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Ask the Herbalist - Emotional Issues

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ANSWERS FROM CARLOS:
QUESTION
: a year ago I was diagnosed with OCPD. (it was in a period when I stopped working night shifts) The psychiatrist said that long term anxiety had damaged my hippocampal cells. He wanted to prescribe me Prozac 'in order to rebuilt'  damaged areas.  Then I visited 3 different doctors and  was
told that i was suffering from mild depression, anxiety and social anxiety.  I started cognitive therapy and saw some improvement.  Then I tried Rhodiola (3weeks on, 1 week off) and felt great, the first time.   However, after 10 months , i feel it no longer as affective as before.  Still, when I stop it I end up depressed after a couple of weeks.  I also take omega 3 (1 gram a day) and b-complex and vit c daily.
During the past year i also modified my diet.  Initially, I almost eliminated all animal fats and increased nuts intake.  Then a couple of months ago , after noticing some sexual problems, a blood test showed low
white blood count and testosterone.  I changed diet and increased animal protein and eggs and 10mgs zinc daily.  I noticed some improvement sexually.  A couple of weeks ago then I eliminated milk from diet and I saw improvement in sinus which had been troubling me for about a year. It seems that my major problem is anxiety - and rhodiola is helping me, but I need to add something else it.  What are the best options?  Gingko biloba perhaps? (some years ago, I used to take a small dose of gingko with panax ginseng - can I cycle it with rhodiola?)

ANSWER: First allow me to say that any and all alternative remedies should only be done for 3 months, then stopped for 14 days, and then the patient needs to be evaluated to what if any other treatments may be more appropriate, or if the same should be continue, or the dosage and the frequency increased or
diminished.  Folks, Joe, should not self-medicate.

My suggestion is to stop the Rhodiola, and instead begin drinking infusions of Lemon balm and adding 10 drops extract or tincture of St. John's Wort and 15 drops extract or tincture of Passionflower. Sweeten only with honey and drink 3xs day or as needed. Extracts and tinctures work better and faster.

Avoid stress. I know that is a tall order, but in as much as possible avoid stressful situations and stressful people.

QUESTION: Hi Carlos! I hope you are well! I am currently on 20mg per day of Celexa (Citalopram) an anti-depressant and Ativan (Lorazepam) 1mg per day, this combination is not doing too well for me, I currently still experience crying spells and anxiety and panic attacks. I was prescribed Lexapro but am afraid to take it. I feel like If I am going to switch to another anti-depressant I'd rather work on transitioning over to all natural herbs. I have been doing alot of research on this subject but since I am not an herbalist I am not sure how to tackle it. My question is what herbs can I take while on Celexa and Ativan that will help balance my mood, and then what herbs can I take while weaning off of these meds which i plan to do individual with a doctors help, that will help with withdrawal symptoms such as shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, severe joint pain, gastrointestinal problems, hypertension and numbness and tingling in hands and arm. I appreciate any help you can give Thanks Again!

ANSWER: My first suggestion is that you begin a detoxification program. I suggest you fast for 48 hours, if hunger overtakes you, you may eat Yogurt. While fasting you need to drink infusions of Green tea adding 15 drops of extract or tincture of Dandelion root. Sweeten only with a bit of honey and drink 4-5xs day for 48 hours.  Extracts and tinctures work better and faster. 

Diet is the next item here you should address. Eliminate foods that stagnate the system such as: Heavy red meats, pork, white sugar, colas and sodas, chips, all dairy, and all fried foods. Drink coffee and alcohol only in moderation.

Follow a healthy diet eat plenty of cold water fish (salmon, mackerel), fresh garlic and onion, whole grain bread, brown rice, honey, soy products if tolerated, plenty of raw or steamed vegetables and eat fresh fruits daily.  

To help balance your moods I would encourage you to drink infusions of Lemon balm, adding 10 drops of extract or tincture of St. John's wort and 15 drops of extract or tincture of Passionflower. Sweeten only with a bit of honey and drink as needed.  Avoid stress and stressful people. 

If you have problems finding the extracts I suggest:  http://www.goldenlotusherbs.com/ they are reputable and honest.  For other herbs: http://www.pennherb.com/

Please make sure you keep your physician informed of every step you are taking.

QUESTION: I have anxiety disorder and panic attacks. I've taken Wellbutren and Effexor and they both give me a terrible feeling. I'm not taking anything right now, just an occasional .25 Xanax when I feel a panic attack. What is the best herb for me to take to ease my anxiety? I have a general feeling of being "unwell" also. Kinda lightheaded, sluggish and an off heartbeat. Please say you can help me :)))

ANSWER: I would first suggest that you monitor your blood pressure. it may be that your pressure is low, thus lightheadness and fatigue.  You may need to increase your intake of healthy foods, such as: Fresh fish (salmon and mackerel), honey, fresh garlic and onions, raw or steamed vegetables and fresh fruits. Avoid foods that stagnate the system, such as: Red meats, pork, white sugar, all dairy and all fried foods.

As to the anxiety, I would suggest infusions of Lemon balm, adding 15 drops of extract or tincture of St. John's Wort. Sweeten only with a bit of honey and drink 3xs day.  If you have trouble sleeping, I suggest infusions of Linden flower.  Many times we need to find something that interests us to give us a boost, like exercise, walking, painting, reading, planting a garden, etc.  You may also want to have a blood test to check if you are low on the vitamin B-12. If you are, then one sublingual B-12 in the morning is suggested.

QUESTION: I have used prozac for OCD and depression for the better part of 15 years.  I have weaned off recently and have been trying ashwagandha and rhodiola. I was wondering what your opinion is about these?  Dosages for relief?  should I cycle btw the two as I know breaks from adaptogens and herbs in general is often recommeneded?  do you suggest something else all together?

Also for anxiety I have long been prescribed .25 xanax .  I am trying not to use it much and have been trying l-theanine and passion flower.  Your opinion regarding these? Dosages for effective relief?  any other remedies you recommend - at times the anxiety is quite severe - more so than the OCD or depression.  My OCD is more obsessive thought than compulsions.  The obsessive thinking, worrying often triggers the anxiety  - it is a cycle where the anxiety triggers more thoughts and thoughts trigger more anxiety.

I have sought treatment over the years -medical, therapy, hypnosis etc.  thank you so much for any insight you feel comfortable providing!

ANSWER: It takes uite some time for Prozac to be fully out of the system. i would suggest that you begin a 48 hour fast drinking only fresh water and Dandelion root tea. If used in extract use 15 drops in an infusion of Green tea 5xs day during your fast. After your fast, drink 3xs daily for 7 days.

If hunger overtakes you during the fast you may eat yogurt or unsalted crackers.  

You can continue with the Ashwagandha and the Rhodiola.  You should use these for 4 to 6 weeks, then have a period of "rest" for 7 to 14 days.  While using these I suggest you add 25 drops of extract of St. John's Wort, 10 drops of extract of Passionflower and 10 drops of extract of Lemon balm to an infusion of Chamomile tea. Sweeten only with a bit of honey and drink 2-3xs day. 

I suggest you avoid foods that stagnate the system, such as: Red meats, pork, white sugar, all dairy and all fried foods.  A principal ingredient to your goal is exercise. I encourage you to ask your local library for books or videos on meditation, Yoga and Tai chi. Fifteen minutes a day would do wonders. 

Add to your warm baths 30 drops of essential oil of Lavender.  Avoid stress in as much as possible, smile and think: Happy!  Find your center and inner peace...

QUESTION:  Hi I was wondering if there are adverse reactions between St John's Wort, Salvia Divinorum and Leonotis leonurus? I am taking leonotis to help aid in migraines, and St johns Wort for exam stress. I know that St John's Wort is considered an SSRI, Salvia contains Salvinorin and leonotis contains leourine (some consider it a depressant and sedative.)   Should I be concerned since Salvia boosts MAOIs when the two are used together?

ANSWER:  Unfortunately the only thing Salvia is going to help do is help confuse you and add stress. We have never nor will we ever suggest Salvia to anyone, so use at your own risk. Leonotis has been often used to obtain a mild "high" effect similar to Cannabis, but less intense. I would not suggest it either if you are trying to pass your exams. 

For migraines I suggest diluting five drops of essential oil of Lavender into 20 drops of vegetable oil and rubbing this into your temple area. The St. John's may help a bit for stress, but I would suggest drinking infusions of Lemon balm 4-5xs day. Sweeten only with honey.

QUESTION: My question is about depression and mood swings.  What herbs really are effective in treating depression?

ANSWER: With depression as with many illnesses we must start by looking at diet.

Eliminate foods that stagnate the system, such as: Heavy red meats, pork, white sugar, all dairy and all fried foods.

Enhance your diet with plenty of fresh fish (salmon, mackerel), include fresh garlic and onion in every meal, fresh ginger, brown rice, chicken, turkey, honey, raw or steamed fresh vegetables and plenty of fresh fruits.  An important part, you must remember is the ability for him to follow a healthy diet, with plenty of whole grains, lean meat, shellfish, fresh fruits, oily fish, eggs (in moderation), and steamed vegetables. These foods are rich in nutrients that seem to be involved in brain chemistry.

The best herbs to treat depression are perhaps St. John's Wort, Passionflower and Lemon Balm. Please remember that extracts and tinctures work better and faster.  You may use 30 drops of essential oil of Lavender in your warm baths.  Other essential oils such as, bergamot, lavender, rose, clary sage, neroli and ylang ylang aid in relaxation and lift the mood.

Infusions of Passionflower and Lemon balm in equal parts daily will certainly prove of help. Drinking the above and adding 25 drops of extract of St. John's Wort would be much more effective than taking it in pill form. Drink often and sweeten only with honey.   If suffering from insomnia then substitute Linden flower for the Passionflower.

A low-level regimen of exercise such as Yoga or T'ai Chi Ch'uan will often prove beneficial. Your local library may have books or videos on these to help get you started.
Learning breathing techniques and meditation can also be very helpful to relieve stress and ease depression.

QUESTION: I am 39 years old.  I've been on Lexapro for 10 years along with multivitamin/calcium.  I've tried to wean myself off and will be okay for a few months and then the depression, anxiety, etc  comes back.  I read where someone came off of Lexapro and took amino acids and fish oil, and is completely off the antidepressant.  I'm scared to come off Lexapro but was wondering if I could take a lesser dose and incorporate Taurine 1000mg and L-Tryptophan 500mg?  Thanks for your help.  I asked my nurse practicioner and she said she thought it would be okay but to talk with a homeopathic/naturopathic to see what they recommend.  I read on the internet that L-Tryptophan shouldn't be taken with Lexapro but the lady at the local herb shop said to take my Lexapro in the morning and L-Tryptophan at night.  I'm confused, ha!  

ANSWER: If taking Lexapro you should avoid L-Tryptophan and St. John's Wort. Do not use these if taking Lexapro.

My suggestion would be to an infusion of Lemon balm, add 30 drops of extract of Passionflower. Sweeten only with a bit of honey and drink 3xs day. If anxious at night add 15 drops extract of Linden flower to the teas.

Extracts and tinctures work better and faster.  Explore and see how that works for you for 2 weeks, then see if the dosage on the Lexapro can be minimized.  You can include the Taurine and the Fish oil.

QUESTION: I was wondering if it would be alright to take milk thistle and marshmallow root while weaning myself off of prozac. 

ANSWER: You really should not wean yourself off of Prozac without medical supervision. Please consult with your physician first.  Although it may be okay to take these two while "weaning yourself", there may be other herbs that may be more appropriate such as: St. John's wort, Lemon balm, etc...   

Please talk to your doctor first, then write us back and we will do everything we can to help.

QUESTION: I was hoping someone could tell me if it is possible to build a tolerance to L-Theanine.  I am liking the help that it has given me with my anxiety but I do not want to dampen the effects of it by overuse.  I have been taking the Source Naturals Theanine Serene formula and bought some bulk L-Theanine powder to supplement it since I have read that you can't really take too much L-Theanine, but the supplement contains magnesium which I have read can cause some bowel problems if you take too much.  Thank you for any insight you can provide.

ANSWER: The latest studies done, although not done on humans, indicate that there was no adverse reaction to rats given high amounts of L-theanine over a period of weeks.  With magnisium though, chronic diarrhea is common and in rare cases trouble breathing and muscle paralysis may happen.  This is more likely to happen if the supplement contains any impurities. 

This is what I suggest; Drink infusions of Meadowsweet tea, adding 10 drops of extract of Passionflower and 5 drops extract of St. John's Wort. Sweeten with a bit of honey and drink 3xs day.   

Other herbs that may be of help are Kava Kava and Lemon balm. 

QUESTION:  I heard you can smoke different kinds of herbs to make you feel good. I am looking for one that will help me with stress, depression, weight control and mind.  Is there one you would recommend to help me? 

ANSWER: Well since you asked, there are several among them Passion vine and a few others.

Here's a link to what you may need:
http://www.herbalsmokeshop.com/legal.html


ANSWERS FROM LORYHL:
QUESTION
: I am currently on medication for tremors and panic attacks. I take Lorazepam, Baclofen, and Propranolol. I would like to start taking a full body cleanser such as: All Cell Salts made of (2 part) Bladderwrack, Irish Moss, and Arrow Root to rid my body of the excess salts it produces during my spasms and lose some weight. My Mom wishes to use it too. She takes psychiatric, heart, and acid reflux medication. The question I have will the medicine we take on a regular basis still work while taking the All Cell Salts, or will it be flushed out too?

ANSWER: Cell Salts, are generally a homeopathic remedy, not herbal. Is this herbal? Did you make it or is it from a store, if so what brand, and exactly what is in it?  As a rule it will not flush out the drugs, but I am not sure what it is you are taking. I suggest you read the downloads I am sending to thoroughly help your situation, and make a complete change.

ANSWERS FROM KAREN MALLINGER

DEPRESSION
QUESTION:
Recommendations for a natural process to help control depression.

ANSWER: I don't know what type of depression you're talking about, whether situational or clinical. Has it been diagnosed, or do you just feel depressed? Are you on medication? If so, you would need to wean yourself off it with the help of a medical professional. There are several herbs that are used for depression or anxiety. Among them, St. John's Wort, Kava Kava, Lemon Balm, Valerian, and Chamomile. Also, Vitamin B complex and EFA's have shown positive results in studies dealing with depression.
 
If it is clinical, I wouldn't undertake it without the assistance of some sort of Medical professional. Self-mediating can be very dangerous for certain types of depression and should not be attempted for your own safety.
 
QUESTION
: I want to ask you a question, I was told I had anxiety.  Are they any help for me?  I want to stay by myself and drive by myself.  I used to work every day.  Now I am scared to even try it.  This started in 1997.  I know that's a long time to live in misery, isn't it?  I am 41 years old.  I smoke also.  So what can you do for me or what can I do?  Please help.  Thanks. 

ANSWER: Have you been diagnosed by a medical professional? There are several herbs you can take for anxiety. Lemon Balm tea is one of my favorites for calming down. Also Chamomile, Valerian and skullcap.
I have a couple of teas that may work well for you. Restful Night and Stress Less tea are both very relaxing. You can find them on my website at www.allgoodegifts.com

DEPRESSION AND LOSING WEIGHT

QUESTION
: Hi! How are you? I'm sure very busy so I will be very brief.

1) Taking "Nutrizac" for Depression. I started because I stressed so much my hair has been falling out and I have been losing way too much weight.

2) I haven't really been stressing but I'm still losing weight which is beginning to cause me to stress again. I look sickly. I read St John's wort may be assisting in my weight loss.

Is there another herb I can take while still taking the Nutrizac that will help me to gain weight and/or increase my appetite?? I don't want to mix herbs w/out checking first.

FYI.....my Nutrizac Contains:
(Vitamin B-6 (as pyridoxine HCl)  5 mg  (250% DV)
Vitamin B-12 (as cyanocobalamin)  10 mcg  (167% DV)
Zinc (as monomethionine)  10 mg  (67% DV)
St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum flower) (standardized 0.3-0.5%
[0.9-1.5 mg] hypericin)  300 mg
Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis fruit) (standardized 9% [4.5 mg]
schisandrins)  50 mg
Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus root) (standardized 0.8% [0.4 mg]
eleutherosides)  50 mg
L-Tyrosine (pharmaceutical grade free form amino acid)  25 mg
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium leaf) (standardized 0.7% [0.175 mg]
parthenolide)  25 mg
Suma (Pfaffia paniculata root) (standardized 5% [0.25 mg] beta-ecdysterone)
5 mg

Additional ingredients:
Silica, microcrystalline cellulose, di-calcium phosphate, stearic acid and
pharmaceutical glaze.

I just don't have medical insurance and I'm very depressed. Losing weight is only adding to this, most people might think this would be a plus....NOT ME. I hate it, please help!

ANSWER:
I'm not aware of St. John's Wort normally causing weight loss. (If it did, you can be sure the big diet companies would be using it extensively!!) But everyone's system is different and reacts differently to different herbs.  Instead, I would take a closer look at what you are eating. Do you smoke? What's your environment like etc. From what you've told me, you have self-diagnosed your depression - a VERY dangerous thing to do. The symptoms you were experiencing could be caused by a number of things. If you are eating three healthy meals a day and still losing weight, I would suggest you get a thorough blood test done. I know you said you don't have medical insurance, but there are free clinics and there are ways for you to get the medical assistance you need. It's imperative you find out what's causing the weight loss. Without a firm diagnosis, it's impossible to suggest where to start. Did the weight loss only start after taking this supplement? If so, then stop it immediately. If you are looking for something to calm you down and help you de-stress, I would suggest Lemon Balm Tea, Valerian Tea or my Stress Less Blend that can be found on the website at www.allgoodegifts.com  in the Apothecary.

DEPRESSION:
QUESTION
: I have self diagnosed myself by reading about symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder , I believe I have bipolar disorder. I was recommended too take rhodiola. I have done some research and have read a lot that in my case I should avoid taking rhodiola. Why is that?  I would like to avoid any chemical prescription by a doctor , I prefer a natural herb if I can for less side effects.  I was also thinking go to a doctor get diagnosed , take their prescribed medication , and in the near future after symptoms are more mild cut the prescription medication and start taking rhodiola?  My 2 questions would be: why can't a person with bipolar disorder take rhodiola for treatment? Should I possibly get treated with prescription medicine and then start taking rhodiola in the future?

ANSWER: It is VERY dangerous to self-diagnose, especially with something as serious as mental illness. My advice to you is to get to a medical professional, Naturopaths deal with depression in a natural manner. You cannot possibly know if you actually suffer from bi-polar disorder unless you have extensive medical training. Many symptoms of menopause, stress, even some diseases can mimic the symptoms of bi-polar disease, so don't take chances. See a medical professional and get a firm diagnoses. Natural is always better in my opinion. Many of the medications used for depression have serious side effects. Find a Naturopath in your area and follow their advice.

ANXIETY
QUESTION: I was told to use redroot for nervousness and anxiety on a new job, will this work, if not what else can I use?  I am post menopause and take gingko, over 50 multi and cod liver oil for the joints and baby aspirin no other meds. thank you for your time

ANSWER: Red Root, or Spirit Plant, has Astringent, narcotic and nervine properties. Although it could probably reduce your anxiety, I personally wouldn't recommend it. It can be deadly taken in large doses and really is only masking the anxiety by the feelings of euphoria it may create.

A better suggestion would be hops, valerian, feverfew, chamomile, passion flower, skullcap or lemon balm. All nervines and all very soothing and calming. I have a tea called Stress-Less Tea that you can find on the website at www.allgoodegifts.com  in the Apothecary.

PANIC ATTACKS
QUESTION:
A
fter many tests thinking it was my heart, we came to the conclusion that i was having panic/anxiety attacks. for the past 7-10 days, I have been taking the following:
1.extract combination of kava-passiflora-valerian (from country life)
2.ST john's wort pills (solaray)
They have worked perfectly. no more attacks and feeling very relax. I don't use more than the recommended dosage from the makers. My question is:
1.how long can I keep using them.
2. which one should i stop first due to side effects or prolonged use.

ANSWER:
There is no limitation on the use of St. John's Wort, though it will make your skin sensitive to sunlight, so keep that in mind. Kava Kava should not be taken on a daily basis for longer than 4 to 6 months without a break. It is not recommended for people with sever anxiety disorders and/or depression. Valerian shouldn't be abruptly stopped, so my suggestion, since it's in a compound with the Kava Kava is to slowly wean yourself off the extract - don't just stop cold turkey.


ANSWERS FROM DAVID BRILL:
CONCENTRATION
QUESTION:
  What would you suggest for following: to increase concentration power and
mental calmness.

ANSWER:  Herbs that have been used for this include Bacopa, Schisandra, Calamus,
Ginkgo, Basil, Gotu Kola and our favorite herb Rosemary.  Additionally I would
use an adaptogen like Ashwanghanda and a nervine such as fresh Oats.


STRESS
QUESTION:
I have recently tried Kava Kava for anxiety, PMS, and a few other descriptions I am basically a very I stressed person. Kava had no effect on me even when I took the maximum dose. I don't like taking a lot of any thing is there any thing out there that is maybe stronger or could help me? By the way the lady at GNC is the one that told me to try kava kava, that's the only place I know where to get Herbs.

ANSWER: The root of Kava Kava, Latin Named: Piper methysticum is an herb which needs to be taken in the correct form, I would suggest an alcohol based herbal extract.  Length of use is also important for some, I know I can get immediate results with Kava for performance anxiety prior to a talk.  I take a little of it and am relaxed.  For you it may take longer or you may need more.

For stress I would consider an Adaptogen herb such as the root of Siberian Ginseng, Latin Named: Eleutherococcus senticosis, this one is a tonic herb and should be taken for several months before deciding whether it was working for you.  With this herb you would take more of it, it is appropriate for larger doses and longterm use.

It sounds like your nerves are a little on edge a great herb for nerves is fresh Oats, Latin Named: Avena sativa again as an alcohol based extract.

As to sources for herbal products look for an herb store in your area, if you cannot find one locally we mail order everyday all over the USA please call.

I am also a big fan of alcohol based herbal extracts as to form, they are quick acting and preserve quality for years.

DEPRESSION
QUESTION: 
I have diagnosed hypoglycemia. It is under complete control with diet and I suffer no symptoms. I have been diagnosed with depression. Suffering from depression, fatigue,
confusion and fuzzy thinking. I was put on prozac 2 weeks ago only to have
my hypoglycemia symptoms return. I also suffer with abdominal pain on the right side, under my ribs just
over my hip. This is accompanied by dry patchy skin, mouth blisters, crusty
eyes, diarhea and/or constipation (very mucousy), low fever and joint pain.
It can last 12 hrs to 2 weeks at a time. I do not have panic attacks or
anxiety. I have been tested for every conceivable blood disorder.
Hepatitis, Iron or vitamin deficiency, liver function, thyroid, even HIV and
syphilis. All came back negative. Can you at least recommend something for the depression?

ANSWER:  Here are some herbs which have been used effectively for depression.

Black Cohosh, Latin Named: Cimicifuga racemosa is a great herb connecting female reproductive issues and nervous system issues, I would look at this herb as a good choice if these two issues are related with your issues, such as depression associate with PMS, menses or menopause.  Modern day testing of this herb has demonstrated few side effects produced with long-term use.  One side effect which it has been known to cause, is upset stomach, so take with food if this concerns you.  Some say it can take 4-6 weeks for Black Cohosh to show its full benefits so take it for that long before determining its effect on you.  I would suggest a fresh or freshly dry root alcohol based extract.

St John's Wort, Latin Named: Hypericum perforatum has been well known recently as the antidepressant herb.  Today's scientific testing proves its abilities to fight mild to moderate depression and seasonal affected disorder  (SAD) and what used to be called melancholy.  It mixes well with Lemon Balm.  Full effects are seen in 4-6 weeks, give it this long to work.  A fresh or freshly dried flowering tops herb extract is best, I would avoid a standardized extract and use a whole plant alcohol based extract.

Lemon Balm, Latin Named: Melissa officinalis is a gentle herb found in most gardens or in the wild.  This herb is a mood elevator used for mild depression caused by SAD or to get one out of the blues.  It is excellent in combination with St John's Wort.  This herb can be taken as a tea or an alcohol based extract from the fresh or fresh dried herb.  Lemon Balm tea is easy to make and good tasting.  Oral usage of Melissa is on the FDA's GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list. There are no known drug interactions.

Rosemary, Latin Named: Rosmarinus officinalis is another great herb for depression and mood lifting, it helps pickup the mind and is also good for memory, foggy thinking.  It is also a great antioxidant and good carminative calming digestive issues.  Rosemary can be taken fresh or dry as a tea or an alcohol based extract.

You may want to start with Lemon Balm or a combo of Lemon Balm and St John's Wort.

If you cannot find your herbs locally we mailorder everyday all over the USA, please call.

Stress may be a issue which connects all the signs and symptoms you describe above, an alcohol based extract of fresh oat tops, Latin Name: Avena sativa might be appropriate for you in combination with an Adaptogen herb such as Siberian Ginseng.

A great digestive and GI system tonic is an Ayruveda herb combination called Triphala.  See my other answers online for more information on Triphala.

STRESS
QUESTION: 
I have a question relating to relaxation.  I have a tendency to be extremely tense (physically) and thus, my shoulders, neck and back are constantly knotted and tense creating pain.  I've also been in a few car accidents, so that may be where some of the pain comes from.  At any rate, is there any herbal remedy for being tense, to relax you emotionally and physically?  Something that is safe to take long term and can be taken with whatever it is you prescribe for my earlier question of energy levels as well as having 0 or few side effects?

ANSWER:  I would try a simple cup of Chamomile tea, also spelled camomile by some, look for Latin Name: German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).

The act of making the tea and slowly drinking it will help you calm down and relax.  It usually calms people down 1 - 2 notches it is a great tea to take when a meeting at work upsets you, the boss throws more work at you than you think you can handle or the house and family stress overwhelm you.  In addition Chamomile is a very mild relaxing herb and has little or no side effects or reports problems.

Chamomile tea can be made by pouring boiling water over 2 to 3 heaping teaspoons of flowers and steeping for 10 minutes.

Chamomile is listed on the FDA's GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list.

The general safety concerns, side effects and interactions along with hysterical mass media accounts listed against this herb include.

1.  Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with liver or kidney disease has not been established.

2.  Chamomile is part of the ragweed family so people allergic to this plant should avoid this plant or use caution.

3.  One constituent of the plant is considered a naturally occurring blood thinner so don't mix with other blood thinners.

Actual Data consists of the following:

Reports that chamomile can cause severe reactions in people allergic to ragweed have received significant media attention. However, when all the evidence is examined, it does not appear that chamomile is actually more allergenic than any other plant. The cause of these reports may be products contaminated with "dog chamomile," a highly allergenic and bad-tasting plant of similar appearance.

Chamomile also contains naturally occurring coumarin compounds that can act as "blood thinners."  Excessive use of chamomile tea when taking these prescription drugs is not recommend because of theoretical interaction with these anticoagulants.

Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with liver or kidney disease has not been established, although there have not been any credible reports of toxicity caused by this common beverage tea which is used throughout the world.  This is a general warning which can be found on many food products and drinks. 

ANXIETY
QUESTION:
My Daughter has a terrible time with panic attacks and general anxiety and wanted me to check on the computer for an herbal or natural way to maybe help her not have them. Or make them not so severe. They seem to mostly happen at night during sleep. Her Doctor prescribed Paxil, but she is very hesitant to take it. She works and needs to be alert for driving and her job and is concerned about prescription "hangover". Is there anything out there that can help her? Appreciate any help you can give.

ANSWER:  I am glad she is leary of the Paxol.  You do not say how old she is or if the anxiety is related to any female reproductive issues such as menses or menopause.  There are many other factors which could be affecting her, was there recent trauma, accident, depression, did she always have this or was there something recently that triggered this.  Without all the information I am only guessing.  Here are some things to think about.

I would start with something simple like a strong cup of Chamomile or Camomile tea, Latin Name:  Matricaria recutita drink one cup 1/2-1 hour before bed another just before bed.  Chamomile tea would also be my choice for bringing her one step down if she becomes aggitated or anxious at work or during the day, she should take the time to make the tea and take the time to drink it.  The preparation and slow drinking will move her concentration and anxiousness to a less restless state.

A great flower essence for this would be rescue remedy it could be added to the tea or taken as needed.

A next step up on the scale would be the herbs valerian or hops.

For severe anxiety and panic attacks, use Kava Kava mixed with Motherwort, Blue Vervain, Chamomile or Catnip

Motherwort and Blue Vervain would be a good choice if the anxiety was associated with PMS or Menopauseal issues.

For anxiety associated with the blahs, slight depression Linden Flower and Lemon Balm would be a good herbal choice.

ANXIETY
QUESTION:  
Is there any combination of herbs to help with anxiety and nervousness.  I
get so nervous with anticipation of events and several situations that I
shake uncontrollably.  My twin brother is taking Paxill, and I was wondering
if there is a natural way to help my problem. 

ANSWER:   For performance anxiety I use Kava Kava, Latin Named, Piper Methysticum.  Use a alcohol extract of the root, the active constituents are not totally soluble in simply water.  I have used Kava pre-lectures to calm my nerves, the trick is not to take to much and get drowsy.  (for more information on Kava see my other answers online)

For nerves in general I would suggest a fresh oats extract, Latin Named Avena Sativa or A. fatua.  It should be gathered in the fresh milky stage and extracted in alcohol.  Fresh Oats is food for the nervous system.  It is also recommend for those who are generally anxious.  This is a tonic herb and can be taken for a long time.

If you cannot find a local source we carry both products in our store and mail-order everyday, please call.

MOOD ELEVATING
QUESTION:
Hi, I was just wondering, is there an herb that isn't too potent, but puts you in a better mood? the few I've found like khat have sounded too powerful and have too many negative effects, such as insomnia which I am already taking pills for...i would be very thankful for any information you can give me. thanks for your time. 

ANSWER: Rosemary is mood lifting, if you are talking depression or melancholy use Saint Johnswort, Basil or Lemon Balm. If you are talking foggy thinking, use Ginkgo to increase circulation to the brain.

We also carry a blended formula that utilizes most of these herbs and some others, called "Clear Thought".

GRIEF
QUESTIONS:
I need to know if there's an herb that would bring up certain emotions instead of lingering in the body, for instance, grief?

ANSWER: It is a very interesting question you ask. I would suggest anti-depressant herbs such as St. Johnswort/Lemon Balm/Licorice to lift the person up a little and allow them to express themselves. Hawthorn has traditionally been used for physical problems of the heart but the Chinese used it for "Disturbed Shen", roughly translated as a kink in your spirit which is housed in the Heart. Rosemary has been used for clearing cloudy thinking and remembrance. Shakespeare said "Rosemary that's for remembrance. I pray you love, remember". Sometimes just wiffing the leaves brings cleared thinking for me. Ginkgo helps to increase cerebral circulation bringing more blood to brain and increasing thinking and memory. Finally, I think I would try fresh Oats which is food for the nervous system and Siberian Ginseng as an adaptogen to support the person under this stress of grief. You might also want to look for a Homeopathic remedy that matches this description or a Flower Essence. 

 

DEPRESSION
QUESTION:
I really enjoy your site and your wonderful answers to people's questions, and now I have one for you that I am hoping you can help Me with. I have a problem with seretonin re-uptake and as such I have mild depression, irritability, some signs of OCD and an almost unbearable anxiety when crossing bridges. My Doctor placed Me on PAXIL and then on PROZAC when the PAXIL became stopped working. I was wondering if there are any really useful herbal alternatives or groups of herbal variations that I can use instead of the PROZAC. The side effects of PROZAC are not vary conducive to a full, enjoyable life and I would like to try healing myself the natural way!

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

ANSWER: The simple answer to your question is Saint Johnswort, which has been tested as effective as Prozac for mild to moderate depression. Key here is a total full spectrum fresh or freshly dried herb extract with alcohol to preserve and extract the constituents, not a pill or standardize extract or pill. Give it 4 - 6 weeks to work, consult with your DR, about how to transition from one to the other do not do this alone. Depression can be deadly if left unchecked.

For anxiety Kava Kava and I would include a calming adaptogen such as Ashwaghanda, Latin Name: Withania somnifera. You would also benefit from a fresh Oats extract, Latin named: Avena sativa, it is food for the nervous system.

Thank you for your kind words, I am not sure if any of this is helping, I do not hear from all I have written to as to whether the answer was helpful

DEPRESSION
QUESTION:
My 18 yr. old son is suffering from moderate depression. The doctor put him on Paxil which caused him to sleep 12 hrs. a day. He stopped taking it because he was so tired and it didn't seem to help that much. Can St. John's wort and kava kava be used at the same time to treat depression. If so, what is the dosage?

ANSWER: Kava would not be an appropriate choice, but St Johnswort would, use a fresh or freshly dried alcohol extract made from the flowering tops, for some the antidepressant affect can take 4-6 weeks. 

Give the herb that long before determining its effectiveness. I would avoid the standardized products they have been associated with more side effects.

Another antidepressant herb which is a great tasting tea or can be incorporated as another tincture in a formula is made with Lemon Balm, 3 cups a day of the tea would be appropriate, and combing the Saint Johnswort and Lemon Balm would be okay.

We carry both a tincture of Saint Johnswort and Lemon Balm herb and tincture in our store and mailorder every day. Please call if you wish and we will mail them out to you.

As to suggested use, it should be provide on the product packaging and is usually based on a 150 pound individual.

LITHIUM ALTERNATIVE
QUESTION:
I was looking for an herb that is as effective as lithium in people who have manic episodes. I am a manic person, but I don't want that info in my MIB report, so I am looking for an alternative to help me ease the symptoms.

ANSWER: I am not sure I can help you, I am sorry. If you truly have a lithium deficiency (or are diagnosed with Bi-polar disease) taking lithium maybe your only choice. If lithium deficiency is not the cause then you may want to try the herbs which relax you. Such as chamomile, valerian, kava, hops, etc. We do sell an effective product called Rosemary Relaxing blend it comes in a tea and tincture form and we have had great success with clients and customers on it efficacy.

Sorry I cannot suggest more.