[Resource] A Guide to Herbs

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Sensei

Sensei

Illuminated
Nov 4, 2019
1,784
3,757
Can op or someone else tell me if ashgawanda is ok tyo take with seroquel?
I've found one clinical study in which patients with schizophrenia took ashwagandha while on antispychotic drugs, not specified which ones, and a few experienced mild and transient adverse effects. So, it's possibly safe to combine ashwagandha with seroquel, but there can never be any guarantees. If you're unsure about ashwagandha there are plenty of other herbs to choose from. What is it that you need it for? Stress, anxiety and/or depression?
 
Sensei

Sensei

Illuminated
Nov 4, 2019
1,784
3,757
Thanks to @enjolras for making me aware of this herb, which I, to be honest, hadn’t even heard of before.


Roseroot (Rhodiola rosea)

Legality: I would be incredibly surprised if roseroot is illegal anywhere in the world.

General: Roseroot, often also written rose root, has several other names of which golden root and arctic root are the most common. It’s used against stress, anxiety, depression, and, perhaps most commonly, fatigue. Clinical studies indicate that roseroot actually may have all of these properties and might be useful for treating general anxiety disorder (GAD) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFD), but more extensive research is needed to confirm this.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea made on shredded or pulverized plant material, capsules (most common), tablets, and tinctures.

Warnings: No serious side effects have been reported. There are documented interactions with MAOI’s, so if you use such medication you should consult with your psychiatrist first. It’s recommended that persons suffering from bipolar disorder should avoid roseroot, but clinical experience shows that it may be beneficial for person with bipolar disorder II who use mood stabilizers. In other words, start low and go slow if you’re bipolar.

Personal experience: I made tea on pulverized plant material first. I’m used to the many strange flavors as I’ve taken plenty of herbs, but even I find the taste or roseroot to be very unpleasant. To make things worse, even if you blend it with other herbs, the taste of roseroot is always dominant. Sweeteners can take away some of the foul taste fairly, but I’ve switched methods of administration and only take capsules now.

I’ve noticed that dosage is more important with roseroot than with most of the other herbs listed here. The first time I used it, I took what I thought was a medium dose (2–3 grams), but which probably is a high dose. I was very disappointed, because I was sedated, not invigorated, and not necessarily in a pleasant way. The second time, I took a low dose (0.5 grams), and then it had good stimulating effects as promised, as well as some anxiolytic effects. The third time, I combined a low dose (0.5 grams) with sedatives, and then it really shone! It balanced the sedatives perfectly, i.e. I became both relaxed and energized at the same time.

I recommend roseroot as a stimulant, and I really recommend roseroot as a stimulant in combination with sedatives. I also recommend taking capsules as the method of administration, because I think you most probably will find the taste of the plant material very unpleasant or perhaps even outright repulsive.
 
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ManWithNoName

ManWithNoName

Enlightened
Feb 3, 2019
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I can’t put it in words how happy I am that I’ve found herbs with therapeutic psychoactive effects. They have made my everyday life much easier to bear and have quite literally prevented me from killing myself; I would have been dead now without them. I want to share this with others who suffer and that’s why I’ve compiled this guide. The herbs in this guide are the ones I’ve tried myself, but there are many more. It goes without saying that contributions are most welcome.

Some clarifications and warnings:

• This guide focuses on herbs which can be used as self-medication against anxiety, depression, fatigue, and insomnia. Other health benefits are not covered here.

• With a few exceptions, the herbs listed in this guide are legal everywhere, not addictive, inexpensive, and easy to find and buy, e.g. on major online marketplaces.

• Herbs are obviously not as strong as scheduled drugs, but they’re not seldom much stronger than one might expect. You should start with low doses and work yourself up.

• Herbs often have different effects on different people. I’ve listed common effects and the effects I have experienced, but they can be different for you or non-existent.

• There are no dosage recommendations as individual tolerances can vary very much. That said, as a very general rule of thumb, a normal dose is just a few grams.

• Herbs are almost invariably never allergy tested. You should take a small sample and wait a few minutes when you try a new herb, just to be safe.

• Some herbs can interfere with medicines. If you use medicines, it’s a good idea to read up and consult your physician or psychiatrist before you start using an herb.

• Some herbs don’t go well together with some physical illnesses. If you have a serious physical illness of some kind, you should read up and consult your physician first.

• There’s very little research on the long-term effects of herbs, so it’s probably a good idea to switch between different herbs and take breaks every now and then.





Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Legality: As far as I can tell, ashwagandha is not illegal anywhere. There are restrictions surrounding how it may be marketed and sold in some countries, but it’s not illegal to possess it and it can be found in regular health stores.

General information: Ashwagandha is an increasingly popular herb. It’s claimed that it has adaptogenic, anxiolytic, and antidepressant effects; the anxiolytic effects have been confirmed in clinical studies. It has been likened to kratom and is considered to be a safe alternative to this popular, but controversial herb. Oddly, a randomized, placebo-controlled study has shown that it also can improve cognition in people suffering from bipolar disorder between episodes. Ashwagandha is an increasingly common food supplement and can be found in many health stores.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea made on powdered plant material, capsules, pills (less common), powder extracts, or liquid extracts (rare). Contrary to most of the other herbs listed here, ashwagandha shouldn’t be dosed casually. You need to have at least a general idea of how many grams you’re taking and preferably use electronic scales that can measure grams.

Warnings: There are no documented dangers with ashwagandha, but it never hurts to exercise caution. It seems to interact with serotonin, and although a study shows that ashwagandha is safe to take together with SSRI’s, it’s probably a good idea to start low and go slow if you use this kind of medication. It might also be a bad idea to combine large quantities of ashwagandha with prescribed sedatives such as benzodiazepines and opioids, as there might be a risk of synergy effects.

Personal experience: I’ve only made tea on ashwagandha powder. It’s very straightforward to prepare it, as you basically only put a suitable dose of ashwagandha in a cup, pour some hot water on it, and drink it as-is. I wouldn’t say that it tastes good, but it’s easy to down for me. Some people might have to add a sweetener, though.

When it comes to me, ashwagandha is all that it promises. It neutralizes anxiety and depression quite effectively and it makes me feel wonderfully calm and harmonic. I become a little bit sedated and feel somewhat lightheaded, almost high, but it’s not so bad that I would hesitate to go to work or drive while on ashwagandha. The effects last a few hours, and if I want the effects to last the whole day, I have to “refill” a few times.

Despite its effectiveness, I’m slightly wary of it. Just as when I’ve used sassafras, which affects serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine levels, I sometimes get low when the effects taper off. I can’t be sure it’s due to the ashwagandha, but I think it is. I also get the feeling that it can be addictive, although of course no way near as addictive as scheduled drugs like benzodiazepines. However, this might just be my imagination, because when this is written I’ve used ashwagandha on an almost daily basis for some weeks and not experienced any withdrawal symptoms whatsoever when I’ve taken a break.

I’ve learned the hard way that you need to read up on dosage. I took a very high dose the first time, more than twice as high as a normal dose, which resulted in very pleasant morphine-like effects, but this was followed by very unpleasant nausea and breathing difficulties. I haven’t noticed any adverse effects when taking recommended doses, though.

Combining sedatives is not advisable, but I have nevertheless experimented with Ashwagandha. It works extremely well with damiana and/or kratom, with very relaxing and slightly euphoric effects. However, this borders more on recreational than therapeutic use, and I suspect that this combination actually can be psychologically addictive.

Having said that, I do recommend ashwagandha, because it really does have anxiolytic and antidepressant properties and because so many people speak so well of it.



Black maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon)

Legality: Black maca is as far as I can tell legal everywhere in the world.

General information: Black maca is the rarest and strongest variety of maca, also known as Peruvian ginseng, although it’s not a ginseng species. It’s often likened to coffee and it’s sometimes claimed that it’s related to coca, the plant used to make cocaine, but that’s pure myth. Maca root is used in Peruvian cooking more or less like a root vegetable, but exported as a herbal supplement.

Black maca is marketed for its alleged abilities of improving memory and sperm count and boosting energy and mood. Preliminary research indicates that black maca indeed may have significant stimulating, anxiolytic, and antidepressant properties. Those stimulating effects include improving physical performance and stamina.

The prices for black maca varies very much, more so than for most of the other herbs on this list, and it pays off make some research before making a purchase. Some products are prohibitively expensive, while others are cheaper than most other herbal products on this list.

Black maca has a peculiar taste which many people find off-putting and is therefore usually ingested in capsules when used as an herbal supplement.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of powder in drink and food, capsules, and tablets.

Warnings: Black maca has no documented serious adverse effects. However, it can affect estrogen levels, so if you suffer from a hormone-sensitive condition, e.g. breast cancer or ovarian cancer, you should avoid it. It can potentially also interact with nitrates which can be found in some prescription drugs for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease, so if you suffer from any of these conditions you should avoid it or at least be cautious.

Personal experience: I’ve only taken black maca capsules, but I have considered brewing coffee on it or mixing it into coffee. Even though I’ve only used capsules, I’ve felt the taste of black maca, and it’s very unusual, very sharp, vaguely resembling the taste of unprocessed ground coffee. I think most people would find it difficult to ingest black maca as-is.

Black maca has effective stimulating effects on me. They kick in quite fast and last for several hours. I usually only use it when I’ve had to little sleep or none at all and it really helps me stay awake and perform on normal levels. On a related note, I’ve noticed that black maca also has very good antidepressant effects, as I usually get very depressed by sleep deprivation. I’ve also noticed something remarkable: I’m bipolar and suffer from emotional instability, and black maca has a good stabilizing effect on me. The reason I usually only use black maca when I’m sleep deprived is that it has a tendency to be a bit rough on my stomach. As I haven’t seen this adverse effect listed anywhere, it’s probably very atypical and just me.

It’s my experience that stimulants shouldn’t be combined, but I’ve combined black maca with caffeine and/or Siberian ginseng with good results. For me, these stimulants interact very well and seems to boost each other. If you decide to try such a combination, start low and go slow, because no one knows what the exact effects of multiple stimulants might have on you.

I definitely recommend black maca, especially as a stimulant, but also as an anxiolytic and antidepressant. It’s, so to speak, a nice package of different positive properties. It’s one of the stronger stimulants on this list, but the risk of overdosing is, in my experience, lower than for the strongest ones.



Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)

Legality: As far as I can tell, brahmi is not illegal anywhere in the world.

General information: Brahmi is used in the Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine, which has attracted some interest in the Western world in recent years. Brahmi is said to reduce stress and improve memory. Basically, it’s marketed like a nootropic, i.e. a “smart drug” which improves cognitive function. Brahmi has been subject to several scientific studies, which have reached very conflicting results; some claim that it has clear cognitive effects, while others claim that it has no such effects at all.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea made on pulverized plant material, pulverized plant material in food, capsules, powder extracts, or tinctures (rare).

Warnings: A common side effect of taking brahmi is gastrointestinal discomfort, but no serious side effects have been reported. There are no known interactions with any medicines. The general consensus seems to be that it’s safe to use.

Personal experience: I’ve used brahmi very little and not over an extended time period as it’s supposed to be. I’ve only made tea on pulverized plant material. The taste is neutral, and I think most people would find it acceptable.

Brahmi has no clear effects on me. It feels as if it reduces stress for me and sharpens my thinking and attention, but the effects are not very strong and could very well be placebo. Obviously, self-evaluation of cognitive function is not easy.

Since I only notice weak effects on myself, I can’t recommend it, but I’m not saying that it can’t work for other people. There are after all many people who speak well of it.



Catuaba bark (Truchilia catigua, Erythroxylum vaccinifolium etc.)

Legality: As far as I can tell, catuaba bark is not illegal anywhere in the world.

General information: Catuaba bark is a so-called central-nervous-system stimulant, of which the most well-known one is caffeine. Clinical studies indicate that it has anxiolytic effects and confirm that it has antidepressant effects. However, catuaba bark is most famous for having aphrodisiacal properties.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea made on shredded or pulverized bark, pulverized bark in food, capsules, powder extracts, liquid extracts (less common), or alcohol tincture (mainly in Brazil).

Warnings: Very little research has been done on the possible side effects of catuaba bark, but no serious ones have been reported. It should be mentioned that catuaba bark can stain different materials permanently, including metal. Believe it or not, but I have a saucepan with permanent red stains at home.

Personal experience: I have brewed tea on shredded and pulverized bark, as well as taken capsules. Tea on shredded bark has the by far best effect on me. The taste of catuaba bark tea is very unusual. I like it, but I’m used to the often strange tastes of herbs. I imagine that some people might find the taste very strong.

Before going into other effects, I must say that I find it peculiar that catuaba bark usually is marketed as an aphrodisiac, because I haven’t noticed any such effects; if I would desire that, I’ll take damiana instead. As for being a stimulant, it does have potent stimulating effects on me, resembling coffee, but acting faster and making me feel much more energized and alert.

What’s most remarkable with catuaba bark is an effect I didn’t expect at all. I suffer from bipolar disorder and strangely enough, catuaba bark can have a stabilising effect on me, to the point that I feel almost normal.

I definitely recommend catuaba bark, especially if you feel fatigued and beaten due to depression. It might be worth trying if you’re bipolar too.



Cowhage (Mucuna pruriens)

Legality: Cowhage is as far as I can tell legal everywhere in the world.

Effects: Cowhage, also commonly known as the velvet bean, has high concentrations of levodopa, better known as L-dopa, and is because of this used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Most importantly in this context, cowage contains mood influencing chemicals which allegedly can reduce or neutralize anxiety and depression. Clinical studies indicate that it really has anxiolytic and antidepressant properties. It’s little known, but cowhage also contains hallucinogens such as DMT, DMT-N-oxide, 5-MeO-DMT, but the beans can’t produce hallucinations in themselves.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea made on beans or pulverized beans, pulverized beans in food, capsules, or powder extracts.

Warnings: If you suffer from a mental health condition, you should use cowage with caution. L-dopa is used for treating Parkinson’s disease, so it’s not some mild botanical substance. There are indications that cowhage can have negative health effects if you suffer from cardiovascular disease, low blood pressure, or diabetes, so if you suffer from any of this, I suggest you pick something else, just to be safe. Contrary to the other herbs on this list, there’s a documented case of a serious allergic reaction which in fact ended in death. The deceased was a Thai woman who suffered from diabetes and died after ingesting four capsules with strong cowhage extracts. In other words, this herb can hypothetically kill you if you use very high doses, so you should make sure to follow the recommendations and only use normal doses.

Personal experience: My experience of cowhage can only serve as an example of how not to use it, so take this for what it is.

It’s recommended that cowhage should be taken in small doses on a daily basis for an extended time period, but I’ve only made tea on powder and only once. The taste is neutral and I think most people would find it acceptable.

I have a kamikaze attitude to herbs, so I took a very high dose straight away, which resulted in an overdose. The adverse effects were immensely unpleasant. I’ve never really experienced any adverse effect from herbs, save from the strongest ones on this list, i.e. ashwagandha, kratom, and poppy pods, so it came as a shock to me. I felt vague and constant nausea and dizziness, suffered chest pains and a diffuse pain in my whole body, and everything felt weird and wrong. This might not sound that bad, but I thought that I might be dying and had to suppress an urge to call the emergency number. It lasted for perhaps four hours and was a pain to ride out, and there were also unpleasant lingering effects for perhaps as much as 24 hours. I should point out that I was recovering from what most likely was covid-19 at the time, which obviously may have made the adverse effects worse.

This is obviously the experience of a fool who doesn’t follow his own advice to start low and go slow and could perhaps be described as the worst-case scenario. The reason I include this is simply to warn that cowhage isn’t a quick fix and that high doses should be avoided. I should point out that I did feel noticeably less anxious and depressed the days following my overdose, but I can’t say for certain that it was thanks to the cowhage I took.

Don’t dismiss cowhage because of this, because there are people suffering from depression and bipolarity who testify that cowhage literally has changed their lives. I dare not have an opinion on that myself, though.



Damiana (Turnera diffusa)

Legality: Damiana is for some reason illegal in the state of Louisiana in the USA but is as far as I can tell legal in the rest of the world.

General information: Damiana has been used for at least half a millennium and has become a popular herb in recent years. It’s claimed that it has anxiolytic and antidepressant effects and also sedative effects at higher doses. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence and a clinical study on rats which suggest that damiana does have potent anxiolytic effects. Damiana is said to have euphoric effects if smoked, albeit brief, and can allegedly have hallucinatory effects at extremely high doses. Although not the focus of this guide, clinical studies have shown that damiana has analgesic effects as well, but that requires very high doses to the point of becoming impractical. Damiana is possibly most famous for supposedly having aphrodisiacal properties, a claim partially supported by scientific studies, and it’s not seldom the main point in the marketing of the herb. Some say that damiana can be used against insomnia too, but there’s little anecdotal evidence and, as far as I know, no scientific evidence to support this claim.

Something which is highly unusual is that some claim that damiana has reverse tolerance, i.e. if you use it for a long time you actually need lower doses. Damiana is often used in combination with other herbs, such as kanna, kava kava, sassafras, and marijuana. Finally, damiana is actually also used as a tonic in cocktails, it may in fact have been the original flavour for the margarita, and there are a couple of brands of damiana liqueurs, so many consider it to have a pleasant taste.

It should be noted that the closely related species Turnera ulmifolia, “false damiana”, evidently often is misidentified as real damiana. However, this seems to mainly be a problem in horticulture and not in the market for commercial herbal products.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea made on leaves or powder, powder in food, capsules, pills, powder extracts, and liquid extracts, mainly tinctures; smoking of shredded leaves and resin extracts (less common).

Warnings: Damina is considered to be completely safe, and there are no known health risks or interactions with any pharmaceutical medicines.

Personal experience: Damiana is the herb I’ve used the most and know the best. It’s basically the basis of my self-medication. I’ve made teas on leaves and powder, as well as smoked it, and all of these methods of administration have produced good, although different effects. I think it tastes very good, which can’t be said for all herbs on this list.

Tea made on shredded leaves has effective anxiolytic and antidepressant effects on me and allows me to live a more or less normal everyday life. During my bipolar depressive episodes, arguably the strongest form of depression one can experience, I’ve had to use very high doses, but it has still worked. I’ll go as far as saying that without damiana, I would have been dead for nine months when this is written. It does have aphrodisiacal effects on me, sometimes very strong, but it doesn’t really pose a problem. Something which is important to me is that damiana doesn’t make me feel high or foggy at all, and I’ve brought a training water bottle with damiana tea to work many times.

It's impractical to make strong tea on leaves, as it doesn’t take that many grams to fill a cup or a glass. It’s very easy to make strong tea on powder, though. At high doses, it almost feels like a different herb to me. The effects kick in fast, almost immediately. I become so sedated that I have problems staying awake. I sometimes use it as a soporific when I suffer from insomnia, and it has better effects than any prescribed sleeping pill I’ve taken.

As I mentioned above, I also smoke damiana occasionally. When I smoke damiana, the effects are very different. I experience a kind of euphoria, feel lightheaded, and sometimes get the giggles. Unfortunately, the effects are very brief. Since I’m more interested in the therapeutic than the recreational properties of “herbal highs”, I only smoke it on rare occasions.

Something which is unusual is that damiana works very well together with many other herbs. I often combine damiana with kanna, a combination many praise; the stimulating and antidepressant properties of kanna and anxiolytic properties of damiana complement each other very well. I’ve smoked it together with sassafras as well, with pleasantly mellow effects. I’ve also used it together with kava kava, but unfortunately not experienced any of the euphoric effects some people claim that this combination can produce. A very potent combination is damiana, ashwagandha, and/or kratom, which produces very relaxing and almost euphoric effects, but I suspect that this might be psychologically addictive. Finally, I’ve experimented with combining damiana with almost all the stimulants on this list; the results have varied, but not been bad. All in all, damiana seems to work well together with almost any herb for me.

As for possible addiction, I’ve used damiana on an almost daily basis for more than nine months now, and I haven’t developed any tolerance and thus haven’t had to increase the dosage, nor have I experienced any withdrawal symptoms during breaks. I don’t know if damiana really has reverse tolerance, but I can understand why some people think so. I haven’t noticed any negative health effects due to long-term use either, but that doesn’t mean that there may not be any, as they may become evident later on.

I highly recommend damiana, especially if you suffer from anxiety. If you want to try herbs but don’t know where to start, I think damiana is an excellent choice.



Ephedra (Ephedra sinica)

Legality: Ephedra is banned in the USA but is as far as I can tell not banned anywhere else. It’s illegal to use ephedra in supplements and foods in several countries, but not to buy, import, or possess it as a private person.

General information: Ephedra is a strong stimulant. Ephedrine, the active ingredient, is used by many athletes to supposedly boost performance, but not on elite level as it’s classed as a doping substance. It’s also effective for losing weight but it’s not entirely safe and many countries have prohibited selling it as a dietary supplement. Ephedrine is an ingredient in some prescribed medicines as well. Although it’s not well known, ephedra is sometimes used in combination with passionflower, which can produce opioid-like effects. For some reason, ephedra has become more difficult to come by lately.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea made on pins or root, capsules, or pills.

Warnings: A normal dose of ephedra at occasions is not dangerous, but using it regularly, long-term, in high doses, or together with other stimulants like caffeine can be dangerous. At high doses, i.e. 5–10 times a normal dose, there’s a risk of adverse effects such as anxiety, headache, and vomiting, and at very high doses seizures, cardiac arrest, or stroke. There are several cases of how very high doses have resulted in death. Obviously, you should probably avoid ephedra if you suffer from high blood pressure or a cardiovascular disease. As it’s a strong dietary supplement, regular and long-term use can have negative health effects, especially if you’re thin. Generally speaking, it doesn’t hurt being cautious with ephedra.

Personal experience: I’ve brewed tea on both pins and roots, and the former has the best effect on me. I find the taste of ephedra to be rather disgusting, but manageable.

I have only used ephedra occasionally, but it has worked quite well for me. I get energized and alert, although the effects aren’t that much stronger than from caffeine. I’ve also taken it before going to the gym as an experiment, and it has definitely increased my stamina. I feel that if I should use it when exercising, I should do so in moderation to avoid overexhaustion, though.

I’ve actually mostly used ephedra in combination with passionflower. The effects this combination has on me are indeed opioid-like, although how strong the effects are vary from time to time. When at optimum, I feel perfectly relaxed and pleasantly euphoric, and I like to lie down and enjoy the illusion that there are no problems in the world. I get kind of feverish, albeit not in an uncomfortable way, so I would avoid going to work and driving. I don’t use this combination regularly, only every now and then, as the effects are quite strong and the quantities needed are quite big, which makes it a little bit expensive.

If you are weak and fatigued due to depression, ephedra might be an option for you. However, remember that it shouldn’t be used regularly, so it’s best to only use it when temporary boosts are needed. If you want to really relax every now and then, you will probably like the combination of ephedra and passionflower. Remember to only take normal doses, though.



Gotu kola (Centella asiatica)

Legality: Gotu kola is as far as I can tell not illegal anywhere in the world. I will be very surprised if it is, as it’s a common ingredient in food in parts of Asia and has been used in traditional medicine in India and China for at least two millennia.

General information: Gotu kola, often also spelled gotukola, is for some reason often incorrectly called brahmi, which is a completely different herb with the binominal scientific name Bacopa monnieri. It’s claimed to have sedative, anxiolytic and antidepressant properties; this has been confirmed by clinical studies, but not conclusively. Gotu kola is commonly used in salads in parts of Asia, so it obviously doesn’t have a repulsive taste.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea made on plant material or pulverized plant material, powder in food, capsules, powder extracts, and liquid extracts.

Warnings: As already mentioned, gotu kola has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. There are no reported adverse effects and it’s considered to be safe to use.

It’s been suggested that if used over many months, gotu kola could have adverse effects on the liver. Hence, it’s probably best to take breaks every now and then if you plan to use it regularly and to avoid it if you suffer from a liver condition just to be safe.

Personal experience: I’ve only made tea on leaves, so I don’t know how effective other methods of administration are. I’ve tasted better and I’ve tasted worse. If you’re new to herbs you might find the taste unpleasant.

For me, the effects of gotu kola kick in quickly, quicker than most of the herbs on this list. The anxiolytic and antidepressant effects are strong, although anxiety can “shine through” a little at times. It has sedative effects which are slight at medium doses but become quite profound at higher doses; I become sleepy and drowsy, although I can stay awake without effort if I want to. I would hesitate to drive and engage in similar activities on high doses, but not on medium doses. I don’t use gotu kola very much nowadays, but that’s simply because there are a couple of other herbs that fit my needs a little bit better, not because it’s a weak herb.

I really recommend gotu kola. It’s a no-nonsense herb which, contrary to many other herbs on this list, doesn’t really have any downsides. If you need a reliable herb with anxiolytic and antidepressant effects, gotu kola is not a bad pick.



Guayusa (Ilex guayusa)

Legality: Guayusa is as far as I can tell legal everywhere in the world.

General information: Guayusa is one of the most obscure herbs on this list, but it’s growing in popularity. The ingredients of guayusa are well charted, but not its actual effects. It contains caffeine and a few other stimulants and is often likened to coffee and yerba mate. Guayusa also contains L-theanine which can improve cognitive functions, alleviate stress, and lift the mood.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea made on leaves (most common) or pulverized leaves, powder extracts, and liquid extracts.

Warnings: Guayusa has been used for at least 1,500 years in South America and given its active ingredients, it shouldn’t be more dangerous than coffee. However, there’s little documentation and almost no research, so it’s best to exercise caution and moderation to be on the safe side.

Personal experience: I’ve only made tea on leaves, the traditional method of administration. It doesn’t exactly taste good, but I think most people would find it acceptable.

I had low expectations when I tried guayusa, but they were nevertheless not met. It has slight energizing and mood-lifting effects on me, but I more or less get the same effects from a cup of coffee. This doesn’t necessarily mean that guayusa must be useless, though. The caffeine content in guayusa can reportedly vary very much, so it might simply be that the leaves I bought came from a batch which wasn’t very potent. In fact, I think that might be the case. If an herb is used for centuries and still is used today, it’s usually for a good reason. Guayusa might very well have many good properties, but I can unfortunately not confirm that.



Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum)

Legality: Kanna is as far as I can tell legal everywhere in the world.

General information: Kanna is sometimes described as weak cocaine and it’s a stimulant which is claimed to elevate mood and reduce anxiety. Scientific studies strongly indicate that kanna actually has anxiolytic properties. In high doses it can induce euphoria and at very high doses it paradoxically becomes sedative. Some people claim that kanna can be hallucinogenic too, but this seems to be a myth. Kanna is sometimes combined with damiana.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea made on powder, powder extracts (most common), capsules (not so common), or tinctures (rare); smoking of resin extracts; snorting of powder extracts. Kanna tea has allegedly weaker mood-lifting properties. It’s generally agreed that the effects of snorting kanna are stronger, but also much shorter.

Warnings: Kanna has been used since prehistoric times and a long-term human experiment didn’t reveal any negative health effects, so it’s most probably perfectly safe to use. However, some people claim that kanna essentially is an SSRI and that there are people who actually use it instead of such antidepressants. It’s difficult to say if this is true or not, but if you take SSRI’s you should probably avoid kanna just to be safe. As for snorting kanna, you should know that it’s a very painful experience the first times and frequent snorting can probably damage the mucous membrane in your nose.

Personal experience: I’ve only used powder extracts of the strengths 100:1, 200:1, and 400:1. I usually ingest the extract, but I sometimes snort it too. The first times I used it, I was surprised how small quantities are needed to get the desired effects; not even a pinch is needed. Some people find the taste of kanna to be off-putting, but I don’t; it’s sharp, but not appalling.

When I ingest kanna, it has quite good anxiolytic effects, but above all, it lifts my mood. The effects come on slowly and last a few hours. For the effects to last a whole day, I need to “refill” several times. As I said, I sometimes snort kanna too. Snorting kanna is like magic to me. It immediately lifts my mood and with immediately I mean in a couple of seconds. When I snort it, the effects only last a very short time for me, usually 15–30 minutes and more often 15 than 30. In other words, it’s only an “emergency measure” for me when I feel acutely depressed and suicidal, and in most cases when I’m not in the safety of my home. I try not to snort kanna often as I’m 100 % certain that it can damage your nose if you use it frequently, especially on a daily basis.

Kanna is very good in itself, but I seldom use it on its own. I usually use it in combination with damiana, given that I have the time and opportunity to brew some tea. Kanna is an effective antidepressant, while damiana is an effective anxiolytic, and they work superbly in tandem. I’ve never read anything but praise for this combination. I used this combination daily for nine months, and it helped me through a bipolar depressive episode, arguably the worst kind of depression there is, and obviously kept me alive. I didn’t develop any noticeable tolerance and I didn’t get addicted.

A tip: I always keep a small zip bag with kanna in my wallet. If I’m at work or some other situation I can’t escape and get acutely depressed by something, I simply go to the bathroom and lift my mood with a pinch of kanna. I’ve learned to be discreet, because when people have seen me using it, they’ve thought that I’ve been using an illegal substance.

I really recommend kanna, especially in combination with damiana. In fact, I think it’s one of the best herbs on this list. The extracts may seem very expensive, but as mentioned above, very small quantities are needed to get the desired effects.



Kava kava (Piper methysticum)

Legality: Kava kava was banned for a short time in some European countries but is as far as I can tell currently not illegal in any country. However, it is regulated in several countries. For instance, it’s illegal to sell, but not to important kava kava in some countries.

General information: Among stronger herbs, kava kava, also simply known as kava, is one of the most popular ones. There are different varieties and qualities, but they won’t be covered here. Kava kava is one of the strongest herbs on this list, and is used against stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia; the anxiolytic effects have been confirmed in clinical studies. Despite its strong effects, it’s not addictive. Kava kava is considerably more expensive than most of the other herbs on this list; there’s cheap kava kava, but it’s invariably of low quality. Kava kava is sometimes used in combination with valerian, St John’s wort, hops, damiana, passionflower, and cannabis.

Most people seem to be of the opinion that kava kava tastes rather bad. The taste is often described as being peppery and earthy; some people think that it tastes like dirt or muddy water. (As for the peppery taste, the Latin name Piper methysticum literally means “intoxicating pepper”.)

Methods of administration: Ingestion of cold drink on grinded or micronized root or concentrate, capsules, and tablets.

Warnings: Kava kava has been used for at least 1,500 years, perhaps as much as 3,000 years, and there are no historical records of serious adverse effects, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be any.

Kava kava has been more thoroughly researched than almost all of the other herbs on this list. According to a review by WHO, the world health organization, moderate use is not unhealthy, but extensive use can result in adverse effects such as rash, nausea, high blood pressure, weight loss, and loss of sex drive.

Something which has received much attention is reports that claim that kava kava may cause liver damage, even of a potentially fatal kind. These reports have been contested and it has been claimed that if kava kava really can cause liver damage, only strains of low quality can do it. No matter what the truth is, you should probably not touch kava kava if you have a liver condition or use medicines which affect your liver functions.

Kava kava can interact adversely with some medicines, such as benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, and levodopa, although it’s not perfectly clear how serious these interactions are. If you use some kind of strong medicine, you should probably read up before using kava kava.

Personal experience: I’ve only brewed tea on grinded plant material, which is the most common method. If price can be used as a reliable measurement, I’ve used kava kava of fairly good quality, but not top-notch. I find it to a bit of a hassle to prepare it, at least in comparison with how most of the other herbs on this list are prepared, but it’s not that big a deal. I don’t think it tastes particularly bad, but I’m used to strange and sometimes outright appalling flavours after having used many different herbs. I can certainly understand why many people find the taste foul.

Kava kava is effective, not two ways about it. It has quite strong anxiolytic and antidepressant effects on me, better than most herbs on this list. The effects last for a few hours and the afterglow for several more hours. Nevertheless, I haven’t used kava kava many times, and the reason is that it also has very strong sedative effects on me. I become drowsy, foggy, and lethargic, and can’t do anything of worth really. I wouldn’t go to work or drive while on kava kava. Although of less importance, the preparation time makes it more tempting to use other herbs, as I’m a man of little patience, especially when I feel acutely suicidal.

One of the reasons I decided to try kava kava is that it supposedly produces euphoria when combined with damiana. Unfortunately, I didn’t experience anything of the kind, but that might very well just be me; herbs often have different effects on different people. I suspect that kava kava can be combined with other herbs with very good results, but I’ll refrain from speculating about it here.

Although kava kava isn’t really my cup of tea, I still recommend it. It has a very good reputation and many proponents and for good reasons. If you suffer from anxiety and depression, kava kava will most probably give you relief.



Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa)

Legality: Kratom is banned in a few countries, so check the legality in your country before you decide to buy it. There seems to be a small risk or no risk of being prosecuted for possessing a small quantity in most of these countries, save for extracts, which have high concentrations of the active ingredient mitragynine, but there can of course never be any guarantees that you will get away with it.

General information: Kratom is a very popular herb and widely used. There are different strains with somewhat different effects, but that’s too big a topic to cover here. Kratom is possibly the most potent herb on this list. It’s a very strong sedative with opioid-like effects and can even induce euphoria at high doses.

There are countless testimonies of how effectively it neutralizes anxiety and depression, and many suicidal people have been able to stay alive for years with kratom. There are also many testimonies of how it can mitigate physical pain and be used to break opioid addiction. Prices can vary quite much, but kratom is generally speaking considerably more expensive than most of the other herbs on this list. It’s generally agreed that kratom has a very bitter taste.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea on leaves or powder, toss ‘n’ wash, liquid extracts, powder extracts (not so common), or capsules (not so common); chewing on leaves (mainly in Asia); smoking leaves or resin extracts (rare). Contrary to most of the other herbs listed here, kratom shouldn’t be dosed casually. You need to have at least a general idea of how many grams you’re taking and preferably use electronic scales that can measure grams.

Warnings: There are conflicting opinions on the potential hazards with kratom use. Opponents claim that kratom is addictive, especially at high doses, while proponents claim that it’s not addictive at all. Opponents claim that fatal overdoses are possible at high doses or in combination with other drugs, whereas proponents claim that there is no such risk. Opponents claim that it can be very unhealthy to use kratom, whereas proponents claim that it’s perfectly healthy. The list goes on. No matter who’s right or wrong, caution and moderation are certainly advisable.

As kratom is a strong sedative, it might be a bad idea to combine it with other sedatives, as there may be dangerous synergy effects. In one case, a person who died from taking kratom in very high doses while using lamotrigine. As the person in question also took several other drugs at the same occasion, it’s been disputed that kratom was the actual cause of death, but if you use lamotrigine you better stay away from kratom just to be safe.

Personal experience: I’ve made tea on kratom powder, the most common method of administration, as well as tried toss ‘n’ wash. It’s been claimed that the latter method produces stronger effects, but my experience is the very opposite. I’m used to the strange and sometimes appalling flavours of different herbs, but even I find kratom to taste extremely bitter.

Kratom is without any doubt the most effective anxiety and depression killer I’ve ever used. After 5–10 minutes, I feel just fine and all my troubles are gone, just as if I had taken an opioid. Most importantly, it completely neutralises even my strongest suicidal impulses quickly and effectively, and it basically kept me alive during a very difficult period stretching over almost half a year. A drawback is that It makes me slightly drowsy and foggy, although not even close to as drowsy and foggy as cannabis and opioids. However, I’ve used it in medium doses at work and been able to perform as usual, and I’ve been driving while under the influence of kratom without incident.

Most kratom users take small to medium doses, but users with much experience of scheduled drugs usually take high to very high doses. I’ve never tried very high doses, but I’ve tried doses twice as strong as normal doses. At first, I’ve felt wonderfully relaxed, but then I’ve became nauseous and vomited, so I avoid high doses. I would not drive or engage in similar activities on higher than normal doses.

There are many warnings about combining kratom with other drugs, but I have nevertheless experimented with other herbs. Kratom works extremely well with damiana and/or kratom, with very relaxing and slightly euphoric effects. However, this borders more on recreational than therapeutic use, and I suspect that this combination actually can be psychologically addictive.

As for addiction, I took normal doses on a daily basis for about half a year and didn’t get addicted, but that doesn’t mean that nobody else can’t get addicted or that it can’t be addictive if high doses are used. Some people claim that kratom can lead to hair loss, and I did notice some, but I can’t be sure it can be attributed to kratom. I stopped using it because of this perceived hair loss, because I wanted something less sedative and with longer-lasting effects, and because I felt that it might interfere with my prescribed medication. I’ve started using it again after a year-long break, but only in low doses this time, and that works much better for me.

As for legality, kratom doesn’t exactly seem to be closely monitored. It’s banned in my country, which has strict drug laws, but I’ve bought it regularly from a couple of domestic online stores which sell it as a supposed ingredient for a hygiene product and “not for human consumption”. Amusingly, users talk about how much they enjoy the “relaxing baths” and similar in the reviews on the site.

All in all, I’m very hesitant to recommend kratom. Countless of people praise it, and there’s no denying that it’s effective, but there are many question marks and it’s impossible to say if it’s safe or not. Also, why use a sledgehammer when a hammer will do? I’d say that you shouldn’t use kratom unless you’re very ill and very desperate.



Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

Legality: Lemongrass is as far as I can tell legal everywhere in the world. I will be very surprised if it isn’t.

General information: Lemongrass has a multitude of uses, but what’s most interesting in this context is that it’s claimed to reduce stress, lift the mood, and lessen anxiety. Empirical studies suggest that lemongrass increases the GABA levels in the brain and actually might have anxiolytic effects, but this has yet to be conclusively confirmed.

Lemongrass is used a flavour in food and beverages and as a fragrance in deodorants, soaps, and cosmetics. It’s generally agreed that lemongrass tastes good, both in comparison with most other herbs and in itself.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea made on plant material, plant material as-is (not common), pulverized plant material (not common), or capsules (rare). There are also lemon oils, but they are not meant to be ingested. Reportedly, smoking lemongrass produces no effects whatsoever.

Warnings: Some people are allergic to lemongrass, but no serious adverse effects have been reported.

Personal experience: I’ve only made tea on lemongrass, which is what most people do. Contrary to most of the other herbs on this list, lemongrass tastes really good.

I used lemongrass quite much when I began exploring the therapeutic psychoactive properties of herbs. Lemongrass has mild and soothing effects on me, and it’s relaxing and cosy to just sit down with a cup of warm tea. However, it’s not even close to strong enough to supress my inner turmoil, not even at very high doses. Hence, I don’t use it anymore.

That it’s not strong enough for me doesn’t mean that it’s a useless herb, though. If you’re new to herbs and want to start out with something which has soft effects and is easy to digest, lemongrass is an excellent choice. Just don’t expect it to work miracles if you struggle with severe anxiety, depression, and suicidality.



Linden/Lime tree (Tilia cordata, Tilia platyphyllos etc.)

Legality: As far as I know, it’s legal everywhere in the world. It would surprise me very much if it wasn’t, as it’s such a common tree in many parts of the world.

General information: Linden and lime tree are collective names for a whole genus of trees and bushes called Tilia. All of them evidently have similar chemical properties, but the ones that are most commonly used seem to be Tilia cordata, Tilia platyphyllos, Tilia americana, Tilia mexicana, and Tilia europaea. Different parts of these plants are used for various medicinal purposes, but what’s most interesting in this context is that the flowers are said to have sedative and anxiolytic properties. The prices vary very much, but you may find linden/lime tree flowers for very low prices, lower than most herbs on this list, and it’s also easy to find in nature and collect and dry flowers on your own. Clinical experiments indicate that they indeed have anxiolytic properties. It’s generally agreed that linden/lime tree tea has a pleasant taste and the flowers’ fragrance is commonly in perfumes.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea made on flowers (most common) and/or leaves.

Warnings: Linden/Lime tree has been used since the Middle Ages and no serious side effects have been reported, although some people have experienced minor allergic reactions, especially people who are allergic to pollen. It’s worth noting that linden/lime tree is so-called cardiotoxic and you should probably pick some other herb if you have a history of heart disease just to be safe.

Personal experience: I’ve only made tea on Tilia platyphyllos. I can’t imagine that anyone wouldn’t find it to be a pleasant or at least neutral experience to drink it, which makes it unique on this list.

The first time I used it I, stupidly, decided on a dose twice as high as recommended. I mean, linden, how strong can it be? I was surprised, not to say shocked, how strong the sedative effects are. I had to, really had to, do some work from home that day, and I had to drink massive amounts of coffee to stay awake. It felt as if the linden tea shut down the part in my brain that keeps me awake and that I could fall asleep at any moment. I also experienced a vague headache, but it wasn’t a big deal. It did have quite potent anxiolytic effects as well, but not really proportionate to the sedative effects.

When it comes to mitigating or neutralizing anxiety, I prefer other herbs which are less sedative, but that doesn’t mean that linden is useless. On the contrary. I’ve found that at the recommended dose, sipping on a cup of linden tea after a stressful day is very relaxing and that taking a mouthful before going to bed makes me fall asleep very quickly. It has much better effects than any sleeping pills I’ve taken. In other words, I use it against stress and insomnia, not anxiety. It also tastes and smells so pleasant that I like to drink it for that alone.

I really recommend linden tea if you suffer from stress and insomnia. As already mentioned above, linden tree flowers can be very cheap, and you can pick and dry flowers on your own, depending on where in the world you live, of course. Herbs can taste and smell so-so or even bad, but as already mentioned, linden tree tea tastes and smells very nice, which makes it stand apart from most of the other herbs on this list.



Mulungu (Erythrina verna)

Legality: As far as I can tell, mulungu is not illegal anywhere in the world.

General information: Mulungu is a rather obscure herb but it’s growing in popularity. It’s still often overlooked in listings of herbs, though. It’s a sedative which is claimed to have anxiolytic and antidepressant effects, and many liken its effects to those of kava kava. The anxiolytic effects have been confirmed in medical studies. Mulungu is sometimes claimed to be a so-called dream which supposedly can induce lucid dreaming. It’s more expensive than most of the other herbs listed here; it’s about twice as expensive per gram as the cheapest ones.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea on shredded or pulverised bark, liquid extracts, capsules, or pills; smoking resin extracts (rare).

Warnings: There are no documented examples of adverse effects, but since it’s a sedative it could potentially potentiate benzodiazepines, interfere with antihypertensives, and have negative effects on people with low blood pressure. If any of this applies to you, you might want to consider other herbs, as there are many to choose from.

Personal experiences: I’ve only made tea on shredded bark. I actually think it tastes quite good, but it’s no doubt an unusual taste and I imagine some people may find it a bit unpleasant.

My experience of mulungu is very limited, but positive. It has a pleasantly soft, slightly dreamy effect on me. It makes me slightly foggy and drowsy, not to the point of becoming a nuisance, but enough to make me a little bit hesitant about doing activities like driving. Sometimes it’s given me a slight headache, with emphasis on slight.

The only reason I haven’t used mulungu more than I have is simply that it’s pricier, but the bark can be reused, so it’s not as expensive as it may seem at first glance. If you want an herb with soft and dreamy effects and are prepared to pay a little bit more, I heartily recommend Mulungu.



Panax ginseng (Panax ginseng)

Legality: Panax ginseng is as far as I can tell legal everywhere in the world. I will be highly surprised if it isn’t, considering how much is sold worldwide.

General information: Panax ginseng is known under a multitude of names, such as Korean ginseng and red ginseng. It’s allegedly effective against a multitude of ailments and illnesses, far too many to be listed here. What’s interesting in this context is that it’s said to be effective against stress, anxiety and depression. Several clinical studies indicate that panax ginseng actually might have these effects, but it’s highly uncertain how strong. Although it’s very little known, it’s actually possible to get high on panax ginseng, and that’s the focus here.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of capsules or pills (most common), pulverized bark in food, tea made on bark or pulverized bark (less common), or powder extracts (less common). There are probably many more, less common methods of administration than this.

Warnings: Ginseng has been used for over four millennia and global sales amount to over $2 billion every year, so it’s most likely safe to use. That said, ginseng is usually taken in low doses and not in high doses as suggested here, so caution might be in place.

Personal experience: I have only made tea on pure panax ginseng root of high quality. The taste is a bit wooden, but not unpleasant. I should point out that I haven’t used panax ginseng as it’s supposed to be used, i.e. in moderate doses over an extended time period. Instead, I’ve used very high doses on rare occasions, so I can only speak about that.

It sounds like bullshit, but it really is possible to get high on panax ginseng at very high doses. I’ve used it at a few times when I’ve attended social events and had to keep my insecurity and shyness in check. It has worked wonders every time. I don’t really know how to describe the experience properly, but it’s a kind of feverish, yet relaxing light-headedness which doesn’t really resemble anything else I’ve experienced. It’s a decidedly odd feeling, but not unpleasant in any way.

It’s unreal how easy and natural social interaction becomes for me on panax ginseng, and I don’t exaggerate when I say that I basically become the centre of the party and get approached by women, probably because I seem so harmonious and relaxed. It’s just as if I’ve had half a dozen strong drinks, but without the negative effects that comes with alcohol. I’ve drunk alcohol while high on panax ginseng, and they’ve interacted well. I’ve also used it in combination with a non-scheduled drug against social anxiety with exceptionally good results, but I won’t go into that here since it’s not an herb and has addiction potential.

There’s one big downside with panax ginseng. To experience these pleasant effects, I need to use pure panax ginseng of high quality in large quantities. It’s prohibitively expensive, considerably more so than almost all the other herbs on this list, and that’s the reason, the only reason, I don’t use it more often than I do. I save it for special occasions, mainly big events, and only use it a couple of times a year. Had I been a wealthy man, I would have used it every weekend.

Undeniably, there are less expensive ways to achieve social disinhibition. In terms of cost, a dose of panax ginseng could possibly replace binge drinking on a Saturday night, but not a benzodiazepine pill on a daily basis. What makes panax ginseng superior to me is that it not only makes me harmonious and relaxed, but also allows me to stay clearheaded, gives me “social superpowers”, and doesn’t have any addiction potential. When used in this fashion, I can’t recommend panax ginseng enough. It’s like magic for me. If you have the dough, it might be worth giving a shot.



Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

Legality: Passionflower is as far as I can tell legal everywhere in the world.

General information: This herb is also known as purple passionflower and true passionflower. It has been used since time immemorial to treat anxiety and insomnia and is next to valerian the possibly most well-known herb for this purpose. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that it really works, and clinical studies suggest that its anxiolytic and soporific properties are significant. In fact, a clinical study on pre-surgery sedation suggests that it’s comparable to the benzodiazepine midazolam. Another clinical suggests that passionflower is comparable to the potent soporific zolpidem. Passionflower is thought to increase GABA production in the brain, which lowers the brain activity and in turn leads to relaxation. It’s worth noting that contrary to many other sedatives, prescribed or herbal, it doesn’t cause any respiratory depression. Passionflower extracts are used as a flavouring in food and drink, so the taste is obviously not repulsive.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea on plant material (most common) and pulverized plant material, powder extracts, liquid extracts, and capsules.

Warnings: No serious adverse effects have been reported and passionflower is considered to be safe to use.

Personal experience: I’ve only made tea on plant material, i.e. leaves and stems, which is the absolutely most common method of administration. I think it tastes alright and that most people would find the taste acceptable.

When I began using herbs, I used passionflower quite a lot. It has slightly sedative effects and fairly good anxiolytic effects on me. To me, it’s been more valuable as a soporific than an anxiolytic, though. Especially at higher doses, I get really drowsy and sleepy and want to go to bed. However, this only lasts 30–60 minutes, and if I don’t go to bed during that window I’ll return to normal rather quickly. I very seldom use passionflower nowadays, and the simple reason is that there are other herbs which have stronger anxiolytic and soporific effects on me.

Nowadays, I basically only use passionflower together with ephedra, a little-known combination with surprising effects. The effects are opioid-like, although how strong the effects are vary from time to time. When at optimum, I feel perfectly relaxed and pleasantly euphoric, and I like to lie down and enjoy the illusion that there are no problems in the world. I get kind of feverish, albeit not in an uncomfortable way, so I would avoid going to work and driving. I don’t use this combination regularly, only every now and then, as the effects are quite strong and the quantities needed are quite big, which makes it a little bit expensive.

Even though passionflower doesn’t have very strong effects on me, I still recommend it, both as an anxiolytic and as a soporific. It has helped countless of people and is probably the closest to a safe bet you can find on this list. If you want to try herbs but don’t know where to start, passionflower is not a bad pick.



Poppy pods (Papaver somniferum)

Legality: Possession of poppy pods is illegal in a few countries, but they are in a legal grey zone in most countries: possession is not illegal per se, but extraction of the opiates is. Hence, poppy pods vendors often sell them as “decorations” and similar. You should research what the legal situation is in your country before you decide to buy poppy pods.

General information: This is the item which is closest to a scheduled drug on this list. We’re talking about dried poppy pods which contain the opiates morphine, codeine, and thebaine, of which morphine is the most abundant. The effects of poppy pod tea are similar to those of pure morphine, but weaker and more sedative than euphoric in nature. The effects last many hours and the so-called afterglow often lasts a day or more. It’s generally agreed that the taste and smell of poppy pod tea is outright repulsive.

There are many species of poppy, but only a few have any significant concentrations of opioids, which can be confusing when buying poppy pods; the species papaver somniferum has the highest concentrations. The potency of poppy pods can vary enormously, depending on e.g. the quality of a harvest and the country of origin, which makes both purchase and dosage difficult. They are also more difficult to obtain and considerably more expensive than almost all other herbs on this list.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea made on grinded pods or actual ingestion of the grinded pods as-is or mixed with yoghurt or similar (less common). If you decide to use poppy pod tea, it’s of outmost importance that you know how large doses you’re taking and that you start low and go slow.

Warnings: Poppy pod tea can be highly addictive just like any other opioid if not used sparingly. If you decide to use it, be aware that correct dosage is critical, but unfortunately also notoriously difficult to calculate. Due to the large differences in potency, there have been several cases of fatal overdoses. In other words, this can literally kill you if you’re not careful.

Personal experience: I’ve both made tea on grinded poppy pods and ingested poppy pod powder. The latter supposedly gives stronger effects, but I’m a bit sceptical about this claim. It tastes and smells absolutely bloody awful; I’m not sure I’ve drunk anything fouler in my life. It’s very difficult to down and I’ve had to experiment with different methods of administration.

Poppy pod tea completely neutralizes my anxiety, depression, and suicidality, more so than almost all other herbs on this list. However, it comes with a price: I become very drowsy, foggy, and lethargic. I would not engage in any kind of activity while on poppy pod tea. The afterglow is very pleasant and usually lasts for at least a day, not seldom longer. I no longer use it because of the drowsiness it induces, the high price, suspicions that it might interfere with my prescribe medication, and an unintentional overdose in combination with alcohol.

Despite its extremely effective anxiolytic and antidepressant effects, I can’t recommend poppy pod tea due to the hazards involved. If you should use it all, you should only do it if nothing else works and you’re on the very brink of suicide.



Poppy seeds (Papaver somniferum)

Legality: Possession of poppy seeds is actually illegal in half a dozen countries in the Middle East and East Asia but is legal in the rest of the world and can quite easily be bought in bulk in most countries.

General information: This can be said to be a light version of the above listed poppy pods. Poppy seeds contain opiates just like poppy pods, but in lower concentrations. Hence, large quantities are often needed. Common poppy seeds found in grocery stores can actually be used, as traces of opiates always will remain even if they have been processed. However, unwashed seeds with higher morphine content are preferred; there are special varieties of seeds that are as potent as poppy pods, but they are very difficult to find. Just as with poppy pods, the potency can vary enormously, which makes both purchases and dosage difficult. The effects resemble those of morphine, but are much weaker, at a wild guess 30 % of the strength of morphine at best. The effects can last several hours and the same goes for the afterglow.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea made on seeds. If you decide to use poppy seed tea, it’s very important that you know how large doses you’re taking and that you start low and go slow.

Warnings: Poppy seed tea can be very addictive if not used sparingly. If you decide to use it, be aware that correct dosage is very important, but unfortunately also notoriously difficult to calculate. Due to the large differences in potency, there have been cases of fatal overdoses. In other words, this can literally kill you if you’re not careful.

Personal experience: Contrary to poppy pod tea, poppy seed tea is easy to down and tastes, not very surprisingly, like poppy seeds albeit less profoundly. As said, the potency varies wildly, so I’ve had quite a few duds. However, when it works it’s a wonderful experience. I become very calm, without becoming as drowsy as I do on poppy pod tea. I just lie down on my couch and enjoy not feeling any anxiety or depression at all. The reason I don’t use it anymore is that it can be a hassle to find potent seeds and because I suspect that it might interfere with my prescribed medication. If you’re sure, really sure, you can handle it and use it in moderation, I really recommend poppy seed tea. If not, stay away from it.



Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

Legality: Sassafras is as far as I can tell not illegal anywhere. However, it’s regulated in some countries as it’s a so-called precursor, i.e. a substance which is used for a wide range of legal products, but which also can be used to produce illegal drugs. More precisely, sassafras is the precursor of MDMA, better known as ecstasy.

General information: Generally speaking, the information about sassafras as a drug is lacking, vague, and conflicting. According to anecdotal accounts, the effects of sassafras taken in high doses are similar to those of MDMA, with the exception of the empathogenic effects which are weak or absent. It’s generally agreed that sassafras smoke is extremely harsh.

Methods of administration: Sassafras is exclusively smoked. Tea made on sassafras has no significant effect.

Warnings: Sassafras makes the brain release serotonin, dopamine, and norephedrine, so it might be hazardous to combine with an SSRI or MAOI. Although it has yet to be positively confirmed, there are indications that sassafras may be cancerogenic. If smoked regularly, the extremely harsh smoke can probably be harmful to the respiratory system.

Personal experience: I tried to make tea on sassafras at first, but I didn’t notice any effects at all; it has to be smoked. To me, smoking sassafras is like dragging a piece of barbwire up and down my throat, but a water pipe makes it bearable.

I really love the effects of sassafras. Contrary to most of the other herbs on this list, sassafras makes me feel high. It has significant sedative effects, but I only become slightly foggy. However, I get noticeably wobbly, as if I were drunk, so I avoid driving and similar activities while on sassafras. It effectively kills all anxiety, depression, and suicidality for me, almost as effectively as the strongest herbs on this list.

What’s most remarkable for me is that when I smoke sassafras, I become very emotional, not in a volatile way, but rather a “romantic” way, in lack of a better word. The effects do resemble the effects of MDMA, although they are much weaker; otherwise, it would obviously have been a scheduled substance. It’s truly wonderful to listen to music on sassafras, especially soft and sentimental music, and I really become hypnotized when I watch music videos. It’s a very intense experience and I often almost start crying. There’s a euphoric element to it as well, but it’s less profound. I sometimes get impulses to move and dance, just as with MDMA, but again, the effects are much weaker.

This comes with a price, though. Contrary to all the other herbs on this list, I experience a comedown when the effects taper off. It’s quite depressing although obviously not even close to as bad as for scheduled drugs like MDMA and amphetamine; the comedowns of those two make me outright suicidal. The comedown symptoms can be mitigated rather well with other herbs, e.g. kanna, but there’s no denying that it’s an unpleasant experience. This is one of the main reasons I only use sassafras occasionally.

Reportedly, the effects become much more similar to those of MDMA, except for the empathogenic effects, at higher doses. I’ve never tried higher doses, simply because it’s difficult for me to inhale that much smoke and I usually feel content after a bowl or two, so I can’t confirm this.

I really love sassafras, but it’s not something I would use on a daily basis, only every now and then when I want to relax. I refrain from recommending it because of the risks listed above. Also, it’s arguably more of recreational herb than a therapeutic one, so it’s questionable if using sassafras really can be said to be self-medication.



Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)

Legality: As far as I can tell, Siberian ginseng is legal everywhere in the world.

General information: Despite its name, Siberian ginseng is not a member of the ginseng family. It’s used against stress and fatigue and to boost sleep, stamina, mood, and cognitive functions. Preliminary research suggests that Siberian ginseng actually might improve mental performance, physical performance, and quality of life, as well as help against chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), but as said, it’s only preliminary research. Interestingly, a clinical study has shown that the combination lithium and Siberian ginseng produces as good effects as the combination lithium and fluoxetine. Siberian ginseng is often marketed as a dietary supplement and a cosmetic.

Warnings: No serious side effects have been reported. Long-term studies haven’t revealed any negative health effects, but it’s recommended that Siberian ginseng shouldn’t be taken for longer than two months without a break for a couple of weeks. As it’s a quite strong stimulant, you should use it with caution if you suffer from high blood pressure or a heart condition. Siberian ginseng also contains chemicals that might slow blood clotting so you should probably stay away from it if you suffer from a bleeding disorder just to be safe.

Personal experience: I’ve made tea on plant matter and taken capsules and pills. The effects of the tea kick in immediately, and with immediately I mean within minutes, and the effects are strong and last for a few hours. The capsules are more slow-acting, and not only because it takes time for them to dissolve, and the effects kick in subtly and gradually and can last a whole working day, i.e. up to eight hours. The pills have had much weaker and shorter effects on me, and I don’t use them anymore.

To me, Siberian ginseng is the most effective stimulant on this list, only rivalled by black maca, and something of a wonder herb. It gives me more energy and makes me more alert than any other legal substance I’ve taken. If I sleep little or not at all, I can still stay sharp throughout the day with Siberian ginseng. I try to avoid using it every day as I’m obviously using energy I don’t really have, and I believe there’s a real risk of overexhaustion. This is the main reason I only use it when I really need it.

In most cases, I’ve taken Siberian ginseng before going to work. It’s my impression that it really sharpens my thinking and attention and makes me perform better overall. This is of course much more subjective, as it’s difficult to evaluate how well one functions cognitively. Still, that’s the impression I get.

Something just as important is that Siberian ginseng also has anxiolytic effects on me to a degree. They’re subtle, though. After a day on Siberian ginseng, I may suddenly realize, “I haven’t felt any anxiety today.” It doesn’t necessarily have antidepressant effects on me, though.

Those effects are not the only positive sides of this herb to me, though. I suffer from bipolar disorder II and surprisingly, it has a very stabilising effect on me and makes me feel more or less normal. At times, the effect can be so strong that I start thinking that it could replace my prescribed medication, but that’s something I wouldn’t really dare to do or recommend others to do. I don’t use it for this reason alone, but it’s an effect I appreciate very much.

It’s my experience that stimulants shouldn’t be combined, but I’ve combined black maca with caffeine and/or Siberian ginseng with good results, especially the combination black maca and Siberian ginseng. For me, these stimulants interact very well and seems to boost each other. If you decide to try such a combination, start low and go slow, because no one knows what the exact effects of multiple stimulants might have on you.

I heartily recommend Siberian ginseng. In fact, I think it’s one of the absolutely best herbs on this list. I know of people who at least temporarily have been able to break free from states of apathy and fatigue due to depression with Siberian ginseng, so it’s might be worth a shot if you’re in that situation. If you’re bipolar and unstable, maybe you should it try it too, because if it works for me, it might work for others as well. If you decide to try Siberian ginseng, I recommend that you use it in moderation, as it’s not necessarily immediately evident how strong the effects are.



St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Legality: St John’s wort is as far as I can tell legal everywhere in the world.

General information: St John’s wort has been used for treatment of a variety of ailments since classical antiquity and has attracted much attention as an anxiolytic and antidepressant in recent years. It has probably been subject to more scientific studies than any other herb on this list, but the conclusions about its effects are conflicting. However, there’s an abundance of anecdotal evidence that St John’s wort can be an effective antidepressant, and psychiatrists may recommend and even prescribe the herb for treatment of depression in some countries. The common practice is to use moderate doses on a daily basis for prolonged periods of time.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of capsules (probably most common), pills, powder extracts, liquid extracts, tinctures, teas on shredded or pulverized plant material (less common). There are also oils, but they are only for dermatological applications.

Warnings: Only minor side effects have been reported, such as nausea and fatigue. However, and this is very important, St John’s wort can interact with a variety of prescribed medicines, both for mental and physical health conditions, which in the worst-case scenario can be life-threatening. If you use medicines and consider using this herb, makes sure to consult your psychiatrist or physician first.

Personal experience: My personal experience of St John’s wort is of little value, as I haven’t used it as is recommended, i.e. over a prolonged period of time. Instead, I’ve only brewed teas on high doses of plant material on occasions when I’ve suffered acute anxiety, depression, and suicidality. I find the earthy taste of the tea to be rather off-putting, and I think people new to herbs will find it quite disgusting.

Even though I haven’t used St John’s wort as recommended, it has had anxiolytic and antidepressant effects on me. However, the effects have been quite weak in comparison to most of the other herbs on this list and anxiety has a tendency to “shine through”. It also has some sedative effects on me, and they are not proportionate to the anxiolytic and antidepressant effects, i.e. I become more drowsy than calm. Hence, I’ve used St John’s wart very little and don’t plan to do it again.

In short, St John’s wart not a quick fix if you feel acute anxiety, depression, and suicidality. There are very strong indications that this herb really has good antidepressant effects, but I can’t confirm that.



Wild dagga (Leonotis leonurus)

Legality: Wild dagga is banned in a couple of European countries but is as far as I can tell legal everywhere else in the world.

General information: Wild dagga is also called lion’s tail and the names are equally common. It has anxiolytic, antidepressant, and slightly euphoric effects. There’s much anecdotal evidence that it really has these properties but little to no scientific evidence as far as I can tell. When smoked, many users compare the effects of wild dagga to cannabis, although much weaker, and some even use it as a substitute to cannabis. Some users claim to experience mild visual distortions, such as changed colour perception, but there are no reports of elaborate hallucinations. Wild dagga is a member of the mint family and has a minty taste.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea brewed on plant material or pulverized plant material, powder extracts, tinctures (less common), and capsules (less common); smoking of plant material or resin extracts (less common).

Warnings: Wild dagga has been used for centuries in southern Africa and there are no reports of serious adverse effects. However, it should be pointed out that the information about the potential dangers of wild dagga is somewhat lacking, so general caution and moderation are advisable.

Wild dagga is considered to be safe at normal doses, but clinical studies show that at high doses or very high doses, it’s toxic and has adverse effects on organs, red blood cells, and white blood cells.

It’s sometimes claimed that wild dagga has addiction potential and can be just as addictive as tobacco. I haven’t been able to find any evidence which supports this claim, but it’s probably best to only use wild dagga in moderation just to be safe.

Personal experience: I’ve only used 100:1 and 200:1 powder extracts and only ingested them. I quite like the minty taste, but I assume some people might find it a bit too strong and perhaps even a little bit off-putting.

To me, wild dagga is a disappointment. I do experience some anxiolytic and antidepressant effects, but they are very weak in comparison to comparable herbs. The effects become stronger at higher doses, but this is accompanied by vague headaches and slight physical discomfort. In any case, it’s way too expensive for me to use this herb in such large quantities on a regular basis. I won’t rule out the possibility that I’ve bought wild dagga of inferior quality, but since I’ve bought products from different respected vendors, I don’t find it very likely.

However, this is just how wild dagga works on me. It’s one of the most praised herbs against anxiety and depression to be found, and it has a better reputation than most of the other herbs on this list. This can hardly be a coincidence, and wild dagga is most probably worth a shot.



Wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa)

Legality: As far as I can tell, wild lettuce is not illegal anywhere in the world.

General information: Wild lettuce is not to be confused with culinary lettuce, Lactuca sativa; the latter has no known psychoactive properties. Compared to most of the other herbs on this list, there’s little information about wild lettuce available. It has sedative effects, which has been confirmed in animal experiments. It’s sometimes called “opium lettuce” or “the poor man’s opium”, and is said to have similar, albeit weaker effects as opium. It’s also sometimes claimed that it can have hallucinatory effects. Not seldom, the focus in the marketing of wild lettuce is its alleged analgesic properties.

Methods of application: Ingestion of tea made on shredded or powdered leaves, powder extracts, tinctures, capsules, and pills; smoking of shredded leaves or resin extracts.

Warnings: Wild lettuce showed to be toxic in an experiment on human subjects, giving rise to symptoms like photophobia, anxiety, dizziness, nausea, and breathing issues. If you have prostate issues or suffer from glaucoma, you should avoid wild lettuce as it contains substances which can worsen your symptoms.

Personal experience: I’ve only used a 100:1 powder extract. To be frank, I think the talk of “the poor man’s opium” is pure bullshit. When I’ve ingested it as-is, I haven’t experienced any effects whatsoever. When I’ve insufflated it, I’ve felt slightly calmer and in a slightly better mood, but it might as well have been placebo; it has also been accompanied by slight physical discomfort. I haven’t smoked it, as the effects of smoking powder usually are poor.

However, I can’t rule out the possibility that I’ve bought a product of inferior quality or that it simply doesn’t work on me, but work on others. Be that as it may, I can’t recommend wild lettuce as the effects on me are very weak or non-existent.



White sage (Salvia apiana)

Legality: As far as I can tell, white sage is legal everywhere in the world. I will be very surprised if it isn’t, considering how widespread the use of white sage incense is.

General information: White sage, not to be confused with culinary sage, Salvia officinalis, is mostly used as an ingredient in food and incense, but it can actually also be brewed as a tea and smoked, which is the focus here. White sage has several alleged medicinal properties, including reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. It’s generally agreed that it’s a strong herb and many users state that it makes them feel stoned.

It should be noted that brewing tea on white sage and smoking white sage seem to be obscure practices. The little information that is available is lacking, to put it mildly. There are comparatively few anecdotal testimonies and almost no studies have been carried out. This is uncharted territory in many respects.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea brewed on plant material; smoking plant material. The reports on smoking white sage are few and conflicting. There are also white sage oils, but they’re not meant to be ingested.

Warnings: Native Americans have used white sage for centuries and preliminary studies suggest that it’s not dangerous to drink sage tea on a daily basis in moderate doses.

That said, there’s comparatively little information available. White sage does de facto contain some ingredients which may be unhealthy in high doses, such as thujone, which also can be found in wormwood, the infamous ingredient of absinth. Caution and moderation are advisable, and you should probably avoid it if you have serious health problems just to be safe.

According to anecdotal testimonies, you can become very sick and need healthcare if you smoke large quantities of white sage.

Personal experience: I’ve brewed tea on white sage, but never smoked it; given how strong the former is, I would never consider doing the latter. I think white sage tastes rather pleasant, which perhaps isn’t surprising as it’s used as a flavour and a fragrance, but I think many people find the taste weird.

White sage is surprisingly strong, much stronger than I thought that it would be. It makes me feel outright stoned; it resembles cannabis, actually. It neutralizes anxiety and depression quite effectively, but it’s also heavily sedative. Actually, numbing is probably a better word. I would definitely not go to work or drive while under the influence of white sage. However, the effects only last a couple hours.

Due to the heavily sedative effects, I use white sage very sparingly. However, it doesn’t only have anxiolytic and depressive effects; it also has very good soporific effects, better than almost all of the other herbs on this list and certainly better than all the sleeping pills I’ve taken. A cup of strong white sage tea invariably makes me very sleepy and I fall into deep sleep quickly if I go to bed.

I recommend white sage as an anxiolytic and antidepressant, but hesitantly, as it’s very strong and easily can be underestimated. However, I recommend white sage as a soporific without hesitation, given that it’s not used on a daily basis and/or in high doses, as it absolutelt is very effective in this respect.
Thanks for sharing this.
 
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Tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia)

Legality: Tongkat ali is as far as I know legal everywhere in the world. However, it’s illegal to export it from Malaysia due to overexploitation and possibly illegal to take it out of the country as a private person.

General: This herb is also known as pasak bumi and Malaysian ginseng but is as far as I can tell not a member of the ginseng family. It’s said to relieve stress, decrease anxiety and lift the mood. A couple of studies indicate that tongka ali actually has these properties, but more studies are needed to actually confirm it. Although not the focus of this guide, it’s also said to boost athletic performance and increase muscle mass. A couple of studies indicate that this might be true, but it’s not even close to confirmed. Although it’s not the focus of this study either, this herb increases testosterone in men and improve erectile dysfunction. This is actually well documented in several studies and experiments.

It should be mentioned that in the early 2000s, there were several cases of fraudulent vendors who sold other herbs labeled as tongkat ali, and although much rarer now, it still happens. Some vigilance doesn’t hurt when purchasing this herb.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of capsules (most common), powder extracts, liquid extracts, and tea made on plant material (rare outside Asia) or pulverized plant material (rare).

Warnings: No significant side effects of tongkat ali have been reported, and it’s considered safe. As with most other herbs, the long-time effects have not been studied and are not known, though. It’s recommended that tongkat ali shouldn’t be taken in higher doses than 1.2 grams a day, but this recommendation is not based on actual studies or experiments.

Personal experience: I’ve taken capsules and made tea on pulverized plant material. I experience much stronger effects with the latter method of administration. I find the taste to be very spicy and somewhat bitter, but not unpleasant. I think people who aren’t used to the odd tastes of herbs most likely will find it unpleasant, though.

When I’ve taken tongkat ali in capsules, the effects have been more subtle, i.e. the effects have kicked in more slowly and gradually, and not only because it takes time for the capsules to dissolve. When I’ve made tea on it, the effects are much stronger, but don’t last just as the long. Tongkat ali makes me relaxed and neutralizes anxiety and depression, and it also gives me energy and focus. It’s when taken together with kratom that it really shines, though. I get very energized and focused and experience euphoria, sometimes very strong euphoria, stronger than that of kanna and even comparable to that of scheduled drugs. Then I get very pleasant shivers, can’t help smiling like an imbecile, and am constantly close to laughter. The effects of this combination ali are actually so pleasant that I fear that I might get psychologically addicted to it if I’m not careful.

Tongkat ali has become one of my new favourites. It’s like a combination of kanna and Siberian ginsing for me and possibly better than both. I can’t recommend tongkat ali enough if you suffer from anxiety, depression, and/or fatigue. If it works on you the way it works on me, it will give you a much-needed break from your suffering and let you breathe for a moment.
 
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enjolras

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I find the taste to be very spicy and somewhat bitter, but not unpleasant.
Did you get the right stuff ?! Taken with water, without capsules, most would agree it tastes like the devil’s ass, straight from hell ! ...and lingering. For me, it’s the most off-putting herbal supplement. I’d advise those scared of N to actually train with Tongkat Ali.
My most favourite would be Maca root, which imho tastes like malt flakes kinda, which could be poured on a salad or soup to blend nicely. I’m okay with Rhodiola, taste wise... special, a bit acidic, it vaguely identified it to another cooking ingredient

I tried Longjack root (Tongkat Ali) but didn’t pursue cause I was concerned about contamination with hard metals, due to often being produced on asian soils, poorly controlled.

Wish I was as sensitive as you about these plants. It’s not my case :( I used to take 7g of Tongkat Ali, which was not transcending, made me feel just slightly horny. But you’re mentioning combo interactions I haven’t explored, targeted...
Anyway, so glad that never a tried herb created discomfort, which is unlike most of the chemical meds I tried this month. The boost, is any, is always positive, even minor.

New recommendations for you to meticulously review :
- Horny Goat Weed (unsafe at higher doses) ...same, concerned about traces of hard metals. Bought bulk in bag, stopped
- Tribulus Terretris

Where do you shop @Sensei ? At Amazon or other dedicated showcases, or locally ?
 
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Did you get the right stuff ?! Taken with water, without capsules, most would agree it tastes like the devil’s ass, straight from hell ! ...and lingering. For me, it’s the most off-putting herbal supplement. I’d advise those scared of N to actually train with Tongkat Ali.
By now, I can drink gasoline and battery acid. I've been told that everything from kratom to phenibut to mimosa hostilis taste so horible they can barely be ingested, but they have never posed any problems for me whatsowever. The only one I have to struggle with, really struggle, is poppy pod tea. It's one the vilest tastes of any kind I've ever experienced.

My most favourite would be Maca root, which imho tastes like malt flakes kinda, which could be poured on a salad or soup to blend nicely. I’m okay with Rhodiola, taste wise... special, a bit acidic, it vaguely identified it to another cooking ingredient
My favourite is probably linden. I feel good just smelling it. (There are actually indications that smelling lavender can have an antidepressant effect.) Turkestan mint tastes divine too.

I tried Longjack root (Tongkat Ali) but didn’t pursue cause I was concerned about contamination with hard metals, due to often being produced on asian soils, poorly controlled.
It's do or die for me. If there's a risk that it may contain traces of poisnous ingredients, than so be it.

Wish I was as sensitive as you about these plants. It’s not my case :( I used to take 7g of Tongkat Ali, which was not transcending, made me feel just slightly horny. But you’re mentioning combo interactions I haven’t explored, targeted...
I'm actually extremely sensitive. Herbs, drugs, and medicines act quickly on me and I usually only need small doses. In fact, I was once asked to volunteer a blood sample to a study about the phenomenon, so I estimate that I'm more sensitive than 99 % of the population. That's one of the reasons I haven't included any dosage recommendations in the guide.

Anyway, so glad that never a tried herb created discomfort, which is unlike most of the chemical meds I tried this month. The boost, is any, is always positive, even minor.
Yes, herbs are usually soft and kind to you. However, there are few herbs that have been subject to long-term studies, so there might a price to pay further down the line, but I'm quite certain that if that's the case, it will be a low price.

New recommendations for you to meticulously review :
- Horny Goat Weed (unsafe at higher doses) ...same, concerned about traces of hard metals. Bought bulk in bag, stopped
- Tribulus Terretris
Thanks. :) Your suggestions so far have been excellent, so I'll definitely try them later on. Right now, I have several effective herbs and combinations I can rely upon.

You seem to be somewhat resistant to herbs. Have you tried kratom? I shall be honest and tell you that there are potential health hazards (the jury is still out), but for most people it's an effective anxiety and depression killer.

Where do you shop @Sensei ? At Amazon or other dedicated showcases, or locally ?
Whenever possible I try to buy herbs from domestic online stores, but when I can't find what I'm looking for, which is quite often, I use eBay and, occasionally, Etsy.
 
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Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Legality: Valerian is as far as I can tell legal everywhere in the world.

General: Valerian is the possibly most famous and most used herb listed in this guide. It’s been used for ages against insomnia and anxiety, and to a lesser degree also depression. The clinical research on these properties which has been carried out so far has come to inconclusive results.

Methods of administration: Ingestion of tea made on plant material and pulverized plant material (less common), pulverized plant plant material in food (less common), capsules (most common), tablets, liquid extracts, and powder extracts (less common).

Warnings: No serious side effects have been reported, but usage may entail something resembling a hangover. There are no known interactions with pharmaceutical medicines, but it could potentially interact with sedatives, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants.

Personal experience: I’ve only made tea on Valerian root. It smells, looks, and tastes disgusting. The odour reminds me of smelly feet; I’m not joking. In fact, it’s the next most foul-tasting herb I’ve ever used, only surpassed by poppy pods. I can fully understand why it’s most common to take valerian in capsules.

I can also fully understand why valerian is so popular. It has strong sedative effects on me and even makes me rather foggy, to the point that I avoid driving. It also kills my anxiety quite effectively, but the price for this is the sedation and fogginess. It’s a very relaxing and pleasant experience, but it can unfortunately be accompanied by mild to moderate headaches. But then again, I prefer headaches to anxiety.

I really like valerian, but it’s not something I’m going to use regularly. The reason is not the taste nor the headaches, but the price. It’s not pricey as such, but I need quite strong doses to get the desired effects which tends to empty the bag quickly. So, all in all, I recommend valerian, even though it’s not exactly what I’m looking for myself.
 
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aedric_artifact

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Oof. The first time I used St John's Wort, it was prescribed by a psychiatrist. It was my first antianxiety med and the day after I first ingested it, I had a bloody stool. No idea what happened but I avoided it ever since!
 
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Oof. The first time I used St John's Wort, it was prescribed by a psychiatrist. It was my first antianxiety med and the day after I first ingested it, I had a bloody stool. No idea what happened but I avoided it ever since!
Oh? As you can read in the guide, I have very little experience of the herb in question, but it sounds like an atypical adverse effect. Well, everyone reacts to herbs, and medicines for that matter in different ways. I've never experienced anything like that, knock on wood.
 
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aedric_artifact

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Oh? As you can read in the guide, I have very little experience of the herb in question, but it sounds like an atypical adverse effect. Well, everyone reacts to herbs, and medicines for that matter in different ways. I've never experienced anything like that, knock on wood.
For sure! It's not for me but I'm certain there are people who swear by it. Also, I'd like to thank you for this immense catalog of information. I don't use herbs, but I always thought botany of all sorts was fascinating. I'm so glad you you even put your personal experiences of each herb, too!
 
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