Herbs for Happier Emotions and Brighter Brains

28 Feb 2018
Author: Lindsay Johnson
Read time: 7 min
Category: Archive

Herbs have been long used to help promote healthy memory and neurological function. Many studies have been conducted in Europe and the US on the effects of natural supplements on the brain. The results have been promising. Dandelion leaves, for example, provide vitamins A and C, and its flowers are one of the best sources of lecithin, a nutrient that elevates the brain’s acetylcholine and may play a role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

Furthermore, the right balance of nutrients is important for protecting and promoting healthy brain cell function. Another critical aspect is to protect the arteries supplying oxygen and nutrients to the brain. The phytochemicals unique to the Ginkgo Biloba tree restore better blood flow to the brain, allowing improved use of oxygen, and protect the cells from free radicals.

Let the blues flush away

Sadness and grief can sometimes dominate the emotional life of guests at HHI if they have been facing major health challenges. Hopelessness often accompanies such feelings. As a result, many individuals experience symptoms which go along with depression. Many of these symptoms are dealt with through the psychological support available in the Life Transformation Program. Sometimes our guests choose to deal with these problems with herbal support. Some of the herbs which are often helpful in combating the emotional symptoms of depression are described below. It is important to note that it is suggested for individuals going through these symptoms to use herbs under the supervision of a Naturopathic Physician or nutritionist, such as the ones at Hippocrates Health Institute.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis): A safe and non-habit forming herb often used for nervousness, depression, insomnia, and nervous headaches. The volatile oils in the plant (particularly citronellal) have a sedative effect even in minute concentrations, so use with caution.

Ginseng (Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius): An adaptogenic herb often used to boost mood, improve memory and attention, lengthen physical and mental endurance, improve test scores, and ease anxiety.

Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus): An adaptogenic herb often used to boost concentration and focus without the letdown that comes from stimulants like caffeine.

Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica): An herb often used to improve memory, concentration, and mental performance levels.

Yerba maté (Ilex paraguariensis): A shrub that may have the effect of stimulating the mind, increasing concentration, and easing depressive moods.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): An herb often used in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Not recommend as a first line or solo treatment for depression; may be effective for a patient with a history of positive response to low-dose SSRI medications.

Golden Root, Arctic Root, or Roseroot (Rhodiola rosea): An herb often used to improve mental and physical energy, cognitive functions, memory, and performance under stress. By providing extra mental energy, this herb has helped some overcome sad feelings and other symptoms of depression.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and proper forms of B-12 are known to improve the functioning of neural tracks which help regulate mood, and thus may also be effective in combating depression.

Worriers become calmer

Every major health challenge involves fear and anxiety. Many of the Hippocrates guests suffer from stress, worry and fear when they come to the program, especially if their family members or conventional health practitioners have discouraged them from seeking non-conventional healing modalities.The guests often learn to cope with the symptoms of worry and fear through stress management, meditation, guided imagery, Qigong, Tai Chi, breathing techniques, bio-identical hormone therapy, etc. The following herbal remedies are also known to help such conditions.

LifeGive™ AdrenaSupport™ is a nutrient-rich supplement that strengthens the adrenal gland. In combination with LifeGive™ Kind Kidney,™ this helps rid you of worry by stabilizing hormone action in the anatomical region.

Oat straw: A soothing herb often used as a tea for cases of mild to moderate anxiety. May also be effective to combine with other nourishing herbs like Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Linden.

Passionflower (Passiflora): A flowering plant with mild narcotic properties that help promote sleep. This strong calming herb may occasionally be found useful for severe daytime anxiety. Passionflower can be brewed into teas, made into tinctures, or encapsulated.

Kava (Piper methysticum): A sedative that is primarily used to help one relax without disrupting mental clarity. May also be helpful to reduce anxiety.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis): An herb often used for its sedative effects.

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba): An herb that is often used to improve memory and concentration.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids may also be helpful to deal with challenges of stress, worry and fear. HHI supports nutritional treatment by suggesting foods rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, including sprouted seeds.

Boosting the brain

Cognitive challenges often noticed at HHI are related to what many guests call, “brain fog.” Some major diagnoses affect the brain function. Lyme disease, for example, is known to cause cognitive decline and memory impairment. Those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome express similar symptoms as well. The HHI diet includes many nutrients to particularly boost brain function. Some of the herbs known to help the same function are mentioned below.

These herbs may be ideal to combat certain cognitive challenges, but should be used under the supervision of a physician.

Arctic Root: See “Golden Root” above Five Flavor Berry (Schizandra chinensis): A Chinese herb known to boost concentration.

Ginseng (Asian Ginseng, Oriental Ginseng, or Siberian Ginseng): An herb known to help resist stress and to boost energy.

Maca (Lipidium meynii): An herb used for thousands of years by Andean people to improve energy, sexual activity, stress tolerance, etc.

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba): An herb used often for improving cognitive and memory challenges in Chinese medicine.

Brahmi (Bacopa monniera): An Ayurvedic herb used by Indians for thousands of years to enhance stress resilience, reduce anxiety, and improve cognitive function.


Using aromatherapy may also be a positive and effective method of using herbs to combat the emotional symptoms of detox. Essential oils may be diffused to smell their aroma, and in some cases be applied topically, usually with a carrier oil, such as grape seed, almond, or avocado oil. The following herbs are especially helpful as essential oils for concentration:

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Referred to as “the herb of remembrance,” Rosemary is the best known aromatherapy treatment for poor memory, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and improving mental clarity.

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita): Cooling and refreshing, Peppermint essential oil energizes the mind and mood, improving mental clarity and memory.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum): Oil of Basil is perhaps the best aromatic nerve tonic. It is often used to clear the head, relieve intellectual fatigue, and give the mind strength and clarity.

In Conclusion

Western medicine draws an unnatural line between emotions and physical illness, when no such line exists in the body and mind. Regaining ones balance from the experience of anxiety and nervousness, stress and tension, panic attacks, PMS, ADD, depression, and so forth, may be successfully approached with the use of herbs under the supervision of a physician. From treating insomnia, anxiety, and mild depression, some of the favorite herbs used at Hippocrates are Peppermint, Chamomile, and Lavender. The most common treatments using herbs are herbal teas and tinctures, as well as essential oils used in aromatherapy.

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