Posted in General by Penny WadePenny Wade on 20 November 2020

Did you know that anxiety and depression affect approx 20% of adults. Covid arrives, and a survey in March/April 2020 reported 62% and 50% of  those surveyed were affected by anxiety and depression respectively.

So how can herbal medicine and lifestyle help?  After doing a patient history of symptoms etc I would give you a Mood and Stress Questionnaire to complete. This gives a clearer picture of herbal combinations to prescribe. 

Without going into enormous detail the following applies:

1. A specific magnesium formula is used based on your condition.It is not just magnesium. In times of high stress magnesium is excreted via the urine. Lack of magnesium adversely affects the neurotransmitters serotonin and acetylcholine  with further stress ensuing.  

2. Vitamin D3.Low levels are associated with anxiety and depression

3. Zinc 

4. Fish oils - Omega 3 fatty acids  Decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression by reducing inflammation, lowering oxidative stress thus protecting neurons from breaking down.

5. Herbs -  Passionflower excellent for stress/ anxiety and  disrupted sleep

6. Saffron and turmeric - decreased depression by greater than 50% in people with major depressive disorder. 

Lifestyle factors that increase anxiety and depression

  • Insomnia - Use passionflower, a specific magnesium and lavender oil
  • Obesity - 55% risk of developing anxiety or depression - Diet plus councillor.
  • diet - The Mediterranean diet is anti inflammatory and is the best as opposed to high fat and sugary foods. 

 - Inflammation lowering - strawberries

- Increasing neuronal plasticity - blueberries

- Anti oxidant - Resveratrol- Pinot noir has the highest level of resveratrol but you have to drink litres of it to obtain significant levels of resveratrol! Tablets are the best.

- Modulating the HPA axis- Green tea

  • Gut/brain axis

There is a link between the composition of bugs in the gut to anxiety and depression.Poor composition leads to leaky gut and an impaired mucous membrane. Factors that adversely affect the bugs in the gut are chronic stress, low fibre diets and high alcohol consumption. Also, too many antibiotics in a life time. 

To improve the gut flora fermented prebiotic foods such as keffir and sauerkraut are excellent and fibres such as slippery elm and various gums.  They ultimately decrease inflammatiion in the gut. 

  • Exercise -Through exercise chemicals are produced in the muscles. These chemicals go to the brain stimulating the production of BDNF. This is a protein that promotes neuroplasticity and neurogenisis.
  • With a high drop out rate best to find an exercise you love to commit to. Get social support from family/friends and gain support from an exercise professional.

 - Yoga

Studies show a large significant decrease in anxiety symptoms and a positive improvement in depressive symtoms. 

Best results obtained doing 3 classes a week rather than just one. Need to do this for 8 weeks to get results. Incorporating meditation and spiritual connection will enhance results further.

The above content is a shortened version of a webinar I did on ' Freedom from the mind'



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