Lockdowns, restrictions, pandemics, media hype, fear of death, fear of catching a virus, loss of income, isolation and social media scrolling are just some of the reasons why mental health issues are front and centre in peoples minds these days.
People are suffering the impact and many are experiencing heightened anxiety and depression which are having devastating effects their lives. Counsellors and psychologists can’t keep up with the demands and their waiting lists are months long.
This is where Naturopathy, herbal medicine and nutrition for mental health can provide not only nurturing support but physiological change. Naturopaths are able not only to listen to you, offer caring support, we have the added bonus that we can prescribe you nutrients and herbal medicine to support your nervous system, calm down the stress response and help you sleep better, reduce anxiety and feel better.
Mental health is not just about talking about your challenges, it’s also addressing the physical impact stress has on your body. Herbal and nutritional medicine can mitigate the stress response, help you feel more resilient and keep you feeling calm and strong in the face of adversity.
Stress fires up the fight or flight response in our body which triggers a cascade of inflammatory substances and hormones and disrupts normal healthy function. High adrenaline and cortisol levels weaken our digestive system, reduce effectiveness of our immune system and drain our nutrient stores. During stressful times nutrients such as Magnesium, B vitamins and Zinc become essential as these nutrients are required in order to make all our relaxatory neurotransmitters and happy hormones. Without adequate stores of B6, Magnesium and Zinc you cannot make serotonin or GABA, hence you will start to spiral into anxiety, moodiness and depression.
Stress also affects our gut health, by reducing the ability our pancreas produces enzymes, our stomach to produce hydrochloric acid, as well as stagnating our Qi causing bloating, flatulence and loose stool or constipation.
I always ask my patients 4 questions about sleep.
1. How do you find falling asleep, is it easy or difficult? 2. Do you wake through the night or sleep though? 3. If you wake during the night what time is it? 4. If you wake can you fall sleep again?
If they are stressed these are the general answers they give. “I find it really hard to fall sleep. My mind is so busy I can’t switch off. I feel really anxious before I go to sleep and my body feels on edge. I always wake around 1am or 3am, sometimes I sleep again but mostly if my mind is busy there is no chance I sleep again until just before my alarm goes off. Then I feel so tired and can’t get up.” If this is you I can help you.
When sleep is interrupted by overthinking and stress, our spleen/pancreas, heart blood, and liver blood deplete causing restlessness, anxiety, more overthinking, poor digestion and fatigue.
Mental health is not just about talking about your challenges, it’s also addressing the physical impact stress has on your body.
Herbal medicine can be a great help to calm the nervous systems and calm stress, help you sleep, help support your liver, heart and digestion and help rebalance the fight and flight into back into rest, digest and relax.
My favourite herb mix for anxiety and stress is a combination of Passionflower, Rhodiola, Rehmannia and Chamomile. Depending on what else is going on in your health I may pop some Valerian or Magnolia in there to help you sleep or some Zizyphus if you are having hot sweats. If your gut is playing up I may also put some Angelica in there or some St Mary’s Thistle to help smoothe and calm your liver.
I have blended a beautiful herbal tea from our Shine Essentials range called Resilience. It’s packed with nourishing, calming and restoring herbs to help you destress, sleep and replenish your nerves.
Herbal medicine is always best prescribed by a trained and knowledgeable naturopath or herbalist and always specific to each person and their health concern.
If you are experiencing anxiety, poor sleep, overwhelm, overeating or just feel down book in to see me today or encourage a friend or family member who is struggling to book in.
You got this.
May you Shine…from inside out.