Often associated with the military, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has more common than you might think. Getting out of this pernicious and poorly understood problem is a real obstacle; it is not something impossible. With appropriate support and a little time, everyone can resurface. Medical help is mostly recommended to people fighting PTSD; however, not many are aware that they can also get away with it naturally. Some natural supplements for PTSD can help alleviate its symptoms and help one get away with it without medication. This article intends to share some of the natural ways to fight PTSD!
Let’s first discuss what PTSD is and how serious it can turn out if left untreated!
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) generally appears following a traumatic event that endangered the individual’s life: sexual abuse, assault, war trauma, natural disaster, etc. The event’s horror and helplessness lead to an intense fear reaction that upsets the individual and can cause post-traumatic stress disorder. This syndrome occurs in nearly 9% of individuals confronted with a traumatic event, among which women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD. Three groups of symptoms characterize it:
- Symptoms of Reliving: The individual may have the impression of reliving the traumatic situation that may manifest in visual or auditory hallucinations, ruminations, nightmares or images in a flash.
- Emotional Symptoms and Avoidance Symptoms: On an emotional level, the individual is irritable, nervous, face difficulty in concentrating, and suffers from insomnia. As for avoidance symptoms, they are manifested by phobic behaviors in which the individual avoids situations that remind him of his trauma.
- Symptoms of Hypervigilance: The individual jumps when a noise reminds them of the traumatic event. They are on the lookout when there is no imminent danger.
If symptoms last less than three months, it means that PTSD is acute and has become chronic. In 50% of the cases, it lasts for more than a year.
Psychosomatic manifestations can also appear in the form of digestive disorders, skin or cardiovascular diseases. In addition, people who have PTSD are more likely to use drugs, suffer from anxiety disorders and depressive symptoms.
Some individuals who experience a traumatic event recover from the shock, but around 10% of them suffer from PTSD. Many factors influence these figures, such as certain physical and psychological criteria of the individual, especially the act’s nature.
Treatment of PTSD
Just like the symptoms can be different from person to person, the methods of dealing with it also vary depending on the individual. If the symptoms of PTSD are severe, it is advisable to consult a health care practitioner and seek proper medical help. For some, it will be necessary to undergo behavioral and cognitive therapy, alone or in a group, to help them live normally. They also need proper medication. They are often prescribed antidepressants to relieve stress and to avoid the onset of depression. Following sessions with a psychoanalyst can help to fight against PTSD. It allows individuals to overcome their fears.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is the most important among the different methods to get rid of this syndrome. Avoid consuming alcohol or drugs without medical advice, exercise, get back on track with your life by redoing your hobbies to relieve stress. It is important not to stop living even if it is very hard. It is a long road to successfully treating PTSD. However, integrating natural foods and supplements that have proven effective in treating depression due to their calming properties facilitates PTSD treatment.
What Science Says About the Role of Food and Natural Supplements in Treating PTSD
It is important to discuss the role of food in fighting against PTSD in the light of scientific evidence. Recently, many research studies have been dedicated to studying the effect of some food nutrients and natural herbs on people with PTSD. Recent research (2014) studied the use of the traditional Japanese herbal medicine Saikokeishikankyoto in treating PTSD. It was a randomized, observer-blinded, controlled trial that showed that a two-week treatment with Saikokeishikankyoto significantly improved the psychological and physical symptoms among PTSD patients.
A recent study (2016) analyzed the impact of extracts of a traditional Chinese herb, morinda Officinalis, commonly known as Indian mulberry, on PTSD patients and found anti-PTSD-like effects in the extracts of this herb. Another recent research (2021) studied the impact of herbal extracts with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties on patients with PTSD. Previously, antioxidants had proven to be effective in treating stress. This study found antioxidant therapy as a valid option in treating PTSD. Many fruits and vegetables and herbs have antioxidant properties that can be integrated into your daily intake to help alleviate PTSD symptoms.
Now that it has been proven in the light of scientific evidence, let’s discuss the natural foods and supplements that can help alleviate the symptoms of PTSD and facilitate the treatment process!
Foods and Natural Supplements for PTSD
1. Consume Omega 3s
Whether consumed in the form of natural supplements or foods rich in them, omega-3s are an ally of your health. They are proven to be effective nutrients in treating stress and depression and thus, can help alleviate PTSD symptoms. Different seafood, such as Mackerel, Herring, Cod, Sardines, and even oysters, are rich in omega 3. Besides these, it is also present in abundance in nuts, beans and seeds, such as walnuts, flax seeds, hemp seeds, kidney beans, etc. You can also consume certain oils regularly, such as linseed, rapeseed and walnut oils. It addition, it is also present in spinach, lettuce, salad, or even in Purslane. It is important to supplement your diet with natural supplements in the form of capsules or tinctures for a better intake of omega 3. In addition, supplements are also a great option for vegans.
Some of the best natural Omega 3 supplements available are BioScience Nutrition, 0.08 oz Omega 3 Fish Oil (ASIN# B01GV4O37E), Nature Made Fish Oil Softgels 1000mg, 250 Count, Fish Oil Omega 3 Supplement (ASIN# B0046XC528), NOW Foods Omega-3 1000mg (ASIN# B001GCU6KA), Nature Made Triple Omega 3, 6, 9 (ASIN# B003PGJM00) and Lemon Omega-3 Supplement from Nordic Naturals, NOR003 (ASIN# B002CQU53W).
There are also many options available for vegans, which include Vegan Omega-3 Alternative Fish Oil From Seaweed Oil (ASIN# B0842DJJYC), Freshfield Vegan Omega 3 DHA Supplement: 2 month supply Premium, plant-based, sustainable, mercury-free seaweed oil (ASIN# B07H9GL3Y8) and Premium Vegan Omega-3 Supplement, Alternative Fish Oil (ASIN# B07VTGWLTR). You can start consuming any of these natural supplements for PTSD, in consultation with a healthcare professional.
Herbs with Medicinal Virtues that can Help Fight PTSD
Many herbs and plants are endowed with significant properties that can help alleviate stress and depression symptoms. Due to their medicinal properties, these herbs can positively impact the mood and help improve other body functions that are usually disturbed in the face of PTSD. Thus, herbs can also help you get out of PTSD.
Ginseng is a herb known for its tonic effects. It is so stimulating that it is advisable to consume it in the morning. Recent evidence has proved its effectiveness on the body. Today, it is known to be an effective aphrodisiac and a very important source of vitality. But what is less known is that ginseng acts for our general well-being. It provides strength, energy and vitality, which is greatly appreciated in the face of common symptoms of PTSD.
Ginseng stimulates the cognitive functions, immune system and physical performance of an individual. A randomized controlled trial (2005) showed the efficacy of North American ginseng in preventing respiratory tract infections. In general, consuming it as a cure several times a year can help you support your efforts and promote your cognitive well-being due to its calming properties. Thus, ginseng has only positive points that will act for your well-being!
Some of the best ginseng supplements available online are Gaia Herbs Ginseng Supplements Supreme, 1 Ounce (ASIN# B000P98WR4), Prince of Peace Korean red ginseng capsules (ASIN# B00196WMTG), NutriFlair Korean Red Panax Ginseng 1600 mg – 120 Vegan Capsules (ASIN# B07WGLW6MN) and Mega We Care Korean Ginsomin Panax Ginseng Extract Plus Multivitamin And Minerals Dietary Supplement (ASIN# B0758J6N6F).
Ginkgo biloba is an herb that can be used against stress and depression and, therefore, can help fight against PTSD. It is considered an adaptogenic plant that helps produce a defensive response in the face of different types of stress on the body. Indeed, its active ingredients act directly on generalized anxiety and help reduce its symptoms. As we know, PTSD can promote the onset of depression; consuming Gingko Bilboa can help prevent its onset and improve PTSD symptoms.
Overall, it is a medicinal herb that positively impacts our brain system and has proven effective against Alzheimer’s disease and its symptoms. Most importantly, its effects on the cognitive system make it a valuable herb in the fight against stress.
As discussed above, antioxidants can help against PTSD symptoms. Ginkgo biloba is rich in antioxidants, such as polyphenols, terpenes and flavonoids, and can be helpful to treat PTSD patients. These natural antioxidants also help the body eliminate the natural waste it produces and are beneficial for its proper functioning. Since digestive disorders often accompany PTSD, Gingko Bilboa can also be effective in treating that. The active compounds it has have a protective effect on brain cells and protect them from damage usually caused by free radicals.
Some of the best natural supplements of Gingko Bilboa include Gingko Biloba Extract Liquid – Alcohol Free Tincture by Pure Mountain Botanicals (ASIN# B01MSEFSVY), Naturevibe Botanicals Ginkgo Biloba Extract Capsule 500mg (ASIN# B08VJCSBGY), Ginkgo Biloba 120 mg by Bestvite (ASIN# B007G42TES) and Ginkgo Biloba – Supports Brain, Memory, Circulation and More by Honeycombs (ASIN# B0001ITV42).
Rhodiola, or Rhodiola Rosea, is a perennial plant native to Scandinavian countries and Siberia. It has long been recognized as a medicinal plant due to its virtues. It works on endurance, memory, longevity and sexual vigor. Today, Rhodiola is used and recognized worldwide for its virtues and used in modern medicine that unraveled some of its mysteries. It is also now considered an adaptogenic plant, an effective remedy against stress and depression.
Scientific evidence also confirms the positive effects of Rhodiola on depression patients. However, its powers aren’t limited to just treating the symptoms of depression. Indeed, it has also proven its effectiveness against anxiety, stress and fatigue, and therefore, can help fight against PTSD. Besides these effects, Rhodiola can also improve the body’s defenses and its resistance to the effects of stress.
Like other herbs, Rhodiola’s supplements are also easily available. Some of the best options are Rhodiola Rosea 500mg Supplement, 120 Vegan Capsules by Double Wood Supplements (ASIN# B07FV1G432), Oregon’s Wild Harvest Rhodiola Supplement, 60 Count (ASIN# B000Q43AEI), Solaray Rhodiola and Schizandra Supplement, 500 mg (ASIN# B009OKR262) and Rhodiola Supplement, 1000mg High Strength Tablets by Cheeky Nutrition (ASIN# B095YVK8P9).
Also, Focus on Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals all have a role to play in the body’s functioning. The onset of depression or stress is often promoted by lacking or deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals. Talking about PTSD, some important vitamins that evidence indicates are vitamin B6, B1 and B9. For this, one needs to increase the intake of vegetables and fruits rich in these vitamins such as acerola and spirulina and can also consume multivitamin supplements.
Likewise, minerals are as important as any other constituent for the proper functioning of the body. You must fulfill the required dosage of magnesium, lithium, zinc and iron for your physical and intellectual well-being through your diet or natural supplements.
Our Final Thoughts!
Now you know the different natural supplements that can help alleviate PTSD symptoms and facilitate its treatment process do not hesitate to integrate them into the daily intake if you or any of your loved ones are suffering from PTSD. Besides the positive impacts of these herbs and nutrients on PTSD symptoms, they are good for your overall intellectual well-being. However, adopting a healthy lifestyle and behavioral change is also as important as natural supplements for PTSD. Do not forget to share this information with your family and friends and let us know how it worked for you!