an herb in the mint family. Lemon balm can be made into a tea, and has calming and sedative properties. A study showed that lemon balm (when combined with valerian) was more effective at decreasing anxiety in healthy subjects versus placebo (Kennedy et al., 2006).
Scullcap, also known as Scutellaria, is a flowering plant. It can be made into a tea, and can treat a variety of symptoms, including anxiety, pain, high blood pressure, and epilepsy. With regards to anxiety, a study found that scullcap was effective at decreasing anxiety in healthy subjects (Wolfson and Hoffmann, 2003).
Another home remedy for anxiety is the OTC medication Benadryl, also known by its generic name diphenhydramine. Benadryl can be dosed at 25mg to 50mg on an as needed basis for anxiety. It is quite sedating, and the calming, anxiolytic effects from Benadryl may be largely due to sleep induction. In other words, if you are having severe anxiety or a panic attack, taking Benadryl will help you to sleep off the anxiety symptoms, and when you awaken, you find the anxiety symptoms have passed. No research studies exist for Benadryl and anxiety; however, doctors commonly recommend it to their patients for anxiety.
Another OTC medication that is helpful for anxiety is melatonin. Melatonin, which has the chemical name N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, is a hormone made by the pineal gland, located in the brain. Melatonin controls your sleep-wake cycles. It is used for anxiety and insomnia. Melatonin is dosed at 3mg to 6mg daily at bedtime for anxiety, and it will help you to sleep better. Melatonin has several studies showing it is effective for decreasing anxiety (Acil et al., 2004; Khezri and Merate, 2013; Khezri et al., 2013).
Boswellia resin has been burned as incense for millennia at religious and cultural ceremonies, and is associated with a calm, meditative state to those who smell incense burning. A study has confirmed the anxiolytic effects and neurobiological effects of smelling burning incense. The burning of incense produces a Boswellia resin constituent, incensole acetate, which has been shown to have neuropharmacological effects in the brain. Incensole acetate is a potent agonist at transient receptor potential vanilloid (TRPV) 3 ion channel receptors, and causes decreased anxiety and decreased depression (Moussaieff et al., 2008).
This article details the little-known home remedies for anxiety. These anxiety home remedies include herbal teas, OTC medications (Benadryl and melatonin), and burning incense. For more information on anxiety home remedies, read my book on anxiety, Anxiety Protocol. Anxiety Protocol will help you eradicate anxiety from your life.