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5 Herbs for Mental Health

A woman wearing a hat with her eyes closed, exploring the benefits of 5 herbs for mental health.
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Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Safety concerns about any side effects of many antidepressant medications have led to increased herbal psychopharmacology research. Additionally, a general trend toward natural solutions increases herbal remedy popularity. As such, more people seek effective alternatives or supplements to prescribed medications traditionally used as mental health therapies.  With that in mind, five herbs for mental health have research to support their efficacy with a variety of mental illness symptoms when used in cooking, teas, baths, tinctures, salve, or in capsule form.



Saffron has been used in folk and Ayurvedic medicine as a sedative, expectorant, anti-asthma treatment, emmenagogue, adaptogenic agent, pain relief solution. Research shows that saffron is on of the effective herbs for depression that reduces the symptoms. Research has also shown to be as effective as the antidepressants, imipramine, and fluoxetine. Besides being an antidepressant, it calms the central nervous system (CNS) and has anti-anxiety effects.  Other studies show there is a benefit to anxiety as well. Saffron relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract to reduce spasms which helps digest food and enhances appetite.



Bacopa has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic traditional medicine and has many pharmacological and therapeutic benefits. It is an adaptogen, antidepressant, and used for focus and energy. Adaptogens help people lower stress by restoring the biological capacity to adapt and respond to environmental stressors. Bacopa is also considered a nootropic, or a compound that enhances brain function, especially memory and cognitive processing. Bacopa may increase the effects of key neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, and acetylcholine, which calm the CNS and support mood balancing. Research indicates that Barcopa is one of the natural anxiety supplements that works for people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  For those with memory, focus, or learning issues, which can be impacted by mental health issues, research has found the Bocapa improves these conditions.



Rhodiola has been a part of traditional medicine systems in parts of Europe, Asia, and Russia for centuries to improve performance and to reduce fatigue and depression. It has both adaptogenic properties and ergogenic capacity. Rhodiola supports Tyrosine in the body, which assists with focus. It is a mild stimulant and can help with low energy in the afternoon. Research has been shown to support its efficacy with stress, anxiety, athletic performance and endurance, mental performance, and fatigue.



Kava is an herb that is a member of the pepper family and native to the islands of the South Pacific. It is known for its anxiolytic, antiepileptic, antidepressant, antipsychotic, and sedative properties. Its calming qualities make it one of the effective herbs for anxiety that also improves sleep. Short-term use of kava has been noted as effective for patients with mild to moderate anxiety disorders who are not using alcohol or taking other medicines metabolized by the liver, but who wish to use natural remedies. Research supports that Kava compares favorably to benzodiazepines, which are used to treat anxiety and can be addictive. It is also been known to improve cognitive abilities, which can be impacted by depression and anxiety.



Licorice, a common herb used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, contains beneficial metabolites. Licorice root has many benefits and can be used as an anti-inflammatory, expectorant, demulcent, adaptogen, anti-viral, anti-tumor, and antidepressant. The minerals found in licorice are very stimulating and support adrenal functions, which can be particularly impacted by stress. It also can soothe the stomach and speed the repair of the stomach lining and restore balance, which research has shown the importance of the brain-gut connection in mental health.

Many causes of mental illness arising out of the central nervous system or chemical imbalances. All patients should visit a certified psychiatrist or psychologist who can diagnose mental illness with the appropriate mental illness tests. However, for those whose mental illness treatment history shows little change,  complementary and alternative medicine offers natural remedies for depression and anxiety that can be used to support other therapies.

Holistic Approaches to Mental Health

In the pursuit of optimal mental well-being, a holistic approach incorporating herbs for depression and anxiety, herbal supplements for depression, and other natural remedies has gained significant recognition. This approach encompasses a comprehensive view of an individual's overall health, considering not just the mind but also the body and spirit. Within this holistic framework, herbal remedies play a vital role in promoting mental health and alleviating conditions like depression and anxiety.

Benefits of Holistic Approaches

The holistic approach emphasizes balance and harmony between different aspects of one's life, including herbs for depression and anxiety, herbal supplements, and natural antidepressants. 

When it comes to mental health, this means acknowledging the interplay between physical, emotional, and mental factors, incorporating herbs for mood and herbs that help with mental health. Herbal remedies align perfectly with this philosophy as they offer a natural and holistic means of addressing mental health concerns.

By embracing holistic strategies, individuals can complement conventional treatments with natural remedies like herbal medicine for depression and herbal remedy for depression, and other mental health issues, creating a more comprehensive and personalized approach to their mental well-being journey.

Understanding Herbal Medicine and The Best Herbs for 

Mental Health

Herbal medicine, also known as phytotherapy or botanical medicine, has a rich history that dates back centuries. It involves the use of plants, plant extracts, and herbs, including herbs for depression and anxiety, to treat various health conditions, including mental health issues like depression and anxiety

Understanding the foundations of herbal medicine is crucial for anyone seeking natural solutions for their mental well-being and while everyone wants to know the best herbs for mental health, everyone’s needs are unique. 

Herbal Medicine Throughout History

Herbal medicine has been a part of human healing traditions across different cultures, incorporating herbalists and herbal solutions. It draws from the knowledge of how specific plants and herbs, such as the best herb for depression, can have therapeutic effects on the body and mind. 

Throughout history, herbalists and herbal healers have played a vital role in studying and applying these remedies to promote mental well-being, including natural antidepressants.

In the modern context, herbalists and herbal remedies continue to explore the potential of herbs for depression and anxiety, often in conjunction with other holistic approaches and natural remedies for depression.

The Science Behind Herbal Remedies

While herbal medicine has deep historical roots, it's essential to recognize that its effectiveness isn't solely reliant on tradition and anecdotal evidence. Scientific research has increasingly focused on examining the efficacy of herbs for addressing mental health issues, including natural antidepressants, providing valuable insights into their mechanisms of action.

Herbs can be used in many forms including, dietary supplements, essential oils, teas and tinctures.  They also pair nicely with essential minerals such as magnesium.

Scientific Validation of Natural Herbs for Mental Health

Recent studies have shed light on the science behind herbal remedies, including herbal supplements for OCD, autism, depression and anxiety and natural medicines. They have identified specific compounds within herbs that interact with the brain and nervous system, influencing mood and emotional regulation. By highlighting these mechanisms, research offers a more nuanced understanding of how herbal supplements and herbal solutions can effectively support mental well-being, including herbal medicine for depression.

On my podcast, It’s Gonna Be OK!, I delve deeper into the scientific evidence supporting the use of herbs for ADHD, OCD, mood, depression and anxiety. 

It is important to explore the advantages and potential disadvantages of herbal supplements when compared to conventional medications, including over the counter depression meds and vitamins for before deciding on the best herbs for mental health or taking conventional medications. 

Herbal Supplements vs. Conventional Medications

When it comes to managing depression and anxiety, individuals often face the choice between herbal supplements like natural anxiety relief herbs and dietary supplements and conventional medications. Each approach has its unique characteristics and considerations, making it important to weigh the options carefully.

Comparing Herbal Supplements and Conventional Medications:

Herbal Supplements:

Natural Origin: Herbal supplements are derived from plants and herbs, offering a natural alternative to synthetic pharmaceuticals. This appeals to individuals seeking holistic and plant-based solutions, including herbs for depression and stress.

Fewer Side Effects: Herbal remedies are generally considered to have fewer side effects compared to some conventional medications, making them attractive for those concerned about adverse reactions and looking for calming herbs.

Holistic Approach: Herbal supplements align with a holistic approach to health, emphasizing overall well-being and the interconnectedness of physical, mental, and emotional health, including the interplay between herbs for mood and herbs that help with anxiety and depression.

Individualized Treatment: Herbal remedies often allow for more personalized treatment plans, as herbalists can tailor recommendations to a person's specific needs and consider the best herbs for depression, motivation and attention, OCD and other issues.

Conventional Medications:

Clinical Evidence: Conventional medications for depression and anxiety have undergone extensive clinical testing. Even though they are used more than 70% of the time for children off-label and have dangerous side effects, parents frequently feel pressured to take them. 

Rapid Relief: Some conventional medications can provide relatively quick relief from symptoms, which may be crucial for individuals in acute distress, such as natural anxiety meds.

Prescription-Based: Conventional medications typically require a prescription from a healthcare professional, ensuring proper oversight and monitoring, which is essential when exploring supplements for depression.

Standardization: Pharmaceutical medications offer a standardized dosage, making it easier to control and adjust treatment and consider vitamins for mental health.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Herbs for Mental Health

Advantages of Herbal Supplements:

  • Natural and holistic approach, incorporating herbs for ADHD, depression and anxiety.
  • Potentially fewer side effects, including calming herbs.
  • Personalized treatment options, considering the best herb for depression.
  • May appeal to those seeking alternatives to pharmaceuticals and over the counter depression meds

Disadvantages of Herbal Supplements:

  • Limited regulation and standardization.
  • Efficacy may vary among individuals.
  • Slower onset of effects.
  • Interaction with other medications may occur, requiring consideration of vitamins for anxiety and depression.

Advantages of Conventional Medications:

  • Extensive clinical research and evidence, including depression supplements.
  • Rapid symptom relief in some cases, crucial for natural anxiety meds.
  • Prescription-based for proper oversight.
  • Standardized dosages for consistency, including vitamins that help with depression.

Disadvantages of Conventional Medications:

  • Potential side effects, such as nausea, weight gain, and sexual dysfunction.
  • Risk of dependency and withdrawal, especially with long-term use.
  • Limited personalization of treatment plans.
  • Potential for interactions with other medications or supplements.
  • Delayed onset of therapeutic effects for some medications.
  • Challenges when discontinuing medication, including withdrawal symptoms.
  • Requirement for a prescription, adding an extra step to access treatment.
  • Safety concerns, particularly in specific populations like pregnant or breastfeeding individuals.
  • Over reliance on medication may overlook complementary holistic approaches.

Advantages and disadvantages of herbal supplements and conventional medications for depression and anxiety:

Advantages and disadvantages of herbal supplements and conventional medications for depression and anxiety

It's important to note that individual experiences with both herbal supplements and conventional medications can vary, and the choice between them should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional based on a person's unique circumstances and preferences.

Holistic Treatment for Anxiety and Depression

In the quest for optimal mental well-being, a holistic approach that integrates herbs for depression, herbal supplements for depression, and other natural remedies for mental health has gained significant recognition. This approach embraces a comprehensive perspective, acknowledging the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit.

The Holistic Approach

The holistic approach extends beyond merely addressing the surface symptoms of OCD, PANS/PANDAS, concussion, anxiety and depression. Instead, it endeavors to uncover and rectify the underlying causes and imbalances contributing to these conditions. 

This approach recognizes that mental health is influenced by a multitude of factors, encompassing nutrition, stress levels, physical activity, and emotional well-being. Parents are frequently searching for natural solutions for mental health because they need to support their child’s brain safely and effectively. 

Various Aspects of Holistic Care

Fundamental to mental health is proper nutrition. A well-balanced diet, enriched with essential nutrients, actively supports brain function and the regulation of mood. Our exploration will encompass dietary choices that not only nourish the body but also exert a positive influence on mental well-being.

Lifestyle factors, including sleep patterns, exercise routines, and stress management practices, play pivotal roles in shaping mental health. They provide ways to optimize the brain and to enhance emotional well-being.

In the holistic landscape, herbal supplements for mental health serve as pivotal components. Integrating herbal remedies into your daily regimen can complement other holistic practices, yielding a more comprehensive approach to managing a variety of clinical mental health symptoms. 

Herbal Supplements and Lifestyle Changes

The integration of herbal supplements into your daily routine harmonizes with other constructive lifestyle changes. 

Whether you're focusing on exercise regimens, meditation practices, dietary adjustments, or stress management techniques, herbal supplements can serve as valuable allies, fortifying your holistic approach.

This is especially true when you have a child with significant behavioral, attentional or emotional issues. To learn just how diet, supplements, neurofeedback, and lifestyle changes can change the brain, listen to this episode with Lauren Lee Stone, Ph.D.

Complementing Lifestyle Changes


Certain herbs are known to enhance physical endurance and expedite recovery after exercise. This not only promotes overall well-being but also aligns with a holistic perspective of mental health.

Meditation and Stress Management

Specific herbs possess adaptogenic properties, aiding the body's capacity to cope with stress. These botanical allies excel in promoting relaxation and are valuable companions during meditation practices.

Dietary Adjustments

Herbs can be seamlessly incorporated into your culinary repertoire, enhancing flavors while bestowing potential mental health benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions About Herbal Remedies

Individuals often have questions and apprehensions concerning the use of herbal remedies for clinical issues.  It is important to dispel common misconceptions and provide evidence-based answers, fostering a clearer understanding of herbal solutions and herbal medicine for depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism, etc. 

Common Questions

  • Are herbal remedies safe to use alongside conventional medications?
  • How long does it take for herbal supplements, including herbs for depression and herbs for anxiety, to exhibit results?
  • Can multiple herbal supplements be safely taken simultaneously?
  • What potential side effects may arise from herbal remedies?
  • Are there any contraindications or interactions to be vigilant about when considering herbal supplements alongside conventional treatments?

The Role of Natural Healing Remedies in Mental Well-being

Mental well-being transcends mere absence of depression or anxiety; it encapsulates a holistic state where physical, mental, and emotional health coalesce. 

Healing remedies have had profound contributions to overall mental well-being and people are learning more about them. 

Essential minerals such as magnesium have tremendous health benefits for the brain and body and are easy to integrate into one’s lifestyle. 

Interconnectedness of Health

Our physical health and well-being of the body profoundly impacts mental health. We'll elucidate how natural remedies, including herbal supplements for depression and natural antidepressants, can actively promote physical health, thereby nurturing mental well-being.

Herbal remedies possess the capacity to directly address mental health issues, harmonizing seamlessly with psychological therapies. This holistic fusion offers a comprehensive approach to mental well-being, considering natural herbs for anxiety and depression.

Emotions are intricately intertwined with mental health. Our exploration will encompass how natural remedies can play a pivotal role in regulating mood and fostering emotional balance, encompassing natural anti depressants and calming herbs.

By navigating the intricate interplay between these facets of health, individuals can deepen their appreciation of the inherent value of natural healing remedies, embracing them as integral elements in the pursuit of comprehensive mental well-being.


Kwon, C. Y., & Lee, B. (2023). The Effect of Herbal Medicine on Suicidal Behavior: A Protocol for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 11(10), 1387.

Mischoulon D. (2018). Popular Herbal and Natural Remedies Used in Psychiatry. Focus (American Psychiatric Publishing), 16(1), 2–11.

Sarris J. (2018). Herbal medicines in the treatment of psychiatric disorders: 10-year updated review. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 32(7), 1147–1162.

Sarris, J., McIntyre, E., & Camfield, D. A. (2013). Plant-based medicines for anxiety disorders, part 2: a review of clinical studies with supporting preclinical evidence. CNS drugs, 27(4), 301–319.

Are you looking for SOLUTIONS for your struggling child or teen? 

Dr. Roseann and her team are all about science-backed solutions, so you are in the right place! 

Grab your complimentary copy of
147 Therapist-Endorsed Self-Regulation Strategies for Children: A Practical Guide for Parents

You can get her books for parents and professionals, including: It’s Gonna Be OK™: Proven Ways to Improve Your Child’s Mental Health, Teletherapy Toolkit™ and Brain Under Attack: A Resource For Parents and Caregivers of Children With PANS, PANDAS, and Autoimmune Encephalopathy.

If you are a business or organization that needs proactive guidance to support employee mental health or an organization looking for a brand representative, check out Dr. Roseann’s professional speaking page to see how we can work together. 

Dr. Roseann is a Children’s Mental Health Expert and Licensed Therapist who has been featured in/on hundreds of media outlets including The Mel Robbins Show, CBS, NBC, PIX11 NYC, Today, FORBES, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Business Insider, Women’s Day, Healthline, CNET, Parade Magazine and PARENTS. FORBES called her, “A thought leader in children’s mental health.

Dr. Roseann - Brain Behavior Reset Parent Toolkit

She coined the terms, “Re-entry panic syndrome” and “eco-anxiety” and is a frequent contributor to media on mental health. 

Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge has three decades of experience in working with children, teens and their families with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, concussion, dyslexia and learning disability, anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), depression and mood disorder, Lyme Disease, and PANS/PANDAS using science-backed natural mental health solutions such as supplements, magnesium, nutrition, QEEG Brain maps, neurofeedback, PEMF, psychotherapy and other non-medication approaches. 

She is the author of three bestselling books, It’s Gonna Be OK!: Proven Ways to Improve Your Child's Mental Health, The Teletherapy Toolkit, and Brain Under Attack. Dr. Roseann is known for offering a message of hope through science-endorsed methods that promote a calm brain. 

Her trademarked BrainBehaviorResetⓇ Program and It’s Gonna be OK!Ⓡ Podcast has been a cornerstone for thousands of parents facing mental health, behavioral or neurodevelopmental challenges.

She is the founder and director of The Global Institute of Children’s Mental Health, Neurotastic™Brain Formulas and Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC. Dr. Roseann is a Board Certified Neurofeedback (BCN) Practitioner, a Board Member of the Northeast Region Biofeedback Society (NRBS), Certified Integrative Mental Health Professional (CIMHP) and an Amen Clinic Certified Brain Health Coach.  She is also a member of The International Lyme Disease and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The American Psychological Association (APA), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), International OCD Foundation (IOCDF).

© Roseann-Capanna-Hodge, LLC 2023

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give health advice and it is recommended to consult with a physician before beginning any new wellness regime. *The effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment vary by patient and condition. Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC does not guarantee certain results.

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