Some herbs and supplements are taken as natural remedies for anxiety. Little is known, however, about how effective natural remedies are in treating anxiety and what the possible side effects might be. While these, generally, are not harmful, it's still important to tell your doctor about any natural remedies for anxiety you are using to make sure they are safe for you.
Natural Remedies for Anxiety – Herbs
Two herbs are commonly taken as natural treatments for anxiety: kava and valerian.
Kava is a plant found in the South Pacific and its roots are used for relaxation without sedation. Some research has shown kava is a safe and effective natural anxiety remedy; however, other research shows no evidence of the effectiveness of kava. Kava may cause serious liver damage and is known to interact with other drugs like alcohol, anticonvulsants and antipsychotics.1
Valerian is native to Europe and its roots are used to induce sedation. Some, but not all, studies have shown that valerian is helpful in treating insomnia and the United States Food and Drug Administration lists valerian as "generally recognized as safe." Valerian may cause withdrawal if stopped after long-term use. While this is a natural treatment for anxiety, it is still known to interact with other drugs like antihistamines, cholesterol-lowering drugs and sedatives.2
A broad review of natural remedies for anxiety found that neither kava nor valerian was effective in treating anxiety.3
Passion flower may also be used as a natural treatment for anxiety but it's thought passionflower's effects are not as strong as either kava or valerian. Passionflower may interact with sedatives, blood thinners and antidepressants.4
More information on herbal remedies for anxiety.
Natural Remedies for Anxiety - Supplements
A poor diet may result in anxiety symptoms and some supplements are thought to be natural anxiety remedies. For example, a lack of B12 in the diet is known to contribute to stress and anxiety.4 Some also suggest that increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids can also act as a natural anxiety remedy.6