Stress and anxiety affect a staggering percentage of the world's population, with current estimates hovering around 275 million. As that number continues to rise, more and more people are turning to natural herbs for anxiety and stress relief. This is primarily due to the prevalence of undesirable side effects found in many prescription drugs.
For patients with uncomfortable reactions to common pharmaceutical components, such as beta-blockers, natural remedies for stress might provide welcome relief from symptoms. And natural remedies are typically less likely to have the adverse effects of pharmaceutical medications while still providing relief.
Want to learn more about these remedies and whether they're worth considering for yourself? Here are some sources of herbal stress relief that might prove beneficial on your holistic health journey.
Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil
Hemp oil is derived from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant. Its active ingredient, cannabidiol, has been shown to calm the central nervous system and may reduce stress and anxiety in some patients. With origins in present-day Taiwan, hemp has been cultivated for over 10,000 years and has been used to create textiles, rope, paper, and herbal stress relief. Hemp was introduced to North America in the mid-16th century, where it quickly became an important agricultural staple for the newer colonies.
In the modern-day United States, growing and cultivating hemp for personal and commercial use was officially outlawed in 1970 and has only been federally legal since 2018. Scientific understanding of the plant's potential medicinal properties, including its potential as a natural remedy for anxiety, is still relatively undeveloped.
However, a 2019 study of 72 adults with anxiety symptoms found that nearly 80% experienced a reduction in their symptoms after just one month of using cannabidiol. Though it has a small sample size, this study has spurred further research across the country to see whether hemp oil may be among the best natural remedies for stress.
Full-spectrum hemp oil is found in several of MDbio's herbal supplements, including MDcalm and MDimmune. MDcalm is specifically formulated to address anxiety symptoms, including sleep loss, restless thoughts, and unpredictable moods. Its combination of five natural remedies for stress (plus a sixth important ingredient, magnesium l-threonate) is designed to calm the mind and relieve tension in the body. The addition of cannabidiol from full-spectrum hemp oil forms the backbone of MDcalm's unique blend of natural herbs for anxiety.
Lavender Flower Extract
In aromatherapy circles, lavender has long been revered and celebrated for its calming scent. Historical and archeological records suggest that lavender has been used as a form of herbal stress relief for over 2,500 years.
Anecdotal evidence from users of essential oils and aromatherapy products asserts that lavender flower extract can stabilize the mood and calm symptoms of anxiety by producing a soothing effect on the mind. These apparent mood-stabilizing properties have catapulted lavender to the forefront of the ranks of natural herbs for anxiety.
Recent scientific studies have found that lavender flower extract seems to have a calming effect on the central nervous system. As a bonus, this apparent quieting of restlessness comes without the side effect of sedation that many prescribed medications carry. Patients who desire relief from their anxiety symptoms without having to deal with feeling overly drowsy or unresponsive may find lavender flower extract to be one of the most useful natural remedies for stress.
Evidence suggests that one of the best ways to consume lavender flower extract to address anxiety is through an oral supplement. While available data is limited, studies suggest that orally administering lavender is relatively safe. This makes it a potentially great choice for people worried about side effects from anxiety treatments and is among the natural herbs for anxiety found in MDcalm supplements.
Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is a cornerstone herb in the traditional Indian form of natural medicine called Ayurveda. It is also another important component of MDcalm supplements for herbal stress relief. Traditional treatments are prepared from the plant's root and have been shown to help relieve stress, improve memory and cognitive function, and increase energy levels.
Ashwagandha root has been found to contain phytochemicals that are also present in several pharmaceutical compounds. These compounds are widely accepted as reducing the effects of many neurological conditions, including anxiety. The existence of these phytochemicals helps to support the status of ashwagandha as among the most potentially beneficial natural herbs for anxiety.
Ashwagandha is considered adaptogenic, which means it helps the body control stress levels. A small study found that participants who took ashwagandha extract perceived significantly reduced anxiety levels after a period of eight weeks. These subjects, who were classified as being stressed out but otherwise healthy, reported improved sleep in conjunction with lower stress scores at the conclusion of the study. While these results are promising, studies involving larger groups of participants are required before it will be possible to cement the ashwagandha root's place among the various natural remedies for stress.
Surveys of studies surrounding the use of ashwagandha supplements to treat anxiety have suggested that it is safe for human consumption. While more data is needed to confirm its medicinal properties, ashwagandha root extract may effectively treat several classic symptoms of anxiety, including restless thoughts, insomnia, and hyperactive stress responses. Ashwagandha holds an honored place among the ranks of natural herbs for anxiety as an ancient and important traditional medicine.
Mint Leaf Extract
Mint leaf extract, especially from the leaves of the peppermint plant, is used by cultures across the globe for countless purposes, including herbal stress relief. Mint is prized for its distinctive scent and crisp, pleasant taste, which is used to flavor toothpaste, candies, teas, and many other products and cuisines. Peppermint is native to Europe and Asia, where it has been used for thousands of years for its unique flavor and apparent health benefits. Despite its roots across the pond, a whopping 70% of the world's peppermint oil production occurs in the United States.
People on the lookout for natural remedies for stress have long touted the soothing benefits of mint leaf extract. These benefits seem to be supported by scientific evidence, though studies specifically focused on the medicinal properties of peppermint extract are limited. Preliminary studies involving animals suggest that extract from the leaves of the peppermint plant may have a calming effect on the central nervous system, providing herbal stress relief with little to no side effects.
One of the most important essential oils found in mint leaves is menthol, which has cooling, physical properties and has been shown to relieve the tension associated with headaches. Migraines and other headaches are severe and incredibly debilitating side effects of anxiety for many people.
Research into the use of menthol to combat migraines is ongoing. Still, patients with anxiety who experience headaches might find supplements containing mint leaf extract, such as MDcalm, to be useful in relieving their symptoms. Peppermint tea has also been suggested to provide herbal stress relief, though further study is needed to confirm this anecdotal assertion.
Considered the most venerated fungus found in traditional Chinese medicine, the reishi mushroom has been used for its perceived medicinal properties for over 2,000 years. Called the “mushroom of immortality,” reishi mushrooms can be found in virtually every modern Chinese herb store. The fungi are usually dried, ground, and processed into capsule form when harvested for use in supplements. Despite their longstanding history in traditional medicine, particularly in natural remedies for stress, reishi mushrooms have not yet been subjected to extensive clinical research or study to substantiate the claims of their medical usefulness.
Historically, reishi mushrooms have been used in Chinese folk medicine to promote longevity and soothe the nerves. Traditional wisdom asserts the reishi mushroom (also known as “lingzhi”) can help combat several common side effects of anxiety, including reduced cognitive function and insomnia. The reishi mushroom's health benefits, including its seeming ability to reduce stress, have been recorded in several historical and modern Chinese texts. Daoist and Buddhist monks have been reported using lingzhi as a meditation aid, suggesting it may have properties that help calm and focus the mind. If proven, these properties would certainly cement the reishi mushroom's place among the ranks of natural herbs for anxiety.
Like many sources of herbal stress relief, reishi mushrooms have little to no known side effects and are therefore considered safe for most people to ingest. In addition to lingzhi's two-thousand-year history in folk medicine, this seeming lack of side effects has led many proponents of natural remedies for stress to tout the reishi mushroom as an important addition to any herbal supplement designed to combat anxiety. Extract from reishi mushrooms forms a significant component of MDcalm's herbal stress relief formula.
Magnesium is one of the essential minerals that make up the human body. Studies suggest that among its myriad functions is an ability to balance the mood and regulate depressive tendencies. Despite its well-documented importance, an analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 48% of Americans don't include enough magnesium in their diets to suit their body's needs.
Foods that contain magnesium naturally include leafy greens, avocados, dark chocolate, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Working these foods into your diet may help boost your body's mineral content. It may also be helpful to increase your magnesium intake with dietary supplements. Unfortunately, most supplements that contain unaltered magnesium have been shown to have difficulty crossing the blood-brain barrier, rendering them less effective in meeting the body's demand for this important mineral.
That's where magnesium l-threonate comes in. Developed by a research team at MIT, this compound (often shortened to MgT) was designed to be more easily absorbed into the brain than traditional magnesium supplements. A 2010 study examining magnesium l-threonate's efficacy found significant evidence of improved memory function. The link between chronic anxiety and memory loss is well-known, so it follows that MgT may be an important solution in combating the long-term neurological effects of sustained stress.
Since it was created in a lab relatively recently, MgT is not found in all herbal stress relief supplements. However, its potential to relieve the disruption of memory often caused by prolonged anxiety makes it an important component of modern natural remedies for stress. You'll find magnesium l-threonate listed alongside the venerated natural herbs for anxiety in MDcalm's herbal stress relief formula.
Taking Natural Herbs for Anxiety
As with any other medication, discuss herbal supplements with your doctor before taking them. While they rarely produce side effects on their own, natural remedies for stress may produce unwanted reactions when taken along with other medications. Most natural herbs for anxiety still need further scientific study to confirm their purported healing properties.
However, as more and more people discover the benefits of these ingredients and the anxiety relief, more studies will likely be conducted and reported. This will add to the existing evidence on the connection between natural remedies and anxiety relief, allowing more people to discover the potential benefits.
After talking with your doctor, you may decide that natural medicines for anxiety are your best choice to help combat recurring feelings of stress. This may be especially true if you have experienced negative side effects due to taking prescribed medications to address your anxiety.
Most natural herbs for anxiety, including those found in MDcalm supplements, have little to no reported side effects, making them relatively safe for most people to consume compared to many pharmaceuticals and medications on the market today. They also offer ingredients that calm without the drowsiness that accompanies other calming supplements.
Adding Natural Herbs to Your Routine
If all these benefits sound like something you need, check with your doctor, and see if holistic remedies could be part of the solution to easing your anxiety. Supplements like those from MDbio contain natural ingredients that may reduce your symptoms, allowing you to relax and enjoy your day. Learn more about natural remedies and how they could be the perfect addition to your daily ritual.