Using Healing Herbs To Treat Grief Sadness and Depression


Lemon Balm or Melissa Officinalis and Borage or Barago Officinalis have long histories of treating depression, grief and sadness.

Both herbs have been used since ancient times.  In fact the 11th century Arab doctor Avicenna described lemon balm as causing the heart and mind to become merry.  Francis Bacon, Nicholas Culpeper and the great healer Pliny all agree that lemon balm raises the spirits and makes hearts merry.

Borage has been used since ancient times to give courage in battle.  The ancient Celts would infuse their wine before going into battle so that their courage would not fail.  Roman legions not only used borage to cure their homesickness but to bring “delight to the heart and mind.”

Borage One of the Happy Herbs

The uses of borage are many and varied.  It is used to treat stress, mental exhaustion and depression.  It has actions as a mild sedative and anti-depressant.  Elizabethan cooks used the flowers in salads to “make the mind glad.”   .

The ability of borage to increase courage may come from the fact that it stimulates the production of adrenaline which is the fight or flight hormone.

Recently it has been found to be a rich source of GLA gamma-linolenic acid which is an essential fatty acid.  It is therefore beneficial for menstrual irregularities, irritable bowel syndrome rheumatoid arthritis and skin problems.

Borage calms and soothes more than the emotions.  Some of it’s major uses include preventing inflammation of the stomach and intestines, soothing irritated tissue and strengthening the adrenal glands.  It is thought that an external application of the oil can help to reduce the wrinkles of old age.

From its use as an old Italian remedy to increase breast milk in nursing mothers to its use in increasing courage and reducing stress to its current use in salads and summer drinks like Pimms it is clear that borage will continue to be a useful herb for many years to come.

Valium and Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm was used as a mild form of valium in past centuries.  It was a specific used in the treatment of hysterics as well as being used to drive away melancholy and troublesome cares.  The herbal water was so popular that Charlemagne ordered it grown in all physic gardens to ensure the supply.

Modern herbalists use lemon balm as a digestive remedy and sedative that is potent enough to help with depression, anxiety and tension headaches and gentle enough to calm a child’s tummy upsets.
Studies have shown that it has a sedative effect on the central nervous system of lab mice.

Some actions of lemon balm are:

  • antispasmodic
  • antidepressant
  • antihistamine
  • antiviral (used in genital herpes remedies in Germany)
  • anti-stress
  • anti-flatulent
  • mild tranquiliser
  • nerve relaxant

Bees love lemon balm and it has long been thought that rubbing the leaves on the hive or planting the herb near the hive will encourage bees to remain and not swarm.

Lemon Balm makes a delightful tea both hot and cold.  It can be combined with lavender and rose petals for an extremely relaxing afternoon beverage.

Both Borage and Lemon Balm are enjoying a resurgence in popularity.  People want relief from grief, depression and stress without resorting to drugs.  Borage oil or capsules are good for treating the stress and mental anxiety of the workplace.  Lemon Balm is extremely useful in situations of grief due to loss as well as stress and anxiety.

Borage seed oil is basically safe however if you are on blood thinners, are pregnant or have liver disease it is not recommended.  More info can be found at RxList.

Lemon Balm has no known drug interactions.

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