Best Spices for Anxiety (15+ List)

This is an extensive list of the best spices that help with anxiety. Quite a few of the spices listed here have adaptogenic properties that lower anxiety symptoms. Some can lead to a better night’s sleep or faster healing. Add these to your daily diet to tackle anxiety better.

What are the Best Spices for Anxiety?

Here is a quick list of the best spices to eat if you have anxiety:

Spices that Help with Anxiety

Spices are plant-based additives for cooking that not only bring flavour to food, but also have health benefits. While most people are familiar with the impact of spices on physical health, not many know about the mental health benefits.

There are many different kinds of spices that can help you with anxiety and depression. If you’re struggling with an anxiety disorder, you might want to add some of the following spices to your daily nutrition:

Turmeric

Turmeric powder is a sunset-yellow spice that most South Asians just cannot cook their food without. Turmeric has been used by Ayurvedic healers as medicine since the olden days. Curcumin, the bioactive compound found in turmeric, has been linked to treating anxiety, depression, and more. 

This possibly happens because turmeric boosts serotonin and dopamine levels. Research has suggested that it may actually be just as effective as Prozac with far fewer side effects. A typical dose of 500 to 2,000 mg of turmeric per day has potential benefits.

Ginger

Ginger is among the healthiest and most delicious spices on the planet. It is a flowering plant that originated in Southeast Asia. Ginger can be consumed to sharpen your brain and beat stress. 

Studies have indicated that ginger can influence serotonin levels and may treat and reduce anxiety as successfully as benzodiazepine drugs. Spice up your morning cup of coffee with ginger to get the extra boost or drink your ginger-tea for your daily dose of vitamin C.

Licorice

Licorice root has been used as a flavouring in candy, foods, beverages, and tobacco products for ages. This herb carries many health benefits for people with anxiety because of the effects it has on the adrenal glands. 

Within the body, the adrenal glands produce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Licorice helps regulate the production of these hormones. This increases the body’s defences against stress and reduces anxiety symptoms. Licorice root can also soothe gastrointestinal upset, which is common in many people with anxiety.

Valerian Root

Valerian is a plant with mild sedative properties that is sold as a sleeping aid and to treat anxiety. Valeriana officinalis is the species most commonly used for medicinal purposes. Some possible benefits of valerian include: falling asleep faster, better sleep quality, relief from restlessness and other anxiety disorder symptoms. 

This herbal supplement has also been known to treat (ADHD), severe anxiety disorders, and depression. Based on research, taking valerian root 30 minutes to two hours before bedtime works best for insomnia or sleep trouble. It can be taken as a capsule, tea, tablet, or liquid extract for anxiety as well.

Orange Peel Powder

Orange peel powder is extracted from dried orange peels. Other than being amazing for your skin, it can also help your mental health. Smelling an orange may have a powerful soothing effect on you and it can reduce your anxiety. 

The essential oil made from orange peel has the power to de-stress you and naturally relax and rejuvenate your mind. It is also a good remedy to treat indigestion and constipation, which often accompany anxious thoughts. Smell its scent after boiling in water to enjoy its healing benefits.

Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a common spice at the grocery store. It originates from the unique Indonesian tree, nutmeg that also produces the spice mace. A dash of nutmeg works as an antidepressant and releases stress by calming the nerves. 

Studies have claimed that it can improve digestion and insomnia, act as a pain reliever, and may help with depression. Being an adaptogen, it has sedative effects which help the body to relieve tension and anxiety. You can add it to your coffee, hot chocolate, tea, or warm milk and enjoy.

Star Anise

Star anise is the fruit of an evergreen tree native to southern China. The star anise taste is often described as sweet and licorice-like. It’s considered a key ingredient in five-spice powder. In traditional Chinese and folk medicine practices, star anise is used to treat nausea, constipation and other digestive issues. 

All of these are common symptoms of anxiety and almost always accompany extreme negative thoughts. Traditionally, it used to be steeped in water to make tea. It can also be added whole to soups, stews and braising broths.

Cardamom

Cardamom is a spice made from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. People with anxiety often develop chronic high blood pressure and gastrointestinal issues. Antioxidant and diuretic properties of cardamom may lower blood pressure. It has been used for thousands of years to help with digestion. 

One study suggested that cardamom extract may prevent anxious behaviours. People may take cardamom as a supplement for its health benefits. Cardamom contains phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is used mainly as an aromatic condiment and flavouring additive in a wide variety of cuisines, snack foods, tea and traditional foods. Cinnamon essential oil might be used as adjunctive therapy in improving symptoms of depressive and anxiety disorders. 

Trans-cinnamaldehyde, present in this, might be responsible for the beneficial effect observed. It can help you combat high blood sugar, curb cravings and thus help you relax. Add cinnamon to drinks such as fruits and nuts smoothies or turmeric lattes and enjoy a peaceful day.

Cumin

Cumin comes from the Cuminum cyminum plant, a member of the parsley family. The seeds of the plant are used to make medicine. The essential oils in cumin are hypnotic in nature and have tranquillising effects. 

This eases stress and anxiety that commonly causes insomnia. Rich in iron, it is multi-beneficial and absolutely great to calm the nerves. Soak cumin seeds in water for 5-6 hours or overnight. Then, boil the seeds in the morning and filter the drink. This will give you a fresh feeling throughout the day.

Pepper

Black pepper is known as the king of spices. It has loads of health benefits. Alpha-pinene, a potent inhibitor to a THC-high run rampant, is predominantly present. They work synergistically with THC to create a calming, therapeutic effect. This reduces anxiety and substance-related paranoia. 

In situations like the latter, chewing whole black peppers can be incredibly calming. You can also use black pepper as an ingredient in recipes to add flavour and spice to meats, vegetables, etc.

Peppermint

Peppermint is a hybrid of watermint and spearmint. It is available in the forms of leaves, capsules, and oils. In research, participants exposed to the aroma of peppermint and peppermint oil experienced enhanced memory. They also underwent increased alertness and processing speeds, according to the International Journal of Neuroscience. 

Peppermint can improve the quality of life for many people. It enhances mental and athletic performance, cognitive functioning, digestive processes and pain tolerance. You can easily add mint to green salads, desserts, smoothies, tea and even water.

Poppy Seeds

Poppyseed is an oilseed obtained from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). The tiny, kidney-shaped seeds have been harvested from dried seed pods by various civilizations for thousands of years. 

Poppyseed relieves anxiety by decelerating the Central Nervous System. This leads to a relaxing and calming effect on the mind and body. Because it works quickly, it can be effective during a panic attack or another overwhelming anxiety episode. You can sprinkle it over your food and beverage and enjoy it!

Saffron

Saffron is a spice made from the stigmas of the fall-flowering plant Crocus sativus, a member of the iris family. Saffron is nicknamed the “sunshine spice.” That’s not just due to its distinct colour, but also because it may help brighten your mood. 

A study found that simply smelling saffron for 20 minutes helped reduce PMS symptoms like anxiety. Further, it lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol. You can mix it in with tea leaves, or add other herbs and spices and put it in desserts and rice.

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seed is one of the oldest oilseed crops known, domesticated well over 3000 years ago. These tiny, oil-rich seeds grow in pods on the Sesamum indicum plant. It has been heavily researched that many people suffering from anxiety or depression have low levels of serotonin. 

Sesame seeds are an excellent choice to counter anxiety because they are high in tryptophan. Tryptophan helps your body produce the neurotransmitter called serotonin, which helps you feel at ease. Sesame seeds can be roasted, crushed and then sprinkled over salads and bread.

Clove

Cloves are the aromatic flower buds in the family Myrtaceae, Syzygium aromaticum. They are native to the Maluku Islands (or the Moluccas) in Indonesia. Clove essential oil has stimulating properties that help in easing anxiety, stress and reduce fatigue. 

A soothing clove oil massage can calm you down and lift-up the energy. You can easily incorporate ground cloves into many dishes. They will bring a warm, distinctive flavour to desserts, curries, or chutneys.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Conclusion

This was an extensive list of the best spices that help with anxiety. Quite a few of the spices listed here have adaptogenic properties that lower anxiety symptoms. Some can lead to a better night’s sleep or faster healing. Add these to your daily diet to tackle anxiety better.

Spices that help with anxiety are Turmeric, Ginger, Licorice, Valerian Root, Orange Peel Powder, Nutmeg, Star Anise, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cumin, Pepper, Peppermint, Poppy Seeds, Saffron, Sesame Seeds, Clove.

FAQs (Best Spices for Anxiety)

Which herb is best for anxiety?

You can try any of the following herbs to help with anxiety:

  • Lavender
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Kava Kava
  • Ashwagandha
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Passion Flower
  • Lemon Balm
  • Rhodiola rosea
  • Bach Flower
  • Milk Thistle
  • Chamomile

What is the most calming herb?

The most calming herb used in natural treatment for anxiety is passion flower. This can be consumed as extracts in the form of oral capsules or oil. It can also be applied through body products or aromatherapy. Another highly effective herb for anxiety treatment is valerian root.

How can I kill anxiety naturally?

There are many natural remedies for anxiety that are organic, safe, non-addictive, and effective. These are in the form of dietary supplements, adaptogens, essential oils, and natural medicines. Common plants used to make these products are ashwagandha, chamomile, lavender, alfalfa, cannabis, milk thistle, Rhodiola rosea, and many more.

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