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Herbalism Part 3



More potentially helpful herbs for us depressed and anxious people...

Kava - (anti-anxiety & antidepressant) The aged root has been used by Pacific Islanders for ages as a ceremonial drink. Many health stores sell the powdered root (and unfortunately the possibly toxic stems) for use as a tea, but it is meant to be consumed with the liquid, not filtered out. The process of preparing it is complicated and ultra-traditional in the Pacific islands.

I have some experience with high quality root powder, and it tastes absolutely foul! LOL However, when prepared correctly it did help to calm my anxiety, and has a vague kind of "alcohol-like" effect on the body. For the most part the mind remains clear. Probably the best natural anti-anxiety herb I've ever tried.

It also made me rather sleepy, so might be good for insomnia though I did not use it for that reason.

Overall I found it very relaxing and lightly uplifting. It works, for sure.

Wild Lettuce - (anti-anxiety) This stuff grows everywhere around here! It's related to common lettuce and has a very mild relaxing effect. The leaves can be eaten much like Dandelion, or a tea or extract can be made. Funny, it is sometimes referred to as Lettuce Opium, probably because the sap dries into an aromatic resin. I've never tried opium lol, but I guarantee Wild Lettuce is nothing like that at all. Very fun to harvest and drink/eat as a relaxing herb. Used to be one of my favorite herbs.

Lotus/Water Lily - (anti-anxiety) I ordered this a few years ago on a whim. The species' are "Nymphaea" and "Nelumbo"...both famous for being featured in ancient Egyptian art. As it turns out, the sacred lotus was soaked in alcohol and consumed for its mildly relaxing (psychoactive?) effects. I just made a tea out of the flower petals and felt very calm. A bitter tea, but a little honey helped.

I'll have to experiment more with these flowers.

Sweet Flag - (anti-anxiety) Also known as Calamus root. It's pretty common here, growing around lakes and ponds. The root can be chewed (never swallowed) to ease anxiety, and especially for me, ease the after effects of a panic attack. I once had a ton of the chopped roots on hand, before I was prescribed Klonopin.

It tastes horrid when chewed...kinda like a combination of soap and dirt LOL. I might harvest some locally this summer. I actually got used to the taste after a while.

Valerian - (anti-anxiety) Even though this appears to be the most recommended anti-anxiety herbs, it had the opposite effect on me. I had bought a bottle of Valerian Root capsules when I was struggling with anxiety back in the days before I saw a doctor, and it caused me to become even more anxious. I remember being unable to sleep and feeling jittery while taking this. It must work for some people though, because it's very popular.

Green Tea - (anti-anxiety) Hard to beat a calming cup of warm green tea :) Healthy and not at all as jittery as coffee or strong black tea.

Great stuff.

St. John's Wort - (antidepressant) I don't have much experience with this one. Yet apparently it is very popular for treating depression. I have read here and there that it is not as strong as pharmaceutical antidepressants, and that it is a weak SSRI. I don't know, so can't comment on this herb other than to say it is very popular around the world. The flowers, however, are beautiful I think.

Thanks for reading. I'll post one last entry on herbs soon...


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