An herbal strategy for relieving depression is a great alternative, because it focuses on herbs that restore balance to the nervous system. Also, many symptoms of depression can be treated with herbs; such as insomnia, poor digestion and lack of energy.
According to www.webmd.com there is no evidence that any alternative treatment or home remedy is effective in treating moderate to severe depression; however some people with mild depression may benefit from alternative remedies.
It is my belief that almost anyone can benefit from herbal remedies that have been used for years to calm the mind or lift the spirit.
Even if you do have severe depression, herbal remedies can be incorporated in your treatment plan. Be aware that some herbs can interact with medications. Please discuss with your doctor before trying any alternative therapy.
The following herbs are listed in alphabetical order for easier reference. They can be used as a tea, in the bath or found as supplements at your local health food store.
Catnip: What attracts cats to catnip is a volatile oil than contains compounds similar to those used to make the herb Valerian, a sedative. This maybe why some people find drinking the tea to be soothing and relaxing,
Chamomile: Throughout history herbalists have recommended chamomile to soothe nerves and irritability. Chamomile acts as a mild sedative, easing anxiety and promoting relaxation. Chamomile can also be used to calm an upset digestive system. Judith Benn Hurley states in her book, The Good Herb, ” East Indian Ayurveda herbalists hold that chamomile tea relieves anxiety by harmonizing the emotions.”
Dill: The name comes from a Norse word meaning “to lull” since a tea of dill seed was used to induce sleep.
Ginkgo biloba: Best known for improving memory. Ginkgo biloba increases blood flow to the brain, dilates the arteries and improves circulation. It is stated in www.easyhomeremedy.com that studies show that Ginkgo biloba increases the number of serotonin receptors, and people lose their serotonin receptors as they age therefore becoming prone to depression.
Kava Kava: Also called Kava pepper, the roots of the plant are soaked in water to obtain a drink that creates feelings of calm and well being. Kava Kava may have the ability to treat anxiety, moderate depression and insomnia.
Lemon Balm: Traditionally called the ‘calming herb’ is known to treat gas and cramps, improve memory, lower blood pressure and lessen severity of insomnia and indigestion.
Liquorice: Good for digestive, and menopause troubles; it contains a natural antidepressant compound making it ideal for depression associated with menopause.
Magnolia Bark: Originally used by the Chinese around 100A.D for it’s therapeutic properties. Today, scientific research has shown that Magnolia bark is rich in two important compounds, honokiol and magnolol. These help regulate the body’s stress hormone cortisol. Magnolia bark’s anti-anxiety effects make it useful in treating insomnia.
Passion Flower: Traditionally used by Native Americans in North America as a tea to treat hysteria insomnia and epilepsy. New research has shown that it is also effective in treating anxiety disorders naturally.
Rhodiola: Good for improving mood and alleviating depression, reducing fatigue and improving both physical and mental performance.
Siberian Ginseng: Not only an herb for depression, stress and fatigue; but also has the reputation to be a tonic for all organs of the body.
Skullcap: A North American plant that has powerful medicinal properties. It is used to treat a wide variety of nervous disorders; such as, anxiety, hysteria, and insomnia. It is currently being used as an alternative treatment for ADD and neuralgia.
St John’s Wort: Long been used in folk medicine for sadness, worry, nervousness and poor sleep. According to www.about.com the results in over 20 clinical trials suggest St. John’s Wort worked better than a placebo and antidepressants for mild to moderate depression with fewer side effects.
Valerian: Regarded as one of the most powerful herbs for depression and anxiety. It has been known to positively influence the body’s production of GABA a neurotransmitter that affects the pharmacology of anxiety, according to www.alprazolam.org.
The list of herbs could go on, as many different cultures use different herbs. I have listed what I have found in my research and ones I’ve used myself.
Whether you suffer from depression, anxiety or simple day to day stress, herbs and other natural remedies can ease your suffering.
I make a toast with my chamomile tea, to good well being, Cheers!
The Good Herb, by Judith Benn Hurley
Herbal Remedies in Pots, by Effie Romain &Sue Hawkey
and of course, some personal experience