There is no denying we are living in a hectic world where it seems we are constantly faced with sensory overload and the time for personal reflection seems scarce and sorely lacking. So, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that, in a recent survey, 22.8% of US adults experienced some form of mental illness.
Other studies confirmed that approximately 9.5% of American adults will suffer from some serious mental disorder like depression.
These numbers are more than concerning and they send a strong signal we need to pull the break and do something for our mental well-being. We can even take a few steps back and see how people dealt with these issues in earlier times.
Let’s see how medicinal plants factor into this story.
What are the medicinal plants and what are their benefits
For a start, let’s get a couple of important things clear. Herbal medicine is not some form of dubious alternative medicine. In medicinal circles, this term is used to describe the natural botanical products derived from different plants people use to heal or even prevent diseases.
We need to keep in mind, though, these natural ingredients are not fully developed medicine so they are mostly used to treat mild disease symptoms or used together with traditional medicine. With that in mind, herbal medicine demonstrated very good results in the following areas:
- Boosting the immune system
- Help with weight loss
- Improving sleep
- Increasing energy
Of course, herbal medicine also demonstrated tremendous benefits in terms of relieving stress and enhancing mood. So, these traditional ways of healing might just be the best option we have for improving our mental well-being.
With that in mind, let us take a look at some of the plants you should keep on your radar.
Cannabis is one of the most famous and, unfortunately, controversial medicinal plants in the world. Most of these controversies sprout from the fear that cannabis can lead to the abuse of other substances like tobacco and alcohol. The plant in itself, however, is not nearly as addictive as some products like sugar and tobacco, so it’s no surprise that the medicinal use of cannabis is perfectly legal in as many as 38 US states.
Also, the plant is getting an increasing amount of high-profile endorsements, and this situation will only improve as time goes by. For instance, the famous actor Jim Belushi runs his cannabis flower farm and very successfully sells this product on the market. All these things wouldn’t be possible if cannabis didn’t pack some tangible health benefits like:
- Pain relief – Due to a high content of pharmaceutical opioids like Codeine and Fentanyl cannabis scores excellent results in relieving migraines, muscle spasms, and acute pain.
- Anxiety reduction –This is the direct result of the moderate presence of THC which is known for soothing the various symptoms of anxiety like worrying, panic, and restlessness.
- Improved creativity – Tearing down mental barriers and unleashing creativity can also prove to be very helpful for persons dealing with mental disorders like depression.
Saffron has a very long history of medicinal application and its roots can be traced back to the Ayurvedic traditions. This ancient fame is well-earned since saffron presents an excellent mix of substances that serve as a powerful antioxidant, have strong cancer-fighting properties, aid in weight loss, and reduce blood sugar and heart disease risk factors.
Of course, the main topic of this article is mental health, so it’s good to know that saffron can also brighten the mood and help in treating acute depressive symptoms. This also applies to emotional PMS symptoms.
Unlike saffron which traces the history of its medicinal application to India, licorice is a stale of Chinese traditional medicine. Licorice produces a whole slew of benefits that produce strong anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-tumor benefits.
Speaking strictly in terms of mental health, though, this plant is known for helping balance out neural system chemical imbalances and, in that way, soothing the symptoms of common mental diseases. Of course, due to these properties consumption of licorice should be moderate and performed in agreement with medical professionals.
Valerian root may be one of the lesser-known medicinal herbs, but its benefits should not be easily overlooked. On the contrary, valerian root packs a high level of gamma-aminobutyric acid which serves as a powerful sedative.
That means the consumption of this herb can have a positive effect on the treatment of insomnia, reduce your anxiety levels, be used as a mild sedative treatment, and even help you deal with OCD symptoms. Due to its organic origin, this herb presents a far healthier alternative to mainstream chemical medicine.
We hope this short breakdown gave you a better idea about medicinal herbs and how they can be used to improve your mental well-being. Modern society tends to look down on these plants, which is a shame since some of them have a millennia-long history of beneficial effects and can be used to fight mental disorders for many years to come.
What you shouldn’t do however is use these plants instead of modern medicine and look at it as some magical cure that will instantly solve all of your problems.