Ideally, serotonin and dopamine counterbalance each other. When serotonin levels are elevated, dopamine levels will decrease. When dopamine levels are elevated, serotonin levels are decreased. The elevation and decrease in these levels can change due to illness, excitement and stress. They also can be affected by medications, vitamins and supplements.
Why Use Herbs to Lower Dopamine Levels?
When dopamine levels are elevated or lowered because of temporary circumstances, it is normal. Usually, the levels will even out as the circumstance abates, but when high dopamine levels persist, it can cause the brain to perceive reality in a distorted realm. This may cause increased aggression and risk taking. In this circumstance, using herbs that lower the dopamine levels, may be a safer alternative.
Raise Serotonin, Lower Dopamine
Herbs that raise serotonin levels, and thereby lower dopamine levels, can be found at organic health food stores, and some can be grown in your own garden.
Oat straw, which is found in oatmeal, can also be used as a tea.
Root of the burdock, a type of thistle, can be used in a tea, or the stalk of the plant can be cooked and eaten.
The dandelion can be used in tea, or cooked in food. It gives a general feeling of well being that will raise serotonin levels and lower dopamine levels.
Ginseng is sold by the root, and can be used in a drink such as tea, or added to food as a spice.
Black cohosh is a plant that grows in the eastern and central parts of the United States. This herb can be used in a tea or in food preparation.
Herbs in Supplemental Form
Saint John's Wort, oat straw, burdock, ginseng, dandelion and most herbs that can lower dopamine levels by raising seratonin, can also be found in a pill, cream or powder form. Most of these herbal supplements, have added ingredients to preserve or regulate consistency of the herb. When looking for herbal supplements in pill form, make sure there are no added ingredients that will deplete the usefulness of the herb.
Herbs that Raise Dopamine Levels
In order to lower dopamine levels, you will want to stay away from herbs and foods that naturally raise them. Omega-3 fish oils taken in high doses and L-thiamine found in green tea can raise dopamine levels. Fava beans, grape seed, Ginkgo biloba and pine bark, also all have the ability to raise dopamine levels and should be avoided.
Precautions when Lowering Dopamine Levels
Herbs and supplements used to lower dopamine levels can have positive and negative effects on the brain and how the receptors react to certain stimuli. They may also have an adverse effect on current prescribed medications. Before changing your current medication routine, or before trying an herb or supplement to lower dopamine levels, it is best to seek the advice of a medical or alternative medicine professional.