Life is generally not linear; and it can certainly be up and down. Most people, during their lifetime, will suffer from anxiety or depression and this can be fleeting or lasting.
Anxiety and depression can be complex to treat, especially as the cause can be multifactorial and influenced by circumstantial, hormonal, and biochemical matters (including nutritional deficiencies/heavy metal toxicity/inflammatory factors) to name but a few.
And when it comes to treating mental health problems, one answer certainly does not suit all!
This is why It is really important to consult a medical professional or health care provider for advice, diagnosis and treatment.
However, there are a range of evidence-based, well-researched herbal treatments which may be of some assistance.
In this guide, we will explore some of the best herbal remedies for anxiety and depression.
What Herbal Remedies Are Good For Anxiety and Depression?
The following herbal remedies have been shown to be therapeutic for anxiety and depression, but please be sure to check for any contraindications or cautions before taking any.
St John’s Wort
Botanical name: Hypericum Perforatum
‘Let’s the light into a person’s life’
This plant has been revered and used for centuries for the treatment of mild to moderate depression and anxiety. It helps maintain normal levels of serotonin by blocking its breakdown in the body.
St. John’s Wort can be taken in tablet or tincture form, but bear in mind that it can take 3-6 weeks to notice any difference.
Care should be taken with St. John’s Wort as it does react with some medications. Speak to a medical practitioner if you are unsure.
Botanical name: Melissa Officinalis
“Lemon balm can lift the mood while calming the mind”
Lemon balm really is a very accessible kitchen herb and it has many wonderful properties, but it is particularly well known as a folk remedy for treating stress, nervousness, and insomnia as it exhibits sedative effects on the central nervous system.
You can introduce lemon balm as a tincture, as tablets or via an infusion.
Botanical name: Passiflora incarnata
‘Calms the spirit’
Passion flower is a really lovely plant that acts as a sedative and helps reduce stress making it one of the best natural herbal remedies for anxiety and depression.
Passion flower has been found to be therapeutic for insomnia and panic attacks, and evidence shows that it appears to boost gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your brain.
You can use this herbal anxiety remedy as a tincture, in tablet form or as an infusion.
Botanical name: Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola was first used by Russian researchers to help their athletes both mentally and physically. It is an adaptogenic herb and works on increasing dopamine levels. It is wonderful for helping with emotional and mental stresses and strains that are as a result of adrenal fatigue and feelings of overwhelm, depression and poor sleep. Rhodiola can also help to increase feelings of mental and physical resilience.
You can take Rhodiola as a tincture or in tablet form.
This herb helps the body adapt to various types of stress. It is a revered herb in the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine.
Ashwagandha has many amazing properties, but is probably most well known as a nervine tonic and adaptogenic herb helping with emotional resilience.
The biologically active chemical constituents of Withania Somnifera have been clinically proven to be anti-stress agents.
Ashwagandha can be used as a tincture or taken as a tablet.
Botanical name: Valeriana officinalis
Valerian is a very well-researched herb. The constituent in the extract seems to depress the nervous system, and therefore has been shown to be an excellent sedative especially for insomnia.
It’s anti-anxiety properties make it one of the best natural herb remedies for anxiety and depression. It also works to reduce GABA and improve the mood. It’s worth noting, however, that in very few people, valerian may have the opposite effect with regards to insomnia.
Valerian is commonly used as tinctures, tablets or infusions.
You may like to read: How to practice mindfulness every day
Bach Flower Remedies
Bach flower remedies are not herbal remedies, as such, but they are the dilutions of the energetic imprint of flowers and work in a similar fashion to homeopathy.
These remedies were developed by Dr Edward Bach in the early 19th century and have become increasingly popular over the years
The following list of Bach flower remedies may provide some assistance with anxiety and depression.
- Rescue Remedy: Rescue Remedy is a combination of flowers and it works wonders when you feel panicked and are fearful of or overwhelmed by a situation.
- Aspen: Aspen is for when you feel fearful without a specific reason such as the fear of the unknown.
- Mimulus: This is indicated for a specific fear.
- White Chestnut: This remedy can help when your mind is burdened or overwhelmed.
- Sweet Chestnut: This is indicated when you are so distressed that you can’t bear it.
- Elm: Elm is beneficial for feelings of overwhelm.
- Chestnut: Great for negative mind chatter, helping to relax you.
- Mustard: Mustard is the remedy for deep gloom and depression that descends for no apparent reason.
- Hornbeam: Perfect for that ‘Monday morning feeling’, Hornbeam is used for feelings of exhaustion and tiredness that come before an effort has been made.
Supplements That May Help With Anxiety and Depression
Herbal remedies for anxiety and depression can provide wonderful support, but there are also a number of supplements that can be very helpful, these include:
- Magnesium: Research has found that magnesium may help with brain functions that reduce stress and anxiety and, as it is a muscle relaxant, it can help with releasing tension.
- B Vitamins: B vitamins are so necessary for health in general because they are needed to create energy in the cells. They are water soluble vitamins too and we need to take them everyday. A vitamin B complex supplement helps boost mental health and energy. Deficiencies in B vitamins (esp B6, B9, B12) may cause anxiety and depression (especially if there is a link to low mood or low energy).
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil): DHA and EPA are fatty acids that can be found in fish oil and they are absolutely essential for the brain and to ensure normal function and development. People with depression should consider taking omega-3s from fish oil, as they may see improvements in their symptoms. Imbalances in these fatty acids are linked to common mood disorders.
- Amino Acids: It’s worth considering whether you may be deficient in amino acids /protein; even if your diet has a good source of protein you may not be absorbing efficiently – and some amino acids are precursors to neurotransmitters linked to brain health. It’s important to get professional advice on this though.
- Vitamin D: Research indicates that vitamin D is essential for the regulation of mood and helping to prevent depression.
We hope you’ve found the herbal remedies for anxiety and depression listed in this article to be beneficial, but please remember that this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult a medical professional or healthcare provider.
Suggested further reading: Using Rainbow Jasper For Stress and Anxiety.
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