“Here’s the deal: there are a number of processes in the body that, when compromised, broken, or otherwise dysfunctional can manifest as fatigue, worry, insomnia, low mood, poor concentration and attention, agitation, a trip to your psychiatrist, and a stop off at the pharmacy.” – Dr. Kelly Brogan, holistic psychiatrist
As emphasized by one of my favorite holistic psychiatrists above, there are certain chemicals our bodies need to function properly, nonetheless optimally. This BY NO MEANS is a post telling you to quit your antidepressant or get off anxiety meds. But getting certain chemical reactions in order might help, whether you’re currently taking pharmaceuticals or not. So here is a list of my tried and true natural anxiety remedies! None of these are prescription drugs, and have few to zero side effects, if taken correctly. Please let me know if you use any additional herbs/foods/vitamins/minerals, I’d love to hear! And WARNING! Some of these don’t do well coupled with a medication, so be sure to talk to your doctor if you’re combining prescription and non-prescription remedies.
Magnesium Glycinate – Magnesium comes in many forms (citrate, taurate, glycinate, to name a few), but glycinate is the most easily used by the body. Magnesium used to be an abundant mineral found in many whole foods, but modern food processing practices have all but stripped it entirely from most diets, causing the majority of people to be magnesium deficient (womp). Magnesium plays a role in over 300 chemical reactions in the body, so you need this stuff to be, you know, like a functioning human being. Here’s the thing about magnesium — it doesn’t help anxiety, per se; the reason you have anxiety in the first place is because you are missing magnesium. So it doesn’t just help you not be anxious; being deficient in magnesium is causing you to be anxious in the first place. If you have ANY level of anxiety, you should be on at least 600mg (minimum! You CAN double this if you get panic attacks!) of magnesium per day. This is your baseline. Take it every morning with food, no questions asked. Just do it. Your brain and body will be like, holy shit, finally. Thank you.
GABA – Gamma-aminobutyric acid is a neurotransmitter that helps send messages between the brain and nervous system (yep, pretty damn important). It plays an important role in behavior, cognition, and the body’s response to stress. Lower than normal levels of GABA in the brain have been linked to schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. I’m telling you, get your hands on some a dis.
L-Tryptophan – this is an amino acid that has been linked to calming the mind. It’s a precursor to the brain chemical serotonin (all hail serotonin! cue singing angels), which helps regulate mood and makes you feel safe. Anything that can get serotonin where it needs to go to do its thing is really, really needed, y’all.
Folate – also known as vitamin B9 (honestly your best bet is just taking a methylated B-complex multivitamin, but I mention the two Bs most targeted for anxiety here), folate helps synthesize and repair DNA, keeping your genes expressing themselves optimally (I’ll write more on this concept later).
HerbPharm Anxiety Soother – this little guy tastes horrible (like, truly horrible – kinda like dish soap :/) but is SO EFFECTIVE. Just add a full squirt to a little bit of water (a citrus drink also works well) and take it like a shot. Miracles. I use this one the most if I’m feeling a panic attack coming on; it manages to calm me down enough for me to think rationally again (#bless).
Ashwagandha – this is an ayurvedic herb used for thousands of years across Asia to soothe the agitated mind that has recently been making waves in the West. It provides neuroprotection, has anti-cancer effects (bam!) and staves off anxiety. Ashwaganda is an adaptogen, meaning it helps us adapt to our environments, including stressful ones. Yes, please. Take this bad boy up to three times a day — I promise you’ll notice a difference.
Inositol – also known as vitamin B8 (those B vitamins though!), Inositol is something I only very recently heard about through Dr. Leslie Korn, a mental health nutritionist. I’m telling you now — this stuff is going to BLOW UP. It’s a remedy for rumination in the brain, and has been linked to mollify OCD and severe anxiety. It also has links to treating PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), an extremely painful condition in the ovaries. Inositol can be found in plants and animals, but can also be made in a lab (the human kidneys each produce about 2g a day, so 4g total). It is extremely helpful in treating bipolar disorder, panic disorder, depression, binge eating and other eating disorders, schizophrenia, and, as mentioned above, OCD, by helping to balance certain chemicals in the body and brain. This stuff has the power of prescription drugs, with literally no side effects (unless you were to take more than 16,000mg a day. Even then, you’d probably just get a little dizzy). It’s amazing.
Lavender etheric oil – nervousness, stress, heart palpitations, insomnia, and headaches can all be treated with lavender. A few little drops on your pillow at night often does the trick. Lavender tea is also really wonderful.
Passionflower extract – this herbal remedy is an old Polynesian antidote for high levels of anxiety, and is even known as an aphrodisiac in ancient Polynesian cultures (ooh la la!) It can be mildly sedative, so I suggest taking this one at night.
Chamomile – a more well-known herb that is proven to reduce stress and anxiety, and is most commonly used as tea. What many don’t know, though, is that this unassuming herb is actually a powerhouse at knocking out anxiety when used in larger doses, as it contains high levels of Glycine, a nerve relaxant.
Omega-3 Fish Oil – for the non-vegans. Essential (meaning our body does not make them, they have to be obtained from external sources) fatty-acids are huge for optimal brain health. These can be a little pricy, but are so worth it. Make SURE you get ones that are refrigerated (not from the shelf of a CVS or RiteAid or the like) – those are knock-off and can actually be really bad for you because the oil could be rancid. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids are linked to a variety of mental health conditions, most notably ADHD, depression, and anxiety.
There you have it! My tried and true natural anxiety remedies. They are the greatest, I swear by them. Let me know what you think in the comments, and have an amazing week!