The Herbs I Take for Depression & Anxiety (Part 2)

Friday, August 04, 2017

If you missed the first post in this two-part series on treating anxiety and depression with herbs instead of pharmaceuticals, you can find it here. This post will be about the actual herbs that I take, and their healing purposes. 

Disclaimer: As mentioned before, I am not a doctor, so anything I recommend in this post is purely based off my own experiences. Check with your doctor if you have any questions about the herbs, or any drug interactions. Also, do your research. Some of these can possibly interact very badly with SSRIs, or Benzodiazepines like Xanax, and other prescriptions as well. They're pretty potent herbs. 

WHAT I TAKE

The herbal supplement I take is actually an herbal mixture in capsule form. It is Dr. Christopher's Mindtrac. 

This mixture includes: Valerian Root, Organic Skullcap, Ginkgo Leaf, Wildcrafted Oregon Grape Root, St. John's Wort, Organic Mullein Leaf, Wildcrafted Gotu Kola Herb, Wildcrafted Sarsaparilla Root, Organic Dandelion Root, Wildcrafted Lobelia Herb, Organic Rosemary, and Organic Jurassic Greens (barley, alfalfa and wheatgrass.)

THE HERBS

Let's talk about all the herbs, now. Shall we?

Photo: nccih.nih.gov

1. VALERIAN ROOT

Valerian is native perennial plant to Europe and parts of Asia, and has also been cultivated in North America. It prefers to grow in meadows and woodlands that have a moist temperate climates. It can grow up to 6 feet tall and produces small clusters of white or pink flowers. The flowers are scented sweetly, which is a major contrast to the root of the plant. The roots have a very strong odor, which is similar to that of smelly socks. (If you ever buy the liquid form of Valerian Root, you'll know this to be true. That stuff is disgusting.) 

Uses: The roots are harvested and dried for use in promoting relaxation and sleep.  

Purpose in Mindtrac: A medicine to calm the nerves, sedative and antispasmodic. Besides its calming nature on the nerves and muscles, it helps promote regular and restful sleep.

Special Note: Valerian is known to interact with Benzodiazepines like Xanax or other sedatives. Caution is advised as they can increase the sedative effects which could be quite dangerous. 

Sources: mountainroseherbs.com, herballegacy.com


2. SKULLCAP

Skullcap is a perennial herb in the mint family. It has ridged leaves and tiny flowers that range in color from purple, blue, pink and white. The flowers are two-lobed and resemble old helmets worn by the European military. It's quite hardy and will grow anywhere from 1 to 4 feet in height. It thrives in the woods and swamplands of eastern North America.

Uses: Skullcap is traditionally used to alleviate nervous tension and exhaustion. It is used to promote emotional well-being and relaxation during times of distress. Common uses for it are to relieve stress,  anxiety, pain, muscle spasms, insomnia, panic attacks, and twitching.

Purpose in Mindtrac: A medicine to calm the nerves, sedative and antispasmodic. Besides its calming nature on the nerves and muscles, it helps promote regular and restful sleep.

Sources: mountainroseherbs.com, herbalremediesadvice.org, herballegacy.com

Photo Credit: jrid.com

3. GINKGO LEAF

Ginkgo is one of the oldest living species of plant on earth and is Native to China. It is thought to be more than 225 million years old. It is one of the ten best selling herbs in the U.S. and is also one of the most frequently used plant medicines in Europe. 

Uses: Ginkgo leaf promotes healthy blood circulation.

Purpose in Mindtrac: To synergize the St. John's Wort herb. This herb has been used traditionally to improve memory, nerve response and mental alertness.

Special Note: If you have a coagulation disorder, talk to your doctor prior to using. 

Source: mountainroseherbs.com, herballegacy.com

 Photo: herbco.com

4. OREGON GRAPE ROOT

Oregon grape is a flowering perennial with holly-like leaves. It is native to western North America and is most prominent in the Pacific Northwest. It is usually found in mountain regions. The plant grows to about two to six feet tall, and produces small bluish-black berries that look like tiny concord grapes. The berries are edible but do not taste good as they're intensely tart. They have been said to taste similar to sucking on a Vitamin C pill and an aspirin at the same time.

Uses: The yellow root is harvested and used to support skin irritations when used externally. It has also been shown to stimulate digestion through ingestion as a tonic. 

Mindtrac Purpose: to cleanse the blood and to stimulate liver detoxification.

Special Note: Not for use in pregnancy except under the supervision of a qualified doctor.

Source: mountainroseherbs.com, herballegacy.com

Photo Credit: nccih.nih.gov

5. ST. JOHN'S WORT

Hepericum perforatum is commonly known as St. John's Wort. It is considered a holy herb because it was used during the Middle Ages and was once believed to protect people from curses, demons and lightning. It is native to Europe but has also been cultivated in other temperate climates around the world, especially in North America. It is a creeping perennial, producing yellow star-shaped flowers. 

Uses: St. John's Wort is used to promote a healthy mood and emotional balance, and several clinical trials have studied the effectiveness of this, with most of them showing positive results that compare to standard medicines. 

Purpose in Mindtrac: It has been proven in scientific studies to mimic the effects of antidepressant drugs. It is so effective that it is strongly advised against combining this herb with any antidepressant drug.

Special Notes: Not to be used during phototherapy. Those with fair-skin should avoid a lot of sun exposure while taking this. Do not combine with any other anti-depressants. 

Source: mountainroseherbs.com, herballegacy.com

Photo: mariposaherbs.com

6. MULLEIN LEAF

Mullein has silvery green leaves and yellow flowers. It can grow up to 8 feet in height. In it's first year of growth, it appears as pictured above, but in the second, it will send up a large spike of yellow flowers. It is native to north Africa, many parts of Asia and Europe, and is now widely spread around world. It grows as a weed in a lot of places. and will even grow in compacted crappy soil. The roots are strong and will break up the soil, and the leaves provide nutrients to the soil when they die. It has been found to improve soil by making it good enough for other plants to thrive, and then will quit growing there. 

Uses: It has several practical uses as well as medicinal. Ancient Roman botanists recommended it for use for lung conditions. It was used as a hair wash, the leaf ash would darken hair, and the flowers would lighten it. Leaves could be dried and rolled up to use as candle wicks, and the large flower stalks were used for torches. Mullein, was brought to North America by settlers and the Native Americans found a lot of uses for it. The root could be made into a teething necklace for babies, the leaves as a poultice for cuts, or smoked as tobacco. 

Purpose in Mindtrac: An antispasmodic and cleanser. Helps cleanse the blood by assisting the lymph and the glandular systems.

Special Note: My personal favorite discovery in researching this plant is that it's considered "nature's toilet paper". That is useful info because it grows wild all over our mountains. It's quite soft and fuzzy. Would be much nicer and softer than regular leaves.

Source: mountainroseherbs.com, herballegacy.com


7. GOTU KOLA

Gotu Kola likes to grow in the hot tropical climates of South Asia, including India, Japan, China, Indonesia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the South Pacific. It's happiest near slow moving water, and swampy areas. Its leaves are small round and vibrant green, and it flowers with white, light purple or pink hues. Gotu Kola also produces an oval shaped fruit. It is a member of the carrot family, and is related to many popular foods such as parsley, cumin, fennel, angelica and cilantro. In Sri Lanka, it is known that elephants love to eat it, and since they live a long life and are thought to have great memories, locals will also eat Gotu Kola everyday. It is referred to as 'the fountain of life' in China. There's a legend that claims an herbalist ate the stuff everyday and lived for over 200 years. It is commonly eaten as a salad green, or sold as fresh juice in many Asian countries.

Uses: It has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese and Indian medicinal practices, because it is thought to promote healthy memory function and alertness. It is also known to produce a calming effect. 

Purpose in Mindtrac: To synergize the St. John's Wort herb. It has been used traditionally to improve memory, nerve response and mental alertness.

Source: mountainroseherbs.com, herballegacy.com




8. SARSAPARILLA ROOT

Sarsaparilla root is a perennial climbing vine with woody stems that are covered in sharp thorns up to half an inch long. It is native to South and Central America, and the Caribbean. 

Uses: When the Spanish explorers arrived, they found that local tribes made health tonic drinks from this plant.

Mindtrac Purpose: to cleanse the blood and to stimulate liver detoxification.

Source: mountainroseherbs.com, herballegacy.com

Photo: artemisinine.net

9. DANDELION ROOT

We all know Dandelions as the most annoying part of gardening, and having a nice lawn. They pop up everywhere, and are easily spread out by their puffy seed head that forms after their standard yellow bloom. What most of us don't know is that Dandelion is an incredibly healing and edible plant that has been used for thousands of years throughout China, other parts of Asia, and also in traditional medicine practices all over the world. It is native to all of these areas as well, and is regularly found growing pretty much anywhere there is soil. It can even be found in the Himalayas at elevations as high as 12,000 feet.

Uses: The root is a favorite of traditional herbalists because it supports healthy functioning of the liver, kidneys, spleen and gallbladder, and is also a reliable detoxifier. In folk medicine all over Europe it was considered a reliable tonic which supported the digestive system. Various Native American tribes used it as a digestive aid, a cleansing alterative, and a helpful healing poultice or compress, it aided in stomach pain, and steamed leaves applied topically helped with sore throats, a tea made of the leaves and flowers was ingested to calm the nerves, and chewing the root helped with tooth pain. It also helps to balance the menstrual cycle, relief with bloating, PMS, and breast tenderness, and helps with menopause by helping to calm hot flashes. Hot flashes are also present in those who are anxious. WOW!

Mindtrac Purpose: to cleanse the blood and to stimulate liver detoxification.

Source: mountainroseherbs.com, herballegacy.com


10. LOBELIA HERB 

Lobelia is a small flower that is light blue or violet, which can grow to about three feet. It is very popular in gardens. It is found in southeast Canada from Nova Scotia to Southeast Ontario and British Columbia. It is also found in the eastern half of the U.S. except for Florida.

Uses: The main parts used of the Lobelia plant are the flowers and seeds. The seeds are the most potent because they contain lobeline. Lobeline is believed to be similar to nicotine and was used as an alternative to tobacco. In the 19th century, Lobelia was also used to induce vomiting to get harmful poisons out of the body. Lobelia is used to treat asthma, allergies, whooping cough, congestion, and bronchitis. In the past, it was also useful for tobacco withdrawal as an herbal remedy to quit smoking. 

Purpose in Mindtrac: An antispasmodic and cleanser. Helps cleanse the blood by assisting the lymph and the glandular systems.

Special Notes: It is advised to never prepare Lobelia yourself unless you're a trained herbalist.  Lobelia can be toxic with improper dosages because of its lobeline affiliation. It is also very important that a dosage of 20mg per day is never exceeded. A dosage of more than 500mg could be fatal. Some side affects include vomiting, convulsions, hypothermia, dizziness, dry mouth, coma, or death. Weakness, difficulty breathing, heartburn, collapsing or a weak pulse are signs of poisoning. If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, tobacco sensitivity, seizure disorder, paralysis, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, or are recovering from shock, you should not take this herb. It is also not recommended for women that are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Source: herbwisdom.com, herballegacy.com

Photo: Wikipedia

11. ROSEMARY

Rosemary is a member of the mint family and is native to the Mediterranean region. It's a well-known food spice. It is also a flowering evergreen, and has thin needle-like leaves that are used for food and medicine. Rosemary is commonly grown in gardens or in potted herb gardens. 

Uses: Rosemary works as both liver cleanser and nervous calmative. 

Source: herballegacy.com, mountainroseherbs.com



12. ORGANIC JURASSIC GREENS (Barley, Alfalfa, Kamut Wheatgrass)

Jurassic Greens is Dr. Christopher's blend of barley, alfalfa and Kamut wheatgrass. It is packed with phytonutrients, whole food vitamins, trace minerals, active enzymes, chlorophyll, balanced amino acids, and other important nutrients needed by body. 

Purpose in Mindtrac: supplies the body with essential vitamins and minerals in an all natural form. B vitamins, Chlorophyll, Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium help regulate nerve transmission and muscle response.

Source: drchristophersherbs.com, herballegacy.com

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