Stress and Depression

April Herb of the Month- Nettles


Nettles- Urtica dioica. Add nettles to your spring cleanse program today! Today’s common uses: Nettles is one of the most powerful blood purifying herbs, driving toxins and wastes out of the body by stimulating the kidneys to excrete more water. A daily tea helps hay fever during allergy seasons. Its balanced minerals thicken hair growth and smooth nails.

Traditional Herbal Medicine uses: The Greeks recognized nettle for asthma and spleen support. A medieval remedy called Nettle Beer, made with nettles, dandelion, ginger and cleavers is used today to help ease joint pain. Nettle tea is a traditional spring herb to purify the blood and remove gouty gravel.

Therapeutic parts: leaf, root, stem, seed. To avoid nettles sting, dry or heat the leaves.

Delivery forms: tea, powder, extract, capsules, decoction, fresh juice, poultice, syrup, gargle, compress, wash.

Dark Hair Shine rinse: Combine 1 qt. water, 1 tbsp vinegar to balance pH, 1 tbsp dry rosemary for shine and to stimulate growth, 1 tbsp nettles to nourish scalp with minerals, 1 1/2 teaspoons, dry sage to darken and intensify color.

Common dose: Tincture: 10-15 drops as needed. Juice: 1 teaspoon as needed. Tea: 3 cups daily.

Key compounds: Nettles is very high in chlorophyll, flavonoids, carotenes and vitamin A. Its high iron, magnesium, calcium, boron and beta carotene strengthen the blood and kidneys and enrich the liver. Amazingly, cooked nettle leaves have about the same amount of carotene and vitamin C as spinach or mustard greens.


Easing Mild to Moderate Depression

Today, the World Health Organization recognizes depression as one of the top four disabling diseases in the world! Clinical depression is much more than a case of the blues. Depression is both a mental and emotional state, a feeling of being in a box that you can’t escape. It’s closely tied to illness; over 80% of terminal cancer patients have a history of chronic depression. Mood disorders affect 30 million Americans (women more than men) and we spend over $20 billion on treatment. Americans take more antidepressants than any other generation in history! But are we really any happier? Prescription drugs for depression produce a myriad of side effects from low libido and fatigue to agitation and weight gain. Even more frightening, new research shows some SSRI anti-depressants like Paxil tamper with delicate brain chemistry and may even increase suicide risk in young adults (18-30).

Non-toxic avenues of healing can help relieve some types of depression and should be actively explored first. However, if you’re already taking antidepressants and would like to try a more natural approach, consult with your doctor first.  Going off antidepressant drugs “cold turkey” can cause withdrawal symptoms that may need to be monitored professionally.

Are you depressed? If you answer yes to three or more of the following questions, then you may be suffering from mild to moderate depression.

Do you sleep excessively, and feel lethargic, sad, or pessimistic when you’re awake? Have you lost your appetite with marked weight loss, or do you eat a lot with new weight gain? Have you lost interest or pleasure in regular activities that you used to like? Has your sex drive decreased? Has your energy been exceptionally low? Do you have symptoms like mood swings, energy slumps, and irritability? Do you drink more alcohol than you used to? Do you often feel self-reproach or guilt?

Note: If depression is long lasting, severe or is accompanied with suicidal thoughts, seek professional help right away. Major depression can be serious.

4 Tips for Depression Relief

1: Get plenty of healthy protein (about 15% of total calorie intake) to minimize depression. Include protein from seafoods, sea plants, rice, sprouts, soy foods, nuts, seeds, organic turkey and chicken, eggs and low fat cheeses to control depression-related tissue destruction. Amino acids in protein foods help build healthy neurotransmitters for coping with depression. Add foods rich in the amino acid L-tryptophan (soy, cheeses and turkey) to help build serotonin, essential for overcoming depression and insomnia. Add green superfoods daily for “extra strength” nutrition. A few superfoods to choose from are chlorella, spirulina, barley grass, or wheat grass.

2: Have an adrenal tonic 2 to 3x a week to prevent stress reactions that precipitate major depression: a glass of carrot juice with a pinch of sage and 1 tsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos .

3: Add Omega-3 rich foods to your diet from cold water fish or flax seed. At least four studies show Omega 3 fatty acids can benefit the symptoms of depression. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to brain health, helping the brain neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin perform their mood stabilizing functions. I’m a big believer in eating from the sea for mild to moderate depression. Omega 3-rich salmon or tuna sushi rolls are especially beneficial.

4. Exercise anxiety and depression away. Exercise is natural antidepressant that stimulates the secretion of “feel good” chemical endorphins. Also, get some daily sunlight on the body for vitamin D, a natural serotonin boost.

To Life-long health,

Sarah Abernathy

Are You Stressed Out?

More than 30% of Americans say they are under constant stress. Eight out of ten people say their stress has grown in the last 5 years, citing the economy as the most significant factor. The impact on health is devastating. Research shows that up to 95% of visits to health care professionals are stress-related! Everyone is affected by varying degrees of stress… people who work in polluted areas, people at control desks, people who travel coast to coast, people with boring jobs, and especially people who can’t find a job. Profound stress, like that caused by job loss or the loss of a loved one, takes a serious mental and physical toll.

What are the health effects of chronic stress?

Stress in itself is not a disease, but the more “stressed out” you become, the more vulnerable you are to colds, flu, ulcers, allergies, even heart attacks and high blood pressure. Long term stress invariably leads to severe fatigue from adrenal exhaustion, and can result in depression. Stress shows up in how you look, too.  Blemishes appear around the chin; nails become brittle and peel, hair is dull and lifeless. Stress can even make your hair fall out!

Herbal nervines calm stress reactions, safely.

While drug therapy provides good short-term results in anxiety reduction, it has serious drawbacks like addiction and over- sedation. Antidepressant drugs, besides their side effects, change body chemistry and make you more at risk for panic attacks and abnormal behavior. In contrast, herbal nervines tone, relax and have a strengthening effect on the nervous system. The natural nervine action of herbs like ashwagadha and scullcap (Relax caps) help to reduce symptoms of stress, without causing daytime sleepiness.

Quick tip: Massage therapy once a month, especially cranial sacral therapy is another wonderful stress-relieving choice.

To Life-long health,

Linda Page