Everyone may experience anxiety from time to time. Whether temporary or constant, anxiety can affect your quality of life, and finding relief can be a challenge.

It’s always best to talk with your doctor or a mental health professional as a first action. But sometimes, you may need or want to seek alternative coping methods in addition to more traditional therapies.

Read on to learn about a few research-backed natural remedies for anxiety. They may help you find relief for anxious feelings.

Chamomile is a common herbal tea ingredient. Some people drink chamomile tea because of the taste, while others may find it helps soothe and calm the mind.

According to a 2016 study, regularly drinking chamomile tea may reduce symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Given that, should you try it out? It may be worth it. A chamomile tea drinking ritual is unlikely to have any side effects, so you don’t have to worry about it doing more harm than good.

However, it is important to note that chamomile tea, or extract, is not a replacement for traditional anti-anxiety medication.

Shop for chamomile tea online.

Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is becoming increasingly popular, in part due to emerging research suggesting that it can help lower anxiety levels. While researchers do not totally understand the link between CBD and anxiety, current research is promising.

Animal studies suggest that CBD may help counteract stress in rats, while human studies point to CBD’s ability to help with the following anxiety disorders:

Research suggests that CBD is typically safe to use. And unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products, it will not leave you feeling “high.” However, taking too much can still cause side effects.

CBD can also interact with medications, so talk with your doctor before you start taking it.

A popular herbal supplement for anxiety is valerian root. There’s some evidence that this perennial plant’s herbal preparation can help with anxiety.

A 2020 literature review found that valerian extract helped reduce symptoms of anxiety in multiple studies. Dosages in these studies ranged from 100-milligram (mg) single doses to 600 mg per day.

Learn more about valerian root dosage for anxiety here.

Oral lavender oil supplements may also help reduce anxious feelings. A 2017 literature review found that lavender oil supplements can be effective in reducing anxiety and depression symptoms, and improving sleep.

Drinks containing lemon balm may also help you reduce general feelings of anxiety.

However, supplements are not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and they may have side effects. That said, they may be a suitable option for treating mild anxiety symptoms.

It’s critical that you talk with your doctor before taking supplements since they can interact with certain medications. It’s also possible to take too much of a certain supplement.

Writing down your thoughts can help you process your emotions and sort your thoughts. You may find that there is something cathartic about writing, or typing, out your feelings.

Positive affect journaling (PAJ), where you regularly write down positive feelings about yourself, may help reduce feelings of anxiety. A study published in 2018 involving adults with elevated anxiety symptoms found that regular PAJ was associated with fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety after 1 month.

Other mindfulness practices, like meditation, can also help reduce stress and anxiety.

One literature review from 2014 concluded that meditation has some ability to reduce psychological stress. However, meditation is not a substitute for other treatments like medications and therapy.

Read our review of Headspace versus Calm.

If you’re already into the fitness scene, chances are you’ve spotted a T-shirt at some point that proudly states, “[insert fitness activity] is my therapy.”

While exercise is not the same thing as therapy, it can play a significant role in reducing anxiety. Regular exercise can also have a positive effect on depressive disorders and generally improve your overall health.

Exercises that increase your heart rate can help relieve stress and encourage your brain to release serotonin, a natural mood stabilizer.

Like the other remedies listed here, exercise is not a magic bullet. It’s often most effective when paired with other treatments.

Similarly, “dosage” might vary from person to person. There isn’t any research that quantifies the ideal amount of exercise to combat anxiety.

Get started with these at-home exercises.

Natural treatments will not work for everyone. If you have severe anxiety that affects your day-to-day life, talk with your doctor about the following treatment options:

  • Prescription medications. Your doctor may prescribe medications to help you manage your anxiety. This may include short-term symptom relievers like alprazolam (Xanax) and long-term antidepressants like fluoxetine (Prozac).
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can often help identify the root cause of anxious feelings and assist you in dealing with them.
  • Support groups. Feeling anxious is common. There are many online and in-person support groups that may help you understand and manage your anxiety better.
  • Aromatherapy. People often use aromatherapy as a natural remedy for anxiety. There is a broad range of essential oils that you can use for this alternative treatment.
  • Limit caffeine. Consuming too much caffeine can induce feelings of anxiety, so limiting your intake may be beneficial.
  • Limit alcohol. Drinking alcohol is not an anxiety treatment. In fact, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol may even cause anxiety symptoms.
  • Stop smoking. Like alcohol, many people feel that smoking helps them deal with stress and anxiety. However, smoking tobacco can increase feelings of anxiety. Cutting down or quitting entirely may help.

Combining natural treatments with mechanical therapies, like breathing exercises and physical activity, is safe.

However, combining natural supplements with prescription medications may be risky.

It’s best to talk with your doctor before combining supplements with prescription medication — even if you’ve been using the supplements for a long time without negative effects.

It can be challenging to live with anxiety, but there are ways to cope. People with mild symptoms may be able to manage their anxiety with natural remedies, like CBD, exercise, and herbal supplements.

Not everyone will find relief with natural therapies, though.

If you have high anxiety levels and feel overwhelmed, talk with your doctor or a mental health professional. CBT and other psychotherapies are proven strategies for coping with anxiety.


Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.