This year, Mental Health Awareness Week is based on the theme of 'Nature'. Nature's power to heal and restore is incredible and, as herbalists, our members are able to provide a link between the power of plants, and anyone who may need support with their mental health.
Awareness of mental health has never been greater, as the last year and subsequent lockdowns have demonstrated. Anyone’s mental health can be affected and more than ever, people are struggling with the effects of depression, anxiety and isolation. Herbalists are ideally placed to support everyone to improve their mental health. Plant based medicines that are tailored to individual needs, in-depth consultations where patients’ voices are heard, and a focus on causes rather than just symptoms mean that seeing a herbalist has made a difference to the mental health of many thousands of patients.
Recent preclinical and clinical evidence suggests that herbal medicine can support mental health in a number of ways (1,2,3,4,5). As well as managing the processes that can lead to low mood and optimising hormonal health, herbal medicine can help to restore sleep and disrupted circadian rhythms, promote and maintain healthy gut microbiome and reduce anxiety through supporting chronic stress management.
Chief Executive of the Institute, James Wiltshire commented, “Our members have seen a definite increase in new and existing patients coming to them for support with their mental health over the last 12 months. Many people are looking for alternatives to pharmaceutical interventions, and our members are able to offer a consultation that gives them the time and space to properly explore their issues, and then diet and lifestyle advice as well as a prescription which is unique to that patient and truly reflects their needs. With the theme of this year’s campaign being nature, now is the perfect time to be using plant based medicines to make a real difference to people’s mental health.”
Keep an eye out on for lots of information from our members here, on our social feeds and in the press throughout this week about how herbal medicine could make a difference to your mental health.
- Sarris, J et al. (2011) Herbal medicine for depression, anxiety, and insomnia: A review of psychopharmacology and clinical evidence. European Neuropsychopharmacology 21 (12): 841-860
- Fathinezhad, Z.et al.(2019) Depression and Treatment with Effective Herbs. Current Pharmaceutical Design 25: 738-745
- Liu, L et al, (2015) Herbal Medicine for Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia. Current Neuropharmacology 13 (4) 481-493
- Lee, G., Bae, H. (2017) Therapeutic effects of Phytochemicals and Medicinal Herbs in Depression. Biomed Research International 2017 [doi: 10.11.55/2017/6596241 accessed 9.7.20]
- Sarris, J. (2018) Herbal medicine and the treatment of psychiatric disorders: a 10-year update review. Phytotherapy Research 32 (7) 1147-1162