Hi friends, welcome to my series on herbs for mental health. Mental health is why I started studying herbalism, so it's close to my heart. As a Mom and small business owner with ADHD, you can bet I've scoured the earth for natural ways to keep my brain on target. Here's my two favorites for Brain Fog.
When you need your brain to Go and IT JUST WON'T, we call it brain fog.
There could be a lot of reasons for this: Mental fatigue and burnout, sleep problems, parenthood "Mom Brain" ADHD or depression.
But no matter how it hits, we need that brain Back Online! Here are some herbs to wake up your grey matter.
Herb 1: Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
The best thing about rosemary is how available it is! It's a common decorative herb that bees and gardeners love, because it's a good-looking evergreen. Even Shakespare's Ophelia cites "Rosemary for remembrance" giving us a clue that this is a brain-stimulating herb.
Scientific studies back up that certain compounds in Rosemary, namely 1,8-cineole - may act in the same way as the drugs licensed to treat dementia, causing an increase in a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter most known for supporting memory and attention. Yes, a natural nootropic! In my personal experience, rosemary acts on me as a great organizer of thought. Finding patterns, clearing out clutter, and tidying up a messy headspace.
How to use Rosemary:
Eat + Drink: Add a pinch of rosemary to morning or afternoon brewing tea. It's a strong flavor, so you don't need much. Dried is best, as the volatile oils are more concentrated. Also, rosemary is famous in cooking. Sprinkle some on your eggs for a super Choline boost!
Tincture: It's not recommended to take rosemary as an alcohol tincture. This is because alcohol extracts a component in this plant called Thujone, which can be toxic. Instead, I like a glycerine extraction. Mix an Oz of dried rosemary with diluted (75%) vegetable glycerine in a 1:5 ratio. Let sit in a dark cool gar for 2-3 weeks. Strain and take dropperfulls whenever needed!
Oil: Mix some rosemary essential oil with a carrier oil to wear and smell when you need focus, or just inhale deeply straight from the bottle.
In the Wild: Keep a rosemary plant on your porch or in garden. They are super hardy and affordable. Just brushing by the leaves will put the resin on your skin and clothes - Or snuffle the whole bush with love! Look out for the bees though!
Herb 2: Schisandra! (Schisandra chinensis)
Now here's a less common, but super-powerful brain uplifter. The Chinese "Five Flavor Berry" (běi wǔ wèi zi) known as Schisandra. This dried berry is said to contain the flavors of bitter, salty, sweet, sour, salty and hot. What does tasting all those flavors at once do for me? Wakes my brain the heck up! It's an explosion of sensory information. This plant has been studied in Traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and is considered one of the treasures of immortality or its ability to balance Yin and Yang.
This powerful antioxidant and adaptogen has benefits for so many systems in the body: adrenal function, liver and digestive support, reproductive health, and what we're looking for- cognition and energy.
How to use Schisandra
Eat + Drink: Two tsp of Schisandra for a pot of tea. Or, chew on a few berries raw! Prepare your mouth for the intense flavors!
Tincture: Schisandra can be tinctured in 60% alcohol at a 1:5 ratio for 2-3 weeks. It comes out a bold pink color and packs a punch!
Hope these natural wonders leave you in a little AWE.
Drop your e-mail address in the box at the bottom of the page to be updated on the next post of Herbs for Mental Health!
(None of this is medical advice or substitute for a doctor's treatment. All claims of effects are my own opinions based on personal subjective experience. Take care!)