Herbs That Can Increase Anxiety

Can choosing the wrong herb increase anxiety in some people?

As a trauma-informed herbalist and holistic mental health expert, I'm passionate about helping people learn how to use herbal medicine to support their mood. Herbs are one of the most powerful tools available to help regulate the nervous system, shift your mood and support your overall health.

But learning how to use herbs and which herbs are right for you can be tricky! In fact, there are a few herbs I use cautiously in clients who need support for their mood. There are certain herbs that are too stimulating for anyone who struggles with anxiety or is easily activated.

In today's video I explore some of the top herbs I avoid when working with clients to support their mood. Some of the herbs I discuss may not be a surprise (hello, coffee! Yes, we can categorize it as an herbal product!). Green tea may also be too stimulating for some people due to its caffeine content. Conversely, some people find green tea to be relaxing due to the presence of L- theanine, a relaxing amino acid. 

There are two herbs specifically that are often touted as beneficial for mood support which can instead increase anxiety in some people. The first is Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea), a stimulating adaptogen. It's a wonderful herb for the right person. But for the wrong person, it can be far too stimulating, leading to increased anxiety, heart palpitations and even panic attacks. Rhodiola is very drying as well, for my clients with signs of dryness (dry eyes, dry mouth, dry skin and hair, etc) I avoid rhodiola. It's important to balance energetics!

The other herb I use cautiously with my clients is Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin). While mimosa is a lovely mood elevator for chronic grief and considered an anxiolytic, it can also be used to release stored trauma. It should be used cautiously for this purpose as it may bring up overwhelming feelings and sensations. If someone doesn't have the tools and awareness to move through this response safely, it can be overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. 

If you're working with herbs to address anxiety, you may want to steer clear of the herbs discussed above until you've done the nervous system work to create a felt sense of safety in the body. Thankfully, there are so many herbs that can support mood and address anxiety.