5 Adaptogens to Calm the Mind
Plants! What can I say about them? The value that they bring to the human experience is paramount, and their vitality is essential to the world we live in. The relationship between plants and humans go back to the dawn of time; in fact, they were considered our first form of medicine. Most of the medicinal drugs we have on the market today are derivatives of plant structures, so learning of their benefits is helpful in maintaining wellness.
Over the years, I have been interested in plants as medicinal alternatives and have done novice research into their benefits on the human body. However, my journey into plant medicine took a turn when I received a diagnosis of dysthymia; also known as Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD). Dysthymia is a mild form of major depression that can last for years at a time. It is common, in about 3-6% of the American population and treatment for the disorder usually consist of psychotherapy and medication.
After receiving the diagnosis, my therapist and I agreed it was in my best interest to continue psychotherapy as well as look into herbal remedies to accompany my sessions. If all else failed, I could revisit the conversation and invite pharmaceuticals into my treatment plan. After doing extensive research, I came across something called adaptogens.
Adaptogens are herbal medicines that help the body handle internal and external stimuli and stress. They are nontoxic, and studies show that they protect the nervous system and brain by aiding the molecular and cellar level of the central nervous system (CNS). "The adaptogens don’t possess addiction, tolerance and abuse potentials, they don’t impair mental function and lead to psychotic symptoms in long-term use."
Below is a list of adaptogens that is commonly used to promote mental wellness:
Rhodiola Rosea - Is a favorite herb, specifically for its antidepressant properties. Rhodiola is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). Which is powerful because MAOI is used to reverse the damage on neurotransmitters that alleviates depression. Depressive symptoms have decreased in individuals taking the herb over time.
Gota Kola - Also known as pennywort, grows abundantly in South Asia and South Africa. It helps mental fatigue and depression, and it has been proven to promote new brain cells through a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
Ginseng - Ginsenosides and compound K are components in Ginseng that helps protect the brain from stress. The root also regulates our neurotransmitters, which aids in combating depression. Studies have shown that chances of depression increases when neurotransmitters are low functioning.
Tulsi - Native to Asia, this plant is seen as a sacred herb; so much so, that its nickname is holy basil. It is known for its ability to regulate cortisol levels in the body during a stressful event.
Hemp oil - Also known as CBD has been prevalent as of late. Not to be confused with its cousin, cannabis, the hemp plant is rich with cannabinoids that are known to calm the nervous system and protect the brain. They offer the therapeutic effects that marijuana provides without the psychoactive effects of THC.
All in all, this is a small list of adaptogens used to promote mental wellness; the list of plant medicine can go and on. Keep in mind that this list is not to replace any medication that has been prescribed to you by a mental health physician. Please consult with your doctor before using any alternative medicine.
Latoya Sinclair is a Mind Editor for Spoken Black Girl, who dedicated to living her highest purpose - spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Find her on Instagram and Twitter @warmsacredwoman