We just celebrated World Mental Health Day on October 10th, did you know that? Well, this day is celebrated every year since 1992 with an objective to deploy efforts supporting mental health. Consequently, it provides an opportunity where everyone can discuss issues concerning mental health.
Sadly, mental health issues affect millions of lives due to the collective failure of society in dealing with such issues. Nevertheless, the theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is “Mental Health Promotion & Suicide Prevention.” Someone dies every 40 seconds by suicide around the world. And, it is due to extensive mental stress that people bear these days.
Therefore, in order to reduce mental stress, one must take care of himself or herself inside out. And, if you want to attain mental peace, you must engage yourself in a better lifestyle with healthy food and physical activities. Now, you can also grab some food supplements that can help you with maintaining your overall health.
Check out some organic ingredients that help you achieve inner peace by improving your mental health and reducing stress factors.
The incredibly healthy herb, Ashwagandha or Withania somnifera or “Indian Ginseng” can be your best solution if you are looking for organic ingredients helpful for mental health.
Basically, this highly beneficial herb is native to India and grown in parts of Africa and the Middle East. As a matter of fact, “Ashwagandha” is taken from Sanskrit, meaning, the smell of horse urine. It has a strong history of more than 3000 years as it has been in use in Ayurveda for ages for a variety of human conditions.
One of the bioactive constituents present in Ashwagandha is Withanolides that can be helpful in anxiety, stress and similar ailments. Also, it is classified as an “adaptogen” that helps your body to manage stress. Many studies and clinical trials reveal the beneficial effects of Ashwagandha for stress and anxiety (1).
Native to Western Asia, Europe, and Northern Africa, the plant St. John’s Wort is a popular herb among Europeans for relief in depression. This herb can also benefit you when you are struggling with stress. Because, taking this herb is linked with enhancing serotonin release in the body.
Furthermore, serotonin is one of the feel-good chemicals present in the brain which can reduce your mild stress. However, its exact effects are not proven yet, so, before you take this, consult your doctor because it may interact with medications.
Valerian or Valeriana officinalis is a perennial plant that grows in Europe, Asia, and North America. Valepotriates is a bioactive constituent present in it which is found to possess positive effects in certain psychic symptoms like anxiety.
Valerian was also used in ancient Rome and Greece to ease headache, stress and for improving sleep quality. Rhizome or roots of valerian can be found in many herbal preparations.
Several clinical trials are performed to test the safety and efficacy of valerian root for insomnia. However, the results are mixed while some reported improvements in sleep quality, time to fall asleep, etc. (2,3).
Brahmi or Bacopa monnieri is a staple plant in Ayurveda used for centuries in many purposes like improving memory, diminishing anxiety, etc. The plant grows in tropical and wet environments and can be found in abundance in South and North India.
Researchers reveal the plant to have positive effects on anxiety management. The main bioactive constituent present in this plant is bacoside glycoside offering its benefits for maintaining your mental health (4).
You can purchase Brahmi in different forms like powders and capsules both online and offline stores. People take it to prepare a soothing tea or mix it with ghee and add it with warm water to prepare an herbal drink.
The most expensive spice in the world, saffron is harvested from the flower Crocus sativus. It commonly goes by the name “saffron crocus” from where the term “saffron” is taken. Saffron is a stigma or thread-like structure of the flower.
Besides being used in culinary practices, it also offers numerous health benefits. And if you are looking for organic ingredients to maintain mental health, this herb is one of the best options for you.
The potent bioactive constituent present in saffron is safranal, giving it a distinct aroma and taste. Many researches reveal that it helps to improve memory, mood as well as learning ability. Also, it contains pigments like crocetin and crocin responsible for its red colour and has antidepressant properties. As per studies, people taking saffron up to 1.5 grams per day are usually considered safe as dietary supplements (5).
You can find around 500 species of passionflower coming from plant family Passiflora. Studies suggest that some species of this flower-like Passflora incarnata might have medicinal benefits.
Traditionally, Native Americans and Europeans have used this flower for its calming effects and for treating insomnia and anxiety
The recent clinical trials have shown appreciable results for this folk remedy (6). It is available in powder form, liquid extracts or tablets that you can buy from health food stores. The best way to take it is in the form of herbal tea.
However, you must consult a professional regarding dosage.
Chamomile tea is a famous beverage offering a range of health benefits including your mental health. It is an herb from the Asteraceae plant family. People have consumed it for centuries in a variety of health conditions.
There are two types of chamomile, German or wild and Roman or English chamomile. As per clinical trials, people taking this herb registered signification reduction in anxiety levels (7).
You can enjoy this tea as an alternative caffeine-free rea instead of for green or black tea. It is somewhat sweet and contains bioactive constituent apigenin which is an antioxidant that promotes sleep (8).
You might have heard this name “Lavender oil” in so many advertisements for cosmetics and perfumes. However, little did you know about the benefits of this incredible herb which has a long history in herbal medicine.
Speaking of history, its earliest records date back to Egypt in ancient times where its oil was used in mummification. The name is derived from Latin “Lavare”, meaning, “to wash”. Later, regions like Persia, Rome, and ancient Greece used this herb to purify the mind and body.
People use lavender to help mental health issues like anxiety, depression, headaches, hair loss, and aromatherapy. Its divine scent can calm nerves, improve sleep quality and even reduce mild tension. (9).
Kava plant is native to the Pacific Islands where it was used for centuries as a ceremonial drink for promoting relaxation. Quite recently, the plant has received global attention due to its bioactive constituent kavalactones containing stress-reducing properties.
There are some researches involving participant taking kava which shows a significant reduction in the severity of anxiety. However, there is some raising health concern regarding its use; therefore, it needs extensive study.
In recent years, there has been an explosion in popularity for maca due to its possible health benefits. Maca is native to Peru and you can find it in the form of powder or raw form for use in dietary supplements.
Historically, maca roots were taken by Incan warriors before going to battle because it was believed to improve stamina and energy.
This plant is also known as Peruvian ginseng or Lepidium meyenii and grows in Central Peru and at high altitudes in the Andes. It grows in different colours like red, yellow and black that you can find in powder, capsule or liquid extract.
As per studies, maca roots are indeed effective for psychological symptoms like depression and anxiety.
Thus, these were some of the best organic ingredients for mental health. You can incorporate them into your diet with whatever way you find is suitable. Besides, you must take care of the dosage in order to save yourself from any side effects.
Additionally, it is recommended that you must consult a professional before you go ahead of taking them. GOOD LUCK in your quest for mental health!