Love, Joy and Happiness are primary issues of life. It is what we all want. But depression and sadness are just as fundamental to the human experience as the more positive states of mind.
What influences how we feel? Our genetic make-up has a lot to do with it, so does our past personal history, environmental factors, lifestyle, food choices and thought processes. All these factors affect our mind, mental processes and mood.
The best way to enhance our mental functioning is the safest, healthiest and the longest acting method – using natural whole foods and herbs and making necessary life style alterations.
Brain Nourishing Herbs
~ Milky oats are restorative, the essence of nourishment for the brain and nervous system. Very grounding. Essential for those who lack concentration skills whether adult or child. Milky oats contain the entire vitamin B complex (so necessary for stable mental health), except for B12.
~ Roses and rose hips nourish the brain and nervous system, are calming, stress relieving and centering. Roses nourish our ability to give and accept love. Used to alleviate pains of the emotional heart, to lift spirits and enhance vitality. Rose hips are vital for children who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.
~ Lavender is antidepressant, tranquilizing and stress relieving.
~ Skullcap is nature’s finest nervine, a superb nourisher of the brain and nervous system; pain relieving, antidepressant and sedating. Helps focus and concentration.
~ Red clover nourishes the entire body, provides plenty of protein, B vitamins, and calcium, all essential brain nourishing nutrients.
~ Chamomile is mildly sedating, soothing and especially good for children.
~ Holy Basil is an adaptogen, reduces stress and helps manage symptoms of mild depression. It reduces the stress hormone cortisol, eases depressive moods, anxiety, helps with sleep and other stress-related problems. Do not use if trying to become pregnant or during pregnancy.
~ Sage inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine thus protects against Alzheimer’s. Highly regarded as a brain tonic down through the ages.
~ Rosemary is a nervine, stress reliever and antidepressant. It increases alertness, strengthens memory and acts as an all-around brain tonic.
~ Garlic stimulates the brain and has a positive effect on brain functioning, increasing alertness and energy.
~ Ginkgo brings blood to the brain, improves mood and sociability, sharpens concentration and intellect, and eases tension and anxiety.
~ Ginseng is rejuvenating, restorative, boosts energy and vitality and is tonic to the brain. Antidepressant, adaptogenic, an excellent ally for anyone under physical, emotional, mental or spiritual stress. Promotes strong nerves, sound sleep, improves memory, clear thinking and enhances concentration.
~ Angelica is revitalizing, restorative and offers rich stores of B vitamins, including B12, calcium, magnesium and iron, all necessary nutrients for healthy brain and nervous system functioning.
~ Lemon Balm is an effective natural tranquilizer and antidepressant. It is anesthetic, pain easing and called a safeguard against senility. Lemon balm nourishes the brain.
~St. John’s wort is effective against mild to moderate depression, alleviates anxiety, insomnia, and irritability and eases pain.
~Motherwort supports us emotionally. Motherwort offers emotional stability while she teaches us what is necessary for strong emotional health. Our sharp prickly parts need to be acknowledged and accepted as well as our soft fuzzy parts. Motherwort displays both proudly.
~ Reishi mushrooms are adaptogenic, therefore balance body, mind and spirit over time. Reishi nourishes mental outlook, raises the spirit, restores equilibrium and balances mood. These mushrooms have been safely and effectively used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, specifically for "disturbed Shen". (Shen - Mind, Spirit, Consciousness, Soul, Energy, God). Check out our Adaptogens page, where you will find several formulas containing reishi, including our Mind and Spirit Blend. Reishi is available in combination with American ginseng on our Syrups and Elixirs page and also as a simple on our extracts page.
~Mimosa flowers are a wonderful, safe, effective antidepressant, We offer it here as a simple and in combination with other herbs used to enhance mood under the name of Jubilant Heart Tonic. You will find that on our Compound formulas page.
Many of the above herbs can be found in tincture form at the following link -
tinctures of milky oats, motherwort, St. John's wort, lavender, holy basil, reishi, mimosa, angelica, ginseng, ginkgo, rosemary, sage, chamomile, red clover and skullcap.
Some of these herbs, especially milky oats, roses, lavender & lemon balm are also available to you here in the form of delicious herb tea blends. You'll find some excellent choices here -
Herb Tea Blends such as Comfort & Joy.
B Vitamins - cooperate as a team to insure good health and a well functioning brain and nervous system. The entire B complex, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12, folic acid, choline, inositol, biotin, PABA & pantothenate, are critical for healthy brain functioning. A deficiency of these nutrients is implicated in many mental dysfunctions, including schizophrenia. An abundance of B vitamins lifts depression and relieves stress and anxiety. B vitamins can be found in whole grains, liver, milk products, lean meats, vegetables, fruit and herbs.
Herbal sources of B complex vitamins include milky oats, angelica, peppermint, burdock, sage, yellow dock, red clover, fenugreek, raspberry leaves, nettles, yarrow, roses and rose hips, bee pollen, hops, raspberry leaves, red clover, slippery elm, Echinacea, licorice, rose/rose hips, nettles.
Activities that Lift the Mind and Spirit
Pray - Offering a prayer of thankgiving every day in appreciation for all of your blessings. Regular prayer and meditation rewire our brains and help us to feel more centered and stable.
One of my favorite spirit lifting activities is smudging. Smudging is burning herbs to release negative energies, ideas, thoughts, and behaviors. It is also a ceremony of prayer. The smoke from the burning herbs carries our prayers to Great Spirit.
You'll find a wonderful selection of smudge sticks and hand made incense on this page
Smudge Sticks & Incense
Making and flying Prayer Flags is another wonderful way to raise energy and lift the spirit. Buddhists sew together five pieces of colorful cloth on a ribbon, each with a written prayer, and tie these where they will blow in the wind and carry their prayers for peace, love and happiness.
Here is a Buddhist Prayer I like – "May our minds be filled with thoughts of loving kindness, friendliness and compassion. May our acts be kind."
Gentle movement, such as yoga, Tai Chi, walking in nature, working in a garden, all help to lift the spirits and bring calmness.
Prozac: Panacea or Pandora, Ann Blake Stacey
Psychotropic Herbs: A Scientific Analysis of Herbal Remedies for Phychiatric Conditions, Dr. Ethan Russo
Natural Prozac, Dr. Joel Robertson
The Natural Medicine Guide to Autism, Stephanie Marohn, Healthy Mind Guide
www.beyondblue.org.au/ National depression Initiative – Australia.
http://kellybroganmd.com/depression-serotonin/ excellent article, highly recommended.
Copyright 2005 Gail Faith Edwards
This article may be reproduced with the author's permission as long as you give full credit to the author and provide a link to this website. www.blessedmaineherbs.com
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