Depression is a condition where a person is unable to lead a normal and healthy lifestyle. When our brain is unable to produce enough serotonin hormone, which is responsible for keeping the mood elevated, we may land up in a situation which in general terminology called depression. Depression may affect people at any age and it gives birth to characteristics such as mood swings, loss of appetite or an increased appetite, inability to relax, fatigue, insomnia and even suicidal tendencies. Depression could be hereditary or even arise as a result of some physical and emotional conditions. Holistic approach to cure depression in form of teas, tinctures, oils and herb supplements is considered to be an effective measure but it is better to know about the benefits and risks of these medicines by consulting your doctor.
5-HTP or hydroxytryptophan
5- HTP is extracted from the plant griffonia simplicifolia, and is used in treatment of hypertension and depression. It helps in producing serotonin chemical in our brain which is responsible for our mood, behavior, appetite and sleep. This is a very common and effective herb supplement to treat depressive disorders. A dose of 50 mg taken one to three times every day depending on the condition and intensity of the disorder would result in a better appetite, regulated sleep pattern, and an elevated mood. 5- HTP should be avoided with other antidepressant medications, blood pressure medicines and medicines for migraine and Parkinson’s disease.
St. Jhon’s wort
St.Jhon’s wort extracts are also used in the preparation of antidepressant drugs. This herb contains ten active ingredients which affect almost all neurotransmitters in the brain. This herb is helpful in producing the “feel good” hormone in the nervous system which is known as serotonin. Mild to moderate depression can be treated effectively with St. Jhon’s wort. A dose of 300mg taken thrice daily would help in bringing a relief from depression. Though certain side effects of this dose like weight gain and loss of sex drive have been observed, so consult your doctor before starting this holistic herbal medication. Patients of HIV and diabetes should also avoid its usage and it should not be mixed with any other antidepressant medication.
Kava kava is another herb that decreases depression effectively. It lowers anxiety and other nervous disorders thus promoting a feeling of calmness. This herb is also popular for its inevidence of any side effects and its effect is same as some tranquilizers like valium used in the treatment of depression. Kava kava relieves the muscle tension in the body. Both root and leaves of the plant are used for preparing tea, which uplifts depression instantly. Boil 2 tablespoons of these herbal leaves and drink it atleast twice daily. Kava kava is available in capsule and tablet form too.
Saffron (Crocus sativus)
Saffron is generally found in India, Spain, China and Greece, and it is one of the most expensive herbs used for treating depression. Saffron flower belongs to the family of lilies. The pollen of this herb has various health benefits and there has not been evidence of any side effects related to the use of saffron. It is a long term treatment for depression. Depression symptoms due to premenstrual syndrome also respond well to the use of saffron. Saffron tea has a very tranquilizing and antidepressant effect on our body.
Evening primrose extracts, oil and supplements are very effective for the treatment of mental disorders like mental clarity, fatigue, insomnia and depression. The acids present in this herb improve and support brain function and control impulses of the brain. Oil of primrose burned in an oil diffuser uplifts the mood immediately. Though this drug is not associated with any side effects, but its use should be avoided by pregnant women and lactating mothers. Along with the primrose supplements, use a few drops of its oil in your bath water to cure mild and moderate depression.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon balm, since ancient times is used to reduce symptoms of depression. It is an excellent herb for relieving stress, anxiety and sleep disorders. This herb is available as tincture, oil, tea extract and supplement. This herb contains chemicals which have soothing and calming effect. Boil 4.5 g of lemon balm leaves in a cup of water and this tea concoction taken twice would lessen anxiety and uplift depression. A supplement of 500 mg can also be taken thrice a day as a tranquilizer, though one should avoid mixing it with other antidepressant medication. Seek your doctor’s advice for more details.
Skullcap or (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Skullcap comes in two varieties: Chinese and American. American skullcap is used for treating symptomatic depression disorders in combination with passionflower or valerian. If one takes 2 g of American skullcap every day, it may reduce anxiety pangs in a person. A tea preparation from this herb taken everyday also brings calming effect. This holistic medicine can boost the benefits of other antidepressant medicines but consult your doctor for a proper prescription. This herb is also beneficial for people who suffer depression due to withdrawal from drug and alcohol. Patients of diabetes, breast feeding and pregnant women should avoid the use of this herb.
Fish oil has been significant in bringing psychological well being to people along with other health benefits. It brings a relative change in people suffering from depression. Fish oil has omega 3 fatty acids which help to regulate the mood hormones in the brain. Fish oil supplement is really helpful in reducing childhood depression and pregnancy related depression. A dosage of 1g to 2g per day for two weeks can bring a considerable change in managing depressive disorder. Though no adverse effects of this supplement are seen, but people with low blood sugar should consult a doctor before taking this supplement.
Peppermint and peppermint oil
Peppermint oil is extracted from the leaves and stems of peppermint plant. Menthol, a compound present in peppermint oil has calming and soothing properties. Herbal tea of peppermint reduces a feeling of worthlessness, anxiety, worry, tension, stress, etc. A few drops of peppermint oil added to a warm bath lifts depression and peppermint pure essential oil in a diffuser brings an instant relief from depressive mood. Mint oil aromatherapy treatment helps in reducing anxiety and treating mild depression.