Herbs For Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia, Irritability, and Nervousness
When a client comes to me with mood balance problems, I almost always offer them a specially formulated traditional herbal tonic as part of my comprehensive approach to Mood and Energy Wellness.
My clients (and I personally) find these tonics to be a key asset in maintaining stable, balanced, centered, and harmonious moods throughout the day.
The exact formulation of herbal tinctures that I combine for each client varies and is proprietary.
Generally these are the herbs I choose from for their effects on depression, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and nervousness.
St. John's Wort
Many studies attest to the ability of St. John's Wort to positively affect depression. St. John's Wort has at least 10 active ingredients that help in relieving depression. As proven as those active ingredients are, never forget that the whole herb is going to be more powerful than its extracted ingredients. St. John's Wort helps relieve depression by:
- Acting like a Serotonin Reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) similar to SSRI anti-depressant medications.
- Acting as a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor keeping this neurotransmitter at optimal levels. Low norepinephrine levels results in fatigue and lack of energy. Optimal norepinephrine levels are important for cardiovascular functioning, thermal regulation, vascular functioning (blood vessels) and act in the central nervous system to improve mood and concentration.
- Inhibits excessive cortisol secretion.
- Lifts dopamine levels. Low levels of dopamine leave you without adequate motivation and prone to compulsions and additions.
- Enhances the activity of the natural tranquilizer GABA in the brain.
Black Cohosh is an analgesic nervine relaxant and helps correct low estrogen states in depression. Black Cohosh is especially indicated for deep dark depression that seems to descend out of nowhere. It helps when the mind is chaotic and wild with little ability to focus that results in acute or chronic anxiety.
New research indicates that Black Cohosh helps mood imbalances through directly effecting neurotransmitters and not just as a phytoestrogen acting like estrogen. It appears that Black Cohosh works through the brain and hypothalamus. It does so by affecting the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine - which helps explain why it alleviates mood swings and irritability.
Siberian Ginseng is an adaptogen and helps the body reach a healthy homeostatic state and more easily manage and integrate the stress that can act as a trigger for depression. It raises mood and increases non- specific immunity, which makes it especially helpful when depression occurs in conjunction with chronic illness.
Siberian Ginseng acts as both a mild tranquilizer and neurostimulant and has both a calming and a stimulating effect useful in both manic or depressive phases and sedation and arousal depressive states. The stimulation achieved with Siberian Ginseng does not produce nervousness and over stimulation but rather a relaxed sense of well-being - calming and at the same time invigorating.
It can raise norepinephrine levels helping to induce movement and motivation for desired projects. Plus, it works as a nerve tonic to calm the agitation that can come with depression.
Siberian Ginseng is particularly supportive for stressed and overtaxed adrenals and because adrenal gland tissue is neuroendocrine tissue, Siberian Ginseng provides the adrenal support along with brain support. It stimulates the adrenals to help give more energy to the body and the cholinergic (calming) nervous system. Its effect on the adrenal glands is more tonic-like than stimulating and acts to normalize adrenal activity. The use of Siberian Ginseng switches adrenal function from a cortisol/catoblic focus to a DHEA/anabolic focus resulting in building and energizing and normalizing physiological functioning throughout the body.
Siberian Ginseng has a long respected ability to improve performance and withstand adverse conditions without experiencing adverse effects. It also increases mental alertness, improves concentration, and has been found to increase the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain.
In addition, Siberian Ginseng contains concentrated nourishment - especially for the brain and the nervous system. A well-nourished brain and nervous system are less likely to fall victim to mood imbalances.
Lavender is a restorative for the nervous system and helps lift mood - especially when sadness and low mood linger on after improvements in life situations. Lavender clarifies and stimulates thought processes and eases and relaxes emotional tension. It stimulates the limbic system and causes relaxation in anxious, tense, or hysterical states. Very soothing to the nervous system.
Passion Flower helps to achieve stability of mood. It also helps restore deep synchronized sleep patterns in those who are tired but are awakened by pain or mental or emotional disruption during the night. It is specific for depression with deep exhaustion and insomnia due to worry, overwork, or disability.
Passion Flower is excellent remedy for reducing and resolving rumination - the excessive and repetitive thinking so often accompanying depression and other mood disorders. Passion Flower is effective in managing generalized anxiety and nervous restlessness.
This is a gentle but powerful nervine, which affects the limbic-hippocampal area in the brain. By so doing, the plant helps to filter out excessive stimuli from the body and modulates internal and external nervous input protecting the brain from excessive stimulation, reducing symptoms of excitability, restlessness, headaches, and palpitations.
Lemon Balm is specific for nervous heart, nervous stomach, and for depression co-existing with difficulty going to sleep. As a carminative nervine, it strengthens the brain against restlessness, anxiety, and neuroses.
Lemon Balm is known as the "gladdening" herb and has mild anti-depressant qualities, being soothing, calming, and uplifting plus reducing restlessness and agitation.
Nettles is the premier herb for all your physical and subtle energy systems. She clears out debris in your entire energetic network and clearly but gently dismantles old, worn out energy patterns. Nettles is truly a liquid green gold that weaves her way through you to reconnect you to your own harmonious rhythms freeing up stale and stagnant energy enlivening you.
Nettles is a nutritional powerhouse having appropriately ample supplies of amino acids, calcium, magnesium, chromium, cobalt, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, sulfur, selenium, silicon, manganese, trace minerals, all the B vitamins , the carotenes, vitamin K, D, and C! And nettles is a wonderful restorative tonic for the kidneys and adrenals. Strong well-nourished kidneys and adrenals are needed for the production of ample clean energy and for replenishing your deep reserves of essential life energy. Nettles provides a sense of clarity, wellness, and well-being. Nettles will nourish an awakening in you of your true self - the self that your depression is attempting to hide from you.
Alfalfa means "father of all foods" and is another nutritional powerhouse. Alfalfa is rich in chlorophyll and natural protein and has high concentration of Vitamins A, B6, D, E, and K as well. Alfalfa's roots reach deep into the soil and bring up minerals stored deep in the soil. It is a good source of iron, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus and contains eight of the essential amino acids. Alfalfa is a rich nutritional support for many systems of the body and as such it encourages, supports, and coaxes the production of fundamental clean energy in the body.
California Poppy helps normalize disturbed sleep patterns, which are a troublesome part of depression.
Wood Betony is a gentle, stimulating tonic for the brain especially in the presence of hysteria and persistent unwanted thoughts, and for nervous debility, anxiety, or neuroses.
Gotu Kola is a powerful rejuvenative nervine that enhances oxygenation and the metabolic efficiency of the brain. It is reported to increase intelligence, longevity, and memory while decreasing senility and aging. Known as the king of tonics for the mind it enhances cerebral function. It also helps to purify the blood and strengthen the adrenals.
Rose gives its supportive gentle strength to the brain and nervous system. It is loving, calming, centering, and facilitates the integration and release of stressful experiences. Rose enhances your ability to drop your consciousness out of your analytical mind into your heart and stay focused in your heart-centered intelligence. Rose helps you make your way through the dark night of mood imbalances and step through the gateway to give and receive love. Lifts your spirits, heals the pain of the heart and enlivens your vitality.
If you are taking anti-anxiety and/or anti-depressant medications, any other medications, have a diagnosed condition or illness, are pregnant, breastfeeding, elderly or very young it is important to work with a knowledgeable health care practitioner before using these or any herbs. Uses described are based on traditional use and personal experience. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Evenstar Herbs products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Mary Ann Copson is the founder of the Evenstar Herbs and a Certified Licensed Nutritionist, a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, a Brain Chemistry Profile Clinician, a Professional Life Coach, Human Development Consultant and Eco-therapist. Find her Serotonin Enhancing Tonic at http://EvenstarHerbs.com/spotlight.html