I have always said, if it is of the earth and from the earth, then it was created to support human beings. And, although, I have had my own personal journey with pharmaceuticals and western medicine throughout my life, and they have greatly helped when they were needed, I still choose the natural and herbal path first. And that MUST be a personal choice. Thus researching for yourself, asking questions and opening discussions with your healthcare provider are so important. Like with anything that involves you, mental health and wellbeing is no different. You must be proactive in your wellbeing.
Fortunately today, there are studies from across the world on different herbal remedies for treating or complimenting protocols for stress, depression and other mental health issues. Evidence-based clinical decisions are now factoring into alternative medicines. And this expands into the new neurosciences.
While most of us are familiar with, or at least have heard about, Chinese herbal remedies that go back thousands of years, not everyone has tried it. Personally, I have used Eastern medicinal traditions in treating my MS, Cancer, Pneumonia and even while healing from surgery. However, that was merely one leg of my personal directive and choice, for my recovery.
Fortunately, due to increasing interest in herbal therapeutics and use of herbal remedies by patients has generated the need for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to get familiar with the effects of more commonly used herbs, including their risks, and potential side effects.. “Unfortunately, this topic is not covered in most medical school curricula, psychiatry residency programs, or textbooks of psychiatry and psychopharmacology. However, this situation is beginning to change, as evidenced by a recent issue of JAMA devoted to alternative medicine (November 11, 1998)”
Once considered a counterculture phenomenon, herbal medicines are now a $4 billion industry, and herbal products are readily available in drugstores and supermarkets (1). It has been estimated that one of every three Americans has used herbal remedies (1), with 50 million people using them in a given month (2). Four of the 12 most commonly used herbal medications—St. John's wort, kava, ginkgo, and valerian—are taken for the prevention or treatment of psychiatric symptoms, which is the most rapidly growing segment of the herbal product market (1).
(Disclaimer) If you suspect you have a mental illness or you're being treated by a mental health professional, ask about how you can incorporate physical activity into your treatment.
A qualified mental health professional can make suggestions about the best strategies for treating your specific condition.
Herbs For Mental Wellbeing
More people are looking for natural methods of managing their health and there are many complementary therapies that are gaining in popularity. “Nature Provides, Herbal products are becoming increasingly mainstream. This is not simply a comment on their popularity, but on the level and rigor of scientific research and acceptance by clinical investigators, as well as the attention being paid to these therapeutic options by government bodies.”
Much of recent research on depression looks at changes in brain function and how different treatments, both pharmaceuticals and holistic, can impact brain function. Research also shows us that depression is not a “single entity”. Just like no two people are the same, so is how different environmental and exterior stressors affect an individual. Some want to pursue a more natural, organic lifestyle, while others, often with neurological disorders need pharmaceutical assistance. However, herbal remedies have been shown to make an excellent complementary approach to help mitigate side effects and symptoms.
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Herbs and Supplements for Depression:
(all items listed have undergone rigorous testing and research, but always consult your trusted health care professional)
St. John’s Wort, plant used for mental health treatment for hundreds of years
Ginseng, used by practitioners of Chinese medicine for 1000’s of years *also improved mental clarity, energy and reduces stress
Chamomile, helps to manage depression and anxiety, *great in tea before bed
Lavender, popular essential oil for relaxations, reducing anxiety and mood disturbances
Saffron, safe for controlling symptoms of depression
SAMe, short for S-adenosyl methionine. A natural occurring chemical in the body, used as an antidepressant
Omega-3 Fatty Acids, as a supplement if you are not getting enough from your diet, supports treatment for symptoms of depression
5-HTP, 5-hydroxytryptophan, regulates and improves serotonin levels in the brain, a neurotransmitter that affects your mood
Kava Kava Extract, used to ease symptoms of anxiety and depression
If you read our article from last week you will know all about serotonin and some of these supplements on mental health!
ENGAGEMENT QUESTION: Have you ever tried herbal remedies for any health issues? How likely are you to seek out a natural remedy?