Nov 162009
 

herbs The book is Herbs for the Mind: What Science Tells Us about Nature’s Remedies for Depression, Stress, Memory Loss, and Insomnia by Jonathan Davidson and Kathryn Connor, both MD’s. I happened across this book in the library while doing some research to help a friend with depression and anxiety. I checked this book out for them, and they loved it.

The book focuses on four particular herbs:  St. John’s wort, Kava Kava, Valerian, and Ginkgo Biloba. What these four have in common is this: They are widely used, they have been extensively studied, they have few or no side effects, and in studies, they have been shown to be at LEAST as effective, if not more effective, than popular prescription medications for various mental and psychological complaints.

Before going further, I should probably draw the readers attention to our disclaimers.  I’m not a doctor, so my opinion is not a medical diagnosis or treatment suggestion. However, Davidson and Connor ARE doctors, and in fact Duke University psychiatrists. Their research is meticulous and cautious. If there isn’t any conclusive evidence that a particular herb helps a particular condition – they say so quite clearly.

But with the evidence in hand, the doctors find great possible benefits in the use of these four herbs. In general, St. John’s wort is well established in treating depression, Kava Kava for dealing with anxiety, Valerian for insomnia, and Ginkgo Biloba for memory loss. These are, of course, generalities. Davidson and Connor go into considerable detail about these particular conditions. They answer extensive questions on what works and what doesen’t, what to expect, what to be cautious about.

They also present information about the physiology of these conditions, the history of the herbs, and their physiological actions. If you are skeptical about the various claims of herbal remedies (and some skepticism is warranted) this is the book for you (or your doctor). Nothing but the facts.

I had to renew this from the library twice to accommodate everyone who wanted to read it, and expect to buy a copy shortly. It’s too valuable not to have in the library.  My friend, by the way, totally ignored all my disclaimers and warnings and started trying Kava for anxiety. She found it to work far better with far fewer side effects than her prescribed anti-anxiety medication.

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  3 Responses to “Herbs for the Mind”

  1. […] I found a very well researched book on herbs for mental health, which I did a short review of here. I've also seem some good results with Cognitive Therapy. There's an online program that's free […]

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for the ideas. I think we all should be more knowledgeable on what natural products there are.

    Thanks.

    M

  3. Hi,

    Thanks for the ideas. I think we all should be more knowledgeable on what natural products there are.

    Thanks.

    M

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