Top 11 Herbs, Natural Medicines, and Foods That Improve Mental Health

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Mental health care has come a long way. It’s now recognized that some mental health conditions can be treated with foods, herbs, natural medicines, and lifestyle changes instead of just throwing allopathic medicine at the issue. Other mental health conditions respond well to therapeutic approaches like EMDR and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Natural medicines have been used for centuries, and many people are now turning to them for a more holistic approach to healing from mental health conditions. Here are some of the best herbs, foods, and natural medicines that can help improve your mental health.

Sage for Better Mental Health

Sage is a herb that has been used for centuries to improve mental health. It is now recognized as being a great tool to ward off insomnia which can affect people with mental health conditions. Additionally, some research back in 2014 revealed that sage could also reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is good news for people with mental health conditions. Adding sage to tea or foods, or using an essential oil can help improve mental health.

Holy Basil

Holy basil is a favorite in the natural medicine community. As a native plant in Southeast Asia, it’s often used to treat bronchitis, malaria, ringworms, and plenty of other concerning medical conditions. Different parts of the plant offer unique benefits. It’s also an adaptogen.

An adaptogen is an herb that helps your body cope with stress and gives you energy. Holy basil can help you feel more relaxed and calm, it can improve your sleep quality, and it can boost your energy levels. All of these benefits are great for people who suffer from anxiety or depression.

St. John’s Wort for Depression

This herb has been known for a long time to ease many of the symptoms associated with depression. It’s not a cure-all, but it can help people with mild to moderate cases of depression live a more fulfilled life. When combined with other treatments like therapy, many people are able to live relatively symptom-free. Many people getting treatment for heroin addiction and other substance abuse issues often benefit from natural herbs like St. John’s Wort to help them feel less depressed after they have fully detoxed from drugs.

Valerian Root to Ease Insomnia

Need to sleep better at night? Why not try and see if valerian root can help? Valerian root is a flowering plant that has been used for centuries to treat insomnia and anxiety. It can be taken as a tea or supplement. It does interact with other medications, so make sure you check with your doctor if you are already taking medicines regularly. Pregnant women should also avoid valerian root because it can impact their unborn babies.

Rosemary for Better Cognitive Function

Rosemary is a fantastic herb for improving memory and cognitive function. It’s also known to reduce stress and anxiety, which are both contributors to poor mental health. Because it reduces inflammation and promotes better brain health, rosemary tea, rosemary extract, and even rosemary essential oils are all excellent herbal remedies to help improve mental health. When people’s brains function best, they are able to think more clearly, process their emotions more effectively, and even gain more focus. This in turn can act as a protective mechanism against mental health concerns.

Maca to Treat Depression

Flavonoids are the substances that are believed to be responsible for the mental health benefits in maca root. Maca is a root vegetable that’s grown in the Andes mountains of Peru. It’s rich in B vitamins and minerals, as well as protein, helping to improve energy levels. Many people use maca to fix infertility issues, increase libido, and alleviate symptoms of menopause. Maca is filled with vitamins and minerals as well. It’s often used to treat depression, anxiety, and exhaustion as well.

Magnesium Filled Foods or Supplements

Many people who suffer from mental health conditions have nutrient deficiencies. For some, simply getting their magnesium levels up to a normal amount can improve their anxiety tremendously. They may only need a daily supplement with quality magnesium or eat more foods that contain it, like dark leafy greens, legumes, and bananas.

Sweet Potatoes Calm the Nervous System

Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, which is essential for healthy eyesight and skin. They also contain vitamin C and potassium, as well as fiber. What’s interesting about sweet potatoes is that they also help to boost the levels of serotonin in the body. This neurotransmitter helps to stabilize your mood and can also improve your sleep patterns. These are both important factors when you are looking at easing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Animal Proteins Impact Your Mood

Protein is an essential building block. In fact, when it comes to human development, a protein deficiency is more likely to impact growth and development than any other nutrient that’s lacking. Animal proteins are a good source of choline, a vitamin that supports brain function. Choline can be found in meat, eggs, fish, and dairy products. People who eat a vegan diet need to be especially careful to meet all of their protein and nutrient needs if they want to avoid diet related mental health struggles.

Foods With Choline

Aside from eating specific animal proteins, people can still get all the benefits of choline in their diets when they eat vegetables like collard greens and Brussels sprouts. Choline is an essential nutrient that’s used in the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. Acetylcholine is one of the most abundant neurotransmitters and is involved in many processes in the body. When it comes to brain function, you need acetylcholine for memory and better moods.

Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract

Ginkgo biloba leaf extract is an herb that has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. It’s also an antioxidant, which means it can help protect the body against free radicals. Additionally, it helps alleviate many symptoms associated with PMS including mood changes. This effect seems to also help people affected by mental health conditions. Taking this extract or tea as directed can help to reduce the incidence of poor mental health.




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The information on this website is only for learning and informational purposes. It is not meant to be used as a medical guide. Before starting or stopping any prescription drugs or trying any kind of self-treatment, we strongly urge all readers to talk to a doctor. The information here is meant to help you make better decisions about your health, but it's not a replacement for any treatment your doctor gives you. If you are being treated for a health problem, you should talk to your doctor before trying any home remedies or taking any herbs, minerals, vitamins, or supplements. If you think you might have a medical problem, you should see a doctor who knows what to do. The people who write for, publish, and work for Health Benefits Times are not responsible for any bad things that happen directly or indirectly because of the articles and other materials on this website