Help for Bipolar Disorder?
Answered by: Susan Eagles Question from: S. Serrano
Posted on: January 29, 2004

I was wondering if there is an herb for bipolar? Please let me know.

There are recent studies showing that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in fish oils are helpful in bipolar disorder. When taking fish oils, it is important to decrease your intake of omega-6 oils in vegetable oils and foods that contain vegetable oils. These omega-6 oils (almost all oils except extra virgin olive oil) decrease the effect of the omega-3 oils.

Melvyn Werbach, M.D. in “Nutritional Influences on Mental Illness” (Third Line Press, Tarzana, California, (800) 916-0076 or (818) 996-0076) lists studies that show that gluten and dairy food sensitivities are factors. Millet and rice are gluten free grains. You can test this for yourself by trying a dairy and gluten free diet for 6 weeks. Other factors found in Werbach’s research include the positive effects of:

- Omega-3 fatty acids: Reduce omega 6 (oils, nuts, seeds) add omega-3 (fish, flax, hemp)

- Vitamin C: 2 grams daily in divided doses

- Low saturated fat

- No caffeine

Thomas Bartram, in “Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine” (available at Richters), mentions the following factors:

- zinc deficiency

- avoid coffee, sugar and alcohol

- deficiencies of vitamins B1, B3, B6, B12, C and E, manganese and folic acid

Some of the herbs recommended by Bartram are cramp bark (Viburnum oplulus), evening primrose, German chamomile, passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Bartram also mentions that good results have been reported with a gluten free diet. He recommends nourishing foods like dark green leafy vegetables, parsley and kelp.

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