MEDICINAL HERBS: Researched Benefits for Depression and Anxiety

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Although conventional drug treatment helps many people suffering from depression, there are many people who do not benefit from these treatments, and others who suffer unwanted side effects.  Please do not stop taking your medications. This is not a post to encourage you to stop using your medications, including anti-depressants. My goal in sharing this information to help those who are not benefiting from their present treatments and are considering other options. If you are considering adding any of the medicinal herbs mentioned in this post, speak to your regular healthcare provider for guidance and supervision as you make the changes to your treatment regime. Not all natural plants are safe and some could interact negatively with prescribed drugs. Do not go out into your garden and use plants that are considered bedding plants as medicinal herbs.

Many, many years ago, I was one of the people suffering from depression who did not benefit from conventional drug treatments. My passion to help match the right symptom relief solutions for each unique client prompts me to continue my research into non-conventional treatments, not only for depression, but other symptoms. What works for one person with anxiety or depression will not necessarily be the right fit for another person with the same symptoms. Before you consider adding herbs to your treatment plan, please read my blog post Mental Health by Design for my holistic mental health recommendations for ‘where to begin’.

A number of studies have researched adjunctive therapeutic approaches to improve outcomes for depression patients. I have summarized some of them below.

Medicinal Herbs Studied:

The fruit of the Nelumbo nucifera (Nelumbinis semen) plant has long been used as a natural tranquilizer in Asian countries. “Nelumbinis Semen reverses a decrease in 5-HT1A receptor binding induced by chronic mild stress, a depression-like symptom”(1)

nelumbonucifera

Carvacrol, the main compound in oregano oil, has been found to induce antidepressant effects that seem to be dependent on an interaction with the dopaminergic brain pathways.(2)  Carvacrol can raise 5-HT and dopamine ranges in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex and influence neuronal activity through modulation of neurotransmitters.(3)

oregano-plant

Camellia sinensis (or tea plant) is used to make most traditional caffeinated teas, including black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and green tea. Research results suggest that green tea polyphenols can regulate the HPA axis involved in the pathology of depression.(4)

greentea

Crocus sativus, commonly known as saffron crocus, or autumn crocus, improves the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression and improves the Beck Depression Inventory and Beck Anxiety Inventory Scores with rare side effects.(5)

Crocus_sativus

Hypericum perforatum commonly known as St. John’s wort, is used in the treatment of anxiety and depression and can prevent relapse after recovery from acute depression.(6)

yelow-hypericum-flower

Piper methysticum, commonly called kava, improves the Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating Scale with no serious adverse effects and no clinical hepatotoxicity.(7)

kava

Rhodiola rosea showed increased hippocampus 5-HT level-induced proliferation of neural stem cells, repairing the damaged neuronal cells in hippocamps.(8)  Improves overall depression, together with insomnia, emotional instability, and somatization, but not self-esteem with no serious side effects.(9)

rhodeola

Lavandula angustifolia, the well known and loved lavender plant, reduces stress, anxiety, and depression in pregnant women.(10) Lavender Improves the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.(11)

lavendel

Curcumin: The medicinal properties of turmeric, which is the major source of the polyphenol curcumin, have been known for thousands of years.  Curcumin requires enhancing agents like piperine (found in black pepper) to provide the multiple health benefits. Curcumen restores biochemical and behavioral changes induced by chronic stress, reverses the decreased immobility period and MAO activity induced chronic stress and attenuates the stress-induced hippocampus in mice studies. (12)

turmeric

Proanthocyanidins are a class of polyphenols found in a variety of plants such as blueberry. They enhance 5-HT levels in hypothalamus, hypothalamus, and the frontal cortex.(13)

wildblueberry

Quercetin is a plant pigment (flavonoid). It is found in many plants and foods, such as red wine, onions, green tea, apples, berries, Ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, American elder, and others. Buckwheat tea has a large amount of quercetin. Studies show that Quercetin prevents hyperactivation of the HPA axis, (14), preventing a skewed stress response, like ‘flight mode’.

buckwheat

Resveratrol, is a natural polyphenol has been detected in more than 70 plant species, especially in grapes’ skin and seeds. Resveratrol raises 5-HT, dopamine, and noradrenaline concentrations in the brain and reduces MAO activity.(15)

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The previous phytochemicals and medicinal herbs are just a few of the possible natural treatment options for anxiety and depression. Finding the right mix and dosage of these medicinal alternatives requires time and experimenting under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner experienced in their use. Please review the research information and discuss the information with your regular health care provider before adding phytochemicals and medicinal herbs to your treatment regime and before making adjustments to your present treatment plan. Do not stop taking your medication. 

Many phytochemicals can be found in essential oils and are easy to use. Lavender essential oil is one of my favourites and I use it often, applying it to the inside of my wrists and ankles over the Chinese meridian channels, the base of my skull, my toes (reflexology points) and my sternum (this is where I first feel stress). Find out more about phytochemicals in essential oils at my page My Green Medicine Cabinet.

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Escapes to nature and other body, mind and spirit experiences promote mental health and overall well-being!

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Wishing you health, happiness and peace of mind!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, http://www.mybodycanhealitself.ca/

Author of The Whole Person Well-being Equation available at http://www.mybodycanhealitself.ca/books.htm

Wishing you many health promoting escapes! Follow some of my escapes at  https://www.instagram.com/escape_to_the_farmacy/ .

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Sources:

Table 1 – Therapeutic Effects of Phytochemicals and Medicinal Herbs on Depression, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2017/6596241/tab2/

Table 2 – Therapeutic Effects of Phytochemicals and Medicinal Herbs on Depression, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2017/6596241/tab2/

1    C.-G. Jang, M. Kang, J.-H. Cho et al., Archives of Pharmacal Research, vol. 27, no. 10, pp. 1065–1072, 2004.

2    F. H. C. Melo, B. A. Moura, D. P. de Sousa et al., “Antidepressant-like effect of carvacrol (5-Isopropyl-2-methylphenol) in mice: involvement of dopaminergic system,” Fundamental and Clinical Pharmacology, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 362–367, 2011.

3    M. Zotti, M. Colaianna, M. G. Morgese et al., “Carvacrol: from ancient flavoring to neuromodulatory agent,” Molecules, vol. 18, no. 6, pp. 6161–6172, 2013.

4    W.-L. Zhu, H.-S. Shi, Y.-M. Wei et al., “Green tea polyphenols produce antidepressant-like effects in adult mice,” Pharmacological Research, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. 74–80, 2012.

5    E. Moshiri, A. A. Basti, A.-A. Noorbala, A.-H. Jamshidi, S. Hesameddin Abbasi, and S. Akhondzadeh, “Crocus sativus L. (petal) in the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial,” Phytomedicine, vol. 13, no. 9-10, pp. 607–611, 2006.

5    S. Akhondzadeh, N. Tahmacebi-Pour, A.-A. Noorbala et al., “Crocus sativus L. in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial,” Phytotherapy Research, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 148–151, 2005.

5    A. Akhondzadeh Basti, E. Moshiri, A.-A. Noorbala, A.-H. Jamshidi, S. H. Abbasi, and S. Akhondzadeh, “Comparison of petal of Crocus sativus L. and fluoxetine in the treatment of depressed outpatients: a pilot double-blind randomized trial,” Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 439–442, 2007.

5    S. Akhondzadeh, H. Fallah-Pour, K. Afkham, A.-H. Jamshidi, and F. Khalighi-Cigaroudi, “Comparison of Crocus sativus L. and imipramine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a pilot double-blind randomized trial [ISRCTN45683816],” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 4, article 12, 2004.

5    A. A. Noorbala, S. Akhondzadeh, N. Tahmacebi-Pour, and A. H. Jamshidi, “Hydro-alcoholic extract of Crocus sativus L. versus fluoxetine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized pilot trial,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 97, no. 2, pp. 281–284, 2005.

6    S. Kasper, H. P. Volz, H. J. Möller, A. Dienel, and M. Kieser, “Continuation and long-term maintenance treatment with Hypericum extract WS® 5570 after recovery from an acute episode of moderate depression—a double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled long-term trial,” European Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 18, no. 11, pp. 803–813, 2008.

7    J. Sarris, D. J. Kavanagh, G. Byrne, K. M. Bone, J. Adams, and G. Deed, “The Kava Anxiety Depression Spectrum Study (KADSS): a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial using an aqueous extract of Piper methysticum,” Psychopharmacology, vol. 205, no. 3, pp. 399–407, 2009.

8    Q. G. Chen, Y. S. Zeng, Z. Q. Qu et al., “The effects of Rhodiola rosea extract on 5-HT level, cell proliferation and quantity of neurons at cerebral hippocampus of depressive rats,” Phytomedicine, vol. 16, no. 9, pp. 830–838, 2009.

9    V. Darbinyan, G. Aslanyan, E. Amroyan, E. Gabrielyan, C. Malmström, and A. Panossian, “Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression,” Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 61, no. 5, pp. 343–348, 2007.

10    F. Effati-Daryani, S. Mohammad-Alizadeh-Charandabi, M. Mirghafourvand, M. Taghizadeh, and A. Mohammadi, “Effect of lavender cream with or without foot-bath on anxiety, stress and depression in pregnancy: a randomized placebo-controlled trial,” Journal of Caring Sciences, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 63–73, 2015.

11   M. Nikfarjam, N. Parvin, N. Assarzadegan, and S. Asghari, “The effects of lavandula angustifolia mill infusion on depression in patients using citalopram: a comparison study,” Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, vol. 15, no. 8, pp. 734–739, 2013.

11    P. Conrad and C. Adams, “The effects of clinical aromatherapy for anxiety and depression in the high risk postpartum woman—a pilot study,” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 164–168, 2012.

11     I.-S. Lee and G.-J. Lee, “Effects of lavender aromatherapy on insomnia and depression in women college students,” Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 136–143, 2006.

11     S. Akhondzadeh, L. Kashani, A. Fotouhi et al., “Comparison of Lavandula angustifolia Mill. tincture and imipramine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized trial,” Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 123–127, 2003.

12    M. K. Bhutani, M. Bishnoi, and S. K. Kulkarni, “Anti-depressant like effect of curcumin and its combination with piperine in unpredictable chronic stress-induced behavioral, biochemical and neurochemical changes,” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, vol. 92, no. 1, pp. 39–43, 2009.

13    Y. Xu, S. Li, R. Chen et al., “Antidepressant-like effect of low molecular proanthocyanidin in mice: involvement of monoaminergic system,” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, vol. 94, no. 3, pp. 447–453, 2010.

14    P. Bhutada, Y. Mundhada, K. Bansod et al., “Reversal by quercetin of corticotrophin releasing factor induced anxiety- and depression-like effect in mice,” Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 955–960, 2010.

15    Y. Yu, R. Wang, C. Chen et al., “Antidepressant-like effect of trans-resveratrol in chronic stress model: behavioral and neurochemical evidences,” Journal of Psychiatric Research, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 315–322, 2013.

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2017/6596241/#acknowledgments

AN OUT OF BALANCE NERVOUS SYSTEM: The Possible Root of Your Symptoms

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Feeling like you have blown a fuse or are ready to lose it? Do you suffer from ‘road rage’? You are not alone. Modern day stressors can accumulate, and like an electrical overload blows your fuse box; blows your nervous system out of balance.  Physical stressors like toxins, air pollution, overwork and over exertion plus mental and emotional stressors add up causing your nervous system and brain chemistry to become unbalanced or blown,

According to Better Health Thru Research: Restoring Health by Restoring Balance  “The brain is like a main fuse box where all electricity goes through. Like a circuit breaker in a building. If we over load the circuit we blow the fuse. As stress enters into our minds, (storing up stress memory), our communication system begins to shut down. Did you ever over load an electrical circuit? I am sure you have or someone you know did. This is how the brain and mind works. If we overload our mind and body with to much stress, we will blow a fuse and shut off electricity or (information) to the rest of the building (body). “

PSN and SNS

As a practitioner I see many clients presenting with many health concerns and symptoms. Over the years it has become more apparent that the root of their health challenges is often due to stress overloading the nervous system, often leading to an  imbalance between the brain and the two systems in the body. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, parts of the autonomic nervous system, work together to maintain balance in the body allowing your organs and systems to work properly. When the balance between the brain and the two systems is lost, symptoms occur.

There are many factors that can knock your life and ultimately your brain, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system out of balance.

stresssymptoms

This type of imbalance usually comes with chronic stress and anxiety and a flow of stress hormones; that like acid, chews at your organs, endocrines, body parts, blood brain barrier and systems; and leaves the body pH acidic with accompanying symptoms.

stress meter 2

The root of the presenting symptoms can usually be tracked back to imbalances in your life. You can read more about this in my blog post LIFE BALANCE: The Well-being Root  and STRESS IDLING: A Modern Day Challenge

The Well-being Root-1

Through neuromuscularbiofeedback assessments I provide clients with valuable insights into the cause of their stressors and imbalances . You can read more about this in my blog post THE WEAK LIST: A Necessary Well-being Tool  and my web page on health forensics. Energy balancing strategies can help your body to reset your nervous system and restore your desired ‘cool, calm and collected’ you. Learn how to reset your blown nervous system using my holistic protocol and the energy balancing strategies in my book THE WHOLE PERSON WELL-BEING EQUATION.

The valuable information that I provide my clients with usually requires them to either STOP, START OR CHANGE something in their lifestyle or diet.  Once clients make the required changes and their life and body’s balance are restored – the symptoms will ultimately subside. Simple? Yes and no! My clients share how making the required changes with the information provided during their BODYFEEDBACK INTERVIEW AND THERAPY sessions and through my holistic protocol in my book THE WHOLE PERSON WELL-BEING EQUATION provides them with improved health.

You too can have better health.  More is possible! Possible is doable by you!

Let me help you enjoy improved health!

Protect your brain, nervous system, body brain barrier and body from the harmful, acid like effects, of stress hormones. Eating healthy and using natural products are great steps to ‘a healthier you’. So many people are chronically hurting themselves by allowing the ongoing flow of stress hormones to damage their  bodies.

Consider implementing life balancing strategies and adding self-help therapies, like essential oil therapy, to help you balance your life and your nervous system. Find out more about using these therapeutic oils for a variety of health conditions by contacting me.

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca, elisabethlhines@gmail.com

#lifebalance #homeostasis #wholepersonwellbeing #naturalhealth #naturalcures #BODYFEEDBACKINTERVIEWANDTHERAPY #homeostasis #symptomfree #symptoms #naturalcures #cure #holistichealth #alternativehealth

Copyright © 2013, Elisabeth Hines
All rights reserved. No portion of this post may be copied and distributed in any manner without the written permission of the author or publisher and associates.

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Stress: It’s Worse Than You Think, John Carpi

#stress #stressedout #chronicstress #stressdamage #stressmanagement #lifebalance #distress #depression #bloodbrainbarrier #nervoussystemimbalance #rootofyoursymptoms #stressdangers