Even though we are quick to acknowledge the important role that our brain and mental health play in our body, we don’t always consider or recognize the importance that both our heart and gut have in helping us make decisions.
Known as the THREE MINDS/BRAINS of the Body, the head, heart and gut are interwoven, and it’s not just because they exist within the same physical body. Beyond helping us cognitively process our world, digest our food and absorb and circulate vital minerals and nutrients throughout our body, these three titans of our physical well-being are entirely fascinating, independent wonders that we are still learning so much about.
THE HEAD/BRAIN – We certainly may recognize our brain as the governing body for our mental processes, but it is, in fact, the unconscious mind that actually motivates and directs around 90% of our behaviors.
THE GUT – What would we be without our dynamic machine that is our digestive system and it literally may be hard to even ponder that question, when we accept that up to 90% of the body’s serotonin that’s involved in mood and emotional management is produced in the gut!
• What is serotonin? Sometimes nicknamed the happy chemical, serotonin helps us regulate many functions in the body including mood, digestion, blood clotting, bone density and even our sexual functions. As a neurotransmitter, serotonin carries signals along or between nerve cells known as neurons. Mainly found in our intestines, serotonin is also in our central nervous system, which includes our brain and blood platelets.
So, when our gut is healthy, we are also contributing to a stronger immune system, heart health, brain health, improved mood, healthy sleep and effective digestion.
THE HEART – Did you know that there are more neural pathways running from the heart to the head brain than from the head brain to the heart?! A part of our body still wrapped in electromagnetic mystery, it certainly makes sense that the heart truly can dictate what we are thinking and feeling. Consider support animals that are trained to pick up on changes to their owner’s heartbeat, sensing the changes/shift in electromagnetic energy several moments and/or minutes before physical symptoms may even cognitively register to the actual person.
In a later post, we will discuss how our environments (both external and internal) cause chemical reactions in our body that then lead us to responding in physical ways, and through this ongoing exploration, we will start to recognize how the places, spaces, people and foods that we engage with may have both positive and negative impacts on our health and overall well-being.
I personally love tea, and through the ever-growing MICOPEIA wellness community, we are allowing ourselves to use this year to take time to be more mindful and gracious, while exploring the vast medicinal benefits of teas, herbal tea blends and the art of tea preparation. As a companion to MICOPEIA's WINTER SOLSTICE DETOX CLEANSE, I've blended together three herbs that further provide support to our heart, head and gut health!
BITTER MELON – An herb that has been used and widely respected in South Asia for generations, bitter melon as a raw vegetable tastes exactly what it sounds like. Bitter! HOWEVER – this is NOT a bad thing!!! In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we should be drawn to bitter foods, flavors and herbs when we are looking to boost our heart health and small intestine health. After briefly discussing the importance that our gut plays into the way our body ‘thinks’, it’s no wonder that I would also incorporate this herb into a tea. Bitter melon has also been known to help both lower blood pressure levels and aid in regulating blood sugar levels which may be ideal for those dealing with diabetes.
I find myself offering this dried herb as a tea for many people of color, as research consistently shows brown-skin people are more prone to having issues with both blood and heart health, primarily high blood pressure.
BRAHMI – Also known as Bacopa Monnieri, Brahmi contains a wealth of powerful antioxidants, having been known to reduce inflammation, prevent anxiety and stress, going so far as to even potentially having anticancer properties. I choose to incorporate Brahmi into MICOPEIA’s 3 MINDS RESET TEA because it’s potential benefits to boost brain function and lower blood pressure levels. Along with Gotu Kola, Brahmi is rich with beta blockers, and I am doing ongoing research into how our body creates, stores, processes and rebuilds both positive and aversive memories, phobias and trauma, triggering the chemical responses that kick off depression, anxiety, Post and Present Traumatic Stress, etc.
GOTU KOLA – Another herb booming with beta blockers to help us with building stronger mental health, Gotu Kola has been known to boost cognitive function, ease insomnia, work as an antidepressant and may even help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Please consult your doctor and/or licensed healthcare professional prior to trying these herbs, especially if you’re taking medications and/or pregnant.