Chinese Herbs

Healing Herbs for the Mind and Soul

Everyone longs to be happy. For some people this seems to come naturally, for others it’s a struggle. Genetics, life experiences, diet, surroundings, and lifestyle are some of the factors influencing the body, mind, and soul. A positive state of mind is not something that’s out of reach who deal with issues of stress, sadness, and depression.

Why Choose Healing Herbs Over Pharmaceuticals?

Antidepressants and SSRI’s are not magic happy pills that change our feelings and make us stop engaging in negative behaviors. They instead impact our brain chemistry and that balance of brain chemicals brings about positive changes.

Modern medicine sometimes disregards healing herbs and their uses. They claim their approach as the most cutting-edge, but actually their research is in an ongoing state of evolution.

Why subject ourselves as guinea pigs to their experiments? Often the chemicals in these medications are regarded by the body as foreign substances that are toxic and create additional stress to the body, mind, and spirit.

Healing herbs have been tried and proven to be safe and effective for many generations. They have few harmful side effects when used responsibly. They should not be taken randomly or in combination with pharmaceuticals. It is best to consult with an herbalist or holistic care professional when using herbs to treat your mind.

The Basics of Brain Chemistry

Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that act like hormones. They send messages throughout the body that create moods and feelings in people. If they become unbalanced, some symptoms may include compulsive thoughts, inability to concentrate, and depression. The main neurotransmitters are serotonin and dopamine.

Serotonin: produces overall feelings of wellness and relaxation. When you have enough, focus and sleep are adequate. Herbs that boost serotonin levels include oatstraw, burdock and angelica roots, dandelion, ginseng, wild yam and black cohosh.

Dopamine: is an energizing chemical that promotes feelings of alertness and assertiveness. When you are feeling energized and focused it probably means your dopamine is at proper levels. Ashwaganda and St. John’s Wort are two healing herbs that have been documented as having a balancing effect on dopamine.

Ayurvedic Adaptogenic Herbs for Balancing Mind, Body, and Spirit

Adaptogenic herbs help to counteract stress related to physical, chemical or biological factors. They help generate resistance to the imposing demands of a negative state that has been created within the mind and body complex.

India has one of the most in-depth and longest histories of herbal healing documented on the planet. Ayurveda adapts a unique holistic approach to the entire science of life. For many years this system was not recognized outside of India, but it is currently gaining popularity in Western countries. Some of the adaptogenic healing herbs that are commonly used to help in alleviating stress include:

  • Amalaki (Emblica officinalis)
  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
  • Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
  • Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
  • Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)
  • Long Pepper (Piper longum)
  • Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)
  • Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)
  • Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)

In addition to the noteworthy effects on the mind, these herbs nourish digestion, liver health, metabolism and many other positive elements that support overall balance within the body and speed up the overall healing process.

Formulas that nourish and restore body tissues are called rasayanas. Those that are specifically for the brain are called medhya rasayana. In addition to enhancing memory and helping alleviate stress, they have been shown to slow aging and help restore neural tissues.

These Ayurvedic healing herbs can be taken in a number of ways, including teas, capsules, and traditional pastes made with ghee and honey. Consult a professional for the best advice.

Healing Herbs of North America for Mind and Spirit

  • Rosehips have been recognized for their ability to calm nervousness and enhance vitality.
  • Oatstraw is loaded with B vitamins and nourish the brain, restoring the nervous system.
  • Lavender can be applied as an essential oil to help with stress relief.
  • Skullcap is a tonic that nourishes the nervous system. It also works as a mild sedative and relieves pain.
  • Rosemary helps with depression and memory.
  • Ginkgo Biloba increases blood flow to the brain and increases overall brain function.
  • Ginseng boosts energy while promoting clear thinking, good sleep, and concentration.
  • Angelica offers rich nutrients that promote healthy brain functioning such as B vitamins, B12, calcium, magnesium, and iron.
  • Lemon balm is a mild natural tranquilizer. It nourishes the brain and helps with depression.
  • St. John’s Wort is a popular choice to treat mild depression and anxiety.
  • Motherwort has been said to promote emotional stability and strength.

These herbs are commonly used in tea blends, tinctures, and capsules. Do not expect a miracle overnight. You need to commit to your treatment plan for weeks or months before noticing the cumulative effect, but it’s worth it!

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