Depression is a serious mental condition. An individual suffering from major depressive disorder usually shows symptoms from mild to potentially life-threatening.
The symptoms of major (generalized) depressive disorder include following:
- Continuous feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and uselessness;
- Lack of interest in hobbies or activities that used to be a source of joy and pleasure;
- Complications with sleep;
- Decreased appetite or abnormally increased appetite;
- Problems with concentrating on a simple task;
- Persistent thoughts and visions of death and/or suicide;
- Headaches, ranging from mild to severe.
Psychiatrists advise that a patient must have at least 5 of these symptoms, continuously for at least 2 weeks, to be diagnosed with major depressive disorder.
Herbal remedies as antidepressants
While there is a range of traditionally prescribed medications targeting depression that exist on the market, there has been a significant influx of herbal remedies that can relief the symptoms of depression, and at time to cure the disease altogether. It should be noted that natural remedies are usually good when combined with traditional medications. However, if you are wary of antidepressants or for some reason they do not work on you as they should, we encourage you to try the herbal helpers. The use of combined therapy keeps gaining popularity, as patients look for natural methods of coping with their health issues.
In this article, we are looking at herbal supplements in treating depression in its mild or moderate form.
Chamomile is derived from the Matricaria recutita plant. The users of chamomile who were suffering from mild depression found themselves relieved for a short period of time. There have been studies conducted that proved that chamomile can help to cope with major depressive disorder in its mild forms.
You may know that lavender oil is widely used as a body oil, owing to its unique vasodilating and relaxing qualities. While lavender oil has an immaculate reputation at massage salons, it has also proved to be a working herbal remedy for depressive disorder. When taken, lavender works like magic on your parasympathetic nervous system, reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and the mood overall.
St. John’s wort
St. John’s wort is also known as Hypericum perforatum. The unique qualities of this herb established its reputation as an essential mental disturbances remedy. The plant was used as a treatment for borderline mood disorders, anxiety disorders, sleep complications, and also as a cure for depression.
While St John’s wort can be helpful temporarily as an antidepressant, its long-lasting effects have not been proved yet, and perhaps can be a subject for a more serious scientific study. The plant can be counter-indicative when used together with already prescribed non-herbal medications. As it would be the case with most herbal treatments of depressive disorder, St. John’s wort shall be approached with caution and it is recommended to consult your psychiatrist if you consider it as a permanent treatment.
Ginseng is derived from the root of the ginseng plant found both in South America and in China. For centuries, ginseng was used as a natural remedy for erectile dysfunction, reduced libido, and decreased blood flow. Being essentially a vasodilator and blood-thinner, ginseng gives the flow of energy, good mood, and balanced state to whoever tries it. While depression is usually associated with low or extremely low levels of energy and mental deprivation, taking ginseng as a supplement can help getting rid of these symptoms.
Patients are advised that the use of ginseng as the only remedy for major depressive disorder cannot be considered, based on available studies.
5-hydroxytryptophan, or simply 5-HTP, is what is know as “herbal Prozac”. 5-HTP is a proven herbal remedy to restore neurotransmitter serotonin’s levels in several areas of the human brain. What serotonin is responsible for, is a feeling of happiness and well-being. That’s right, those feelings that are missing with patients suffering from depression and associated disorders.
5-HTP is widely sold as an over-the-counter herbal supplement in the US, while having a prescription-only status in some other countries. While Prozac and Zoloft, established, chemicals-based serotonin reuptakers, are perhaps the only long-lasting medicine to improve a depressed state, these are still sold only with prescription. 5-HTP is gaining popularity as a temporary mood enhancer across the globe due to its relative accessibility.
SAMe’s full name is S-adenosyl methionine. Unlike other herbal ingredients that we list in this article, SAMe is special: it is being produced in our bodies on a regular basis. The supplement of SAMe only upgrades the amount of the chemical inside an organism. When taken, SAMe helps retrieving more serotonin, the neurotransmitter of mood, thus enhancing the mood stability and giving a lasting sense of joy to a patient.
The effects of SAMe were so evident, that it has been recognized as a regular antidepressant in several countries inside the European Union. The supplement has not been approved by the FDA as of now.
Known for their numerous health benefits, Omega-3 fatty acids are popular with almost any group of people seeking healthy diet. Omega-3, that is found predominantly in several species of cold water fish, are excellent fat-burners, immune system enhancers, and also mood stabilizers. While not targeting the symptoms of major depressive disorder as is, Omega 3 definitely would not hurt, while keeping the body in good shape and improving metabolism inside the brain.
We listed the most popular herbal antidepressants there. However, if you want to find out about more available remedies among the nature-based, go ahead and browse Canadian Health&Care Mall catalog.