People have always experienced stress and anxiety – as they are important biological signals designed to help alert us to possible danger. The “fight or flight”  response is essential to human survival, however, if you look at the growing number of nervous system disorders in our population we can easily see the magnitude of the problem of living under a state of constant stress, anxiety, and depression.

Struggling with mental health issues can be deeply debilitating and downright dangerous for those who suffer. Prescription drugs are being handed out at an alarming rate, and often come with serious side effects that can sometimes worsen your mental health.  

For those seeking to treat and ease their feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression but do not want to use traditional pharmaceuticals – herbal treatments are a great option.

As opposed to dangerous pharmaceutical drugs, the great thing about herbal treatments is that they do not pose any serious threats to one’s health as they have minimal side effects.

What are the best herbs for treating mental health issues?

  1. St Johns Wart: St. John’s wort is a powerful herb for treating anxiety and depression. It has the unique capability to work on the brain in a way much like a pharmaceutical SSRI. In fact, in Germany, it is the first line of defense prescribed for mild to moderate depression. It also has the ability to regenerate neurons and actually heal the brain. It has a calming effect on the nervous system, making it great for anxiety. St. Johns is said to capture the energy of the sun at summer solstice when it blooms and brings warmth and vitality to those who are having trouble seeing the light.
  2. Passionflower: passionflower is a tropical flower used to treat anxiety and insomnia. It deeply relaxes the nervous system and is sedative. Passionflower is so named because it is said to resemble the crown of thorns worn by Christ, a true testament to its ability to help us endure hardship. If you are having trouble relaxing after a hard day or need help falling or staying asleep, passionflower is an excellent choice. A little goes a long way with this herb, so just a pinch will do.
  3. Skullcap: skullcap is used to treat anxiety and panic attacks. It is incredibly calming to the nerves, and if one is able to get some down before or during a panic attack it has the potential to immediately stop the attack. Some might find that skullcap makes them sleepy as well. This herb is recommended for short durations of time for acute stress. It can be a powerful herb to use after experiencing a traumatic event or when healing from a difficult situation, but it is not recommended for long-term daily use.
  4. Tulsi: Also known as Holy Basil, Tulsi is a long-revered herb in Ayurvedic medicine and a staple herb to many Indian families. Tulsi is an adaptogen, meaning it nourishes the adrenal glands and helps the body adapt to everyday stressors. It also helps us heal from chronic and long-term stress on the nervous system. Like St. Johns Wort, Tulsi has the ability to repair and rebuild the nervous system. This powerful herb gently soothes the mind while restoring the entire nervous system. You might enjoy drinking a cup of tulsi before meditation and experiencing how it leaves you feeling relaxed and open.
  5. Valerian: Valerian is an aromatic root used to treat insomnia. Additionally, it can help ease muscular tension and cramps. Valerian can help calm an elevated heart rate and bring our nerves into a state of peaceful rest. Your cat, however, might have the opposite response if they happen to get a sniff- they respond to it like catnip!

Interested in using herbs to help treat your mental health problems? Start with a consultation with one or providers at Infinite Potential Centre!


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