13 of The Most Effective Mood Stabilizers in Natural Medicine

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by DAVE MIHALOVIC | Prevent Disease

Pharmaceuticals prescribed for mood are among the most dangerous due to their side effects and high toxicity to brain chemicals and hormones. Medicinal plants and natural nutrients are extremely effective in promoting neurotransmitter balance while promote relaxation. Here are 13 of the most effective mood stabilizers in natural medicine.

Mood-stabilizing drugs are purely antimanic agents, which are mainly for treating mania. From this perspective, they are quite different from antidepressants, which are also called mood enhancers, elevators, or boosters in treating depression. Natural mood stabilizers help the body metabolize those chemicals which enhance mood, something drugs can never do due to specific metabolic pathways necessary to metabolize the chemical constituents.

Unlike pharmaceuticals, natural mood stabilizers:

  • - Treat effectively or prevent manic symptoms;

  • - Won’t aggravate depressive symptoms, and improve or even preventing depressive symptoms;

  • - Stabilize moodswings, suppressing manic phases but not inducing depression and curing depressive episode while not causing mania;

  • - During supplementation with natural mood stabilizers, there are no major side effects or complicated states such as mixed episodes of mania and depression, mixed multiple mental diseases, and rapid mood cycling and shifting;

  • - Won’t increase suicide risk or psychosis.

  • 13 OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE NATURAL MOOD STABILIZERS

    1) Ginseng

    Ginseng can have several advantages for health including mood. There are three ginseng herb species, but the most important of the three are Asian (Panax) ginseng and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius ). These herbs are shown to have the most advantages for people who need to improve their mood. Ginseng has also been shown to inhibit tumor growth, relieve symptoms of diabetes and boost the immune system. Ginseng is available in several forms, and is available over-the-counter without a prescription. Ginseng is available in extracts, liquid or pill form.

    2) DMG
    (Dimethylglycine)

    An important supplement that can be obtained naturally from diet, the molecule is part of a group of important chemicals called methyl donors. This chemical structure is essential to the body, and plays many important roles. The bodys ability to attach a methyl group to another molecule enhances enzyme production, chemical metabolism, as well as mood and energy levels. For DMG to work optimally biochemically, folate intake and levels in the body must be adequate . DMG is noted to increase physical stamina and energy levels. In children, it has been seen to increase attention span and decrease irritability.

    3) 5-HTP
    (5-Hydroxytryptophan)

    Building block to the neurotransmitter Serotonin, which regulates mood balance. 5-HTP is a derivative of the amino acid L-Tryptophan, which is both produced by the body and found in high-protein foods such as dairy products, fish, poultry and other lean meats. The supplement form of 5-HTP is naturally extracted from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, a tree native to the Ivory Coast and Ghana. 5-HTP is a nutrient that acts as a building block for the neurotransmitter Serotonin and may help to promote healthy neurotransmitter balance following daily use for two to six weeks.

    4) Lavender

    Lavender is a common herb used in aromatherapy for mental health and mood. Lavender is a part of aromatherapy for headaches and depression. Lavender is a part of several scented products like perfumes soaps, shampoos and sachets. The plant is usually extracted into an oil and used in aromatherapy for mood, stress and anxiety. Lavender should be used with the recommendation of a physician, because it can interact with other medications.

    5) St. Johns Wort

    Natural reuptake inhibitor that supports a healthy neurotransmitter balance. St. John’s Wort is an aromatic perennial herb with an abundance of golden-yellow flowers. Tiny perforations filled with phytochemical-rich oils cover the aerial (above- ground) portions of St. John’s Wort and yield an extract that gives the plant its primary health benefits. Current usage statistics indicate that millions of Americans supplement their daily diets with St. John’s Wort to promote positive mood balance. The medicinal components of St. John’s Wort, which include Hypericin and Hyperforin, have been clinically shown to promote a healthy neurotransmitter balance, which can help to provide positive mood support following two to six weeks of continued use.

    6) L-Threonine

    The Princeton Brain Bio Institute found that low levels of the essential amino acid threonine have been found in people with depression, they found that increasing threonine levels could help improve mood. Sesame seeds in all shapes and forms are one of the best food sources of this nutrient. It supports cardiovascular, liver, central nervous, and immune system function. L-threonine has been researched for ALS because it affects glutamate metabolism.

    7) Kava Kava

    Kava kava is a root that is used to relax and soothe mood. Kava is found in tea or in pill form, and it can be purchased at a local vitamin shop or health food store. Kava grows in the South Pacific and is used for medicinal purposes including mood and insomnia. Kava is found in pills to help patients with anxiety, but it’s also known for its ability to help addicts through withdrawal symptoms that include insomnia. Kava improves mood for people, helping them reduce anxiety during withdrawal. Kava should be taken with caution, since it has been shown to harm the liver when taken in excess.

    8) SAM-e
    (S-Adenosylmethionine)

    Natural reuptake inhibitor used to support a healthy neurotransmitter balance. SAM-e (pronounced “sammy”) is a naturally occurring chemical that performs a wide range of functions throughout the body. In clinical study, SAM-e supplementation has demonstrated a broad spectrum of action to stimulate neurotransmitter productivity and maintain healthy cell-to-cell communication. Italian researchers discovered the benefits of SAM-e in the 1970s, when they observed it to have significant effects on individuals experiencing mood changes. SAM-e has been available over the counter in the United States since 1996, and is widely used as a dietary supplement to provide positive support for depressed mood and mild to moderate mood changes caused by everyday stress, including occasional nervousness, nervous tension and anxiety.

    9) GABA

    Considerable evidence implicates the neurotransmitter aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the biochemical pathophysiology of mood disorders. Animal models of depression show regional brain GABA deficits and GABA agonists have antidepressant activity in these models. he balance between the limbic system, and in fact, the rest of the brain to communicate in an orderly manner depends critically on inhibition. GABA inhibits the cells from firing, diminishing the anxiety-related messages from reaching the cortex. GABA, glutamine and glycine are vital for energy and the smooth running of the brain functions. B6 (pyridoxine) is GABA’s most important partner.

    10) R-Alpha Lipoic Acid

    R-Alpha Lipoic Acid is made by the human body and its levels drop by age. There are functional differences between endogenous (produced by the body) and exogenous (from supplements): Endogenous R-Alpha Lipoic Acid is bound to proteins, whereas the exogenous (supplemental) is unattached and easily goes into circulation. Both spatial and temporal memory improves with R-Alpha Lipoic Acid supplementation and oxidative damage to the hippocampus of the brain decreases. It has been said that the Acetyl-L-carnitine/alpha-lipoic acid combo may also protect from neurodegeneration or cognitive impairment. This combination also shows great potential for neurological repair in diseases such as: age related dementia; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease; Alzheimer’s disease (AD); and Multiple sclerosis (MS), which is also known as “disseminated sclerosis” or “encephalomyelitis disseminata.”

    11)Passion Flower

    Natural sedative relieves occasional anxiety and mild panic attacks. Passion Flower is a woody vine that bears small berry-like fruit called grandilla. The brightly colored flowers and above-ground portions of the Passion Flower vine are used to derive medicinal compounds that relax the central nervous system and promote emotional balance. In the United States, Passion Flower is classified as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) by the Food and Drug Administration. Substances that receive a GRAS classification have maintained a long, safe history of common use in foods or have been determined to be safe based on proven scientific research.

    12) Winter Cherry

    Relieves nervous tension, occasional anxiety and mental fatigue. Winter Cherry, or Ashwagandha Root, is among the most prominent herbal preparations used in Ayurveda, a holistic system of medicine that originated in India. The root of this small evergreen shrub is primarily recognized for its adaptogenic properties, meaning it naturally increases the body’s resistance to physical and emotional stress. Practitioners of Ayurveda traditionally prescribe Winter Cherry to promote gentle relaxation and emotional balance. Research has shown that Winter Cherry is a safe, natural sedative that produces the most noticeable benefits following daily use for two to six weeks.

    13) Arctic Root

    (Rhodiola Rosea)
    Relieves occasional anxiety and positively supports the body during periods of stress. Arctic Root is a plant indigenous to Siberia, where it thrives in high altitudes and dry arctic climate. The primary medicinal compounds of Arctic Root are derived from the root of the plant.

    In Russia, Scandinavia and much of Europe, Arctic Root has been traditionally recognized for its adaptogenic properties. An adaptogen is a physiological agent that naturally increases the body’s resistance to physical and emotional stress. Rhodiola Rosea has been clinically shown to stimulate Serotonin, Norepinephrine and Dopamine activity, and may help to support healthy neurotransmitter balance.


    16 Comments on 13 of The Most Effective Mood Stabilizers in Natural Medicine

    1. Each person is different. I'd recommend trying one at a time because of reactions. I can manage some tryptophan 2-3 nights a week (i know this is weird), but 5-HTP had me manic (with no additional energy), highly sleep-deprived, and having suicidal ideation in the middle of the night. I am NOT saying most people would react this way, i'm saying we are all individuals in how we respond to things and to go at it intelligently. Sometimes when you don't feel well you want to try everything at once in an effort to just feel better. Best wishes

    2. Neil Murrell

      This is a very frustrating article. Naturopaths like Dave Mihalovic make a living attacking the medical community yet show none of the medical fraternity's sense of responsibility toward the well-being of patients. Yet in this article, Mihalovic recommends several herbs which can be potentially dangerous without warning people what to look out for.

      For instance, did you know that Winter Cherry is a time-honoured abortifacient (cite: http://www.drugs.com/npp/ashwagandha.html) and, if taken in large doses by pregnant women, can cause them to miscarry? If you do, you certainly didn't learn it from Dave Mihalovic, because he didn't bother to mention it anywhere in this article.

      The list goes on and on. Several of these unimpeachably safe natural remedies are, in fact, toxic when taken along with certain prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs, and common foods. Take St. John's Wort, for instance. If you're taking standard anti-depressants, especially SSRIs, (which you might well be if you're reading articles about mood stabilisation in your spare time) and you take St. John's Wort as well, the two can combine to cause a potentially fatal metabolic derangement disorder called Serotonin Syndrome (cite: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19859815). The symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome are:

      Shivering.
      Dilated pupils.
      High blood-pressure.
      Fever.
      Rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown).
      Seizures.
      Kidney Failure.
      Tachycardia.
      Blood clots.
      And, of course, death.

      Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Now, if you read the safety leaflet with any box of SSRIs (which, lets be honest, most people probably don't) they warn you clearly "Whatever you do, DON'T take St. John's Wort with this." Personally, I think Mihalovic has a moral responsibility to make such risks clear. By not doing so, he is behaving every bit as irresponsibly as the pharmaceutical companies he so loves to chastise. More irresponsibly, in fact, because there's no way in hell a pharmaceutical company would ever make any synthetic equivalent to any of the herbs recommended here without including a warning sheet.

      But that's not all. The same can happen if you take it with Dextromethorphan (also known as Benylin, a common over-the-counter cough syrup – cite: http://tinyurl.com/lm5wwvl) If you're taking Warfarin for blood clotting disorders like Deep Vein Thrombosis, St. John's Wort can stop it working (cite: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15089812). It does the same thing with Digoxin, a common heart medication which acts similarly to beta-blockers. Also, I don't know how long this article has been floating around the internet, but if you've read it, have subsequently started taking St. John's Wort, and have since gotten accidentally pregnant, blame Dave Mihalovic. He didn't warn you that St. John's Wort can stop the birth control pill from working (cite: http://tinyurl.com/lm5wwvl).

      Even if you're one of those people who never, ever uses "Big Pharma" products, St. John's Wort can still pose serious risks. It interacts dangerously with tyramine, a substance found in many common foods. Anything aged (such as certain cheeses) or smoked (such as salami) or fermented (like beer or red wine) can react with St. John's Wort. St. John's Wort inhibits the action of an enzyme which digests the tyramine, and when tyramine builds up in your body it can cause nausea, massive blood-pressure spikes, and heart problems (cite: http://www.livestrong.com/article/152236-st-johns-wort-food-interactions/)

      If you're not taking any of these substances then, yes, St. John's Wort does seem to have a pretty benign side-effect profile. But let's face it, most people DO take at least something from the above list fairly often, which is why I think it's so irresponsible for Dave Mihalovic to recommend it without a single warning.

      SAM-e can also cause Serotonin Syndrome when taken in conjunction with SSRI's. So can 5-Hydroxytryptophan.

      I don't begrudge anyone treating any condition they have any way they want. I've suffered from depression, on and off, ever since my early teens, and I've taken St. John's Wort myself (didn't really do anything much for me, but I can say the same for Prozac and Citalopram as well). My quarrel here is NOT with anybody who wants to treat their mood problems naturally. It's with folks like Dave Mihalovic who recommend these herbs without warning people of the potential dangers. I cannot believe that an established naturopath like Mihalovic is unaware of all the myriad interactions some of his herbs have with everyday stuff, everyday stuff that most people take without even thinking about it. His recommending these herbs is not the problem. His recommending them without giving people all the information they need to take them SAFELY most definitely is.

    3. Rebecca Steindler O'Brien

      Surprised walnuts and niacin aren't included. The combination has (according to one doc I heard speaking one day, and my ensuing results) the equivalent effect of a pharmaceutical dose of prozac. I love my nicain :). Watch for the flush, if you take too much you'll turn red as a flaming bush!

    4. Rebecca Steindler O'Brien

      Yeah, the St. John's wort had me a little off kilter. Went off it pretty quick. Didn't help my mood one single bit, just made everything worse!

    5. Neil Murrell

      Wama Poat – Cheers :-)

      One more thing which surprises me about this article is it doesn't mention Melissa Officinalis (also known as 'Lemon Balm'). You can pick it up in any health food shop and there's some evidence that it helps with anxiety. I've had a look on pubmed and I found this:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22207903

      Which seems encouraging. However, it's worth noting that the study was not placebo controlled so its conclusions are of limited value. According to WebMd (http://tinyurl.com/qe8fv42) it doesn't seem to have any side-effects. However, because it has soporific qualities, you shouldn't take it if you're taking any other sedatives because it might overenhance their effects. It doesn't say if it would overenhance other sedatives to dangerous levels, but common sense tells you that too much drowsiness is never a good thing, particularly if you have to drive or operate heavy machinery. Also, the site says you shouldn't take it if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, just because not all that much study has been done on the potential effects on fetuses and very young children.

      And may I also just say how profoundly irritating it is to see YET ANOTHER article about anxiety (this is, I believe, the fourth I've come across on this site) which doesn't even breathe a mention of what is rapidly becoming the first line treatment for anxiety disorders: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. I don't get it. The people who run this site should love it. It involves absolutely no drugs whatsoever, not even herbs, has a good success rate, obviously no side-effects, and, best of all, the effects tend to last long after you've finished the treatment. You can find a decent summary here:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3263389/

      I just don't get why it's so persistently ignored.

    6. Angi M Gassgil

      This is an irresponsible article. People who need mood stabilizers are often looking for a reason to not take them and articles like this confuse people. It is not ok to just suggest that any of these will actually do what you are saying they will do, Plus, kava is dangerous. You mention mood stabilizers being anti-manic which is true but mania does cause a lot of problems for people. I know people who have stopped their meds due to misinformation like this, and horrible things happened. Please stop this misinformation. And, if you are so sure that these work safely and as intended each time they are used, let's see the double blind studies, ok?

    7. Katie De Roo

      Be cautious taking 5-HTP, it has damaged my nervous sytem. It is a dangerous supplement, google its side effects, I am sorry I didn't. Although I am all for natural remedies, the 5 HTP has had worse long term side effects as any SSRI. Anxiety, pins and needles, loss of any feeling in arms or feet, panic attacks, never experienced any of these before taking the supplement.

    8. The cynic in me says that the Western, commercially-driven, money grubbing society that we are in the West, particularly the pharmaceutical industry, is doing a great job spreading fear into people to not trust anything natural or herbal.. is all I wanted to say

    9. Ann Bryan

      Hello ,i am Ann Bryan from United state I live here in south California ,i am 46 years old,i saw a comment posted on health remedy by Christie bolt from Texas , about a doctor she met on internet and how she was diagnosed of HIV, and how she got cured from it by this herbal doctor called DR.HAKIM , so i called her , then she gave me the doctor address, i traveled down to see the doctor myself, i explained to him about my illness, which is Skin cancer ,which i have suffered from 3 years ,first he asked me if i believed in roots and herbs then i said yes, he provided me herbal medicine information's for my cure with herbal cannabis cream and , after i have used the medicine as recommended by him, then i went for check up in the hospital and my doctor told me that i am free from the infection, even myself noticed the charges on my body , then dr.Hakim asked me to promise him that i we testify of his good herbal work to the world, so I we like you to contact him if you have any health issue as well maybe he can help (dr.hakimherbalspellworld@gmail.com) because he his the best herbal Doctor i have seen

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