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Can herbs beat anxiety?
Can herbs beat anxiety?

A doctor at the Mayo Clinic explains what is known about the soothing effects of herbs and whether they can harm you.

Can herbs beat anxiety?
Can herbs beat anxiety?

Yes, herbs can help. But natural doesn't always mean harmless. And medicinal herbs have side effects. Before taking them, be sure to check with your doctor, especially if you have allergies or regularly take any medications. The interaction of medicinal herbs with other drugs can lead to serious consequences.

Intoxicating pepper (kava)

A drink made from the roots of this plant has a calming effect. It is taken for relaxation and mental clarity, and is also advised for generalized anxiety disorder. For some time it was thought that supplements containing kava were harmful to the liver. But according to recent research, it’s not the plant itself, but how it was grown. Only the raw material is toxic if it contains any impurities or harmful bacteria.


According to several clinical studies, passion flower extract can help fight anxiety. But usually it is combined with other herbs in food supplements, so it is difficult to identify the effect of a single component.

Passion flower is considered safe when taken as directed. In rare cases, side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and disorientation have been noticed.


Valerian reduces stress and anxiety, but does not work for everyone and is considered safe in moderate doses. However, do not take it for more than two to three weeks without consulting your doctor. With prolonged use or overdose, headaches, dizziness, drowsiness may occur.


This herb has been shown to reduce anxiety, according to research. Taking chamomile for a short time is considered safe. However, be careful: it can thin the blood. It should not be taken together with other blood thinning drugs.

In addition, chamomile can cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the entire Aster family. It includes marigolds, calendula, daisies, chrysanthemums.


According to some studies, oral (that is, by mouth) lavender and aromatherapy are beneficial for anxiety disorders. However, the data is still insufficient. Taking lavender by mouth can lead to constipation and headaches, increase the sedation effect of other medications, and lower blood pressure.


According to preliminary data, lemon balm reduces symptoms of anxiety such as hyperexcitability and irritability. It is well tolerated by the body and is considered safe for short-term use. In rare cases, it can cause nausea and stomach pain.

Note that some herbs can cause drowsiness. If you take them, use caution when driving and operating machinery.

If anxiety interferes with your life, do not self-medicate, see your doctor. Serious anxiety disorders require medication and psychological support.