Herbs That Lower Cortisol Levels

Cortisol is a hormone that is produced in the body and is necessary for the performance of important bodily functions such as the regulation of blood pressure and immune function processes. Overproduction of cortisol, which is naturally secreted within the human body, can lead to weight gain, lowered immune functioning and high levels of stress. Cortisol is secreted in large amounts within the body when stress levels are high and can lead to adrenal imbalance within the body systems. Certain herbs can counteract these affects by bringing the body back into balance through reduction of stress hormones, such as corticostrone, and by decreasing overall stress levels.

Valerian Root

Certain herbs can lower cortisol levels naturally within the body. For instance, Valerian root is an herbal remedy that has been in use since the time of ancient Rome. Valerian root works well as a natural sedative and is used to counterbalance the effects of stress, thereby naturally lowering cortisol levels.

Holy Basil

Holy Basil is an herb that originated in India and has been in use for hundreds of years. It has been credited with the ability to balance sugar levels in the blood and decrease overall stress levels.


Ginseng is a well-known herb that has been attributed to balancing hormonal levels and decreasing cortisol overproduction. This herb has been in use for thousands of years and is thought to combat many stress-related ailments.


Saint-John's-wort is a flower produced in areas of the world that maintain a subtropical climate. This herbal remedy has been used as an antidepressant for centuries. Saint-John's-wort, also known as hypericum, is thought to decrease anxiety due to its sedative properties.


Herbal remedies in general have not been fully investigated by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Because they are not regulated by the FDA, the quantities contained within each dosage may vary considerably. In addition, herbs may adversely interact with prescribed medications by inhibiting the effectiveness of prescription medicines.


Herbal medications have been in use for thousands of years, and their effectiveness on the overproduction of cortisol varies substantially. Effectiveness of herbal remedies on the production of cortisol might be affected by weight, age and the nature of the hormonal imbalances in particular. Ongoing clinical trials continue to test the effectiveness of herbal remedies, however, no conclusive evidence currently touts their effectiveness. A discussion with your doctor concerning prescription drug interactions and possible side effects is encouraged before beginning any herbal remedy program for treatment of the overproduction of cortisol.

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About the Author

Robin McDaniel is a writer, educator and musician. She holds a master's degree in higher educational leadership from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton as well as a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in adult in community education. McDaniel enjoys writing, blogging, web design, singing and playing bass guitar.