Friday, March 4, 2011

Natural Protocols for Depression

There are some people who are medicated for depression that would rather do something else. The natural protocols you see employed can vary from using a single herb to manage the symptoms, all the way to massive cleansing and dietary changes. Our next newsletters will discuss both.

Not everyone is either willing or wanting to do a huge program, even if it offers more permanent stability than other protocols. Most people would feel better getting an alternative therapy that does a similar thing compared to what they use now, but without damaging effects. As far as the Christopher formulas go, the Mindtrac formula has the most to offer in these situations.

Doctors will sometimes get upset if you use an herb and drug at the same time. They should. Allopathy and herbalism can be working with completely opposite principles, and taking them together can create a tug o' war on a chemical level.

We have often worked with people who feel sick with their medication, and feel like its so terrible that they want to stop immediately and just take herbs. THIS IS A BAD IDEA! A VERY BAD IDEA! The whole point of getting off of the drugs is to feel healthier, and if you do it unwisely you will cause harm to yourself. These drugs work by supplying a chemical synthetically to the body. When you take them, the body will stop making that chemical, and if you stop taking the drug, you will not have any source of it and will get hurt.

Rather, be loving to yourself. If you have tablets, gradually shave some of it off and take less and less. Some pills can be opened and have little beads that you can take out one at a time. Sure, its work, but you are very much worth it. If the whole point is to be happier, you might as well make it a chemical possibility. During this time, herbs that are safe with the medication may be taken. They should be spaced at least half an hour apart.

If you are wondering which herbs interact with medications, the medical profession states that they all do. It is hard to find out what studies are based off of science and which ones are based off of commercialism or marketing. I find it reasonable that herbs and drugs working to promote mental health may interact with each other, but I can't help wonder whether the concerned drug/herb interaction is mostly how it takes business away from the pharmaceutical industry.

I was really surprised when every single mood herb I looked at seemed to be contraindicated for the situation it seemed best for. But I only experiment when it comes to myself, and it really is gambling. You can either work with your doctor using both therapies, get completely off the drugs and then on an herbal alternative, or you can go about it a different way.

I usually go with the latter. The last few newsletters focused on cleansing to promote good mood, because that is what is considered safe and effective. There are still some other simple things you can do if someone is not willing to do a cleanse. For instance, red raspberry leaves will assist the body in balancing hormones, and has minerals like calcium and iron that are useful when someone is anxious. Catnip contains a B-complex that will calm the nerves, yet catnip is a stimulant. It calms you down and perks you up.

Most of the liver herbs can put you in a good mood right away. I have been very impressed with cramp bark. As you can imagine, it got its name for its traditional usage with female complaints. I remember back to when I was having a really rough week. I got to see how well cramp bark worked by mistake. I was feeling very gloomy and was racking my brains trying to find a way out of it. I was working with some powdered cramp bark at the time. I hadn't ever had it before and wondered what it tasted like. I put about 1/4 of a teaspoon of it in some water and drank it.

And wow! Within seconds I suddenly felt normal and happy again! I got flustered and tried to think of how that could be. Then I remembered that cramp bark was a liver herb and a hormone herb. I then got upset because it worked so quickly after all the mental effort I had been putting in, then got upset that I was upset, etc.

Other effective liver/hormone herbs are squawvine, wild yam and barberry. These herbs may be safely used. In fact, since most of the psychiatric drugs get stored in the liver (Celexa, Haldol, Prozac, etc.) it makes sense to boost your mood this way. I do like to let people know that if they use a liver herb without working on the bowel, that you may go through mood swings while your body balances out. You will be better off when you get through it, but you may spend 30 minute blocks alternating between feeling at peace to depressed and anxious for a few hours.

In any case, the above herbs may be used under medical supervision while weaning off of the drugs, then these other herbs may be used as needed:

St. John's wort- Interacts with SSRI drugs (Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Luvox, Paxil, Zoloft)

Kava kava- Interacts with Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, Serax)

Valerian- Interacts with anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and sleep medications

Mindtrac- Dr. Christopher formulated this for people who wanted a natural alternative to antidepressants and anxiety medications. It contains Valerian root, scullcap, ginkgo, oregon grape, st. John's wort, mullein, gotu kola, sarsaparilla, dandelion, lobelia, rosemary & jurassic greens. It is lightly cleansing and more nourishing than isolated herbs, while providing the calming effect of the common nervine herbs.

Find Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Formulas, single herbs, essential oils, books and more at Dr. Christopher’s Original Herb Shop:

NOTICE: All information in this newsletter is given out as information only and is not intended to diagnose or prescribe.