If you’ve ever found yourself spiralling down the path of depression and anxiety, you know that it’s not a pleasant road to take. Besides getting professional help (if your mental health interferes with your everyday life) you can also try a few herbs as a form of self-therapy. Here are the best herbs for boosting mental health that you can easily incorporate into your diet and lifestyle.
St John’s wort is relatively-unknown plant native to Europe, northern Africa and western Asia is a plant commonly taken for depression by Europeans, even though it’s still not FDA approved (or banned). Taking this plant has been connected to a boosted production of serotonin in the body, that feel-good chemical that people suffering from depression often lack. St John’s wort can help mild forms of anxiety and depression. The reason why you might want to choose this herb instead of antidepressants is its very few side effects. However, it does interact with a lot of prescription medication, especially those that have blood-thinning properties, birth control pills and chemo medication. Before you start any treatment with this herb, make sure to consult with your doctor.
Saffron is the vibrant spice that comes from a flower in the iris family. According to some sources, taking saffron stigma (the end of the rod-like stem in the flower) can help people battling with mild to moderate depression. While scientists need to understand the effects of this herb and it’s side-effects better, you can try including it in your diet moderately.
Marijuana plants contain over 200 cannabinoids, different substances with different properties. One that’s most commonly used for treating anxiety, stress and insomnia is called cannabidiol or CBD. A few drops of CBD for anxiety in your water or under your tongue can help you battle anxiety on a daily bases and allows for better sleep. If you have any issues with focus or motivation, CBD can help here as well, which makes it perfect for those who work hard and need concentration and creativity. Plus, CBD has no psychoactive effects, so you can take it with you to work, school, workout or when you go out to grab a coffee.
Ginseng is a root native to America and Asia and practitioners of Chinese traditional medicine have used this supplement since the ancient times to improve their patient’s mental health, clarity and energy. Some users report that ginseng helped them with lowered energy and motivation that often follows depression. Most of these report as anecdotal, but you’re free to try it yourself, it can’t hurt.
Chamomile is a great addition to everyone’s life, especially to the lives of people suffering from chronic stress and anxiety. According to some studies, chamomile has better effects on managing depression and anxiety than a placebo. While further studies are definitely needed, chamomile is undoubtedly quite relaxing. Plus, it’s widely available!
Lavender oil is one of the most popular essential oils today used by people who seek relaxation and anxiety reduction. Lavender is also great at improving sleep, so if you often wake up tired even after seven or eight hours of sleep, you might want to try defusing some lavender essential oil or putting a few drops in your massage oil.
This spice is a very popular remedy used in Ayurveda but also used in cuisines around the world. Turmeric contains a substance called curcumin rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects, both of which can benefit brain health and overall health. Some research shows that turmeric can improve brain health and keep you safe from Alzheimer’s and prevent the breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. Plus, you can easily include it in your life. Ingredients like curry powder are full of turmeric and you can add it to stir-fries, soups, veggie dishes and meat marinades.
Just because these remedies work for certain people, it doesn’t mean they will work for you too or have the exact same effects. Natural medicine is very subjective and varies from person to person. If you experience mental health issues so strong that they can’t be managed naturally, you should definitely see a professional. How will you know when to go see a doctor? This also varies from person to person, but if no herbs, supplements and foods help and your anxiety and depression interfere with your day-to-day life, it’s time to take things seriously. You are already taking the first step towards getting better!