Herbs for Stress

Table of Contents

Many herbs are traditionally used to help alleviate stress and promote relaxation. Here are some common herbs that may be helpful:


This herb is an adaptogen that helps the body adapt to stress and may help reduce cortisol levels and improve mood. Ashwagandha is an herb that originated in India. It is also known as Withania somnifera and is commonly used to manage stress and anxiety.

Several studies have suggested that ashwagandha may help reduce stress levels. For example, a 2012 study found that ashwagandha root extract reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol in participants. Another study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2019 found that ashwagandha supplementation improved perceived stress, overall well-being, and mental health in individuals with chronic stress.

Ashwagandha is believed to work by modulating the activity of the adrenal glands, which produce cortisol, the primary stress hormone. By reducing cortisol levels, ashwagandha may help alleviate stress and anxiety symptoms.

While ashwagandha appears to be generally safe, it may interact with certain medications or cause side effects in some people. As with any supplement, it’s best to consult a healthcare provider before adding it to your routine.


Chamomile tea is a popular remedy for stress and anxiety, and it may help promote relaxation and calmness. Chamomile has been a popular herb for centuries to help alleviate stress and anxiety.

Chamomile contains several compounds believed to have a calming effect on the body and mind. Several studies have shown the herb to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. Chamomile is available in various forms, including tea, capsules, and essential oils. Chamomile tea is a simple and effective way to experience its stress-reducing benefits. The tea’s mild and soothing flavor is often enjoyed before bedtime to promote better sleep.

Chamomile may also help reduce symptoms of depression and improve overall mood. The herb has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce stress-related inflammation in the body. Chamomile tea is a caffeine-free alternative to other beverages that may contribute to stress and anxiety. Chamomile may also help reduce irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, which stress can trigger. The herb has a gentle sedative effect that can help promote relaxation and calmness.

Chamomile can be used as a natural remedy to alleviate stress and anxiety symptoms without the side effects of prescription medications. Chamomile can be combined with other calming herbs like lavender or lemon balm for an even more potent stress-reducing effect. The herb can also be used topically in creams or lotions to help soothe and calm the skin. Chamomile has a long history of use as a natural remedy for various ailments, including stress and anxiety.


The scent of lavender has been shown to have a calming effect on the nervous system. It may help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Lavender is often used for stress relief due to its calming properties. The scent of lavender has been shown to have a soothing effect on the mind and body, helping to reduce anxiety and stress.

There are several ways you can use lavender to help manage stress:

  1. Essential oil: Diffuse lavender essential oil in a diffuser or apply a few drops to a carrier oil and massage it onto your skin. The aroma will help calm your mind and reduce stress levels.
  2. Bath: Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your bath water and soak for 15-20 minutes. The warm water combined with the scent of lavender will help you relax and de-stress.
  3. Pillow spray: Spray a lavender mist on your pillow before bed to promote a restful night’s sleep and reduce stress levels.
  4. Tea: Drink lavender tea to help calm your mind and reduce stress. Simply steep a few teaspoons of dried lavender flowers in hot water for several minutes.

It’s important to note that while lavender can help reduce stress, it should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice or treatment. 

Lemon balm

This herb has a calming effect and may help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Lemon balm from the mint family. It is known for its calming and soothing properties and has been used for centuries to reduce stress and anxiety.

Several studies have shown that lemon balm can be an effective natural remedy for stress. For example, a study published in the journal Nutrients found that taking lemon balm extract for four weeks improved mood and cognitive function in adults experiencing chronic stress.

Another study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that lemon balm reduced anxiety and improved mood in healthy volunteers exposed to a laboratory stressor.

 As with any herbal remedy, it is important to consult a healthcare professional before using lemon balm, particularly if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any medications.


Passionflower is often used as a natural remedy for anxiety and insomnia, and it may help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is an herb commonly used in traditional medicine to help relieve symptoms of anxiety and stress. Research studies have found that passionflower may have calming effects on the body and help reduce anxiety.

Passionflower is thought to work by increasing the neurotransmitter levels called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA helps regulate nerve activity; low levels can lead to anxiety and stress. By increasing GABA levels, passionflower may help promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Several studies have shown that passionflower can effectively reduce anxiety and stress symptoms.

Passionflower is generally considered safe when taken in appropriate doses. However, it may interact with certain medications, including sedatives and anti-anxiety medications. 

Passionflower may be a helpful natural remedy for reducing stress and anxiety. However, it is important to use caution and talk to your healthcare professional before taking it.


Rhodiola is an adaptogen that may help reduce stress and improve mood. Rhodiola is a popular herbal supplement often used to help manage stress and improve mental and physical performance. It is derived from the root of the Rhodiola rosea plant, native to cold regions of Europe and Asia.

Research suggests that Rhodiola may reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and enhance cognitive function. It is believed to work by regulating the body’s stress response system, which includes the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the sympathetic nervous system.

One study published in the journal Phytomedicine found that Rhodiola supplementation improved symptoms of stress-related fatigue in a group of participants. Another study published in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry found that Rhodiola reduced symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder in a group of patients.

However, it is the main part to note that while Rhodiola may be helpful for some individuals in managing stress and anxiety, it should not be used as a substitute for proper medical treatment. 

Valerian root

This herb is soothing and may help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. It is commonly taken in supplement form or used as an ingredient in teas or other herbal remedies.

Valerian root works by increasing the neurotransmitter levels called GABA in the brain. GABA is popular for calming the nervous system, which can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

While some evidence supports the use of valerian root for stress relief, more research is needed to understand its effects fully. It is also important to note that valerian root can interact with certain medications and may be unsafe for everyone. So, talking to your doctor before using any new supplement or herbal remedy is always good.

It’s important to note that while these herbs may help manage stress, they should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. If you are experiencing chronic stress or anxiety, talking to a healthcare professional is important.

Here we discuss this with Racheal Onah, a naturopathic doctor, to get her thoughts on this topic.

Botanical Herbs To Alleviate Stress

NourishDoc: Hello, everyone. Well, all of us have been stressed out. We have anxiety, and of them, some of us probably have depression. But we wanted to bring simple botanical herbs that we can use with a practitioner’s help to alleviate stress and relief.

We have Racheal. Racheal is a third-year naturopathic student becoming to become a naturopathic doctor. This is not medical advice; it is just guidelines used. Welcome, Racheal, and thank you so much for being with me.

Naturopathic Student Racheal: Hi, thank you for having me.

NourishDoc: All right, let’s share; let’s go ahead.

Naturopathic Student Racheal: Yes, so it’s been a very stressful time, and many people do come to see naturopathic doctors for stress and anxiety, and so, I’ve commonly seen a lot of naturopathic doctors prescribed botanical herbs to help alleviate those symptoms and bring them back to baseline.

So, I was going to touch up on a few botanical herbs I’ve commonly seen; one is called licorice, which is very popular because it comes in all different forms, such as a drink. It can come in supplements, and it is used as an adaptogen. Do you know when the adaptogen is, or do you have any idea?

What Are Adaptogens?

NourishDoc: Why don’t you explain? I know most of them, but most people probably don’t understand what adaptogen is.

Naturopathic Student Racheal: So, an adaptogen, it modulates your mood. So if you’re feeling overly anxious, bring you back down; if you’re a bit lower, it’ll bring you back up. It modulates your mood and anxiety. So it helps with adrenal support licorice also has other beneficial properties, such as it can be anti-inflammatory and helping with chronic stress and adrenal fatigue that can leave you tired.

So that’s one of the herbs that I’ve commonly seen naturopathic doctors prescribe for stress and anxiety, and another very commonly used botanical herb that I have seen it’s called Ashwagandha. That one has been prescribed as also an adaptogen, but it also has sedative effects.

So what that means is that when you’re feeling very anxious, it reduces that anxiety and can be beneficial for those feeling very stressed. So, that one is one of the herbs I have seen very commonly that can be used during the day or at bedtime.

What Are Some Other Common Herbs Used?

NourishDoc: Okay, anything else? Any other herbs you like to share?

Naturopathic Student Racheal: Those are the two common ones I have seen. Another herb that I’ve seen other people use is called Valerian. It’s an essential oil, and it also has sedative effects that can be used. I also worked for Pasco Canada for two years.

They had a product called Pasco; I think it was Pasco now, and it had three products inside it, which was Saint John’s wart and Valerian, and let me find the other product. They had a product called Neuropass, which has passion flower, Valerian, and Saint John’s wart, also used as a mood balancer. So, that had a combination of herbs that can be used for those feeling stressed or anxious.

NourishDoc: Okay. So the bottom line is there is help out there. If you are anxious or stressed, some herbs she talked about repeat licorice, Ashwagandha. I take Ashwagandha every day, but for people who want to take Ashwagandha, it is not a bad idea to consult a practitioner and then Valerian and Saint John’s wart, right? These are the four things that you mentioned.

Okay. All right. Hope is out there, and we are not discussing yoga and pranayama. However, start doing yoga, some breathing exercises, and eating the right foods. It will help relieve the anxiety and stress that all of us have been feeling for the last couple of years. We are giving you good tips, and thank you so much for joining in every single day. Thank you, Racheal, for being with me and helping everyone understand some basic things we can do.

Naturopathic Student Racheal: I appreciate that. Thank you so much.


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