You might be surprised to learn there are some mental health benefits to some herbs and spices, many of which most of us have in our cupboards! While results vary and it is often down to the individual I will cover ten of the most common ones and the most know effects from consuming them. If you suffer from mild mental health problems this post might be the help you need…
Sage – Anxiety
You can cook with sage in a number of ways from infusing its flavour into a roasted chicken or even adding some to your soup, but what you might not know is sage contains compounds that help calm your neurological functions meaning it can help keep you calm and relaxed if you are feeling a little anxious and jittery. Just think back on the last time you had it and how you felt, most people will remember feeling quite calm!
Turmeric – Stress
This is one of the oldest spices that have been used as a health cure for thousands of years as it contains the antioxidant curcumin. But it is also pretty good for your mental health as it shields the brain and often helps people feel more relaxed. Have you ever felt strangely happy after consuming a nice curry? That might be because of turmeric!
Ginkgo biloba – Stress & Anxiety
While it is not something you will come across easily it is something that is said to have more benefits than any other herb. The tree it comes from is a maidenhair tree and it is one of the oldest species of trees in the world. People who regularly consume it are said to be more grounded and suffer less from both stress and anxiety, making it easier for them to ground themselves and stay relaxed.
Ashwagandha – Stress
Often called a winter cherry, this spice is part of the nightshade family and has been used to relieve stress for the last 3,000 years! Many people also say it gives them increased energy levels, but this is probably due to it being able to lower blood sugar levels and making people feel more alive.
Ginseng – Stress
When it comes to health benefits Ginseng is one of the most used and indeed accepted in popular herbal medicine. As it contains ginsenosides it should help most people reduce brain levels and help them feel a little more grounded and relaxed.
Lemon balm – Panic Attacks
If you suffer from mild panic attacks you will be interested to know a study of 100 people (50% of which took a placebo) showed those who drank Lemon balm tea 7 days a week showed significantly greater improvement in cognitive function making panic attacks much less likely and in those who had them less infrequent. Even if it helps relieve those panic attacks a few times it is well worth taking.
Nutmeg – Depression and Anxiety
Using nutmeg to cure depression and anxiety is not something new, in fact, it has been used in herbal medicine since the 16th century because of its anti-anxiety properties. It also helps lower brain function making it good for those with mild depression as well. So who not sprinkle some on your pudding and enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle.
Capsaicin – Paranoia
Capsaicin is an active component of chilli peppers and it is the cause of the sensation of burning you get from eating them. In a small study of 50 people (all with various mental health problems) shows consuming a Capsaicin capsule twice a day help them gound their thoughts and those who were suffering from Paranoia felt less stressed and able to cope with various forms of withdraw as well.
Basil – Dissociation and dissociative disorders
Basil is commonly used as a pizza topper and you might want to start using it a little more as it is said to improving blood flow to the heart and brain making people with dissociation and dissociative disorders feel more in control and grounded. Many herbal medicine sellers will also say it helps offer protection from Alzheimer’s disease, but it is not so good for those who already have it.
Centella asiatica – Depression
Also known as the Indian pennywort this flowering wetland plant is said to make people feel happier within themselves making it worth a try for anyone suffering from mild depression. But as with any of the suggestions here if you feel your mental health getting worse you should seek more professional help and above all talk to other people about it. There is help out there if you want it, you just have to reach out.