8 Best Herbal Remedies for Anxiety and Depression

MA Hemal

Feelings of worry, dread, and sadness are experienced by many at some point in life. While occasionally experiencing anxiousness or low moods is normal, conditions like anxiety disorders and clinical depression are serious mental illnesses affecting millions. For some, medication and therapy are essential for treatment. However, many seek natural alternatives to prescription drugs due to potential side effects or cost barriers. This article will explore some of the most promising Herbal Remedies for Anxiety and Depression

8 Herbal Remedies for Anxiety and Depression



Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an adaptogenic herb from Ayurvedic medicine commonly used to help manage stress and its mental health impacts. Research on ashwagandha and anxiety has found it reduced symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder as effectively as lorazepam (Ativan), with fewer adverse effects. It shows potential for alleviating stress, anxiety, and depression by modulating neurological pathways and hormones involved in the body’s response to stress. Ashwagandha benefits many as a gentle yet powerful daily supplement for calming nerves and lifting mood naturally.

Lemon Balm

The quintessential calming herb lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) has long been used as a soothing folk remedy for depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Studies demonstrate its anxiolytic effects comparable to benzodiazepine medications for relieving social phobia and generalized anxiety. Lemon balm’s active compounds like rosmarinic acid appear to have psychoactive properties influencing brain chemistry. As a mild sedative, its calming presence eases both agitated thoughts and tense physical sensations, making it useful for the daily management of stress and anxiety disorders.

Holy Basil

Also called tulsi, holy basil (Ocimum sanctum) has a sacred reputation in the Ayurvedic and yogic traditions as an “adaptogen of the first quality” to promote balance during stressful times. Research confirms Tulsi’s anxiolytic and antidepressant properties are linked to its antioxidant flavonoids and essential oils. It demonstrates anti-stress effects in animal research and benefits cognition and mood in human studies. As an adaptogen enhancing the body’s ability to handle emotional stress naturally, holy basil is a stabilizing herbal ally for those prone to anxiety or depressive thoughts and patterns.


While not strictly an herb, L-theanine is an amino acid primarily found in green tea with unique calming effects on the central nervous system. It stimulates the production of serotonin, dopamine, and GABA – neurotransmitters critical for relaxation, mood stability, and stress management. Multiple human trials have found L-theanine effective at reducing anxiety, and stress, and improving mood without causing drowsiness. For many with lifelong anxiety, it offers a gentle yet grounding way of easing mental and physiological signs of discomfort when feelings of unease arise.

St. John’s Wort

One of the most clinically studied herbal options, St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) demonstrates reliable antidepressant effects comparable to mainstream SSRIs for mild to moderate depression. Its active hypericin and hyperforin components operate similarly to prescription antidepressants by influencing levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Long-term use successfully reduces depressive symptoms and lifts mood of many. While other herbs discussed offer milder psychological benefits, St. John’s wort stands out as a potent antidepressant fitting for more significant or persistent low mood disorders.


Soothing chamomile (Matricaria recutita) deserves mentioning among calming herbs not just for its relaxing taste as a tea, but also due to research validating its anti-anxiety properties. Animal and limited human research suggests chamomile exerts anti-anxiety effects through interaction with GABA and serotonin systems in the brain. It’s considered mildly sedative for frazzled nerves, helping to dissolve anxious sensations and worries before bed. Chamomile offers a pleasant ritual that calms and prepares the body and mind for restorative sleep, relieving accumulated mental tension from stress and anxiety over the day.


Rhodiola rosea, or Arctic root, activates Neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine linked to mood elevation. Research on Rhodiola extract demonstrated anti-anxiety effects comparable to prescription medications like amitriptyline and fluoxetine. It strengthened resilience during stressful times, boosted focus, and lifted dark outlooks in study participants versus placebo. Rhodiola grows in mountainous climates and offers a natural pick-me-up for mental wellbeing.

Lavender, Passionflower & Hops for Sleep Support

Insomnia often overlaps with anxiety and depression, worsening symptoms in a vicious cycle. Yet nature supplies some of the gentlest sleep aids. Lavender soothes frayed nerves while passionflower and hops facilitate relaxation by antagonizing GABA and serotonin receptors. These three herbs are among the most consistently effective natural soporifics per scientific research. Whether diffused before bed or drunk as a tea, their relaxing scents and mild constituents melt tension to create the stillness needed to slumber long and restoratively once more. Reclaiming rest through natural methods is key to gaining perspective on challenges that seemed insurmountable during periods of fatigue and low mood.


While herbal options should not replace evaluated medical care for severe or long-term mental health conditions, emerging research shows specific adaptogenic, anxiolytic, and antidepressant herbs can offer natural relief and aid ongoing therapy when used appropriately. Consultation with a qualified healthcare provider can help determine if adaptogens like ashwagandha, tulsi, or L-theanine may help manage stress and anxiety symptoms safely. For depressive disorders, St. John’s wort stands out as a clinically proven herbal treatment alongside lifestyle changes and therapy. Overall, these calming botanical allies support the mind’s innate abilities to manage emotions and navigate life’s challenges from a place of balance and well-being.

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