Guest Author - Karen Huber
Herbal remedies have been around a long time, and among them, are many that have been used for mental health. They can be infused into teas or water, or processed with alcohol.
St. John's wort is a herb many people have heard of or tried, and is also known as Hypericum perforatum, klamath weed, John's wort, amber touch-and-heal, goat weed, rosin rose, and milleperituis. St. John's wort has been used in the treatment of anxiety, mild to moderate depression, stomach upset, insomnia, fluid retention, hemorrhoids, and as an antiviral. St. John's wort has also been used topically in the treatment of nerve and muscle pain, skin inflammation, skin wounds, and burns. It can contribute to photosensitivity.
Valerian root is often used as a muscle relaxant, to help with sleep, a pain reliever, and for nervous tension. It is known by many other names like Valeriana officinalis, Baldrian, cat's love, cat's valerian, garden heliotrope, garden valerian, kesso root, radix valerianae, St. George's herb, valerian fragrant, valerian, and vandal root. It also contains magnesium, potassium, copper, and zinc.
Skullcap, also known as Scutellaria laterifolia, helmet flower, hood wort, and mad-dog weed, is a member of the mint family and native to US forests. During the 1700s, it was used to manage hydrophobia (rabies). The plant has been used as a herbal tranquilizer, sometimes combined with Valerian, and nervousness, irritability, and neuralgia. Other uses are as an antiinflammatory , an antibacterial, and an antifungal. It contains calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and vitamins C and E.
Passionflower, also known as Passiflora incarnata, passion fruit, granadilla, water lemon, May pop, apricot vine, and Jamaican honeysuckle, has been used to treat sleep disorders, pain, and nervous exhaustion. It was discovered in 1569 by Spanish explorers in Peru, who saw the flowers as symbolic of the passion of Christ. Other uses have included bronchial disorders, compresses for burns, inflammation, inflamed hemorrhoids, climacteric complaints, pediatric attention disorders, and pediatric nervousness.
Kava is a herb thought to work by mildly sedating the central nervous system. It has been used to treat nervousness, insomnia, hot flashes, and as a muscle relaxant. Some other herbs are California poppy, nutmeg, borage, and lotus oil, used for mood and sleep disorders and pain and gingko, which has been used to treat memory impairment and ADHD. Always inform your doctor which herbs you are taking because some can interact with prescription medications. Always consult your doctor before taking any alternative medications because some of them may not be right for you. Some herbs may cause serious problems if not taken in the right dosages. You can also look for a herbalist who will work with your physician.