Mother’s Little Helpers: Brain Boosters To Lift Your Spirits

Mother’s Little Helpers: Brain Boosters To Lift Your Spirits

How ya feelin’ on the inside, honey? If you’ve read much of my manuscripts, you’ll know I preach about making yourself a priority, but just in case you’ve forgotten — in the devoted busyness and self-sacrificing dedication of it all, and you’re feeling somewhat harassed, jaded, irked, knackered or weary — good help can be just a health shop away.

The brain is the most complicated and mysterious organ in our body, performing an intricately complicated balancing act of immeasurable activities — most hidden from us. Medical science is still researching the roles of hormonal therapies and natural complementary therapies for treating neurological disorders such as postnatal depression disorders. So, for the meantime perhaps the best advice will be to seek professional help and listen to your intuition in your personal search for your own individual solutions.

The most inexpensive remedy (but sometimes the most difficult to obtain) is genuine non-judgemental encouragement and support from your partner, family and friends. Try, if you can, to seek out people who will be accepting, loving and encouraging, people who will listen to you and give practical help.

Following is a list of body-mind boosters you could consider to get you started on the road to uplifting your spirits .

Gotu kola (Indian pennywort)

Gotu kola is one of Indian (Ayurvedic) medicine’s primary rejuvenative herbs (nicknamed ‘food for the brain’); and in China it was recorded 2000 years ago as a herbal medicine. In India, gotu kola can be called Brahmi because it brings knowledge of Brahman (highest reality).

Besides improving brain function (such as memory), gotu kola also has positive effects to aid the circulatory system, improving blood flow and strengthening arteries, veins and capillaries (described traditionally as a blood purifier). In addition, it improves digestion disorders, strengthens the immune system and fortifies the nervous system. Gotu kola is also renowned for its superb skin-healing qualities.

False unicorn root NutraWiki False unicorn root was traditionally a miscarriage preventative and morning-sickness nausea remedy with Native American women. Over time, countless women have used false unicorn root as a powerful uterine and ovarian tonic for disorders of the female reproductive system, assisting to normalise organ function. It can also help with menstrual and uterine problems such as afterbirth contractions, menstrual cramping, heavy bleeding at menopause, and has a reputation of increasing women’s fertility.

Chaste tree berries ( Vitex agnus-castus )

This is a very old Mediterranean medicinal shrub often featured in Greek mythology and even mentioned by Hippocrates. It is traditionally used to treat menstrual-cycle complaints (particularly PMS), female hormonal imbalances, and as a post-pregnancy support. Better Nutrition At the base of the brain is the hypothalamus, and hanging by a ‘stalk’ below it is the grape-sized master gland, the pituitary. The hypothalamus triggers the pituitary to release the ovaries-stimulating hormones known as FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinising hormone), which in turn stimulate the production of oestrogens and progesterone. It is this relationship, the pituitary–hypothalamic axis, which it is believed Vitex agnus-castus positively affects, by decreasing FSH (lowering oestrogens) and increasing LH (increasing progesterone); thus improving and normalising the oestrogen–progesterone ratio.

Also known as monk’s pepper, Vitex agnus-castus does not provide rapid results; it is best used long-term because its benefits develop slowly.

Shatavari ( Asparagus racemosus )

This Indian herb (in Sanskrit named ‘Shatamuli’) is the most important tonic in Ayurvedic medicine for treating female reproductive-system health disorders. This Hindi word translates to ‘she who possesses a hundred husbands’, which is referring to its rejuvenating effects upon the reproductive organs.

Shatavari is used traditionally to improve the quantity and quality of breastmilk, to enhance feelings of love, for sexual debility, increased fertility, healing inflamed tissue, and to improve the body’s own healing power. This is a soothing and calming tonic.

Counselling, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy

Welcome to the world of psycho-social management. Such ‘interventions’ include talk therapies such as counselling and psychodynamic psycho- therapy. These consistently prove to be of great assistance to maternal mental-health problems. Having a few sessions of supportive listening absent of opinions and advice, and providing an opportunity for the mother to tell her birth story and discuss her anxious concerns, can reduce depression very effectively. Counselling that includes practical advice regarding the lack of support for the mother, and counselling that deals with her feelings of being unable to cope and her general lack of pleasurable experiences, have both been proven to be of great benefit.

Cognitive behavioural therapy with its problem-solving approach, even over the telephone, can be just as effective as some antidepressants.

Interpersonal therapy, which focuses on the mother’s present and past relationships, and how they relate to her current depression, can also significantly relieve depressive symptoms.

Hypnotherapy works with the subconscious, helping to retrain or reprogramme the unconscious mind to break the internal cycle of depressed feelings. It teaches you how to put the past, present and future into perspective — so you can move forward confidently into the life you want to feel.

St John’s wort ( Hypericum perforatum )

So named because it annually blooms in Europe by the feast day of Saint John the Baptist, St John’s wort has been known as a medicinal herb for centuries. It has a long, magical and fabled history. For example, around the summer solstice early Christians would soak the plant’s flowers in olive oil that would turn blood red (due to the hypericum) to symbolise the blood of martyred John the Baptist, then it would be cast onto bonfires or used to bless crops and to ward off evil spirits.

Also known as the devil’s scourge, St John’s wort has been used, predominantly by ‘wise women’ and midwives for many hundreds of years, to ‘chase away the devil of psychotic madness’ and other illnesses of the imagination and understanding, such as melancholia and anxiety. Even soldiers in the Crusades would drink it with wine to steady their nerves.

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