What Is Depression?
Depression is a deep and dark state, a black hole that may seem impossible to emerge from, and a serious medical condition involving a delicate balance of brain chemicals. Unlike a bad mood that you can simply snap out of, depression can severely disrupt the ability to function properly and can extend through every aspect of your life with serious consequences.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression may start off as feeling somewhat flat, tired and unmotivated. As it progresses a person with depression may no longer want to participate in social activities or hobbies that they once enjoyed.
Eventually individuals with depression may even lose the drive to work altogether, their relationships become strained and they push people away and become unreachable, and the will to live a happy, productive life slowly fades.
Treatment for Depression
Although a brief, intense sorrow can usually be overcome, clinical depression needs to be treated. Conventional therapies like drugs and electroconvulsive therapy have been around for many years and used extensively. Recently, natural remedies for depression are gaining popularity since they do not have the side effects and repercussions that are associated with conventional treatments. Both conventional and natural remedies for treating depression usually focus on rectifying the passage of signals from nerve cells.
Treating depression naturally is most effective when the depression has been identified at an early stage. It can bring significant positive results without the need for antidepressants or electroshock therapy.
A high protein diet has significant antidepressant properties. Amino acids are essential for a good metabolism and growth, and therefore improve mental alertness. A diet rich in milk and eggs elevates the general mood and mental health.
A balanced diet with sufficient quantities of vitamins, specifically B6 and folic acid, is also known to help with depression. Fish oil is a natural source of fatty acids, and a reasonable dose of natural fish oil is a good supplement for a fit brain.
Meditation, yoga and deep breathing are some of the relaxation techniques that been shown to reduce anxiety and clear the mind. Done regularly, these techniques can help alleviate some of the symptoms of depression.
Certain herbal formulations that contain St. John’s Wort are also helpful in treating depression. St. John’s Wort is an herb of the genus Hypericum known for its curative properties. It is now an accepted natural remedy for depression in Europe and is fast gaining prominence around the world.
Early detection of depression can be beneficial in treatment, as it gives alternative remedies an opportunity to be effective.
Herbal Remedies for Depression
St John’s Wort
There’s been an explosion of interest in this shrubby perennial over the last few years. This is largely because St John’s wort has become known as a safe and effective means of treating depression. It has been widely used in Europe in recent years as a treatment for depression, with prescriptions for it in Germany now outnumbering those for Prozac by a factor of 25 to 1.
There is a growing body of evidence to justify this widespread clinical use, with numerous scientific studies concluding that St John’S wort is a viable treatment for mild to moderate depression. There is also some indication that it may be effective in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
The optimum starting dose of St John’s wort is 300mg of standardised extract three times a day. Bear in mind however that herbal remedies tend to take longer to reach optimum effectiveness than do prescription drugs. However an improvement in symptoms is generally noticeable after a period of six weeks of daily use.
Passiflora Incarnata (also known as Passion Flower) has active ingredients which include flavonoids, cyanogenic glycosides, alkaloids and saparin. Like St John’s Wort, Passiflora has also stood up well to clinical studies which support its traditional usage as a calming and moderating herb. Furthermore, Passiflora incarnata has been used to effectively alleviate the symptoms of drug withdrawal in addicts and drug users.
Passiflora is traditionally regarded as nature’s help for frazzled nerves – with the added benefit of being wholly organic and not addictive.
Dose: If using the fresh product, take 4 – 8 grams daily.
As an infusion: 2 grams in 150 ml of water, 3 – 4 times daily.
Why not try a Licorice tea? Simply add some to any of your favorite herbal teas. At least eight Licorice compounds are monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors which are compounds capable of potent antidepressant action.
In Chinese Medicine, licorice root is one of the most important herbs and used in most herbal combinations. Chinese call it the “Great Detoxifier”. It restores the life essence and prolongs life.
This blend of organic and wild herbs is not only helpful but comforting, strengthening and tasty. Select 4 of the following:
1 part red clover blossoms
1 part nettle leaves
1 part pau d’Arco
1 part alfalfa & sage leaves
1 part St.Johns wort tops
1 part ginger root
Place all herbs in a tea ball or bag, put it in your favourite cup or mug, and cover with boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea ball or bag, and add sugar, honey, sweetener, milk, cream or whatever, to taste. Sit back, relax and enjoy.
Where to Buy
Most of the products referred to in this post are available from your local pharmacy (in dried form). Prices vary wildly, as does the quality, so look for value for money. You can also get them online from Amazon.
If you have any comments on this post, or any questions, please leave me a comment below. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can 🙂