10 Natural Alternatives to Psychiatric Drugs

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Many issues, such as stress, lack of sleep, or anxiety, can affect mental health in a negative way. Rather than run to a doctor for a prescription, many people prefer a more natural solution, to help to restore their moods and brain functions. The following plants may be just what they need, without the negative side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.

St. John’s Wort

Though regulated in the United States as a dietary supplement, St. John’s Wort has been used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and gastritis. It is also quite helpful to those suffering from depression. The only side effect experienced by all users is an increased sensitivity to direct sunlight.

Mulungu Bark

Mulungu can improve a person’s mood, calm their nerves, or help them sleep. It contains Flavonoids, which are antioxidants that support both brain and cardiovascular health. One of the active alkaloids in mulungu is Erythravine, which aids in brain function, as well as lowering anxiety.

Zizyphus Jujube

A better night’s sleep is one of the main reasons to use this herb. It has showed sedative effects and may help with relaxation, which is due to the saponins in the plant. Sleeping better can also help to improve mental health.

Bacopa

Bacopa has been used to increase memory, as well as aiding with cognitive function. It has also been found to decrease cortisol in the body, which lowers a person’s stress levels. Research has also found that bacopa may actually keep brain cells healthy, and protects against Alzheimer’s and other diseases that affect aging adults.

Rhodiola Rosea

This herb contains Salidroside, which is a known antioxidant that can help to protect cells from damage. Also found in Rhodiola is Rosin, which may reduce neural cell inflammation, decreasing the likelihood of neurotoxicity. Together, these two compounds can lessen stress and fatigue, and help to improve a person’s mood.

Mucuna Pruriens

Mucuna has the ability to increase dopamine in the body, thanks to the L. Dopa it contains. This increase could improve the functions of the brain, as well as helping users retain their memories. It also contains antioxidants which can help ease inflammation.

Passionflower

This traditional herb has been used as a sedative for many years. Passionflower can also help to reduce anxiety, which can have ruin a night’s sleep. This leads to lowered mental health and memory issues, which is why a restful night of sleep is so important.

Skullcap

The benefits of skullcap are many, including mood improvement, lowered stress, calmer nerves, and a better night’s sleep. This North American plant also contains antioxidants which are known to provide substantial protection against inflammation of the brain.

Valerian

Found in Europe and certain areas of Asia, Valerian is known for its use as a sedative. It is used to treat those suffering from anxiety, restlessness, and other sleep related disturbances. Another use for “God’s Valium”, as it’s also known, is to relax muscles.

Kava Kava

With origins in the South Pacific Islands, this herb has been traditionally used to relieve anxiety, stress, and to help with insomnia. This is due to the kavalactones. This compound performs as well as prescription drugs with the same purpose, but without the side effects. This means no alteration of cognitive abilities, including mental clarity and alertness. It is also not a narcotic or an opiate, which means no chance of addiction.

Sources:

http://www.angelfire.com/home/bphoenix1/herbs.html

http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/lifestyle/features/herbs-for-anxiety-depression-and-other-mental-illness.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17562566

Sasha Brown
Sasha Brown is an avid health nut with a zeal for the natural things in life. To live and promote a healthier lifestyle, she has injected pure naturalism into her diet by eating purely organic foods. She loves to garden and is a mother to one child. Sasha is also the co-founder of Affordable Blogging. For tips on healthy living and alternative lifestyle, please visit her website.
  • This is wonderful. I know of many of these, but have not heard of some. Kudzu should be on here since it at least reduces alcohol cravings.
    Bravo

    • Xmen442002

      I thought kudzu was poisonous for consumption???

      • goodfite

        Kudzu leaves, vine tips, flowers, and roots are edible; the vines are not.
        Kudzu root is sold as a supplement by several different companies.

  • Brenda

    Kava kava can enhance depression in some people. Proceed with caution.
    Rhodiola is a wonderful SSRI type herb. Dosing can be difficult as what works for one person won’t for another.
    Valerian taken long term is stressful on the liver. Add in milk thistle to protect the liver from any possible damage.

    All of the above learned the hard way. ……..

  • Be careful with commercial St John’swort! The capsules are particularly bad.

    Use the tincture made from fresh plants, only. Ironically, when this herb is prepared incorrectly it does indeed cause photosensitivity, but when prepared properly it protects the skin from the sun and enhances Vt D production in the skin.

    It’s a common weed, it’s easy to identify; home made tinctures are superior and safer products.