Mental Health Awareness

Mental-health-Title-imageLooking after your mental health naturally

by Yanar Alkayat

Everyone is different when it comes to mental health. Problems range from the worries and emotions we all experience as part of everyday life to serious long-term conditions. According to the Mental Health Foundation, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in any given year.

Stress, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, mania or bipolar are not as uncommon as we think (and some have genetic roots) but the stigma attached can make it difficult for people to seek help.  What’s more, women are more likely to suffer than men and twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are spearheading the Heads Together campaign to end the stigma around mental health and to shine a spotlight on the power of conversation. ‘You have to prioritise your mental health. It’s very easy to run away from it,’ says Prince William in Heads Together video. Taking the first step by having a conversation can make all the difference.

Mental health problems are the largest burden of disease in the UK – 28 percent compared to 16 percent for cancer and heart disease – and as mental health services in the UK are overstretched with long waiting lists and limited specialist services, finding natural and holistic ways to help is more important than ever.

MEDICINAL HERBS FOR MENTAL HEALTH

For decades experts have been trying to untangle the roots of mental illness and for thousands of years, people have used medicinal plants for the treatment of various psychiatric disorders. Here are a few of our favourites and the products they have been carefully chosen for.

Hormonal flux, in particular, can wreak havoc on women’s mental health. An estimated 10 to 12 percent of women will experience depression at some point in their lives (double the number of men) with significant biological changes playing a part.

‘Hormonal changes around the time of childbirth can result in post-natal depression and women can also develop severe depression symptoms before menstruation. I suffered myself for several weeks with postnatal depression and know what a helpless feeling it is. Fortunately, I was in a position to prescribe homeopathic remedies for myself and used a combination of Cimicifuga, Sepia and Pulsatilla to combat the deep gloom, tears and depression which worked wonders for me’ Margo Marrone, Co-founder of The Organic Pharmacy.

 

Holy Basil

Also known as Tulsi in its native India, Holy Basil is an aromatic shrub and considered a potent adaptogen, which means it can naturally aid the body to cope with physical and emotional stresses. In the case of hormones, it can calm and support the adrenal glands, regulate cortisol and reduce the negative effects of stress from an over-stretched nervous system.

Panax Ginseng

Otherwise known as Ginseng Root, Panax Ginseng is another adaptogen used in oriental medicine to regulate mental and physical stress. Researchers have seen Ginseng combat chronic fatigue through its antioxidant properties and some have concluded it can be used for treating chronic stress. Other studies have seen it act as a mild anti-depressant by enhancing specific neurotransmitters in the brain.

Gingko Biloba

Ginkgo for short, this is a leaf extract from the Chinese Gingko tree and has been used to support brain activity by protecting nerves, dilating blood vessels and improving blood flow. This has been linked to focus, alertness and memory.

 

Schisandra

Schisandra is a type of berry most well known for its ability to cleanse the liver and protect it from toxic damage.  As an adaptogen, it can raise the body’s resistance to environmental stress, mental and physical fatigue and anxiety. It can also steady levels of stress hormones like cortisol and create a positive effect on mental performance under stress.

Damiana

Damiana is a small shrub with a reputation for improving sexual function by stimulating the libido in women and men. Sexual dysfunction is a common symptom of depression and frequently an adverse effect of with most antidepressants. It has also been used to combat the effects of lethargy and chronic exhaustion in mild depression by helping to stimulate blood flow.

We have made a tincture combining these tinctures to especially help support the brain, mood and energy, Brain Food Tincture.

Brain_Food_2017

HOMEOPATHY AND PERSONALISED PRESCRIPTIONS

At The Organic Pharmacy, we can also offer homeopathic remedies (read our blog on Homeopathy here) such as Argent Nit, Ambra Grisea, Anacardium (AAA) for anxiety and panic attacks. A consultation with one of our homeopaths and a personalised prescription can help with conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression.

SUPPLEMENTS

We have a selection of supplements for stress including EFAs + B Complex, which supplie essential nutrients to the brain, hormonal and nervous system. Calcium and Maganesium Complex which are better known as anti-stress minerals working synergistically on bones, nervous system, muscles and immune system.

Cal_Mag_EFA_Web

The best way to identify your individual needs is through the fantastic Stress & Vitamin Scan which can identify Stress and vitamin and mineral levels. This is normally £40 but throughout June we are offering it exclusively for £20.

Contact your local store to book your Stress & Vitamin Scan.

REFERENCES

Difference in mental illness men / women
Martin-Merino, E., Ruigomez, A., Wallander, M., Johansson, S. and GarciaRodriguez, L. (2009). Prevalence, incidence, morbidity and treatment patterns in a cohort of patients diagnosed with anxiety in UK primary care. Family Practice, 27(1), pp.9-16.
Holy basil https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4296439/
Ginseng https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3659612/
Ginseng anti-fatigue https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3629193/
Ginseng ADHD children  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3659525/
Ginseng anti-depression https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Liu_Xinmin/publication/26695414_Antidepressant_effects_of_ginseng_total_saponins_in_the_forced_swimming_test_and_chronic_mild_stress_models_of_depression/links/560d105a08ae9755d97315a1.pdf
Ginseng and stress https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14737017
Ginko http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/ginkgo-biloba
Schisandra and liver https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22610748
Schisandra and cortisol https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21901061
Sexual dysfunction and antidepressants https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19512977
And mental illness https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18391559 

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