Herbs for stress relief – top options

People suffering from extreme cases of stress and anxiety choose herbal remedies for stress relief. Many people prefer ayurvedic herbs over prescription drugs for stress relief. This is due to unwanted side effects in some of these drugs, such as Benzodiazepines and beta-blockers.

One thing to remember is that it is extremely important to consult your doctor in both cases. You should consult a doctor before starting, reducing, or stopping a prescription drug or a herbal supplement. Some ayurvedic herbs can have side effects or can interact with other medicines too.

Here are a few supplements and herbs to help reduce stress and anxiety.

1. Ashwagandha

Withania somnifera or Ashwagandha is an 'Adaptogen'. Adaptogens are a group of herbs that affect the hormones and systems in our body that regulate our stress response. This group of herbs has a long history in India. In traditional Indian or ayurvedic medicine, they are used for their various benefits. You can find Ashwagandha as one of the Zanducare herbs for stress relief.

A clinical trial in 2019 explored the effects of Ashwagandha on anxiety and stress. An 8-week study with 58 participants who had stress received one of three random treatments. The treatments were Ashwagandha extract at a 250 mg dose or at a 600 mg dose or a placebo. Participants with the Ashwagandha extract treatment showed lower Cortisol, the stress hormone levels. These participants also experienced better sleep quality than the others.

Participants with the 600 mg dose of Ashwagandha extract reported that their stress was down significantly. The participants with the 200 mg Ashwagandha extract did not report any reduction in stress levels.

In another study in 2019 with 60 participants who reported mild anxiety got 250mg Ashwagandha or a placebo. These treatments were for a 60-day period. Those who got the herb treatment showed vastly reduced anxiety levels. This is one of the stress-relieving herbs to try and can be consumed in liquid tincture form or as a tablet.

2. Chamomile


Image Source: Photo by Sebastian Sørensen: pexels

Chamomile is very similar in appearance to Daisy and is a flowering herb. Chamomile is one of the most common natural ways to relieve stress. There are two types of Chamomile used medicinally: German and Roman Chamomile. Chamomile is used in different forms to relieve stress. Here are a few of those forms:

  • Chamomile Tea
  • Chamomile Extract
  • Chamomile Skin Cream
  • Chamomile Tablet

A clinical trial conducted in 2016 investigated in detail the efficacy of Chamomile as a long-term treatment. It detailed the use of Chamomile with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). In this study, 93 participants received 1500mg of Chamomile for 12 weeks. After these 12 weeks, some continued on Chamomile for the next 26 weeks while others switched to a placebo. 

The inference from this study showed that the patients who took Chamomile for 40 weeks were no less likely to suffer from an attack of GAD. But, when they relapsed, their symptoms were less severe than those who changed to a placebo. This makes Chamomile one of the most important herbal remedies for stress relief.

An important thing to remember is that some people may suffer from allergic reactions. These reactions are most likely to occur in people with allergies to these plants:

  • Ragweed
  • Daisy
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Marigolds

Chamomile may have interactions with certain drugs. Some of these drugs are the blood thinner, Warfarin and the anti rejection drug, Cyclosporine. Everybody who is taking some kind of medicine or supplement should consult their doctor before starting Chamomile supplements or Tea.

3. Valerian

The next herb on the list of herbs to help reduce stress is Valerian.  Valeriana officinalis is a native plant of Europe and Asia. It has been used for anxiety, depression, and other sleep-related problems for centuries. Valerian root, like Chamomile, is available in different forms. Some of these forms are as follows:

  • Tea
  • Tablet
  • Tincture

There have not been many high-quality studies on the effects of Valerian root as a natural way to relieve stress. The NCCIH (National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health) states that there is not enough evidence to prove Valerian's efficacy as a depression and anxiety reliever. 

The NCCIH notes that there is no data to prove the safety and usefulness of Valerian for long-term use in some groups. However, studies say that Valerian is generally safe. These groups are as follows:

  • Pregnant women
  • Nursing mothers
  • Children under three years of age

Another important thing to note is that Valerian can have sleep-inducing effects. Taking the help of sedatives and alcohol can make Valerian dangerous.

4. Lavender

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Lavender is one of the most common stress-relieving herbs to try. People have used Lavender to remove anxiety and to help calm their nerves for centuries. Like the previous herbs, Lavender can also be used in several forms. Some of these forms are as follows:

  • Tea made from the leaves
  • Essential oil mixed in a base oil and used as a massage oil
  • Adding the flowers or the oil to baths

LEO (Lavender Essential Oil) has chemicals called terpenes. A reviewed article from 2017 says that two of these terpenes, called Linalyl Acetate and Linalool, have calming effects. These terpenes have a calming effect on our brain's chemical receptors. This article also suggests that Lavender can be a very effective short-term treatment in cases of anxiety disorders. But studies prove that the long-term effects of LEO are lacking. Lavender is another Zanducare herb for stress relief.

People have been using stress-relieving herbs to try and alleviate anxiety for thousands of years. There are innumerable studies proving the efficacy of these herbs in relieving the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Some herbal products, like prescription drugs, can cause unwanted side effects. 

This makes it extremely prudent that you consult your doctor before taking any sort of supplement. The herbal products might also take longer to start showing their effects. There can also be an interaction between herbal products and certain medications when taken at the same time.

The Bottom Line 

You should consider these things before you decide to try natural ways to relieve stress. However, if you still think you want to be on the safer side of things, do not hesitate to connect with your doctor right away. They will help you. 


Zandu Ayurvedic Team

Zandu Ayurvedic Team has a panel of over 10 BAMS (Ayurvedacharya), boasting a collective experience of over 50 years. With a deep-rooted understanding of Ayurveda, they are committed to sharing their expertise & knowledge through our blogs.
We use all kinds of Ayurvedic references in our content. Please use the contact form for any editorial queries.

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