Herbs Support Mental Health


Naturopaths use a number of approaches to help relieve mental health problems. Herbal medicine is often included along with the all important changes in diet, nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, relaxation techniques, massage and acknowledging the relevance of spiritual health. We use herbal medicine based on both evidence that has been handed down over the centuries, and from recent research.


Do not stop taking any pharmaceutical medicines before seeking advice from your health care provider.


Herbs are used both to help relieve the symptoms of poor mental health, for example anxiety or depression, and to help strengthen the body so the symptoms do not reoccur.


Herbs such as Valerian, Vervain, Passionflower, Lemon Balm and Skullcap are used to help relax the body and at the same time act as a general tonic to the nervous system as a whole.  Some of these herbs are also used to help sleep. Sleep is imperative to regaining mental health. Other herbs help relieve symptoms by addressing underlying imbalances in the body. Imbalances of hormones, which can be described as chemical messengers, are often a trigger for poor mental health.


The hormonal system is complex; it is not simply a case of saying “that hormone is low, let’s give you some more”. The approach used with herbal medicine is to support the parts of your body that produce the hormones. Liquorice, Ginseng, Rhodolia, Withania and Sarsaparilla help the body naturally regulate the levels of different hormones according to your changing needs.


There are other sorts of “chemical messengers”; these are nerve messengers called neurotransmitters. Herbal medicines such as Rhodiola, Valerian, Passionflower, Chamomile, Lemon Balm and Skullcap which have been used for centuries to improve mental health, have now been shown to act on the neurotransmitters to improve mental health.


It is important that you seek advice before using herbal medicine. Contact Bay Health Clinic today to find out more, or to book a consultation with one of our Naturopaths. Call 07 571 3226 or email us: ask@bayhealth.nz



Original Article October 2014

Copyright Jaine Kirtley