Home Remedies for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive disorder, is a mental illness in which a person experiences frequent mood swings.

Within a short time period, a person can experience mood swings from extreme high to extreme low. The frequent mood swings can be awful for the person going through them along with those who live with him or her.

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is still not known. Some of the possible causes and risk factors for this mental disorder are a genetic predisposition, stress, hormonal imbalance, an imbalance in brain chemicals, physical changes in the brain, drug or alcohol abuse, and some traumatic experience.

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bipolar disorder

Once diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a person needs extensive and long-term treatment.

Generally medications are prescribed by doctors, but those who are interested in natural treatment, can also consider herbal remedies. Make sure to consult a qualified naturopath or medical herbalist for proper guidance.

Here are the top 10 home remedies for bipolar disorder.

1. Fish Oil

Being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil can help in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Its EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) content is essential for hormone production and nerve tissue health. Fish oil improves the functionality of brain and helps overcome depression.

So, take fish oil supplements. For proper dosage, consult your doctor. Also, you can regularly eat fatty fish such as albacore tuna, mackerel, salmon, herring and trout which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

2. Brahmi

Brahmi, also known as bacopa, is another useful herb for bipolar disorder because it works as a mild stimulant as well as sedative. It also helps enhance memory and relieves mental strain.

  • Drink a few teaspoons of juice extracted from brahmi leaves daily for several weeks. Another option is consume brahmi ghee prepared by frying brahmi leaves in clarified butter (ghee).
  • Alternatively, take this herb in supplement form. For proper dosage, consult your doctor.
  • An invigorating head massage with brahmi oil is also beneficial.

3. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha works as a nervine tonic to improve the symptoms of bipolar disorder. A 2013 study by the University of Pittsburgh found that sensorial,  an ingredient in ashwagandha can improve 3 separate cognitive functions in those suffering from bipolar disorder as it can help with auditory-verbal working memory, reaction time and social cognition.

Take 500 mg standardized extract of Ashwagandha root and leaves daily for several weeks.

4. Valerian Root

Valerian root is known for its strong sedative properties which can help calm the nervous system. It is often used as an alternative medicine for anxiety, sleep problems and mood disorders.

Valerian promotes feelings of calmness and reduces nervous tension and stress along with anxiety, restlessness and mild to moderate mood changes.

This herb is easily available in the market in various forms such as dried valerian root, tea bags, capsules, and liquid extract.

5. Passion Flower

Passion flower has sedative properties that can reduce anxiety and excitability experienced during the manic episodes of bipolar disorder. It also helps treat insomnia.

Although this herb has no side effects, yet at times it may cause stomach upset. However, before taking this herb it is advisable to discuss with your doctor.

  1. Add 1 teaspoon of this herb to a cup of hot water.
  2. Let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Strain and drink this tea a few times a day.

6. Magnesium

Magnesium works in a way similar to lithium but with fewer health risks. It works as a mood balancer and reduces the symptoms of mania.

It also promotes good sleep. In fact, magnesium deficiency often leads to insomnia and anxiety. Magnesium levels are naturally depleted during periods of stress and hard work.

  • Take oral magnesium supplements.
  • You can also include magnesium-rich foods such as spinach, Swiss chard, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, soybeans, and black beans in your diet.

 

 

 

  1. Hi,

    My son was just diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He is at the manic stage and refuses to take any medication. I am trying to get him to take natural remedies but am not sure which ones and how much. My son is 29 and currently staying with us. He is vegan and takes vitamin and supplements such as St Johns Wort, Ginko, Sage and niacine.

    Thanks for any suggestions you could provide.

    Louise

    Reply
    • Louise,

      A company called Native Remedies produces several homeopathics that can help/treat during the manic phase. I have not used them, but am going to get and try them. That they are all-natural homeopathics, your son might be very open/willing to taking them. His unwillingness to take the Rx drugs is understandable and not fundamentally “wrong”…unfortunately during mania we don’t think very clearly, are paranoid, and know what is best for us.

      I’m sorry if my response isn’t very timely, but perhaps it may still be helpful to your son. MOST IMPORTANTLY: It is critical to understand that a lot of the herbs and supplements suggested for bi-polar are beneficial to the depressive state, but disastrous to the manic state. They can even CAUSE MANIA! Things like fish oil, st. Johns wort, etc. are basically “uppers” that help with depression, but when going into or in a manic state you want “downers” or depressants! So they are the worst kinds of things during a manic episode.

      A manic episode in vary serious and lack of adequate sleep due to the imbalances almost always leads to full blown psychotic states. In my (bi-polar myself) opinion, at that point there is very little that can be done besides Rx drugs to bring it under control. Whether or not someone stays on those drugs, or which ones, is an entirely different matter. The most critical thing to get control during a manic episode (or prevent/limit it going full-blown) is adequate sleep. Rx sleeping pills are a Godsend and can head off psychosis without the need for the big guns such as seroquel, valproic acid/depakote, lithium, etc. If its too bad, even sleeping pills won’t knock out a manic and seroquel is my recommendation, but to go off it ASAP…meaning as soon as he can sleep at least 6 hrs. using sleeping pills. If it were me personally I would want to be treated first by sleeping pills, if they are insufficient, then seroquel. Also, concurrently Valproic Acid / Depakote / Depakete, etc. on a slow uptake/increasing dossage for 4 days. Reduce/get off Seroquel quickly down to sleeping pills. When the episode is over/controlled after about 10 days I would then taper off the valproic over 5 days, get off the sleeping pills, and then switch to herbal/natural/homeopathics. Keep and use the sleeping pills as needed and always have 100mg. Seroquel on-hand!

      Controlling and ending a manic episode is critical and unfortunately Rx Meds are the way to go. Once out of the manic phase, you can consider going off the meds and working the foundational cornerstones to prevent a future one: 1) Regular/Adequate Sleep. 2) Stress reduction and mangement. 3) Balanced essential nutrition/supplements. 4) Homeopathics/herbs with extreme caution paid to which are good for depressive side and which are good for manic side.

      Well wishes to you both.

      Reply
    • St. John’s Wart can trigger mania, so be careful. I’d work with a naturopath to help him determine what healthy remedies work for him. Fish oil is always good.

      Reply
  2. Not sure what natural remedies work best for bipolar, as I am here trying to find the answer to that question myself. However…. I would say from my own experience, that your son should be very, very, careful with the St Johns Wort if he is bipolar. St Johns Wort can trigger manic episodes, make them worse, (and in my case, also cause hallucinations).

    Reply
  3. I have been told by family and ex boyfriends that I must have bipolar because of my mood swings. I do not experience the huge highs and deep lows that I have read about. What I do experience is great irritation. I can be having a wonderful day and suddenly flip out because of something very minor. Like not being able to find the scissors or my keys. I will just flip right out and it will ruin my whole day. I will go from happy to wanting to punch a wall in an instant and can feel the irritation building in my chest. I would like to take something that keeps me on an even keel. I also take meds for hypothyroid. What can you suggest.

    Reply
    • helen i am bipolar there are different types i am more on the depression side however i expirience hypomania which are the symptoms u are describing i dont get the euphouric part of a full blown manic episode i would talk 2 your dr about it i wish u well

      Reply
    • Helen,

      What you describe doesn’t sound like bi-polar disorder at all to me. It simply doesn’t work like what you experience. I would suggest you consider 2 more likely causes: 1) A nutritional/hormonal imbalance in your brain and/or thyroid. 2) A possible side-effect of your thyroid meds. 3) Post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD.

      For the first two you should consider looking at nutrients/diet holistically to get all your systems healthy and balanced. You should also strongly consider researching Iodine/Iodide supplementation to reduce or even replace the Rx Thyroid drugs. If you symptoms started or are a result of those drugs then reducing it or maybe even going off it by using Iodine supplementation would fix it.

      For the last one, spend some time researching on on the internet PTSD. It has quite a few overlapping symptoms/presentations as bi-polar but is completely different. I know someone that was mis-diagnosed as bi-polar by her personal Dr. a hospital, AND a Psychiatrist! Turns out she had PTSD! It usually treated by behavioral therapies, whereas bi-polar is treated by medication. If you had seriously traumatic issues in your life such as deaths of parents/family, sexual abuse, rape, etc. then it’s likely you have some level of PTSD.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
  4. I was diagnosed with bipolar a couple years ago.I always think I can change my mood, because I’m tired of getting mad at minor things everyday. My whole family hates me pretty much and my daughter told me what a terrible mother I am, it’s all because my whole family is sick of my terrible moodiness.I can’t control myself and medication doesn’t make one control themselves.All I do is make enemies. People just think I’m a nut and I get called one all the time.

    Reply
    • Hi Christine, I feel for you because I often feel like people must be sick and tired of my mood swings too. I have been blessed with a pretty understanding family and I’m really grateful for that. I think it’s important for you to stop thinking of yourself as a nut. You have a disability and that’s not your fault. You obviously want to find a way to get help or you wouldn’t be on this site looking for answers. I find it extremely helpful to have regular sessions with my therapist and to keep myself surrounded by people who can and will support me and try to be understanding. I also found a really really good book called Loving someone with bipolar disorder by Julie A. Fast and John D. Preston. If you could get your family to read this book or one like it they may be more understanding and helpful to you. I wish you all the best, keep trying, don’t give up…

      Reply
  5. I study herbology and I have used them for many things. It was not until this year when my 20 year old college son tried to kill himself that bipolar struck home! He took himself of his meds after they made him feel bad. Against my wishes. So know I have done studying about this and have him asking about natural herbs. I am putting some together for him. I agree about St. Johns Wort, you have to be very careful. I suggest if you are taking meds not to use this WITHOUT talking to your doctor!

    Reply
  6. Ive found that tea made with passionflower and skullcap can do wonders for balancing the mood. I give it to family members who are livinv with bipolar and I really see a difference in their behavior. When they stop.drinking the tea, they are back to their unpredictable moodiness.

    When their moodiness sets in, I drink valerian tea to calm my nerves.

    Reply
  7. Try empower plus advanced. Best treatment for
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    Reply
  8. Sandra Carter June 4, 2013, 5:09 pm

    My son is bipolar. After many years of research and many bad episodes, he is now stable and feels better than he ever has. The only perscription meds he takes are Lamictal and klonopin for occasional anxiety. He works out every day, drinks protein-laced drinks, and work out enhancing formulas. However, the one factor that has made the biggest difference in his stability is the addition of lithium orotate to his regimen. When he started into a manic episode over a year ago, I was able to bring him back to stability with this wonderful mineral. It is not toxic like the prescription lithium carbonate and can be purchased from health food stores. In addition to to the LO, he takes fish oil, folic acid, vitamin c, vitamin d, taurine, l tyrosine, magnesium, and milk thistle daily. He says he feels normal and knows that all of this is working for him. I am so thankful!

    Reply
    • Sandra, what does the taurine help to do? Thanks. I am going to purchase the lithium orotate, as well as the different vitamins. My husband refuses to take the his prescription medications because of all the side effects and I am hoping this will work!

      Reply
  9. Andrew J. Cutler D.B.Th; MCMA, Registered consultant medical herbalist June 30, 2013, 8:42 pm

    Seek the advice of a qualified Medical Herbalist when considering Herbal treatment as we are trained in drug/ herb interactions and contra-indications , and a GP / doctor over the use of pharmaceutical drugs and generally they are not trained in drug/herb interactions and contra-indications (and indeed tend to have no real interest or knowledge in natural treatments)
    This way you have additional safety and proper and accurate advice.

    Reply
    • Hello. I am writing to you Mr. Cutler because my 27 year old son is working through a manic high bi polar episode that required hospitalization for a week. The docs want him to start Depakote which he is resisting, and which I also hate to think of him going through the anti pscyh maze. How can I get more information from you regarding natural remedies for bi polar, which is coupled with a head injury to the frontal lobe, and major stress as he finishes his masters in chemical engineering. He also quit drinking, smoking pot and cigs this year. He recently ran a 26 mile marathon and rode 180 mile bike ride with a group from campus. He is physically fit. If you could direct me on which herbs we can try to calm him, relieve stress, and help him to manage bipolar behavior, I would love to talk to you. He may be moving in with me for a while once he is released from the hospital. I can get him started on the herbs and supplements while he is here and monitor his response. I also want him to start acupuncture and yoga. He will be fishing and beaching while here, as he finishes writing his thesis paper. It should be an ideal environment, but I know from his recent visit and horrid uncontrolled behavior, that I will have a full plate with him. Can you help?

      Reply
  10. crisanta ilagan July 10, 2013, 7:49 am

    i like the tea concoction….seems very safe !

    Reply
  11. I think my son of 39 years of age has bipolar. We can’t even be in the same room together most of the time. I thought it was a drug use problem but now believe it to be bipolar. I don’t even know him anymore and at times he can’t stand me but loves me at other times. I’m so glad to be reading about the natural remedies. We have no money but he’s worth saving. Will I be doing him any harm or good by giving him Fish oil, Ginkgo Biloba, Valerian root at the same time? Does anyone have the amount he should take of these on a daily basis?

    Reply
    • Patty,

      I recommend caution with your armchair diagnosis. Only a psychiatrist can accurately diagnose bi-polar (and as previously posted, they sometimes misdiagnose PTSD for bi-polar). If you are concerned he has it, get an appointment with a psychiatrist before you begin trying to treat a condition you don’t even know he has. A starting point would be using the internet to look at bi-polar and PTSD and do a bit of “self-assessment” after educating yourselves.

      As to your question about using those things in conjunction…probably OK, but using both things that stimulate and relieve depressive symptoms in combination with those that relieve anxiety/manic symptoms then you are kind of canceling them out.

      Reply
  12. I am 55 healthy women independent with own home husband good life style. I have been treated for Bipolar for several years but I have very mild symptoms especially as I went thru a lot of recovery, was a peer support counselor etc. I am in a new Job and want to help my memory retain as I am learning about Student Loans in a CSR position.

    I have taken Lithium, work out, walk a lot when I can; take recently Omega 3, Ginseng/Gingko and I have been taking Lithium Carbonate with overall good Lab Readings, levels. But read Lithium can Cause Memory loss–so I have decreased from 900 mg Lithium to 600mg. Since using the supplements (including Serenity Formula from Health Factors) sometimes for anxiety.

    Please verify any tips, advice? I have consulted with my Pharmacist too to verify risk of Side Effects on above remedies–and there isn’t any.

    Beside the interest of what I am learning at my new Job–is a lot to do with Loans, banking, repayments of student loans, etc.

    Thank you for a response at your convenience!

    Terri From Canada

    Reply
  13. For psychiatric problems you have to make sure you’re getting enough calcium with the fish oil. The omega-3 fats in fish oil raise the level of calcium available to the neurons and it is the calcium that lowers their excitability (raises their trigger threshold).

    Reply
  14. I feel so disconnected from the world, I feel very lonely all the time even though I have beatiful children & a loving family spiritual & natural. I like nobody really understand why the mood swings, why the episodes & I do not want to take medication for these problems. one minute I will take them, then one minute I am throwing them away. I am so confused & do not know what is the wrong or right thing to do. I work everyday but struggle something fierce trying to stabilize. one minute I am at 100% at work other times I can be at 0% according to my monitoring scores. Please help with some positive advise.

    Reply
    • Please seek professional help. It may take a few doctors and several medication trials to get things right -but, eventually you can love a “normal” life.You’ll feel good about yourself even though you may have limitations and sacrifices to make for a stable life. You DESERVE to be HAPPY in this life. You just need to take that first step out regardless of doubt and fear. Do it anyway!
      It took me a while and my life is a different one than what I had envisioned -but it’s a good life with a lot of great days…

      Reply
  15. I experienced my first episode when I was 18. Now, 33, I no longer become manic, but still experience depression. Meditation on a regular basis, primarily the transcendental meditation or TM technique, has helped me more than anything else. I started meditating at 25 years old.
    I do take omega 3’s consistently and agree that calcium has a calming effect especially when I can’t sleep. 5-10 minutes after I take calcium I fall right to sleep. In addition I put lotion on my feet because the moisture soothes my nerves. Hope this helps!

    Reply
  16. I was diagnosed bipolar 1 in 2006. I have highs & lows. I’ve been manic and I suffer from insomnia. Right now I’m on Lexapro, Lithim & Xanax. But I have been doing CRAZY things at night. I get up and cook. My husband & daughters have told me this. My youngest daughter recently missed her bus. Apparently, I took her to school. I have NO memory of doing these things! That really scares me. I also take meds for migraines. I would love to take the “natural” route. I have an appointment with my psychiatrist tomorrow. I’m suffering some major side effects. Please let me know what you would recommend. Thanks!

    Reply
  17. Hi last yr I started getting really chronic headaches dr’s and neurologist couldn’t find or give me a diognosis. A close friend of mine has bipolar and said my symptoms sound like bipolar. I feel as though I have a week or so of normal behaviour then all of a sudden i get angry adjutated and its taking a massive toll on my relationship. I feel i want to be on my own, I have all these things going round in my head but cant focus on one thing, I feel tired a lot and have no willingness to go out or do anything. I feel when someone is talking to me there are a thousand voices all at once n i just want to scream! Could this be bipolar ?

    Reply
  18. As I sit here at the computer at 12:30 am reading all these comments, it gives me hope. Hope because I realize that there are so many other people who are going through exactly the same thing as me, and it sucks! I have tried medication, meditation and natural remedies and still I can’t find anything that helps. I have a very loving man in my life and I will lose him if I can’t get this under control and I don’t know what to do. There are so many days when I just want to crawl under the dirt and not ever get up. My search for something, anything that will help me will continue and I pray that someone, somewhere will have some information they will post that will help. You are all in my prayers.

    Reply
  19. Very helpful site of yours.

    Reply

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