Off-grid living & the effects of isolation

Posted by Holistic Hearth LLC on 13th Jan 2022

Off-grid living & the effects of isolation

Ahhh…off grid living, homesteading, isolation, quiet, crickets, stars…sounds magical doesn't it? And it is for the most part.

However, depending on how far you decide to live away from civilization brings in a lot of things to consider, such as basic needs like sources of food (hunting, gardening), water (well and water trapping/storage), and one need that is not thought of as often…medicine.

Living off grid, or even just further out in the country means there's a strong possibility you will be an hour at minimum from the closest doctor or hospital. While administering first aid, common ailments, and critical life threatening injuries are a major concern, this time we will focus on living in isolation, depression rearing its ugly head, and the beautiful plants and natural remedies that will help fight against it.

The first thing to note is there are varying types of depression along with 3 major neurotransmitters and specific plants that target each one. What most people experience on an everyday basis would be considered "melancholy".

Before getting into the "nitty-gritty", I want to preface this with saying I am not a doctor, my knowledge and suggestions come from 20 years of research and studying under other master herbalists, and it's always a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider before supplementing with herbs or other supplements, especially in times of depression or having suicidal thoughts.

  1. Dopamine - When deficient - true depression, feelings of grief or loss
    • Artemisia absinthium - Wormwood
    • Salvia Officinalis - Sage
  2. Excess of neurotransmitter Norepinephrine & Epinephrine or lack of Seratonin
    • Overall good for most people - Melissa Officinalis - Lemon Balm
      • Herbal additive used for "uplifting" the spirits in times of melancholy
    • Lack of joy in life
      • Albizia julibrissin - Mimosa, Persian Silk Tree, Pink Silk Tree, Silk Tree
    • Separation, sadness, loss of loved one
      • Allium cepa - Onion
        • Cut a slice of onion, place in a glass of water, soak for 5 min, drink
  3. Planning ahead - supplements
    1. What is serotonin
      1. A chemical neurotransmitter produced by your nerve cells
      2. Sends signals between your nerve cells
      3. Found mostly in the digestive system, but can also be found in blood platelets and central nervous system
      4. Essential for many of your core processes, including brain development, social behavior, cognition, mood, appetite, sleep and decision-making
    2. How is serotonin made
      1. You can't get neurotransmitters from food - they have to be converted from another substance
      2. Precursor - substance formed by chemical reaction to produce another substance or compound
      3. Amino acid called tryptophan -precursor to serotonin
      4. Must enter your body through diet - nuts, cheese, meat
      5. Tryptophan deficiency can lead to lower serotonin - results in mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, slower to heal wounds, and insomnia
    3. So what are some of the ways we can increase serotonin levels?
      1. You can't make serotonin without enough Vitamin D - precursor - needed to convert tryptophan to serotonin
      2. 5-HTP - precursor after tryptophan
      3. Sam-e - A compound naturally produced by the liver, used throughout the body in a chemical process called methylation. Methylation is one of the last steps in the production of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine.
        1. There are no foods that have Sam-e, our bodies have to make it from an amino acid protein called methionine, found in many foods
        2. However it's better to supplement with Sam-e, b/c making Sam-e from methionine takes multiple steps and requires other nutrients such as B-12 and folate, and if you're lacking those, it still does no good.
        3. Sam-e plays a part in over 35 different biochemical processes including creation of serotonin, slowing the breakdown of the chemicals allowing them to last longer, speeding up the receptors that receive the serotonin, which in turn allows them to work more effectively
    4. So now that you have it, how do you make sure your body uses it efficiently?
      1. You can't use serotonin without enough Omega 3 (fatty acid) - facilitates the release of serotonin from neurons
      2. DHEA - naturally created in the adrenal cortex and testes which converts later to androgens and estrogens (male and female sex hormones)
        1. Why this is important - These hormones created from DHEA affects the binding of serotonin from transmitters to receptors
        2. DHEA starts to deteriorate naturally with aging, add in PTSD or a traumatic event and it's even less, so you need to supplement
  4. Here's my recommendations on supplements and how much for dosage (I take all of these daily)
    1. Vitamin D 5000 IU
    2. Fish oil - Nature made brand, Omega complete (3-6-9)
    3. 5-HTP - 200mg
    4. DHEA - 50mg
    5. Sam-e - 400mg

More to come soon on each of the herbs listed above!

To your health and happiness,