Answers from Brent A. Bauer, M.D.
"Several herbal remedies have been studied as a treatment for anxiety, but more research is needed to understand the risks and benefits. Here's what we know — and don't know:
Chamomile. Limited data shows that short-term use of chamomile is generally considered safe and can be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety. But chamomile can increase the risk of bleeding when used with blood-thinning drugs. Use of chamomile can cause allergic reactions in some people who are sensitive to the family of plants that includes chamomile. Other members of this family are ragweed, marigolds, daisies and chrysanthemums.
Lavender. Some evidence suggests that oral lavender or aromatherapy with lavender can reduce anxiety; however, evidence is preliminary and limited. Oral lavender can cause constipation and headaches. It can also increase appetite, increase the sedative effect of other medications and supplements, and cause low blood pressure.
Lemon balm. Preliminary research shows lemon balm can reduce some symptoms of anxiety, such as nervousness and excitability. Lemon balm is generally well-tolerated and considered safe for short-term use, but can cause nausea and abdominal pain."
"If you're considering taking any herbal supplement as a treatment for anxiety, talk to your doctor first, especially if you take other medications. The interaction of some herbal supplements and certain medications can cause serious side effects.
Some herbal supplements taken for anxiety can cause you to feel sleepy, so they may not be safe to take when driving or doing dangerous tasks. Your doctor can help you understand possible risks and benefits if you choose to try an herbal supplement.
If your anxiety is interfering with daily activities, talk with your doctor. More-serious forms of anxiety generally need medical treatment or psychological counseling (psychotherapy) for symptoms to improve."
Brent A. Bauer, M.D.