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The Best Supplements for Stress and Anxiety Relief

The Best Supplements for Stress and Anxiety Relief

If you are looking for supplements for stress and anxiety relief, you are not alone. There is a rising incidence of stress and anxiety, and the stressful events in 2020 only exacerbated the issue. Because of this, forecasts show the brain and mental health supplement market will grow over the next six years. (1)

However, not all supplements in the brain and mental health market have enough scientific evidence. Popular calming supplements like Rhodiola, cannabidiol (CBD), and valerian are not yet proven to be effective. Choose one of the supplements below that research considers at least possibly effective at relieving stress and anxiety.

Best Supplements for Stress and Anxiety Relief

Keep in mind, supplements alone will not treat stress and anxiety. Other calming practices should also be included, such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or therapy. If you suffer from mental health issues, see a mental healthcare professional, and do not be afraid to use medication if recommended to you. Medication can interact with supplements, so talk to your provider before taking both at the same time.

Here are the best supplements for stress and anxiety relief:


Ashwagandha powder for stress

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine. Adaptogens are herbs and mushrooms considered to aid the body in physiological and psychological stress.

While not all herbs classified as adaptogens improve mental stress, ashwagandha has evidence that it reduces stress. Studies found 240-300mg twice daily for 60 days reduced perceived stress levels by 30-44% and cortisol levels by 22-28%. (2-4)

In general, ashwagandha is well-tolerated, but it should not be used if pregnant due to the potential increased risk for miscarriage from high doses.

Dietitian’s Pick:

Ashwagandha supplement recommended by a dietitian
Nature Made Ashwagandha or FGO Ashwagandha Root Powder

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm herb supplement for stress

Surprisingly unrelated to lemons, lemon balm is a lemon-scented herb native to southern Europe, West Asia, and North Africa. Lemon balm has been used for relieving anxiety for centuries due to its calming and sedation effect. Effective doses used in research to treat stress range from 300-600mg per day. (5-6)

Dietitian’s Pick:

Dietitian recommended lemon balm supplement
Swanson Lemon Balm or Traditional Medicinals Lemon Balm Tea


Polynesian Kava supplement for stress

Kava is a plant native to the western Pacific Islands, and its name originated from a Polynesian word meaning bitter. In its native area, it is a popular social drink that stimulates relaxation, while Western culture uses it as a supplement for anxiety and stress.

When looking for a Kava supplement, look for one that lists a high standard amount of kavalactones, the effective compound in Kava. A meta-analysis showed 200mg or more of kavalactones per day was effective for relieving anxiety. (7) It is also more effective when taken daily for weeks rather than one-time doses. (8)

This supplement, however, should only be taken short-term and should not be taken by those with liver problems, clinical depression, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. (9) When taken consistently for over a month, or at a high dose (1,000 mg/day or more), kava can cause serious liver damage.  And kava may be transmitted in the breastmilk.

Some countries have regulatory measures on Kava due to the concerns of liver toxicity. These countries include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Dietitian’s Pick:

Dietitian's recommended Kava root supplement
Gaia Herbs Kava Kava Root


Ginkgo biloba supplement for stress

A native tree to Asia, Ginkgo biloba has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. It is associated with numerous health claims and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A clinical study showed taking 480 mg daily for four weeks modestly reduced anxiety symptoms in those with a generalized anxiety disorder or adjustment disorder. (10)

There is some concern that ginkgo leaf extract may increase the risk of bruising and bleeding or cause arrhythmia. Those with bleeding disorders should avoid taking this supplement.

Dietitian’s Pick:

Dietitian's pick for ginkgo biloba
Nature’s Bounty Ginkgo Biloba



Lavender is a popular scent known to have a calming effect. But you may not know that taking lavender as an oral supplement is even more effective at supporting calmness and is generally considered safe.

Research shows lavender supplementation can reduce anxiety in those with diagnosed general anxiety disorder. One study’s findings suggest that 80mg of Silexan lavender supplement could be as effective as 500mg of lorazepam. (11)

Dietitian’s Pick:

Lavender supplementation for anxiety relief
Integrative Therapeutics – Lavela WS 1265 – Lavender Supplement (80mg Silexan)



Passionflower is a unique-looking flower with a rich history as a medicinal herb. It reduces anxiety by having a relaxing effect by increasing levels of the chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. Results from a 2001 clinical study suggest it could be as effective as the drug oxazepam, albeit with slightly slower effects. (12)

In general, passionflower is well-tolerated, with doses ranging from 500–1200 mg per day. Potential side effects to passionflower include confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. It should not be used if pregnant due to the potential increased risk for premature uterine contraction (induced labor).

Dietitian’s Pick:

Passionflower supplement for anxiety
Puritan’s Pride Passion Flower 1000 Mg, 60 Count


Sleep Items for Unique Wellness Wedding Registry

If your stress or anxiety causes you trouble with falling asleep at night, consider melatonin supplementation.

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain that helps the body regulate sleep. While not directly proven to reduce stress and anxiety, it can help with falling asleep when your mind is keeping you up at night. (9,13-14) Researchers have used supplement doses of 0.3-5 mg daily for up to 9 months. (9,13)

Dietitian’s Pick:

Melatonin supplement recommended by a dietitian
Nature Made Melatonin or Olly Restful Sleep Gummies

Remember, supplements alone will not fully relieve your symptoms. Proper nutrition, physical activity, mindfulness, meditation, counseling, and medication can all help improve your mental health.

Interested in mindfulness? Try this mindful eating workbook!


  1. Global Brain Health Supplements Market to Surpass US$ 13,492.6 Million by 2027, Says Coherent Market Insights (CMI). Published October 1, 2020. Accessed August 28, 2021.
  2. Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012;34(3):255-62.
  3. Lopresti AL, Smith SJ, Malvi H, Kodgule R. An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019;98(37).
  4. Salve J, Pate S, Debnath K, Langade D. Adaptogenic and anxiolytic effects of ashwagandha root extract in healthy adults: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study. Cureus. 2019;11(12).
  5. Kennedy DO, Little W, Scholey AB. Attenuation of laboratory-induced stress in humans after acute administration of Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm). Psychosom Med. 2004 Jul-Aug;66:607-13.
  6. Scholey A, et al. Anti-stress effects of lemon balm-containing foods. Nutrients. 3014;6(11):4805-4821.
  7. Smith K, Leiras C. The effectiveness and safety of Kava Kava for treating anxiety symptoms: A systematic review and analysis of randomized clinical trials. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018;33:107-117.
  8. Sarris J, Scholey A, Schweitzer I, et al. The acute effects of kava and oxazepam on anxiety, mood, neurocognition; and genetic correlates: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Hum Psychopharmacol 2012;27:262-9.
  9. Natural Medicines Database. Accessed August 28. 2021.
  10. Woelk H, Arnoldt KH, Kieser M, Hoerr R. Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 in generalized anxiety disorder and adjustment disorder with anxious mood: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Psychiatr Res 2007;41:472-80. 
  11. Woelk H, Schläfke S. A multi-center, double-blind, randomised study of the Lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalized anxiety disorder. Phytomedicine. 2010 Feb;17(2):94-9. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2009.10.006. Epub 2009 Dec 3. PMID: 19962288.
  12. Akhondzadeh S, Naghavi HR, Shayeganpour A, et al. Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam. J Clin Pharm Ther 2001;26:363-7.
  13. Nagtegaal JE, Laurant MW, Kerkhof GA, et al. Effects of melatonin on the quality of life in patients with delayed sleep phase syndrome. J Psychosom Res 2000;48:45-50.
  14. Buscemi N, Vandermeer B, Pandya R, et al. Melatonin for treatment of sleep disorders. Summary, Evidence Report/Technology Assessment #108. (Prepared by the Univ of Alberta Evidence-based Practice Center, under Contract#290-02-0023.) AHRQ Publ #05-E002-2. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality. November 2004.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Further, the products referenced are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. All opinions are mine alone and are not attributed or endorsed by Amazon.

Samantha Shuflin is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) in Chicago, IL that helps high-performing professionals thrive through nutrition and wellness, and ensure busy schedules never compromise health goals.



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