11 Effective Home Remedies for Anxiety That Actually Work

It’s normal to have feelings of fear, worry or uneasiness from time to time.

However, it becomes a problem when a person is unable to control these feelings to the point that it affects his/her daily life, explains the National Health Services.

Sometimes, this problem leads to anxiety disorder, depression and even suicide.

Alarmingly, anxiety disorder is actually the most common type of mental illness in the United States with over 40 million adults suffering from this condition, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

The good news is, anxiety can be controlled with the following natural methods before it becomes a disorder.

1. Lavender Oil

Lavender essential oil has always been popular for its relaxation and calming effects.

When things go awry, just sniff into a bottle of lavender oil, and you’ll immediately feel much better.

Its anxiolytic effects on varied circumstances are well documented in scientific literature [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

It has been found effective in reducing anxiety among people caught in different stressful circumstance such as among graduating nursing students, dental patients, patients undergoing a surgery, and many more.

In one of these studies, Austrian researchers examined the effects of lavender on 200 patients who were exposed to the aroma of orange or lavender [1].

By the time the study was over, both groups had significantly lower anxiety levels [1].

Nursing students, meanwhile, were observed to have slower pulse rate and reduced anxiety after inhaling lavender oil prior to taking their examination [3].

This oil appears to have the same anxiety-reducing effects as diazepam, which is commonly prescribed for this problem.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 drops of lavender oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Transfer to a bowl.
  • Add lavender oil.
  • Inhale the steam.
  • Repeat several times a day.

2. Rosemary

If you love rosemary for its aroma and flavor, you’d love it even more when you find out how it can boost your mood.

A clinical trial involving 144 healthy participants showed that the scent of rosemary had a positive impact on their emotions [6].

These participants were exposed to either rosemary or lavender aroma [6].

Researches then measured their mood and cognitive performance, noting improvement in memory and mood in both groups [6].

Not only did rosemary oil help the participants feel better, they also scored higher in mental aptitude tests.

Various studies report that this fragrant herb has anti-depressant effects that can also work well for those who have anxiety [7, 8].

Since these two studies were done on animal subjects, more clinical trials involving human volunteers should be done to establish the efficacy of rosemary as an anxiolytic agent.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 4 drops of rosemary essential oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour essential oil in hot water.
  • Inhale the steam coming from the water.
  • Repeat as necessary.

3. Orange

Simply inhaling an orange peel can already do so much in boosting your mood.

That’s because orange has been proven to have significant anxiolytic effects, reports numerous studies [9, 10, 11, 12].

In one of these studies, 40 male participants were required to inhale either orange oil, tea tree oil or water [9].

After they were exposed to these aromatic oils and the placebo, the participants were subjected to an anxiety model examination [9].

It turns out that orange oil has acute anxiolytic effect that justifies its use as tranquilizer by folk healers and aromatherapists [9].

In another study performed by Iranian researchers, 30 children with ages six to nine years old, underwent two dental appointments [11].

In the first one, the dental office was filled with the aroma of orange oil, while the second one did not involve any aroma [11].

The results were determined by testing the pulse rate and salivary cortisol levels of the children [11].

It was noted that anxiety was significantly lower during the first visit when the dental office had the aroma of orange oil [11].

Whether you’re anxious about your dental visit or any other medical procedure, or you’re just worried about something, orange can help calm your nerves and relax your senses.

What You’ll Need:

  • A handful of orange peels
  • 2 cups of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil orange peels in water.
  • Transfer to a bowl.
  • Inhale the steam.
  • Follow this remedy several times a day.

4. Rose

Don’t you just love the soothing scent of rose oil?

It’s one of those oils that you won’t think twice about applying on your skin, or using in your oil diffuser.

It’s not only aromatic, it’s also highly beneficial for your emotional health.

The relaxing effects demonstrated by rose oil work on both animals and humans, as reported in laboratory findings [13, 14, 15].

In a 2009 study conducted in Thailand, it was reported that human participants who inhaled rose oil aroma became “more calm, more relaxed and less alert” compared to those who did not [14].

After being exposed to rose oil, there was a dramatic reduction in the blood oxygen saturation, blood pressure levels, and breathing rate [14].

All these confirm the anxiolytic effects of rose oil, supporting the claims that it is an effective relief for stress, depression and anxiety [14].

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 drops of rose oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour rose oil on a handkerchief.
  • Sniff into the handkerchief whenever feeling anxious or stressed out.

5. Bergamot

Do you use bergamot oil all the time?

Why shouldn’t you?

This essential oil is replete with many amazing health benefits that you’d definitely want to take advantage of.

A hybrid fruit of lemon and bitter orange, bergamot is considered useful in alleviating stress and anxiety [15].

Oil extracted from this fruit is used in aromatherapy either through inhalation or massage for reducing stress responses [15].

In 2010, scientists administered different doses of bergamot oil in rats with anxiety-related behaviors [15].

Bergamot oil appeared to have similar anti-anxiety effects as diazepam [15].

It also inhibited the release of the stress hormone called corticosterone [15].

Thai researchers report that bergamot oil works by increasing the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the brain’s hippocampus [16].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of bergamot oil
  • 1 cup of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  • Put bergamot oil in hot water.
  • Inhale the steam.
  • Repeat as needed.

6. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a traditional medicine still widely used today for its sedative and other therapeutic effects on the body [17].

In 2002, 20 healthy volunteers were randomized to receive various doses of lemon balm at seven-day intervals or a placebo [17].

When the treatment was over, the participants’ cognitive performance was measured using a test battery called Cognitive Drug Research, and several sets of subtraction tasks [17].

Not only was there a self-rate “calmness” that was reported by the users of lemon balm, these participants also scored higher in tests compared to those who were given a placebo [17].

English scientists conclude that even at low doses, lemon balm can significantly improve state of calmness [17].

Another study takes note that this herbal remedy is a viable solution for people suffering from mild to moderate anxiety disorders [18].

According to the researchers, lemon balm contains phytochemicals that give it its anti-anxiety effects [18].

Out of all the participants who used lemon balm extract, 95 percent had better mood and less difficulty falling asleep at night [18].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of dried lemon balm
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Add dried lemon balm.
  • Let it steep for 15 minutes.
  • Strain the leaves.
  • Drink this concoction once a day for up to two weeks.

7. Sandalwood

Sandalwood’s fragrance has been used as a sedative for many years [19].

In a study published in the Flavour and Fragrance Journal, it was stated that sandalwood oil exhibited significant anxiolytic effects [19].

This was the result of a study involving animal subjects, in which stress-induced mice were given sandalwood oil [19].

Anxiolytic-like effects were observed among the mice after they were exposed to the aroma for 24 hours [19].

Another study conducted in the United Kingdom released findings that aromatherapy massage with 1 percent sandalwood oil efficiently reduced levels of anxiety among palliative care patients [20].

Its effects were superior to other oils such as sweet almond oil [20].

Although the results are “not substantial enough” according to the researchers, they do appear to support the claim that sandalwood oil can help reduce anxiety levels.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of sandalwood oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Dip a cotton ball on sandalwood oil.
  • Put cotton ball on your pillow before sleeping.
  • Do this every night for one week.

8. Clary Sage

When you’re feeling stressed out, anxious and don’t know what to do, try using clary sage.

Clary sage oil has become known worldwide for its numerous health benefits, mostly for the body.

Now, did you know that it also works in alleviating emotional disturbances such as anxiety attacks?

Researchers from Ariel University in Israel investigated clary sage’s anxiolytic properties [21].

They have discovered that clary sage works by stabilizing the mood and reducing the corticosterone levels in the blood [21].

At 5 percent concentration, clary sage had the strongest effect among all the other oils tested in this study dated 2010 [21].

This essential oil has also been found to have anti-depressant effects [22].

As you know, anxiety and depression are sometimes closely related, and that it’s a must to relieve both of these problems to maintain optimal mental wellbeing.

What You’ll Need:

  • 8 drops of clary sage oil
  • 2 cups of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Put water in a bowl.
  • Pour clary sage oil in the water.
  • Inhale the steam.
  • Do this several times a day.

9. Chamomile

When you’re not in a good mood, a cup of warm and soothing chamomile tea can certainly help.

It’s no surprise that this tea is one of the most widely consumed in the world.

For many years, our ancestors relied on chamomile for its calming and relaxation effects [23].

A study featured in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology explains that this herbal remedy displays beneficial effects on animal models suffering from anxiety [23].

Further research was done to probe chamomile’s efficacy on people with mild to moderate anxiety disorder, and yielded positive results [23].

In this experiment, a total of 61 patients were given either chamomile extract or placebo for eight weeks [23].

In the outcome, it was shown that the anxiety in these patients was reduced by up to 50 percent [23].

Of all the participants, only one patient reported of adverse reactions to the remedy [23].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 teaspoons of dried chamomile
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water and add dried chamomile.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Strain the leaves.
  • Stir in honey and cinnamon.
  • Drink this tea once or twice a day for one month.

10. Fennel

The Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research published in 2013 a study that reviewed fennel’s anti-stress qualities, showing that it is a valuable tool for stress management [24].

Another study examined its anxiolytic effects and found that fennel works to calm the senses and diminish anxiety [25].

All these findings support the claim that fennel is a good remedy for anxiety and anxiety disorders.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of fennel essential oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour fennel oil on a tissue.
  • Inhale the scent for one hour.
  • Repeat a few times each day.

11. Massage

Here’s another reason to get a massage.

Many studies have found that this form of touch therapy can efficiently decrease anxiety in various stressful situations such as in times of illness [26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31].

In a study that can be found in the International Journal of Neuroscience, 26 adults were given chair massage sessions while 24 adults were simply asked to relax on the chair [30].

The experiment lasted for 15 minutes, twice a week for five weeks [30].

Those who received a massage turned out to have lower levels of anxiety compared to those who simply sat on the chair [30].

Australian researchers also examined the effectiveness of massage in relieving stress and anxiety among emergency nurses [31].

The nurses who participated in the clinical trial received over 300 massages over two 12-week periods, one session in summer and the other during winter time [31].

Massage was particularly helpful during the winter season, according to the study findings [31].

So whenever you’re feeling stressed out or anxious, go and get a massage therapy.

What You’ll Need:

  • Lavender oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Get an hour-long massage.
  • Ask the therapist to make use of lavender oil.

Anxiety that goes away on its own isn’t a cause for concern.

But when it starts to affect your daily life, then it’s important that you do something about it.

These remedies will surely help you in relieving anxiety, and feeling much better.