The magic of herbs: soothing mental health

Introduction

Stress, depression and anxiety are mental health disorders that affect a large percentage of the population around the world. These predominant mental disorders have a variety of methods of treatment, including both therapeutic and chemical drugs. However, many people end up using a high dose of antidepressants causing them various side effects, unaware that there are alternative herbal remedies people can use instead. Some research shows that specific vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other compounds may provide added benefits in improving depressive symptoms. 

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Symptoms

Common symptoms of Depression, Anxiety and Tension include:

  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Excessive sweating
  • Irritability, impatience, anger
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Diarrhoea or constipation 
  • Indigestion or nausea 
  • Insomnia, disturbed sleep, oversleeping 
  • Muscles aches and headaches
  • Forgetfulness and the inability to concentrate 
  • Chest tightness and discomfort
  • Heart palpitations or a rapid pulse
  • Changes in the appetite. 
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Herbs

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

Rhodiola is a herb used to reduce anxiety and stress. Rhodiola is a plant and the root of which has a long history of medical application in areas such as the arctic and northern european regions. It’s classified as an: “adaptogen”- a group of certain herbs and mushrooms thought to have health benefits, helping you to deal with stress; whether it be physical, chemical or biological stress. The main idea revolving around adaptogens is that they’re thought to stimulate yours body’s stress-protection response and help it’s systems return a balanced state known as “homeostasis”. As promising as it sounds, it’s important to note more research needs to be done on their possible health benefits. 

Chamomile (Matricia chamomilla)

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Chamomile has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Of the two mosy common types of chamomile, the most popular and most studied is the German chamomile. It is believed that both Roman and German varieties have similar therapeutic properties, however. Both historical and modern research studies identify the calming of the central nervous system due to chamomile oil extracts. The warm tea is wonderfully calming and helps induce relaxation and promotes sleep. Chamomile can be used both internally and externally; in the forms of oil extract, tea, tinctures, or dried/fresh flowers. 

Kava Kava (piper methysticum)

The latest and most popular of the stress-relieving herbs derives from the Melanesia and the Polynesia islands in the South Pacific. Researchers began looking into the relaxant properties of the Kava Kava in the 1950s, however only recent studies have strongly suggested that kava is truly unique amongst the herbs that treat anxiety and depression. Usual stress and anxiety relieving medications tend to block chemical sites which release hormones that affect emotions. However with kava kava, instead of blocking these sites the herb actually modifies them completely, resulting in an unusual combination of calm and elevated mood naturally. The chemicals responsible for this change to the brain are called kavalactones, which are extracted from the plant’s roots. Kava is available as dried root, tea and capsules. Often it is also combined with other herbs such as chamomile or lavender. 

Lavender (lavandula officinalis)

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Lavender is one of the most aromatic in the healing herbs family. Herbalists often prescribe lavender as a herbal tea or essential oil to relieve emotional stress and headaches. Many herbalists believe that lavender is a gentle and nourishing tonic for the central nervous system and an effective weapon against the damage that stress, depression and anxiety can cause. In aromatherapy treatment, lavender is used to promote relaxation, stimulate the brain, clarify thinking, encourage creativity and relieve depression. Lavender can be prescribed as dried flowers, as powdered herb, tea, capsules and essential oil. 

“Aromatherapists believe that inhaling the essential oil of lavender has a stabilising effect on the whole psyche, helping to dispel emotional stress, promote a calm, relaxed state; and sharpen intuition and creative instincts. After a particularly tiring day, heat 3-6 drops of lavender oil in a diffuser which you can place in a room, and simply breathe.”

Herbs for Health and Happiness, 1999. 

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) 

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Used worldwide for more than 1000 years as a relaxant, valerian root is a mild and safe tranquiliser, particularly useful for treating anxiety, nervous tension, stress and panic attacks. 

Valerian also helps to promote a good-night sleep, by reducing night-time awakenings. Valerian is taken internally for anxiety, nervousness, tension and stress-related aches. It is available as a dried herb, capsules, tincture and teas. 

Conclusion

 People have been using herbs for thousands of years to treat a variety of health conditions. Scientific studies indicate that certain herbs may reduce the symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. As with all prescribed medications, herbal medications can also cause certain side effects. Herbal medications can also take longer to begin working. There can furthermore be very serious interactions between certain herbs and medications, so it is vital to tell your doctor and check other prescription labels before taking a combination of herbs and synthesised drugs. 

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Useful Links

Betterhelp

Best for traditional therapy experience

  • Largest network of licensed therapists 
  • Personalized counselor-matching 
  • Texts, calls, or video chats available
  • $60 to $90 per week

Regain

Best for traditional therapy experience

  • Specialized relationship counseling
  • Available for individuals or partners
  • Weekly live virtual sessions
  • $60 to $90 per week

Teen Counselling

Best for teen mental health care

  • Judgment-free therapy for ages 13 to 19
  • Private, personalized counselling
  • Texts, calls, or video chats available
  • $60 to $90 per week

References

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/herbs-for-anxiety#summary

https://examine.com/supplements/rhodiola-rosea/

https://www.gaiaherbs.com/blogs/herbs/kava

One response to “The magic of herbs: soothing mental health”

  1. A sheer amount of effort put into this blog – I congratulate you proudly!

    Liked by 1 person

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