Herbs for Psychological Imbalances

Herbs and other natural remedies are increasingly called upon as important
additions to a total program to help restore emotional and psychological
equilibrium in people who have problems in these areas. The following information
is meant to offer a starting point for designing herbal support programs.




Key concepts:


  • The liver rules the emotions, addictive behavoir–liver vital energy
    stagnation, liver cleansing
  • The heart is a key organ for psychological imbalances and sleep disorders



Depression: mild to moderate long-term, chronic depression, sleep
disturbances



Herbs: St. John’s wort (t 1 d 3-4 x daily); Rosemary or + lavender tops
(t or tea m dose); for sleep, valerian + cal. poppy + kava (t 2-4 d before
bed)



Anxiety: recurring anxiety or mild panic attacks, hyperventilation,
sleep disturbances



Herbs: California poppy (t 1-2 d 3-4 x daily with other calming herbs)



Excessive emotions

Anger: excessive anger can damage the digestion and heart, and lead
to heat conditons in the body



Herbs: liver herbs (dandelion, artichoke leaf, bitter tonic), liver flush
(see Natural Liver Therapy)



Sadness and grief: excessive sadness can damage the lungs, predisposing
to chronic cough, lung infections, wheezing, asthma and other lung disorders




Herbs: lung strengthening herbs, mullein (tea, sd), osha (t 1 d 3 x daily),
elecampagne (tea 1/2-1 cup 2-3 x daily)



Other suggestions: it is important to embrace the grieving process when
possible to complete the energy; grieving groups meet at many local hospitals
on a weekly basis; a local Hospice is also a good resource



Fear: excessive fear can weaken the kidneys and our foundational vital energy




Herbs: eleuthero ginseng (tea or t, sd), adaptogen formulas, deep breathing,
rehmannia (add to eleuthero)



Addictions

Sugar cravings: consumption of refined sugar can damage the digestion
and lead to mood swings, skin problems, tooth and gum problems and decreased
energy



Drug addictions: it is best to work with chronic drug and alcohol abuse
by eliminating all forms of sugar from the diet and eating a whole foods,
mostly cooked diet



Herbs: liver cleansing, cooling herbs (see Natural Liver Therapy)




Signs and Symptoms

Key signs and symptoms of


  • Liver vital energy stagnation: headache, red tongue, thin yellow coat,
    red eyes, irritability, disturbed sleep, wiry pulse
  • Heart (spirit) disturbance: disturbed sleep, emotional imbalances, palpitations,
    shortness of breath, depression, anxiety



Materia Medica

Therapeutic Categories of Herbs to Treat Psychologica/Emotional Ailments




Anti-depressives



Anxiolytics/Calmatives



Digestives: Assimilation/Elimination Tonics



Energy tonics



Heart tonics



Sedatives



Anti-depressives



St. John’s wort: modern German research shows that it is as effective as
pharmaceutical anti-depressives for mild depression; mild MAO inhibitor;
latest research shows that a whole-plant extract works better than a “standardized
extract”; caution–avoid prolonged sun exposure while taking this herb




Rosemary: contains natural camphor, used as a nerve restorative in Ayurveda,
use as a tea or tincture



Lavender: the flowering spikes make an uplifting tea or take as a tincture;
smell often, carry a spike in the pocket (squeeze and smell), essential
oil or use in baths and soaps



Chocolate (unsweetened): use only unsweetened powder, blend with plain rice
milk or almond milk for a mild euphoric and energy tonic; tropical monoculturing
is an issue, but organic plantation, sustainable products are becoming available




Other natural therapies: movement, dancing, walking, running, something
highly aerobic for 15-20 minutes at least every other day, health permitting




Anxiolytics



California Poppy: well-researched traditional Native American remedy for
mild anxiety, nervousness, restlessness–use as a tincture (sd, or as needed)




Kava kava: the national drink of Fiji–use as a tea or tincture; mildly
euphoric, relaxing, non-narcotic or habit-forming



Sedatives



Valerian: the best sleep-promoting herb and central nervous system relaxant
and calmative herb (see my book, Valerian–The Relaxing and Sleep Herb)
for more details



Passion Flower: good herb for people with over-active imaginations, calms
mind and thoughts, worry; use as a tincture (the fresher the better) sd




Vital Energy tonics



Ginseng: the most famous panacea herb; red ginsengs are more stimulating,
white Chinese and Asian types, less so, and white American (preferably woods-grown)
is nourishing to the vital essence and supportive to one’s energy; caution–don’t
overuse if under 40 years of age



Rosemary: contains natural camphor, mild energy stimulant



Chocolate (unsweetened): mild energy stimulant, see above



Heart tonics



Hawthorn: calmative, relaxant, strengthens heartbeat, benefits heart strength,
good for palpitations; use as a tincture or standardized extract



Cactus: available as a tincture only, 25-35 drops 2-3 x daily; best if mixed
with hawthorn; steadies, strengthens heartbeat



Hops: good for people who have an abnormal awareness of the heartbeat, calmative,
digestive stimulant; take as a tea or tincture



Diet:

Choose a diet based on individual constitutional type and needs.



For anxiety, depression or other excessive emotional times, it is best to
avoid refined sugar (including fruit juice, dried fruit), coffee, alcohol
and other stimulants.



Try kitcharee (soupy mung beans and rice 3-4 times daily) for 3-7 days to
calm the emotions and regulate body systems.



A whole foods diet, mostly cooked, with some fish and chicken, depending
on constitutional type is best.



Abbreviations:

sd = standard dose



tea: use 1 teaspoon/cup of water, simmer for 10 minutes on low heat, remove,
strain and drink 1 cup 3 x daily between meals



tincture: 1-3 dropperfuls of single herb or formula with herb as a leading
component 3 x daily, between meals



capsules: 2-3 capsules (“00”) 3 x daily with meals



t = tincture



d=dropperful (not drop–about 40 drops)

Herbs for Psychological/Emotional Imbalances C. Hobbs 4

Christopher Hobbs LAc AHG Written by Christopher Hobbs LAc AHG

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