Mental health is a subject which has become increasingly focused on and de-stigmatised over generations – but for many of us it is still a triggering and somewhat unfamiliar concept.
It goes without saying that history hasn’t done a good job at prioritising mental health and all that goes along with it – the old rub some dirt in it, frontal lobotomy or shock therapy model just simply does not and never did cut it.
we have always been a species subject to trauma and the consciousness of it.
We are incredible creatures – we have a monumental ability to feel, connect, remember and learn from experience. This incredible gift is also what makes us somewhat vulnerable - we learn and form our basis of understanding on life from lived and perceived experience, even experiences which are expected to be lived out but don’t even manifest. This means that some of what moulds us are lived or perceived traumatic and indeed extremely challenging situations, which are bound to leave their mark.
“The scientific study of human psychology is between 100 and 150 years old”
Taking into account the infancy of the science of psychology and understanding the conscious and unconscious minds – we have made some incredible leaps and bounds when it comes to understanding mental health and the infinite ways in which we can facilitate healing within it.
The intrinsic unpacking and releasing of traumas is a phenomenally empowering and often times painful process – however it is exponentially becoming something which many are aware of and communicating about. This movement of awareness is incredible – one only needs to look at dynamics of internalised shame, fear and guilt stored within one or two generations prior to truly see how monumentally times have shifted and changed in accordance to the liberation and healing of self from any form of dis-ease in the body, mind and spirit.
There is always a method for you – be it talk therapy, somatic movement, psychiatry, journaling, meditation – whatever the means we live in an era where the resources are there for your choice and discernment
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS IN AN EMERGENCY PLEASE CALL 0800 567 567 OR 0800 456 789
Here are some links to resources which are incredible learning aids when examining the world of mental health, wellbeing and the ways in which we can live in radiance on all levels of being:
- Brene Brown, the power of vulnerability - https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability?language=en
- TRAUMA, SPIRITUALITY AND RECOVERY: TOWARD A SPIRITUALLY-INTEGRATED PSYCHOTHERAPY - https://www.melissainstitute.org/documents/SPIRITUALITY_PSYCHOTHERAPY.pdf
- The Highly Sensitive Person Podcast - https://highlysensitiveperson.net/hsppodcast/
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
- Carl Jung & Jungian psychology - https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/jungian-psychotherapy
- Online therapy - https://www.betterhelp.com/
“We can turn on anxiety, stress and depression by thought alone. The hormones of stress fired for long periods of time, push the genetic buttons that create disease. And no organism can tolerate living in emergency mode for extended periods of time. The longterm effects of firing the hormones of stress such as anger, aggression, depression, anxiety, fear, un-worthiness, guilt, shame, (etc) dis-regulate and down-regulate genes to create disease and imbalance. That means then your habitual thoughts and feelings can
make you sick.”
– Dr. Joe Dispenza author of You Are The Placebo
The reason I delve into this discussion is that healing is not linear, it is not a 1 + 1 equation.
The mere recognition of the depth and complexity of our ‘human thing’ is immense, and so when one does venture into the world of healing, of a return to the self, a integrated and holistic perspective is needed. Taking medicinals, forming allies with the herbal and fungi kingdom is invaluable, however pairing this along with deep introspection, questioning, a form of expression and self-exploration – we then have magick.
ONTO THE ALLIES:
Lions mane (Hericium erinaceus)
Lions mane is a fascinating fungi with incredible capabilities as a nootropic medicine. Traditionally in Chinese medicine it was used as a tonic for the stomach, while this still remains where this mushroom now shines is in its abilities to assist with Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) as well as production and protection. Reason being for this amazing cognitive health healing being uncovered in more recent times, is due to the need for an alcohol extract – the strength of which was not available in ancient China due to their strongest alcohol being Sake. It is rich in vitamins and minerals along with specialized chemical comounds such as herincerins, erinacines, glycoproteins, erinaceolactones, polysaccharides and more.
Research going into NGF has shown that with an increase in this there may be opportunities for healing from PTSD, depression, trauma, Alzheimers and other neuro based dis-ease.
Apart from aiding with NGF it is also shown the abilities as being neuro-protective and regenerative, as well as aid in overall cognitive function including memory recall, aid in management of anxiety and depression and has anti-fatigue properties.
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)
There isn’t a person (I know so far) who hasn’t felt the incredible healing benefits of Ashwagandha. This incredible root is held in high esteem as being one of nature’s best allies when it comes to stress, depression and anxiety due to the effect it has on calming the nervous system and endocrine system. When taken as a daily tonic this adaptogenic medicine significantly lowers cortisol levels which in turn aids in reducing the symptoms associated with anxiety, stress and depression – it has even shown to aid in the management and healing of eating disorders through the regulating of food cravings or aversions which can accompany chronic stress.
As an adaptogen it aids the body in adapting to stress by its very nature – therefore treating the nervous system and any imbalances or disease present within it (such as neurodegenerative diseases, stress, CFS, epilepsy) as well as being able to regulate hormones, manage insomnia, counteract seasonal affective disorder (SAD), stabilize mood and revitalize the entire body.
St johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
This beautiful golden flower has been the topic of scientific investigation, particularly in Germany, for many years – this medicine is one of the most potent herbals we have when preparing remedies around anxiety, sleep disorders and depression. It has also been used to aid in management of hormonal imbalances present in PMS and menopause as well as manage SAD.
In Germany “some 3 million for hypericum and almost 66 million doses of hypericum preparations are consumed annually” – Adriana Ayales
When it comes to treating mild-moderate depression it has few side effects and shows the abilities to reduce symptoms similar in action to that of a prescription medication – however it did not have the same side effects such as decreased libido.
When dosing St John’s wort it is essential to stick to a regular dose of 300mg 3 times a day for 6 weeks before seeing an accurate and objective result. Ensure that if you are on any prescription medications at all – including antidepressants, birth control, blood pressure medication (eg: Warfarin) and MAO inhibitors – that you consult with your doctor
Mucuna (Mucuna pruriens)
If these aren’t the magic beans that Jack was looking for then I’m not sure what he was up to – this incredible bean is one of the most impactful herbal antidepressants one can utilise as a medicine.
Its action comes in its richness of the amino acid L-Dopa, the pre-cursor to dopamine, as well as a host to other neurochemicals such as epinephrine, serotonin, norepinephrine, 5-MeO-DMT and 5-HTP, which are all boosters when it comes to the activity of neurotransmitters and their mobility. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals.
When it comes to having healthy levels of dopamine, (read happiness blog here) as well neurotransmitters on the whole they play an essential role when it comes to being neuro-protective, regenerative, balancing and supportive to the many complex systems which are present in our bodies – such as hormonal imbalances present in the endocrine system. Low dopamine is associated with the inability to experience pleasure in the mesolimbic centre (emotional) of the brain, while in the mesocortical centre (cognitive) it enacts itself through a lack of motivation, drive, purpose and enthusiasm.
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
There are two varieties of Skullcap which are used in herbalism – the nootropic one being American Skullcap which is native to North America, however has been used throughout Europe and the world for it’s incredible effects on the nervous system.
Which a rich history of over 200 years, Skullcap is used as an ally for treating anxiety, nervous tension, convulsions and is a mild relaxant – it is additionally a nervine tonic, showing incredible effects in balancing and regulating the entire nervous system.
This is where it shines – there is often a large emphasis placed in the need to support adrenal health and while this is entirely true, through the fortification of the nervous system the adrenals never have a need of being stressed and overly fatigued. It therefore has action in being a tonic preventative and protective as well as being able to treat symptoms associated with chronic stress and tension.
Studies have shown that along with being a significant antioxidant it also aids in being neuro-protective against neurological dis-ease and dis-orders such as Parkinsons, depression and other ailments.
Some honourable mentions:
Reishi, Gotu Kola, Rosemary, Chamomile, Brahmi, Ginkgo , Passionflower, Sceletium (look out for our next blog all about Sceletium)
AND NOW FOR....
A pick-me-up recipe:
Introducing your drink of choice to boost overall mental, nervous system and general wellbeing:
Adaptogenic & Nervine supportive Cacao
- 15-28g Cacao powder/ paste (I use Cosmic bazaar Cacao)
- 1 tsp Mucuna
- 10 drops Ashwagandha tincture
- 10 drops Lions mane
- Plant milk of choice
- Add Cacao and Mucuna with sweetener of choice and milk to a small saucepan on medium heat
- Slowly add desired amount of water of choice – mixing all ingredients together
- Take off before boiling and pour into your favourite mug – adding Ashwagandha and Lions mane extract drops last
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When it comes to forming a relationship to herbal allies for mental health it is important to remember that there is no one fix all - ensure that you consult a doctor if you are currently on any chronic medications
Sending you blessings of radiant wellbeing
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St Johns Wort: