Holistic Health

Holistic Remedies for Anxiety

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I'm a environmental toxins lawyer turned clean living coach who is obsessed with morning sunshine, Ningxia Red and all things holistic living (but for real life).  Catch me over on Insta and come say hi.


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Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults in the United States, almost 20 % of the population every year. After reading this blog post, you’ll understand how a holistic lifestyle can help you reduce your anxiety and what natural remedies, backed by science, really work.


There isn’t just one single cause of symptoms of anxiety, but there are common root causes, such as estrogen dominance, vitamin and mineral deficiency, hypothyoidism, poor gut health, stress & trauma and blood sugar imbalance. Addressing root causes and triggers is important for figuring out WHY you feel anxious. Other lifestyle factors come in to play such as diet, levels of alcohol consumption, how often you exercise, how much time you spend outdoors and how much sleep you get.

Addressing underlying root causes is important, but can take time. Below you’ll find 5 ways that you can help support your body in times of anxiety while you are working on those bigger health issues.


Many people are looking for more holistic ways to manage anxiety other than prescription medication that may come with a host of adverse effects and can be addictive. The following holistic alternatives have been studied extensively and are rooted in published science.


Immersing yourself is cold water is a common holistic treatment for anxiety, but only recently has published science proven its benefits to overall health. When you are exposed to cold water, once over the initial shock of the cold fades away, it’s invigorating. This is because wet and cold causes our surface vessels to tighten up, making blood move from the surface of your body to the core, as a means to conserve heat. Not only does it conserve heat, it also reflexively bathes the brain and vital organs in fresh blood. This movement will bring nutrition, oxygen and also help gently detoxify the area.

Cold water therapy is known to decrease stress responses and help the balance of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. I finish every shower with a 3-5 minute burst of cold water while practicing deep breathing each morning. I started off with 30 seconds and worked my way up slowly and would highly suggest this method.


As little as 20-30 minutes of deep breathing daily is effective in reducing anxiety. When you practice deep abdominal breathing, the oxygen breathed in stimulates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. This, in turn, produces a feeling of calmness and body connectedness that diverts attention from stressful, anxious thoughts and quiets what’s going on in the mind.

Pay attention to your breathing during your day. When stressed, people tend to shallow breathe, which means your chest is moving upwards and your breath is shallow. Your breath should be deep and widening, like your chest is a butterfly opening its wings. Shallow breathing causes shoulder and neck stiffness, headaches and exacerbates anxiety.


Research has shown that meditation can significantly lower anxiety and obsessive thinking. It can help you detach from your emotions so you can work through them without feeling overwhelmed. Mindfulness meditation can even change the structure of your brain in a way that benefits your ability to focus on positive thinking.

Just 10 minutes daily can support your brain to cope better with stress and improve your levels of empathy.

If your anxiety results from a negative experience, meditating on this stimulus can help alleviate anxiety.

Mindfulness meditation helps you better regulate your mood by affecting the brain’s hippocampal region that deals with mood and emotions. In a stud on the effects of meditation on the brain, people who engaged in meditation were found to have larger hippocampal regions, which may improve their emotional regulation.

Other benefits of mindfulness meditation include:

  • Less stress

  • Less rumination (repetitive, negative thought patterns)

  • Better working memory

  • Better focus

  • Increased positive mindset

If you are a beginner and just learning to meditate, the Calm app and Insight Timer app both provided guided meditations for beginners.


Although clinical use of aromatherapy goes back thousands of years, within the past decade, there’s been a renewed interest in clinical studies looking at the benefits of essential oils. Lavender, Bergamot, Roman Chamomile, Frankincense and Vetiver are the most widely studied, but specific blends of multiple essential oils can be highly effective.

Pure, unaltered lavender oil in capsules are one of the latest herbal medicines to gain notoriety in medical circles for the treatment of symptoms of anxiety, stress and nervousness. The results from 15 clinical trials involving 2,200 people show it produces significant effects within two weeks.

Brain scan studies confirm that lavender oil works via specific serotonin-1A receptors in the brain. This raises levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters involved in regulating mood and anxiety while suppressing the release of other neurotransmitters associated with over-stimulation and anxious thought.

Clinical trials show that lavender oil is as effective as medications (eg lorazepam, paroxetine) prescribed to treat generalized anxiety disorder, but it does not produce the same unwanted sedative effects.

Note: Quality matters, make sure you are using pure, non adulterated oils and not buying fragrance oils at stores or on Amazon.


Herbal supplements aren’t monitored by the FDA the same way medications are, so make sure you know your company. Companies like Earthley and Herb Pharm are all brands that meet my strict requirements for quality and purity. If you are not taking anti-anxiety medication, then herbal supplements can improve your symptoms. If you are taking medication, however, seek advice from a pharmacist or doctor before taking any herbal remedies as interactions can occur.


Research shows that ashwagandha is one of the best adaptogens for anxiety, stress management and sleep. In clinical trials involving chronically stressed adults, ashwagandha was shown to reduce anxiety and cortisol levels. It’s thought that the herb was able to do this by balancing the HPA axis’s hormone response.


clinical trial compared passionflower and oxazepam (a benzodiazepine) in the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The study showed that passionflower extract was comparable to oxazepam in the management of GAD with no significant difference in efficacy. However, the passionflower group showed an advantage with a lower incidence of impairment in job performance as compared to the oxazepam group.


According to human clinical research, ginkgo may be one of the best herbs for reducing anxiety, stress, and depression. In a study involving 80 participants with post-stroke depression, patients were given a treatment of either venlafaxine (a drug for depression and anxiety) or a combination of ginkgo and venlafaxine. The group treated with both ginkgo and venlafaxine experienced improved daily living and had significantly lower depression ratings than the group treated only with venlafaxine.

Additionally, participants in this study who took ginkgo and venlafaxine had higher levels of both BDNF and 5-HT, two compounds needed for brain health and mood, when compared to the venlafaxine group. Also, the ginkgo-venlafaxine group was found to need lower doses of venlafaxine and experienced fewer side effects.


St John’s wort is best known for its ability to reduce symptoms of low mood and sadness, which are often associated with anxiety. St John’s wort contains natural antidepressants (eg hypericin, hyperforin) which increased brain levels of serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and L-glutamate.

The results from 27 studies, involving over 3800 people, show that St John’s wort is  as effective as prescribed SSRI antidepressant medication for improving low mood and anxiety, but with significantly fewer side effects. Improvements in low mood occur within two weeks of starting treatment and continue to improve for at least 6 weeks after.

For women with menopausal symptoms that include anxiety, low mood and low sex drive, St John’s Wort can help. Taking St John’s Wort for three months helped 60% of menopausal women regain their sex drive, while 82% experienced significantly less  anxiety, irritability, low mood, hot flushes, sweating and disturbed sleep.


Lemon balm is widely used to ease a number of stress-related symptoms including digestive problems, nausea, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, headache and insomnia.

Research suggests that lemon balm inhibits enzymes that break down an inhibitory brain chemical, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) to damp down the over-stimulation associated with acute anxiety.

Lemon balm was recently tested in 100 teenagers with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) associated with anxiety and sleep difficulties. Taking lemon balm (600mg per day) for three months produced significant improvements in anxiety, low mood and sleeping disorders and improved social functioning compared with placebo.

You have options! These natural remedies won’t just reduce your anxiety symptoms, they will support your health overall.


A study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology found that holy basil has anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects when used on rats. Another study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology found that holy basil “shows anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties at the same dose and can be a potential therapeutic agent against mixed anxiety and depressive syndrome.”


Holistic remedies are shown to be effective at managing anxiety symptoms without the risks or side effects of certain medications. But, the herbal and essential oil industries are not regulated and making sure you are using a pure product that isn’t adulterated or contaminated with pesticides or heavy metals means that you have to research the companies and products you use.

In my home you’ll find us using the following products to support all the anxious feelings when they happen. These are all made from companies I trust:

Earthley Anxiety Relief Tincture

Herb-Farm Anxiety Soother

Tranquil EO Roller

Valor EO Roller

KIDS Lemon Balm Calm

KIDPOWER Essential Oil

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