Using natural remedies to treat anxiety, depression
Disclaimer: Always consult your doctor first before stopping prescription medications and/or trying new treatments.
Kari Wagner realized the risk of opening a shop during a pandemic, particularly one that sold homeopathic remedies. Even so, she saw the need in the community, and could sense how the uncertainty and isolation of our current reality was causing more people to feel afraid, worried, anxious and overwhelmed.
“So many of these young people right now, especially with all the lockdowns and not being able to interact with friends, you can see the anxiety that they’re experiencing,” Wagner says. “There are so many unknowns right now.”
Against all odds, TapRoots was established, together with co-founders Carolyn Keeling and Dr. Keith Austin. With it, a wellspring of information and resources became available for Lynchburg residents who were looking for a more natural solution for their ailments.
Faced with the option of habit-forming, side effect–laden prescription medications, for many, homeopathic medicine is an attractive alternative.
What is homeopathy?
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, homeopathy, also known as homeopathic medicine, is a medical system that was developed in Germany more than 200 years ago. It operates on two theories: “like cures like,” the concept that a disease can be alleviated by a substance that creates similar symptoms in healthy people, and the “law of minimum dose,” which surmises that the lower a medication dosage, the more effective it is.
“Homeopathy treats a person as a whole whereas a prescription medicine is going after that one symptom,” Wagner explains. “With homeopathy, all of the medicines are made from plants, minerals, some chemicals, things like that. But when they’re homeopathically prepared, they’re diluted to such a minute amount that there’s not even a molecule left of the original substance—in that little pill.”
For example, in order to treat poison ivy, the poison ivy plant is diluted and used to counteract the poison ivy in the bloodstream, Keeling explains.
At TapRoots, the owners stress that they maintain a network of medical doctors who practice integrated medicine to refer to their customers who may have acute symptoms that need more attention.
Dr. Kimberly Combs of Central Virginia Family Physicians often has patients who are concurrently taking homeopathic remedies for a variety of conditions. Dr. Combs says that she always checks to make sure whatever they are taking is not interfering with what she has prescribed. However, as a proponent of the benefits and uses of CBD (Cannabidiol), she feels it is only appropriate to remain open to the alternative treatments being presented to her.
“I always try to give them a chance. And I would say, you know, ‘What do you think?’ And [the patient says], ‘Well, I would like to try this.’ And I say, ‘Okay, so what do you think the benefits are?’” she says, adding that she and the patient make a decision together about whether the remedy is a good fit.
Dr. Combs says there are situations that necessitate a traditional physician. But since psychiatrists in particular stay so busy with higher risk patients, she understands why some try to circumvent the system with other methods.
“With homeopathy, there are no known interactions and the medicines have been around for over 200 years,” Wagner says. “So you would think if something was going on, we’d know about it right? So it’s safe, it’s effective, it’s affordable and it’s non-habit forming—it’s not a prescription med.”
How does homeopathy heal the mind?
Depression and anxiety are among the most sought after concerns Wagner and her team hear at their new store. They recently held a Facebook Live event featuring 20-year certified homeopath Melissa Crenshaw, who answered commonly asked questions about anxiety and depression treatments and gave some insight into how these remedies work in comparison to an antidepressant.
“A lot of people know about the gut-brain connection.
So, when the gut is damaged, oftentimes, the mind is unwell. Homeopathy can go in and heal the gut, which then helps the mind,” Crenshaw explained. “So, the antidepressants are a manmade chemical that goes in and changes the way you think. And yes, it can help you feel better.”
But she goes on to ask: “When you stop taking that antidepressant, what happens? You go right back. Homeopathy actually uproots the condition so that you don’t have to take the homeopathic medicines anymore.”
Crenshaw said she started using homeopathy because of her anxiety and depression. “I was on a medication,” she said. “And I liked it, it made me feel better. But when I learned that there was a better way that could actually uproot it that wouldn’t have long-term side effects, I wanted to give it a try. And it worked. And I haven’t looked back.”
What are the remedies for mental health issues?
Crenshaw says sepia is what changed her outlook on homeopathy 20 years ago, and highly recommends the remedy for both acute and chronic anxiety.
Wagner says they have a few other tried-and-true remedies they share with their customers: Aurum metallicum: For those who have an exaggerated sense of duty combined with feelings of guilt and anxiety about perceived failings. Treats severe depression and chronic insomnia.
Lycopodium: Can help those who lack confidence, feel intimidated by people they perceive as powerful, fear failure and experience intense, vivid fears.
Gelsemium: Relieves apprehension accompanied by weakness, trembling, dizziness, headaches and difficulty to focus. Often effective for people who feel inadequate.
Ignatia amara: Helps with grief or loss and mood swings.
Phosphorus: Thought to be good for social people with anxiety. When anxious or vexed, their thoughts get scattered and they have a difficult time focusing or getting things done.
With all of the available remedies to be had, homeopathy can be an overwhelming venture for those looking to dig in. But, Wagner says there are ways to safely and correctly find the appropriate remedy.
“You connect yourself with like-minded people, you find a doctor who’s open to integrative medicine, you plug into whether it’s online groups, or coming into a place like TapRoots,” she says. “And you share stories, you do your research.”
Keeling believes that homeopathy can be empowering. “There is a kind of power that you feel when you realize that you can come in, you can find the solution or the remedy, you’re not having all these copays, and you’re able to help self-diagnose, and self-treat. And you have these kind of incredible results.”