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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Herbal Psychiatry

The primary difference between herbal psychiatry and mainstream psychiatry is that mainstream treatments have undesirable side effects which can be extreme. The side effects of these herbs are desirable and any one can benefit from taking these substances.

For one month of the growing cycle of common oats the immature oat seed is filled with a white 'milk'; if milky oats are harvested and quickly made in a tincture or glycerite, the extract is food for the brain - it is a slow-acting tonic remedy for shattered nerves, drug withdrawal and chronically upset people. David Winston suggests taking it with eleuthero for nervous exhaustion.

Holy basil, rosemary, bacopa and ginkgo ameliorate menopausal haziness, poor memory, ADD, ADHD and head trauma. Remember, ginkgo's active constituents aren't water-soluble so simply making ginkgo tea provides little or no benefit. Start holy basil carefully so as to get a feel for how it will lower your blood sugar. Eleuthero, lemon balm, hawthorn and schisandra also are good for treating ADHD.

Some books recommend taking a B-complex multivitamin and 2,000 to 6,000 mg/day of fish oil or a comparable omega-3 acid supplement for mental health. Adequate sleep also is crucial; and Mr. Winston suggests that ashwagandha, eleuthero and schisandra each improve sleep quality and that these herbs are also good for treating anxiety as are milky oat, Panax ginseng, yuan zhi and especially kava extract. Many find tryptophan, gotu kola, ashwagandha, Albizia julibrissin and yuan zhi (Polygala tenuifolia) good for treating irritability and tyrosine, damiana, Panax ginseng and other adaptogens good for treating depression. Ginkgo, bacopa, yuan zhi, white peony root, holy basil, amla, ashwagandha, rosemary and lavender are indicated by Winston for treating dementia.

David Winston has practiced herbal medicine since 1969. He recommends holy basil, damiana, rosemary and lavender for 'stagnant depression', a type of depression in which a person's life has come to revolve around a past traumatic event. In his practice he as seen recoveries from post-traumatic stress disorder, long-term unresolved grief, depression and fear using a formula of Albizia julibrissin bark, hawthorn berries and rose petals.

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