It seems that Americans are in the midst of a raging mental illness epidemic. According to Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, a shocking 46 percent of Americans fit a diagnosis for at least one mental illness.
Today, the vast majority of Americans who are diagnosed and treated for a mental disorder resort to psychiatric prescription medications. Given their troublesome side-effects – which include sexual dysfunction, suicidal thoughts and aggressive behavior – there is an obvious need for natural solutions.
Here are six of the best natural herbs to prevent and treat mental disorders.
1. Mulungu bark
In Central and South America mulungu bark is used to calm the nerves, improve mood and assist in sleeping. One of its active ingredients, a potent alkaloid called erythravine, helps to reduce anxiety and protects brain function. Mulungu’s flavonoids are among the best antioxidants to promote brain health. Unlike chemical anti-anxiety medication, mulungu bark doesn’t come with any side effects and doesn’t affect basic motor skills.
Besides being an excellent natural remedy for anxiety, mulungu is also known for its mood-boosting properties. Furthermore, it has been used to treat epilepsy, insomnia and anxiety.
2. Mucuna pruriens (velvet bean)
As reported by Prevent Disease, mucuna has been used in Ayurvedic medicine since 1500 B.C. While this herb is widely known for its anti-aging effect, its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties make it an effective herb to protect neurons and brain function.
Additionally, mucuna contains L.dopa, which is a biochemical precursor to several neurotransmitters such as dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline. In addition to regulating brain function, mucuna also improves memory, controls mood and cognition, and fights redness in the brain, which is a sign of brain degradation.
3. Passiflora incarnata (passion flower or apricot vine)
Passion flower is a well-known herbal remedy to promote calmness and relaxation. It has shown some great results in treating anxiety, sleeping disorders and seizures. When combined with other natural treatments, it may be effective in reducing irritability, insomnia and agitation. Furthermore, it has been shown to be beneficial for people struggling with a psychiatric disorder called adjustment disorder with anxious mood.
4. Scutellaria lateriflora (skullcap)
Skullcap, an American perennial herb, is a very powerful natural tranquilizer. This medicinal herb is packed with volatile oils, tannins and scutellarins. Skullcap works as an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, febrifuge and sedative agent to treat a wide variety of nervous disorders like epilepsy, hysteria, insomnia and anxiety.
As reported by Herbs List, skullcap also eases muscle spasms and twitching, which may be helpful in the treatment of ailments that involve involuntary limb movements, such as Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.
5. Piper methysticum kava
Commonly found on the islands of the South Pacific, piper methysticum’s roots and stems are turned into a non-alcoholic beverage to treat stress and anxiety. It thanks it psychoactive properties to kavalactones. Besides easing feelings of anxiety and stress, kava can also be used to treat migraines, ADHD, psychosis, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.
According to Herbs List, kava has been proven to be similar to Valium in its therapeutic effect. But unlike prescription tranquilizers, kava doesn’t cause grogginess or heart rate and blood pressure issues, making it a far better solution to treat mental disorders.
6. Panax ginseng
For thousands of years, ginseng has been used as a herbal remedy all over the world. This versatile herb has been used to balance, stimulate and relax the nervous system. It brings strength and wisdom. It reduces mental stress, while boosting energy levels and creating a sense of alertness. Furthermore, it can help you to relax and sleep better, and has shown some great results in the treatment of depression, Alzheimer’s and dementia.
by: Amy Goodrich
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