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5 Calming Herbs to Soothe Anxiety

Anxiety affects roughly 40 million adult Americans each year and the vast majority of them never receive treatment. Whatever your reasons for not wanting to take medications, you should be aware that there are medicinal herbs that can give you a calmer feeling naturally. You just need to know which herbs to use. The following five calming herbs are some of the best known for easing your stress and nerves.

Valerian Root

This calming plant is most often touted as a remedy for insomnia, but it’s also a good way to relieve your anxiety. Keep in mind that it can cause drowsiness and it should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, or anyone on antidepressants or with liver issues.

Since valerian root tends to have a strong odor and taste, most people prefer to use it in capsule form. You can grind dried roots and place them in gel caps to make it simpler to take. Aim for 1-2 oz of root and take in the evening. It will help you sleep and ease anxiety for the coming day.

If you do choose to make tea, use 1 oz of the root in one cup of boiling water and steep for 5-6 minutes. It’s a good idea to blend this with other types of herbs to ease the flavor. Any of the herbs below will work well for this.


A mild tasting herb, chamomile is a great option for easing anxiety and it’s also very easy to prepare. If you enjoy tea, you can take this herb in tea form, but it’s also good in skin creams. The plant may be harvested once the flowers start to form and either used immediately while fresh, or dried for later use.

To prepare tea, use two tablespoons of fresh leaves and flowers or a tablespoon of dried chamomile in a cup of boiling water. Steep for up to 5 minutes and then drink to experience the calming effect. Alternatively, you can create a skin cream to apply, though this isn’t quite as effective as ingesting the herb.

If you have allergies to daisies or ragweed, you may have an allergic reaction to chamomile.

Lemon Balm

This tasty herb has been used since medieval times to treat stress and anxiety. It’s a surprisingly powerful herb, particularly when taken regularly. You can pick the leaves when grown and dry them, or chop them up and use fresh.

Lemon balm can be used as is for tea, either a tablespoon of fresh leaves or a teaspoon of dry in a cup of hot water, or you can turn it into a tincture. Since the taste can be a little strong, many people prefer to blend the dried herb with other teas to create a better tasting drink. You can take the tea twice a day to treat anxiety and stress.

If you use a tincture, two drops in a cup of water will usually give the desired effect. You can also use lemon balm fresh in your food, but the amount you add is likely to be too little to relieve anxiety. With such a strong smell, this herb may be crushed and used for aromatherapy, too. Just mash a handful in your hand or with a mortar and pestle and inhale the scent, or drop into a warm bath and relax.


Lavender is famous for its calming effect, but did you know there are multiple ways to use this plant? The flowers are the part most often used and lavender is very effective in aromatherapy, as well as ingested.

Pick the flowers in the morning, once the dew has dried and allow to dry naturally, while hanging in bunches. The dried flowers may be kept in a cool dry place. Another option is to extract the lavender’s essential oil or purchase this ready made.

To make tea, use the leaves of the lavender plant. Two tablespoons of fresh leaves or a tablespoon of dry in a cup of very hot water will give you the desired result when taken 2-3 times a day. You can also use it for aromatherapy, keeping a sprig of fresh lavender with you or using the essential oil. Some people also find adding a handful of dried or fresh flowers to a bath can help relax them. Another option is to tuck a few dried flowers inside your pillowcase to breathe in at night. It will help you calm down in the evenings and get a good night’s sleep, which is important to beating anxiety.


Most commonly used as a remedy for stomach ailments, ginger may not seem like something you’d use for anxiety. However, it is quite effective and has been used for many generations for exactly that purpose. The root contains properties that counteract the negative effects of stress and anxiety, helping you calm down.

While you can use dried ginger, it’s best to have fresh gingerroot on hand. Keep it in the refrigerator to maintain freshness and mince 1 teaspoon of peeled ginger and adding to two cups of boiling water. Simmer for 10 minutes and add honey or lemon to soften the flavor. You can drink this up to three times a day to relieve anxiety.

If you choose to use powdered ginger, you can dry slices of the herb and then grind in to powder. Use it in your cooking for a mild effect or boil a teaspoon in a cup of water for 6 minutes. Like fresh tea, you can add honey and lemon for flavor.

Each of these wonderful herbs is a natural method of relaxing and bringing your anxiety levels down. As with all herbal medications, the results may vary, so it’s a good idea to see which option works best for you.

It’s also possible to combine more than one of these herbs to improve the effect. As they can all be made into teas, the simplest method is just to create a calming herbal tea with a variety of herbs to ease the symptoms of anxiety. The actual act of sipping a warm drink is often calming in and of itself.

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