Ancient Greek and Roman physicians first recommended valerian as a pain reliever and a diuretic, according to Castleman. This herb also has a long history as a tranquilizer. German herbalist Hildegard of Bignen recommended valerian as a treatment for anxiety and insomnia in the 12th century. The herb contains chemicals called valepotriates, which may help combat feelings of anxiety and promote a calm, relaxed state of mind. Check with your medical provider before taking valerian to promote relaxation.
A traditional anti-stress herb, passionflower seems to work by increasing amounts of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA "turns off" the brain cells that may make you feel nervous, according to the UMMC. A centuries-old stress-buster, passionflower looks promising in modern clinical trials. A 2001 study conducted at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences showed passionflower to be just as effective as the prescription drug oxazepam in treating patients with generalized anxiety disorder.
Lemon balm leaves contain a chemical called terpenes, which seems to play a role in promoting relaxation. UMMC cites one study in which participants were given either a placebo, 300mg lemon balm or 600mg lemon balm, twice a day for a week. "The 600mg dose of lemon balm increased mood and significantly increased calmness and alertness," the university said.
"Scullcap has traditionally been used to treat nervousness, irritability, and neuralgia, as well as for its sedative properties," notes Drugs.com. Though the medical website calls for additional research to isolate scullcap's therapeutic properties, it points to animal and human trials in which anxiety was lowered through the administration of scullcap.
St. John’s Wort is a common herb that is used to treat depression for it increases the levels of neuro-transmitters serotonin and dopamine in brain. The herb has been compared to anti-depressants used to treat depression due to its high effectiveness against depression and mild to moderate anxiety. It is specifically used for the treatment of mild depression, anxiety, tension and irritability. Just make sure you don’t take it with any other anti-depressant, and taking it in large doses can be very addictive.
Allows our physiology to handle the stressful situation in a more resourceful manner. It is believed that adaptogens work by increasing the ability of cells to manufacture and use cell fuel more efficiently.Since Rhodiola rosea administration appears to impact central monoamine levels, it might also provide benefits and be the adaptogen of choice in clinical conditions characterised by an imbalance of central nervous system monoamines. This is consistent with Russian claims for improvements in depression and schizophrenia. It also suggests that research in areas such as seasonal affective disorder, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome, among others, is warranted. There have also been claims that this plant has great utility as a therapy in asthenic conditions (decline in work performance, sleep disturbances, poor appetite, irritability, hypertension, headaches, and fatigue) developing subsequent to intense physical or intellectual strain, influenza and other viral exposures, and other illness.
Hops is used for anxiety, inability to sleep (insomnia) and other sleep disorders, restlessness, tension, excitability, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), nervousness, and irritability. It is also used to improve appetite, increase urine flow, start the flow of breast milk, as a bitter tonic, and for indigestion.
Though acclaimed to be a stimulant, many people report feelings of mild euphoria and relaxation. Taken one hour before bed time many people find themselves starting to nod of before they have even reached their bed.