Herbal remedies for anxiety - a systematic review of controlled clinical trials

Phytomedicine. 2006 Feb;13(3):205-8. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2004.11.006. Epub 2005 Aug 15.


Anxiety is a prominent indication for herbal medicine. This systematic review was therefore aimed at summarising the evidence for or against the anxiolytic efficacy of such treatments. Six databases were searched for all randomised clinical trials testing herbal monopreparations in the alleviation of anxiety. Seven such studies and one systematic review were located. Eight different herbals were studied. The herbal medicines, which, according to these data are associated with anxiolytic activity in humans, are Piper methysticum and Bacopa monniera. Only for kava were independent replications available. It was concluded that there is a lack of rigorous studies in this area and that only kava has been shown beyond reasonable doubt to have anxiolytic effects in humans.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anxiety / drug therapy*
  • Bacopa
  • Centella
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cymbopogon
  • Humans
  • Kava
  • Passiflora
  • Paullinia
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Scutellaria
  • Valerian


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Plant Extracts