We certainly have been living in strange and difficult times. This last year and a half has been hard for nearly everyone I know, and many folks have been struggling with varying levels of anxiety and depression.
Among other important things (i.e. good diet, plenty of exercise, therapy, supportive family + friends, etc.) herbs can help to bring a great deal of comfort in these troubled times. The following are a few well-loved herbal allies for anxiety + depression, and related issues.
Borage (Borago officinalis)
Borage has been used to lift the spirits. It can help to ease depression, anxiety, and stress.
California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
California poppy has mildly sedative and narcotic qualities. It helps to calm nervous stress and anxiety.
Catnip (Nepeta cateria)
Though being best known as a plant that is appreciated by felines, this calming herb promotes relaxation and boots mood in humans. It can be helpful for decreasing stress, anxiety, restlessness, and nervousness.
Cedrón (Aloysia citrodora)
Cedrón, also commonly known as lemon verbena, eases stress and anxiety. It is balancing to the hormones and helps with mood management.
Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis and Matricaria chamomilla)
Chamomile is one of the more well-known calming herbs. It has long been utilized to help ease anxiety, stress, and tension. It helps to relax muscles, soothes pain, and aids sleep.
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)
Gotu kola is a restorative herb with anti-depressant and anxiety relieving properties. It also helps to ease insomnia.
Hops (Humulus lupulus)
Hops have a relaxing effect. They are helpful for treating insomnia. They can be used for easing digestive issues caused by nervousness and anxiety.
Kava kava (Piper methysticum)
Kava kava is an anti-depressant herb that has a relaxing effect. It helps to ease tension, anxiety, and stress. It promotes calm + relaxation.
*It should be noted that using too much of this herb can cause nausea and be sedating to the point of causing sleepiness, impairment of physical coordination, and even unconsciousness. Use this herb respectfully.
Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
Lavender is soothing and mildly sedative. It helps to release tension and balance mood. It relieves depression, stress, and insomnia. It is particularly helpful for headaches caused by stress and excess tension.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon balm is soothing to the nervous system. It is anti-depressant and calms stress + anxiety. It is mildly sedative and helps to ease insomnia.
Motherwort (Leonuris cardiaca)
Motherwort is particularly well-suited for women. It is helpful for mood swings, particularly those caused by shifting hormones during post-partum or menopause. It reduces stress and anxiety. It is an anti-depressant and has sedative effects.
Oats (Avena sativa)
Oats are an excellent toning herb for the nervous system. They are helpful for anxiety, nervousness, stress, depression, and irritability.
Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)
Rhodiola supports the nervous system and normalizes cortisol levels. It helps the boost mental and physical resiliency to stress. When taken regularly, it can help to ease anxiety and depression.
Rose (Rosa spp.)
Rose helps those who are guarded and emotionally shut down to gently open their hearts. It aids in processing grief. It helps to ease anxiety and anger issues.
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Skullcap calms nervous tension and hysteria. It has a sedative effect. It can be helpful for easing symptoms of withdrawal from drugs or alcohol.
St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)
St. John’s wort is used for treating anxiety and depression. It is helpful for easing seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and stress. Herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar says St. John’s wort “lifts the spirits and puts a bit of sunshine into the day.”
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Valerian is a potent remedy for insomnia. It helps to ease headaches, restlessness, digestive upset caused by nervousness, and stress.
Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. Dorling Kindersley. 2000.
Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Recipes for. Vibrant Health. Storey Publishing. 2008.
Tierra, Michael. The Way of Herbs. Pocket Books. 1998.
Weed, Susun. Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Years.