Children’s Mental Health Week was marked this month. Statistics around children’s mental health are worsening and it’s reported that half of schools struggle to get mental health support for their students. Not many people are aware of the benefits that herbs can bring for children struggling with mood and other cognitive issues. Herbs can help with problems such as anxious feelings, irritability, sleep problems and concentration. All herbs are different and can be chosen according to the individual; for example passionflower helps to calm a chattering mind and valerian will help to relax physical tension.
Often, mental health is related to digestive health. Poor digestion may cause nervous system problems due to imbalances in gut bacteria and irritations in the gut lining that lead to leaky gut. There are many gentle herbs that help with mood as well as promote healthy digestion and such as lemon balm and chamomile, St. John’s wort and passionflower.
Research studies on the benefits of herbs are limited, due mainly to financial constraints, but a recent study found that valerian and lemon balm helped hyperactivity, attention deficit and impulsivity in children (Ross, 2015) and valerian, passionflower and St. John’s wort helped with nervous agitation (Trompetter, Krick andWeiss, 2013).