Herbal Supplements

Despite reduced disposable incomes, consumers are putting their confidence in nutritional supplements and other condition-specific health supplements to maintain health and avoid the high cost of conventional healthcare.1 Not only are consumers concerned about preventive healthcare, but stock market plunges, mortgage foreclosures, and job losses have taken a toll on the emotional well-being of the nation as well. An online survey conducted by the American Psychological Association in September 2008 observed that out of the 2,000 people surveyed, 80 percent said their top stressors included the state of the economy and 81 percent said they experienced anxiety over personal finances.2

Between February 2008 and February 2009, the Gallup-Healthways poll which conducted a survey of more than 355,000 people showed that the Emotional Health subindex dropped substantially on days when there was bad news about the state of our economy. The Emotional Health subindex is the measure that assesses the emotional status of people by weighing negative factors such as depression, anxiety, stress and worry against positive feelings.

With anxiety levels reaching pandemic proportions, it's no wonder more consumers are seeking help on their own. Savvy consumers are drawn towards the safety and efficacy of certain herbs and finding it convenient and easy to self-administer herbal supplements for anxiety and depression. Popular ingredients include:

Kava, known as Piper methysticum, has been traditionally used in the South Pacific to help promote a state of mental and physical relaxation. The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine reports that kava may promote the release of calming neurotransmitters and help reduce muscle tension because of the presence of active phytochemicals called kavalactones. While kava shows efficacy, it may not be tolerated well with people who suffer from liver problems. Delivery forms of kava include liquid extracts, tablets, teas and capsules.3

Panax Ginseng, known as Korean ginseng, has been used traditionally for centuries in Korea, China and Japan. It is known to help support mental and physical performance and can be used as a general tonic, as well. The Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism reports Panax ginseng to have an adaptogenic effect. This means that it may be able to help your body adapt to the impact of stress. Delivery forms include dried root powder, teas, liquid extracts, tablets and capsules.4

Probiotics may play a role in reducing stress, anxiety and depression. A study reported in the British Journal of Nutrition reports that daily intake of supplements of Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175 may produce beneficial effects in humans. The results in a human trial showed that there was a significant improvement in depression, anger-hostility and anxiety. The common delivery form is capsules, but other innovative forms include lozenges and soft chews.5

Passionflower, a native plant of Peru, shows some evidence of reducing symptoms of anxiety. In some cases, its efficacy is known to be as potent as pharmaceutical drugs. Popular delivery forms include liquid extracts, tablets or capsules.6

St. John's Wort has been used for centuries as a treatment for mild forms of depression and anxiety. There is some evidence from research to support these claims. Products are produced in capsules and tablets, tea leaves, liquid extracts.7

Valerian is an herb made from the root of the valerian plant. Valerian has shown efficacy as an anti-depressant and is commonly used in herbal anxiety supplements, although there is insufficient evidence from research to support this. Its use is also popular because it has the status of "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS).8 Delivery forms include capsule, tea, tablet or liquid extract.

A review of nutritional supplements published in the Nutrition Journal examined 24 studies that included five separate complementary therapies and eight combination treatments. Researchers reported that 71 percent of the trials reviewed supported evidence of efficacy for anxiety disorders and depression. Researchers added that there is strong evidence for the use of herbs for the treatment of anxiety symptoms and disorders.9

Manufacturing Herbal Supplements for Anxiety and Depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 40 million Americans (18 percent of the adult American population) suffer from some form of anxiety disorder. And according to market research information providers SPINS (based in Schaumburg, IL) the mood health market has progressively expanded by more than 35 percent between 2006 and 2007. SPINS predicts that the market for products with relaxation claims may expand as consumers look for herbal or natural supplements to combat stress and hectic lifestyles.10

Leading herbal supplement manufacturer, such as Nutricap Labs, provides numerous options for manufacturing GMP-certified herbal supplements for anxiety and depression, full customer service options that you can customize to suit your needs.


  1. Emerging International Markets for Dietary Supplements, Natural Product Insider.
  2. Stress in America (apa.org/news/press/releases/2008/10/stress-in-america.pdf)
  3. The Kava Anxiety Depression Spectrum Study (KADSS): a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial using an aqueous extract of Piper methysticum, Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009 Aug;205(3):399-407. Epub 2009 May 9.
  4. Effects of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) on neurocognitive function: an acute, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 October; 212(3): 345–356.
  5. "Assessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in rats and human subjects", British Journal of Nutrition, published online ahead of print, FirstView Articles, doi:10.1017/S0007114510004319.
  6. Passionflower (nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/871.html)
  7. St. John's Wort (nccam.nih.gov/health/stjohnswort/sjw-and-depression.htm)
  8. Valerian (nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/870.html)
  9. "Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety related disorders: systematic review." Nutrition Journal, published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-42.
  10. "Evolving Natural Lifestyle: SPINS Natural Products Marketplace Review" and SPINS' "2009 Market Trends"