Herbs for anxiety, depression and other mental illness

Uncovered explores the ancient power of herbs 

with Gabriele Fantelli

Herbalism is the use of herbs for healing. People have been using herbs to cure diseases for centuries. 
  
Many herbal remedies worked and many did not, it is obvious that knowledge and technology wouldhave played a big part (and still do) in finding natures hidden treasures and using them to achieving health benefits.
  

Herbs and mental health

As far as mental health is concerned, it is only recently that, both the medical professionals and the public, have researched, studied, tried and applied herbal remedies with very good results. And again it is thanks to modern science and technology that it has been possible to shed new light on these ancient remedies.

Herbals V's traditional medication

Herbs can produce similar effects to prescription drugs and the general consensus is that they often have fewer side effects. One of the most reknown downsides of herbal remedies is that they tend to work slower than prescription drugs,and that is probably why they are not as popular and they are often overlooked.

Common herbs used to treat mental illness

St. John’s Wort, Valerian and Kava are probably the most well known herbs used for mental health. Scientific research showed that, these three herbs do have qualities that improve mental health and they are widely prescribed and used.

St. John’s Wort is used in the treatment of up to moderate cases of depression. Kava is used in the treatment of anxiety disorders as well as Valerian, which is also used to treat insomnia.

As well as herbal remedies that can be prescribed by doctors, herbalists, psychologists etc, there are many herbs that we could introduce in our everyday diet, that could help relieve minor to moderate mental health issues. Obviously self-diagnosis and self-prescriptions are not advisable in any case.  St John's Wort for example can have contra-indications and should be discussed with a professional before you start to use it. 

Everyday herbal benefits

We can use every day herbs to help with our overall physical and mental wellbeing. Herbs such as chamomile can relax and soothe us without any contra-indications. Chamomile is usually taken in tea and is a wonderful drink to have of an evening, or as a substitute for regular caffeine laden regular tea.

Table of herbs, roots and flowers that are particularly good for the mind

This article was published in issue 1 of Uncovered magazine.

Books on Herbs

Further reading

We hope you have enjoyed reading about healthy eating for the mind, why not learn more with our features online:

Mind Food - an Introduction to eating for the mind

Mind Food - Carbohydrates

The Importance of B Vitamins

Mind Food - Omega 3, 6 and 9

Sources of Omega Fatty acids

Mind Food Recipes

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