Instead of Opioids: The Best Life-Coping Herbs to the Rescue!

After watching a particular broadcast regarding our current opioid epidemic, it occurred to me that holistic practitioners need to step up and recognize the incredible amount of chemical substances people are taking as if they had no side effects. I simply have to ask what we can do to help.

The sad part of this epidemic is how individuals seem to be using these substances to cope with life! Many of us must deal with sleepless nights, days of less than optimal energy, pain (even from relatively minor medical procedures or injuries), anxiety, depression, and other disappointments.

We all have our own perspective on this crisis. As I had a strong spiritual, religious upbringing, which I continue in my daily life, I can’t help but wonder if the missing component for these troubled individuals is fortitude. If we learn this simple virtue in childhood from our parents or teachers, it can help us deal with our ups and downs well into adulthood.

Fortitude enables us to encounter danger, pain, or adversity with courage, rather than numb our brain with synthetic drugs that are killing so many!

I frequently see clients who live at a fast pace that nature never intended for us. I haven’t had much luck convincing them that they can actually accomplish more if they would just cool their jets, eat a healthier diet, and, yes, leave time in their schedule to pray or meditate and relax at least thirty minutes twice daily.

I’m no stranger to both mental and physical pain. I also feel, at times, anxiety and too much needless worry. Fortunately, I have a modicum of expertise in using—and recommending— nonaddictive, highly effective substances. Combined with a healthy diet, these have been a boon to my life and those I’ve had the privilege to work with.

Thank you for reading and sharing this article with anyone you know who may be vulnerable. I hope it will especially be of help to those who are already addicted.

Let’s now switch to the core message of this article: how to use nonaddictive herbs to help us maintain happy, successful lives and learn how to cope with the ups and downs that are a normal part of our existence.

 I also strongly encourage you to read my recent blog post “Be Happy—No Matter What” to learn how to nourish the happiness neurotransmitters in your brain. Yes, there is such a thing! (Smile)

Using Nonaddictive Herbs to Help You Cope

 Let me start by telling you about some very special herbal formulas. These aren’t mass-produced, synthetic, store-bought supplements. Rather, they’re high-quality, therapeutic grade products. Just so you know, I’m not paid to advertise them. I advocate their use because they truly produce results!

Not All Herbal Formulas Are Therapeutic Grade

Therapeutic grade” describes products that have been tested and proven to have the particular effect they’re advertised to have. Most herbal formulations, although not therapeutic, may be somewhat effective, but they’re not in that medicinal class that I’m advocating.

For that reason, I recommend a brand of herbals that are by far the most effective therapeutic grade formulations I’ve found to date. In addition to using some of the dried or fresh herbs that I list below, I recommend talking to your chiropractor or holistic practitioner about purchasing the only bottled brand I recommend, MediHerb.

 MediHerb–One of the Most Potent Brands in the Market

“MediHerb, an Australian company, is a leader in herbal products for health care professionals in the United States. MediHerb’s success is fueled by an unwavering commitment to delivering premium-quality, efficacious herbal solutions for optimal patient outcomes. Standard Process is the exclusive U.S. Distributor of MediHerb.”
Standard Process

Learning from the Experts

I’m a big fan of all things herbal, and I grow many of my own heirloom edibles, as you can see from some of the numerous articles I’ve written for my blog. That being said, it’s no secret that I, like many herbalists, learn from the experts. One of the clinical herbalists I’ve learned the most from is Maria Noel Groves of Wintergreen Botanicals.

In doing my research for this particular blog post, I came across an article by Maria that was featured in the spring 2014 issue of Herb Quarterly. She discusses many of the herbs that I too recommend for nonaddictive remedies that can replace chemical and synthetic drugs, including opioids. Personal note: Please see your medical doctor before making any changes to your current situation or protocol.

Knowing full well that Maria is an expert, I list her recommended herbs below. But I also provide links to Herbs 2000, one of my favorite herbal websites, to insure that you’re receiving well-referenced information.

Three Great Sleep-Inducing Herbs

Valerian: Capable of alleviating symptoms of nervousness, such as quivering, fear, tremors, and perspiration, valerian is also an effective remedy for sleeplessness or insomnia induced by fretfulness or excessive stimulation. Consider using: MediHerb Valerian.

Skullcap: Traditionally, skullcap is known to be an effective stimulant as it contains high value ingredients for a sound nervous system. It can be particularly effective in helping the nervous system deal with mental and physical stress and strain. In fact, skullcap is a time-tested medicine for all kinds of disturbed mental states, including melancholy, anxiety, and depression. Consider using: MediHerb Skullcap.

 Passion Flower: The magic of the passion flower can be observed in how it works on toning the sympathetic nerve. It also improves blood circulation and increases the nutrition that the nerves receive. The flower works gently, thereby making it a mild, nonaddictive herbal tranquilizer. Consider using: MediHerb Valerian Complex (contains passion flower).

Three Great Stay-Alert Herbs for Energy

 Siberian Ginseng: Also known as eleuthero, this is a very strong stimulatory herb.  Students can benefit from Siberian ginseng during the stress of exams, as it promotes mental resilience and jogs memory. Also recommended to reduce the effects of stress during heavy physical activity, such as athletic training and endurance events. Consider using: MediHerb Eleuthero.

 Rhodiola: When rhodiola is used as a stimulant or tonic, it helps enhance vivacity. Tibetan rhodiola is effective for fortifying the body as well as the mind, combating fatigue, defending against absence of oxygen and extreme exposure to radiation. Rhodiola is associated with an extended lifespan, and it’s also known for augmenting the intellect of people who regularly take it, or who take medications prepared from it. Consider using: MediHerb Rhodiola and Ginseng Complex.

Ashwagandha: Used in traditional herbal medical systems for more than 2,500 years, ashwagandha is known to “vitalize” (or energize) the human body. These days, this herbal remedy is placed the “adaptogen” category. The herb has rejuvenating powers and can helps in balancing and strengthening the body. Also aids in calming the nervous system. Consider using: MediHerb Ashwagandha.

Two Suggestions for Calm Nights and Energetic Days

In addition to a healthy diet and the herbal formulas I recommend above, you can do even more to bring about balance and eliminate the need to drink alcoholic beverages and/or take dangerous and addictive drugs. And the great part is they’re free! What are they?

  1. Getting some sunlight (from the early morning to about noon) part of your daily life will bring in tons of natural vitamin D, especially if you don’t wear glasses. Never look directly into the sun, but simply enjoy a long and meditative walk.
  2. Remove simple sugars and refined carbohydrates from your diet. Sugar is a highly destructive—and addictive—substance.
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Afterthoughts from the Traditional Cook

I found the following on Love to Know and thought to share their deep message with my readers. Be blessed.

Giving Up

I can’t watch one more day,
As you throw your life away,
Push a needle in your vein,
and slowly go insane.

Seems there’s nothing I can do
To get through to you.
If you’re ever going to quit,
Find your own strength to do it.

I just can’t take it anymore,
So I’m walking out the door.
Don’t know if I’ll see you alive again,
But remember I tried to be your friend.

Poetry Can Be Therapeutic

“Reading poems about drug abuse and the havoc it wreaks can actually help you process your feelings if you’re caught in the middle of a bad situation. Try writing some poems for yourself to help release any feelings of frustration, fear, or hopelessness you might have. Bringing these feelings out into the daylight can lighten your burden, and this is often a first step to finding whichever kind of help you need.”

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Note from Maria: I am a Certified Natural Health Professional, CNHP, not a medical doctor. I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat, or claim to prevent, mitigate, or cure any human diseases. Please see your medical doctor prior to following any recommendations I make in my blogs or on my website.

Images from iStock/Moussa81 (main), vchal (drug dealer), stevanovicigor (person with hands on face), kerdkanno (herbs). 

Maria Atwood, CNHP

Maria Atwood is a semiretired Certified Natural Health Professional and Weston A. Price Chapter Leader in Colorado Springs, CO. Visit her website at Also check out Maria’s Cook Your Way to Wellness DVD (also available as an e-learning course) and be sure to follow her Tips from the Traditional Cook blog.
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