Natural Remedies for Depression

 Natural Remedies for Depression

Herbs and Natural Remedies for Depression

I wanted to begin a discussion on herbs and natural remedies for depression.

According to statistics published by the National Institute of Mental Health,  almost 21 million
Americans suffer from depression.


Depression can range from mild to severe, and symptoms vary from person to person.

The symptoms of depression may include: persistent sad , anxious feelings; feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness; restlessness or irritability; difficulty concentrating; difficulty making decisions; insomnia or excessive sleeping; overeating or loss of appetite; thoughts of suicide; persistent pains or headaches, or digestive problems that do not respond to treatment. People who are suffering from depression may experience any or all of these symptoms.

If you suffer from depression or think you might be depressed, please consult a medical professional, especially if your symptoms are severe. Many options are available that will help; getting a professional diagnosis is the first step. (If you know someone who is depressed, urge them to seek help, also. It could save their life.)

There are many herbal remedies which have traditionally been used to treat depression, I will be talking about some of them in the coming days.

The first herb I want to introduce is St. John’s wort, (botanical name Hypericum perforatum), probably one of the first herbs people think of as a natural remedy for depression.

There were some studies reported in the press, which said that St. John’s wort was not effective in treating depression.  But according to reports on the National Institute of Health’s website, the studies this information was based on are considered flawed. The NIH (National Institute of Health) website says: “However, due to problems with the designs of these studies, they cannot be considered definitive.  John’s wort in mild-to-moderate major depression. The evidence in severe major depression remains unclear.”

The full entry about St. John’s wort on the NIH website is available at this link: NIH St Johns wort report.

St. Johns wort is the most commonly used herbal remedy for treating depression, and has been the subject of numerous studies. It has been tested against pharmaceutical remedies and has often worked at least as well as the pharmaceutical drugs in the study, with fewer side effects.

(One caution, if you are taking any other medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking St. John’s Wort, or any other herbal remedy, to be sure there are no interactions between the drug and the herbal remedy.)

This herbal remedy is approved by the German Commission  E to treat anxiety and depressive moods. (The German Commission E  is the German Regulatory Authority’s herbal watchdog agency,  which conducted extensive assessments of scientific data available for 300 common herbal remedies;  they listed the uses for which the herbal remedies may be considered effective.  Their conclusions are  considered to be the best expert consensus on medicinal herbs  currently  available.)

St. John’s Wort may increase sensitivity to sunlight, especially if there is a past history of photosensitivity (that just means sensitivity to light). For most people, this reaction is dose-related, and would require a massive dose, about 8 ounces for someone weighing 150 pounds. The recommended dose is generally in the area of 300-900 mg daily, usually in several doses. (Check the dosage recommendations from the manufacturer of any herbal remedy you may take, as different manufacturers produce products of different strengths. It is also a good idea to discuss the appropriate dosage with a professional herbalist, or your doctor or pharmacist.)

y be used as a substitute for needed medical treatment. I am not a doctor, I do not diagnose or treat disease.   preparations.

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