What a Naturopath Recommends for Mental Health Support
Naturopathic medicine for mental health is vast. There are many types of medicine we can use to heal and balance our mental state. When I assess someone for a mental health condition, I not only look into what is going on mentally/emotionally, but also assess for other patterns in the body that may be contributing to our current state. While this list is not comprehensive, I have included some of my favorites I use on a regular basis for you to try. Please consult with your physician before taking these products to make sure they are safe for you and for dosing recommendations personalized to you.
Lemon balm, part of the mint family, is an extremely safe herb to use, making it a great option for kids. Energetically, it lifts stuck energy, having an uplifting effect to our mood. Additionally, it can help soothe abdominal discomfort associated with anxious or depressive feelings. It has a milk immune activating effect and can be taken in the winter to boost up our internal sunshine. This herb is best used as a tincture or in tea.
Hawthorne is one of my, if not, my favorite herb for emotional healing. It can be used for physical heart ailments as well as emotional heartache. I use it for both depression and anxiety to open up the heart or relieve symptoms such as chest pressure/tightness and palpitations. Energetically it may help us to become more resilient and less sensitive to criticism. Hawthorn may also help facilitate forgiveness of others or yourself.
St. John's Wort
What about St. John's Wort? Often the first herb someone may think of as a classical anti-depressant. While I like this herb for certain presentations of depression, it isn't often my go-to herb. It tends to interact with many medications, which can make it tricky to use. When I do use it, I use it when patient's present with apathy, distrust of self and difficulty with accepting change.
For those that struggle with slow, sluggish energy and have higher stress, I like to utilize B vitamins. They are orange in color, and bring warmth and heat to our system. Take these in the morning for a burst of energy to carry you throughout the day, without the crash of caffeine. I use this especially if depressive thoughts tend to slow you down. We can become depleted when under high amounts of stress or on a low carbohydrate diet. Look for methylated forms of the B vitamins, such as methylfolate and methylcobalamin for maximal absorption.
I recommend magnesium for those who struggle with winding down or anxious thoughts and feelings. It can be used throughout the day if your symptoms are present all day long or targeted use at night to calm restlessness and mind chatter. I recommend using magnesium glycinate or magnesium l-threonate for anxiety related symptoms.
Finally, I would recommend vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to so many functions within our body and it really is more of a hormone than a vitamin. Vitamin D works to enhance mood in those with deficient vitamin D, often those with seasonal affective disorder. It also enhances our immune function and regulates our calcium levels.
Final Thoughts: Vitamin D, B vitamins and magnesium are prescribed often in my practice for symptoms other than mental health. These are what I consider as foundational to our health and enhance many functions in our body.
*Please consult your physician before adding any of these products to make sure they are appropriate for you.