Mental health disorders sometimes don’t have physical symptoms like other illnesses, but they can be just as damaging. Most people turn to prescription medications and counseling to improve their conditions. However, some herbal medicines can also help improve mental health so we’ve paired up with Kratora, one of the leading ethnobotanical providers, to explore these options.
These plant-based remedies come from ancient cultures. They may not be free of side effects, but there are many reasons to consider these alternative medicines. If you think they might be right for you, or simply want to try them, here are six herbal medicines that have recently been shown to be effective for better mental health in a 10-year review.
1. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba is a traditional Chinese medicine that may help improve memory and focus. Studies show this plant may help improve blood and oxygen flow to the brain, especially in the early stages of Alzheimer’s which might help slow the progression of the disease. Ginkgo Biloba has also been shown to help improve attention and focus in patients with ADHD.
Kratom is an evergreen tree from the coffee family that grows in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. People have been using its leaves for centuries and now studies are showing its potential efficacy for mental health issues.
The properties of this herbal medicine lie in its leaves which contain its active compound, mitragynine. This compound attaches to opioid receptors in the brain to induce its varied effects.
Passionflower, or Passiflora Incarnata, is a perennial vine with a climbing stem. It can help with various mental health conditions. The British Herbal Compendium recommends this herbal medicine for helping with sleep, stress, and anxiety. Studies comparing passionflower with oxazepam showed similar anti-anxiety properties, but passionflower did not impact job performance.
Another herb that may boost your mental health is kava. This ceremonial crop from the Pacific Islands is popular in rituals and social situations. However, nowadays many people use it to help with anxiety.
Kava contains compounds like kava pyrones and alpha-pyrones which act synergistically to produce stress-reducing and muscle-relaxing effects. Kava induces its effects through non-opiate pathways in the brain. This herb has been shown to be especially effective for improving menopause-related anxiety in women. If you’re interested in trying this botanical for yourself, you can find high-quality and fresh kava for sale at Kratora.
5. St. John’s Wort
Hypericum Perforatum, or St. John’s wort, is one of the best-studied herbs with notable antidepressant effects. This herb has been around for hundreds of years and has been used to improve mild to moderate depression.
The antidepressant properties of this herb come from the synergy of its numerous compounds. They work on the same receptors that antidepressant medications affect. According to a 2016 review, St. John’s wort was more effective than a placebo in improving severe depressive symptoms. It had a similar effect as standard antidepressant medications.
The last herbal medicine on our list for better mental health is Lavandula Angustifolium or lavender. While most people use lavender for its relaxing effects in aromatherapy, this herb has more untapped potential. It has been shown to help patients with depression.
Improve Your Mental Health With Herbal Medicines
You can try any of these herbal medicines to improve your mental well-being. Before you do, research their side effects and consult a professional to stay safe. Your mind is just as important as your body. Don’t neglect it anymore!