Homeopathy for anxiety uses mixtures of herbs, minerals and other natural products to relieve symptoms of anxiety. These very dilute homeopathic concoctions would sometimes be toxic in high doses.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that anxiety is the most common mental health condition in the United States, affecting 18.1% of the adult population each year.
While many people experience relief from therapy, others find that therapy alone is not enough. Anti-anxiety medications may work for some people, but they can also trigger unpleasant side effects. While there is little scientific evidence to support it, some people find homeopathy helpful.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate homeopathic treatments, so the ingredients in these treatments may be less consistent and, in some cases, dangerous. It is essential to talk with a doctor before trying homeopathic approaches.
The theory behind homeopathy is that "I like a cure", and the lower the dose, the more effective a treatment can be.
If a person has a disease, a professional may recommend that you take very low doses of a substance that could cause the same symptoms as your disease in high doses.
Homeopaths believe that lower doses of the same ingredient could reverse the symptoms. There is no conclusive scientific evidence to suggest that these homeopathic remedies work.
The British Homeopathy Association, which uses this approach, highlights the following remedies for anxiety:
The National Homeopathy Center also recommends these additional treatments for anxiety:
The limited recent research available on these remedies has been mainly in animal studies. For example, a 2012 study found that ignatia could relieve anxiety in mice. The mice that received this remedy showed reduced physical signs of anxiety.
However, the authors of a systematic review and a 2017 meta-analysis analyzed 75 trials of homeopathic remedies. They found that "reliable evidence is lacking" and that the quality of the existing evidence was low.
Some other natural treatments with stronger research that support its use include:
Lavender is a popular ingredient in many natural products due to its pleasant aroma.
Some research suggests that lavender aromatherapy can improve a wide range of anxiety symptoms, including symptoms of generalized anxiety and phobias.
A 2010 study compared people with dental anxiety who used lavender aromatherapy with those who did not receive treatment. Only the lavender group reported that their anxiety level had decreased.
Another 2010 study compared people with generalized anxiety who used a lavender essential oil preparation called silexan with those who took the lorazepam anti-anxiety medication.
Both groups had similar improvements in sleep and anxiety. However, the lavender oil group was less likely to experience stunning.
Valerian root, which is available in capsule form, can help relieve anxiety in some people. It is a popular home remedy for insomnia.
Some research in animal models, including a 2010 study, suggests that valerian may help relieve anxiety symptoms. In the study, rats that received Valerian showed a reduction in anxious behaviors.
Learn more about how to take valerian for anxiety and insomnia in this article.
According to a 2012 study, magnesium deficiency can cause anxiety. This suggests that magnesium supplementation can reverse anxiety in people who do not get enough of this vital nutrient.
A systematic review of 2017 evaluated the effects of magnesium supplementation on feelings of stress and anxiety. The researchers found that magnesium improved anxiety symptoms. However, the quality of the evidence was low, indicating the need for more data.
Learn more about the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency in this article.
Passionflower has a long history of use as a sedative and can help relieve anxiety. The authors of a 2017 review found good evidence of its effectiveness in helping to treat anxiety and nervousness.
Learn more about the benefits of passionflower for anxiety and insomnia in this article.
The fact that a remedy is "natural" does not mean that it is safe. The risks of using homeopathic treatments include:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not evaluate the claims made by manufacturers of homeopathic supplements. This means that there is no certainty that the products work even when manufacturers claim they do.
A person using homeopathic treatment for anxiety may also be at risk of allergic reactions or negative side effects.
Having anxiety does not necessarily mean that a person needs to take medication. In fact, therapy, meditation, changes in diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes can be very effective.
People can talk to a doctor or specialist, such as a therapist or psychiatrist, to get help choosing the right treatment.
Anxiety is highly treatable with the right combination of therapy, lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medications.
While some natural remedies may be good complementary treatments for people with anxiety, there is little scientific evidence that homeopathy is safe or effective.