Herbs for Mood – Depression and many related conditions

Herbs for Postnatal Moods – We use several really good ones.  Front line – I often call on Tulsi with Gotu Kola or another Brahmi tea – serotonin enhancing in Nature’s user friendly bio-balancing way that can be tandemed for month or more before beginning to SLOWLY reduce other herbs, according to some experienced Ayurvedics.  Transitioning off over at least 6 months, according to Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, if on mood meds for over a year.  She does not however have Ayurveda’s toolbox, so I believe there can be more help up front while still proceeding so very cautiously.   (Good results for a few days do not mean all is well – the medicines have stored in high quantity in brain tissues and begin to download in chunks into blood).  So this is just a beginning discussion of a number of mood supportive herbs.

These 2-3 herbs are also gentle at a time we need to be gentle!  They are key manas (Mind) rasayana (rejuvenative tonic) herbs.  Yes, they are safe in pregnancy and postpartum.  Especially for Mamas, I combine them a bit of digestive (ginger, pippali, or even cardamom), with shatavari (wild asparagus root) to potentiate the manas effects (connecting to body/hormones, and enhancing to lactation anyone?) and/or ashwagandha (more root chakra and Vata grounding/pacifying, also helps lactation).  There is controversy about use of ashwagandha in pregnancy, some are big on it, others totally avoid, I take a more middle perspective, in smaller amounts and well combined.  We can discuss that again another post.

Although there are many distinct diagnoses for mood issues after, or before childbirth, in Ayurveda we see a common thread during the postpartum time of high Vata, which may also push another dosha out of it’s right place and function.  We can consider support with herbal foods – a gentle benign tea – and leave the legally appropriate scope of practice in hands of licensed practitioner.

Tulsi-Gotu Kola Tea is on sale – just received the message today – with this wonderful company, Organic India .  I so honor this company – they sustainably employ thousands of families now in India in organic herb production.  They have loose leaf tulsi and brahmi (gotu kola or bacopa both work similarly and are called “Brahmi”).

I learned this from Ayurvedic practitioner of many years, Sarasvati Buhrman – she gives 4-5 drops nasya (nose drops/nasal administration of herbs) per nostril of brahmi decocted into ghee for Vata depression, varying it for Pitta and Kapha, along with 4-5 cups daily of the above tea as front line support while the rest of needed “homework” is being put into place.  I’ve worked with an older woman her family sent me East to support for a week, in severe suicidal condition under Dr Bhurman’s advice, and watched it really help, but please note that nasya is contraindicated in Pregnancy.

And severe cases MUST be under her doctor’s umbrella of support and referral.  Particularly with pitta cases involving violent impulses or thoughts which are highest risk.  There may be risk to baby or mother’s life.  They often have many issues and sources of advice, which can throw them off from prioritizing use of your support, even dietary and massage gets de-prioritized.  So this is offered as beginning discussion on long term project for education and care research perhaps.  We would want to look at the individual’s other issues in postpartum time and prioritize for it all to create their unique herbal formulation, under client’s and Doctor’s ok.  Research projects would start with much simpler perameters of course, and less potent results for many.

How does all this fit in context of a postpartum care practice?  

The following perspectives and the best possible care are especially important!  Mood support is greatly aided with the following knowledge and skills which may be much less difficult to implement than herbal formulation.   A mother’s special abhyanga (massage) given 3 days in a row absolute minimum, or 5-6 days (not spread out, in a row) as a wiser minimum for more serious cases, so helps ground the herbal effects and not just pop back out of benefits to this process.  It is a deeply significant component of postpartum care and of mood supports,  actually advised for all mamas, not just mood challenged, for 42 days daily.  Our next 4 day intensive (including Infant Massage) is this September, being scheduled this month.  Sometimes energy work such as Mama Marma taught in this same Postnatal Bodywork with Ayurved course, is even more valuable in extreme trauma, or both therapies used together.  (link takes you to prereq 2 hour now recorded class on Postnatal Bodywork Ethics I, $25 only; massage CEUs available after completing homework) .

Also deeply important are the rather unique even to Ayurvedic students and many western trained Ayruvedic practitioners, dietary recommendations after childbirth.  You can learn more in the 16 hour now recorded course, Ayurvedic Maternal and Newborn Care 1 ($179).  Extensive class notes (about 200 pages) are still included, also the e-cookbook and e-handbook for your clients, Touching Heaven, Tonic Postpartum Care/Cooking with Ayurved (just $12 for both).    The advanced 5 hour class on Safe Postpartum Herbals is also recorded; advised prereq is ANMC1 and solid intro to Ayurvedic herbology.  Those wanting to get started with potent supports right away can begin studying client and practitioner use of aromatherapy.   A 2 hour Essential Oils (More than) Basics class is also now recorded and getting really good reviews – as I must say I expected – even from experienced aromatherapists.

This is a big discussion, of course.  For a heads up, we also have a 3-4 hour class on Ayurvedic Perspectives on Mood Meds, for nominal $33, recorded and soon to be available that way.  Similar advised prereqs as above.

The early post-pregnancy time has been called “The Black Hole in Health Care” by Dr. Jeanne Watson Driscoll PhD,APRN,BC.  It is a big Y in the road, and effects easily last for decades – “42 Days for 42 Years” according to “Mother of Ayurveda” in the west, Dr. Sarita Shrestha.

I must make clear disclaimers to this post – it cannot be intended to replace the advice of your medical doctor or primary practitioner.  Information here is presented for educational purposes and  you must complete your own homework and work within your appropriate scope of practice.  For serious concerns, you may wish to also look at the reports by Dr. Ann Blake Tracy on a well researched website maintained for many years, Drugawareness.org.  She still offers phone consultations if you feel you are having adverse reactions to mood meds.  For some of the heavy social/medical industry implications – The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is a nonprofit mental health watchdog, responsible for helping to enact more than 150 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive practices.  This is not a first focus recommendation for mothers, please; there is a serious political and social conscience and service they provide for those so inclined to work in that arena.

In your service,

Ysha Bhu

6 Responses to Herbs for Mood – Depression and many related conditions
  1. Harvard study shows potential of the Plant extract to prevent the disease

  2. liquid Natural herbal extracts from Starwest are an excellent alternative to herb teas or capsules

  3. Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Support | Our Giggles and Grimaces I was recommended this blog by my couisn. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty. You’re amazing! Thanks! your article about Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Support | Our Giggles and GrimacesBest Regards Lawrence

  4. Yeah, and did you know it’s ok to drink while breastfeeding? The level of aholcol is about the same in the blood as in the breastmilk Let’s say the mother gets pretty friggin’ drunk, about 0,3% of the blood? Damn, thats not even a light beer, still it’s kind off irresponsible if you ask me. The meds works the same. First, it’s digested into the mother, diluted into the blood and then parts of it produces milk. That’s even less affecting than the aholcol. Still, let’s hope noone has to try

  5. Want to get rid of depression? Do you ralely? Do you have an open mind? OK, here’s what you do. Get Orange Carnelian Stones and hold them in either hand for an hour. You’ll be amazed!You don’t believe me? Check out Chemtrails dissolved on youtube. Orgone tubes use crystals to bust chemtrails. Make some orgone and feel better! Use Carnelian. Carnelian dissolves negativity. Red Jasper nurturing, gets rid of hang ups. Tiger Eye. Fluorite is calming. good site: soisnessdotorg.

  6. […] Gotu kola has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal herb. Today, it is used by American and European herbalists to help treat a number of problems. According to legend, an ancient Chinese herbalist who used gotu kola lived to be over 200 years old. […]

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