Herbal Remedies for Depression: How Efficient Is This Age-Old Method?

Updated on December 16th, 2019
Herbal Remedies for Depression

Do you feel depressed, stressed, and worried about your relationships or work issues? Six out of ten adults experience depression and anxiety disorders. The most recent data from the National Institute of Mental Health suggest that in the United States, 6.7 percent of people experienced a major depressive episode in 2016.

Feeling down, experiencing sadness, and having a loss of pleasure in daily activities are common, but if they persist and affect our life sustainability, it may cause depression. Antidepressants are used to alleviate depression.

A study states that about 23% of women in their 40s and 50s, are at a higher percentage than any other by age or sex take antidepressants. Women are likely to take more antidepressants than men for treating depression.

However, using herbal remedies for depression can also improve your mental health. You may be wondering about which herbs treat depression well? If yes, then read this article to find the best herbs to treat depression, their usage, and benefits.

An Overview of Herbal Remedies and Depression

Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies have been used to treat anxiety disorders and depression for 100 of years around the globe.  Herbal remedies are useful in treating mild-to-moderate depressive disorders. Many herbs get marketed as mood boosters for people who experience hopelessness and feelings of sadness.

Herbal remedies and treatments can center thoughts, restore balance, and soothe the body’s response to stress. The herbs include saffron, valerian, chamomile, and lavender which decrease the sense of apprehension and worry. Eventually, herbal remedies alleviate depressive disorders, a severe and common medical illness that has an adverse effect in the way how you think, feel, and how you act to it.

[Also Read: Treat Depression with Natural Remedies]

What Does Science Say About Herbal Remedies for Depression?

Herbal remedies for physical and mental problems are astoundingly popular among Americans. There is almost a 20 percent increase in the use of herbal medicine by the adults and children during the past year. This is due to the scientific research evidence shown for various herbs for healing stress, depression and other mental disorders. Let’s have a look at what science says about herbal remedies for depression.

In recent decades psychopharmacology of natural remedies shows an increase in development. More than 20 herbal remedies(1) have been identified that may be applied in medicine as anxiety relieving, and sleep-inducing agents. Several interesting data have shown the anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties of saffron in clinical and preclinical studies.

In several clinical trials conducted, it is found that saffron possesses high antidepressant properties similar to those citalopram, imipramine, and fluoxetine antidepressant medications.

A study demonstrated in 2016(2) found that St. John’s Wort was highly operative than a placebo for treating any type of depression. It showed better results as antidepressant medications. Similarly, a study in 2012(3) claims that chamomile produced more extraordinary relief from the depressive symptoms than a placebo. Chamomile can also provide clinically meaningful antidepressant activity in addition to its anxiolytic activity.

Herbs for Depression:

Here are the top 5 herbs for anxiety and depression.

  • Lavender

Lavender Herb for depression

Lavender appears to be the best natural herb remedy for specific symptoms of anxiety and depression. People around the globe typically use lavender essential oil for mood disturbances, reducing tension and relaxation since ancient times.

A 2013 study suggests that lavender might have significant potentials in improving sleep and alleviating depression. Lavender oil aromatherapy is useful in the management of depression and stress.

How to use Lavender oil for Depression?

To use lavender oil for depression, diffuse 4-8 drops in your bedroom at night to promote sleep or add 4-8 drops to warm water tub.

[Also Read: Fight Depression with Turmeric]

  • Chamomile

The people were consuming chamomile for 100 years as a natural herb remedy for various health conditions. A 2012 study states that chamomile from the Matricaria Recutita plant helps to manage anxiety and depression. It produces more outstanding relief from depressive symptoms.

How to use Chamomile for Depression?

You can diffuse 4-5 drops at workplace or home or inhale the chamomile vapors directly from the bottle a few times a day. You can also apply 2-4 drops to your back of neck and wrists to relieve from depression and stress.

[Read: Benefits of Chamomile Tea]

  • Ginseng

Ginseng for depression
Image: ShutterStock

Ginseng is used by experts of Chinese medicine for many years to decrease the effects of stress and improve mental health and energy. The properties present in ginseng help to recover the low energy that occurs during a depression. Ginseng effectively regulates the regular changes due to stress and immune response, thus maintaining homeostasis. Ginseng suppresses the occurrence of psychological diseases like depression and anxiety.

How to use Ginseng for Depression?

You can add few ginseng slices to a cup of warm water and consume as a ginseng tea.

  • Valerian root

According to research, Valerian root is the most effective herb for sleep and helps to relieve depression. Valerian herb works as an anxiolytic and mild antidepressant, relieving from restlessness and depressive disorder symptoms. Taking valerian root for depression might also enhance the sleep quality of people who are withdrawing from the use of sleeping pills.

How to Use Valerian Root for Depression?

You can use valerian root in “sleep teas” at a dose of 20-30 milligrams.

  • Curcumin

turmeric Benefits
Image: ShutterStock

Curcumin is the major ingredient in the Indian spice turmeric that is renowned for its brain-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin increases dopamine and serotonin, feel-good neurotransmitters. Many studies claim that curcumin has effective benefits for depression as the popular antidepressant Prozac. Curcumin shows beneficial results for a major depressive disorder like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

How to Use Curcumin for Depression?

You can add 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric in a cup of warm water. Strain the tea into a container and allow it cool for a few minutes.

Now let’s see other supplements and remedies that overcome depression. Apart from the above-mentioned herbs, you can also follow these remedies.

[Also Read: Music for Depression]

Other Remedies and Supplements for Depression Cure

  • St. John’s Wort for Depression Cure

St. John’s Wort is called Hypericum Perforatum. St. John’s Wort is used as common herbal mental health treatment for centuries. Several studies suggest that the herb helps to fight mild to moderate anxiety and depression. It is believed that St. John’s has more ability to make norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin available in the brain.

These neurotransmitters are essential to help boost mood and improve the symptoms of depression. You can use the herb with the guidance of your health care provider.

  • Vitamin B9 supplements (Folate and folic acid)

It is present in leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits, useful in the treatment of psychiatric symptoms like depression. Vitamin B9 is generally known as folic acid or folate which enhances antidepressants. Usually, people with depression and anxiety have low blood levels of folate.

Folate acts as an antidepressant, affecting dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain. The difference between folate and folic acid is folate occurs naturally in foods, while folic acid is a synthetic form found in fortified and supplements. A recommended dose of 600 mcg for pregnant women and 400 mcg for most adults.

Tips and Precautions for treating depression

Here are the symptoms of depression and when to look for a doctor for treating depression.

  • The symptoms of depression include fatigue, sleep issues, frustration, irritability and other physical symptoms such as backache and headache. If you feel these symptoms as a hurdle to your daily living, then do seek help from the doctor.
  • Many mindfulness meditations and therapies can help a person with depression. But still, it is better to totally depend on herbal supplements or other supplements.
  • Anyone with the thoughts related to self-harm or suicide should instantaneously seek help from the doctor or a psychiatrist.

The herbal remedies for depression will help you tackle anxiety. The usage and benefits of herbal remedies for depression are discussed above. The best part about the herbal remedy is that they hardly have any side effects on the body. However, it is necessary to inform the doctor about taking herbal supplements as these have the potentials to cause any side effects.

Depression is a treatable illness unless and until you make the right decision on which treatment to follow. Work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that works for you. Keep your mind – fresh and free from depression, and live a happy life.

Always remember, things take time and so does these herbal remedies, so work with them peacefully to get the best results.

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