Herbal Remedies for Depression

Depression is often assumed to be simply being in a state of extreme sadness. However, in medical terms, depression goes beyond feeling sad and often it is caused without any logical reason. Depression is a condition wherein a person constantly feels sad, worthless and irritable and the affected person takes no interest in the day-to-day activities.


Symptoms of Depression

Some of the most recognizable symptoms of depression include extreme sadness, irritability, frustration and loss of interest in day-to-day activities. Apart from emotional symptoms, depression is also characterized by physical symptoms such as changes in appetite (either loss of appetite or excessive eating), insomnia or excessive sleeping, restlessness, fatigue, constant crying and frequent thoughts of death or suicide.



The preferred method of treating depression is by prescribing anti-depressants that help alleviate the mood. However, anti-depressants are known to cause a large number of side effects (ranging from minor issues to major) and they are also addictive which can often lead to people taking a far bigger dose than recommended. Unless it is a serious case, doctors usually recommend patients to enroll in therapy rather than prescribing anti-depressants.


Herbal Remedies for Depression

There are several herbal remedies for depression, some of them as effective as synthetic medications without the baggage of side effects. Some of the popular remedies include:


St. John’s Wort: St. John’s wort is considered to be one of the best herbal remedies for depression. While it is yet to be approved by the FDA in the United States, it is widely used in Europe in treating depression. Herbal remedies prepared using St John’s wort are outselling popular anti-depressants like Prozac in Germany.


Kava: Another popular herbal remedy for depression is the kava root. This plant has been used for thousands of years in the South Pacific region in treating several health problems including anxiety. Recent studies have shown that the root contains compounds known as kavalactones that help relax the body and provide relief from anxiety.


Valerian Root: Valerian plant is a herb that is native to Europe and Asia. The root of the plant produces a powerful sedative effect and is used to treat insomnia associated with depression. The root also has anxiolytic properties works on a similar principle as the Kava root and helps by relaxing the body.


Serbian Ginseng: Serbian Ginseng is a popular “stress buster” that is widely used in treating fatigue and stress associated with depression. The herb regulates several hormones in the body including serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine that determine the mood.


Ginkgo: Ginkgo is a popular herbal remedy that is usually used among the elderly to treat depression. The plant provides several benefits for older people suffering from depression including regulation of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin and inhibition of adrenal steroid synthesis (which affects people suffering from severe depression). Thus, this herb helps overcome fatigue and anxiety.


Apart from the remedies listed above, many other herbs help overcome depression. However, an important point to keep in mind is that one should avoid self-diagnosis and medication when dealing with depression. If you suspect that you might be suffering from depression, then it is highly recommended that you contact a medical professional and discuss any possible alternative treatments for the condition.


One possible treatment that may ease depression symptoms is acupuncture. Visit AB Acupuncture to learn more.

Foods that Relieve and Combat Stress

Foods that Relieve and Combat Stress

Various levels of stress are experienced by almost everyone at some time or the other, due to a number of factors. While a number of remedies and solutions are offered to alleviate stress, one of the simplest and most effective means is to pay attention to the diet and include items that control stress and prevent the inevitable damage caused by it.

Relationship between stress and healthLink Between Stress and Health

The mind and body are linked, so mental stress activates the adrenal glands, which in turn produce cortisol, enabling the body to cope with the stress. However, stress can lower the immunity of the body and thus cause serious diseases. This is because stress hampers the working of the digestive system, so the body cannot absorb nutrients essential for good health. Moreover, key nutrients like antioxidant vitamins A and C, vitamin B complex, proteins and magnesium are burnt up faster during times of stress, robbing the body of immunity and nutrition.

Antioxidants Required During Stress

Stress leads to an increase of free radicals in the body, which damage cell structure and cause diseases like cancer. Therefore, it is necessary to take antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and safeguard the body from serious, degenerative conditions.

Antioxidant-rich foods

Since antioxidant vitamins A and C are depleted during stressful times, they need to be replenished. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant important for the brain tissues, and therefore, used up very quickly in times of stress. Therefore, vitamin C rich foods that need to be taken especially at such times include green leafy vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes and citrus fruits like oranges. Vitamin A has anti-cancer properties, and is found in foods like carrots, tomatoes, apricots, melons, some green leafy vegetables, oily fish and egg yolk. It is also required for healthy skin, hair and eyes, which are affected by stress. Vegetable and fruit juices are especially rich in antioxidants which prevent stress related conditions.

Bioflavonoids are also antioxidant and anti-cancer, and found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Polyphenols found in green tea fight not only cancer, but heart disease and other stress induced conditions.

Other Foods that Combat Stress

Stress can be eliminated only when the root cause is addressed, but it can certainly be alleviated and its ill effects reduced by including or increasing intake of certain food items.

Fruits have not only antioxidant properties, but also other nutrients and simple sugars that raise levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter with soothing properties.

Proteins lost during stress can be made up by taking animal sources like meat, egg and fish, and dairy products, while plant sources include beans, sprouted seeds, beans, grains and nuts.

During stress, magnesium is drained from the cells, leading to fatigue. Therefore, it is important to include more of green vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes and milk.

Other items that help during stress are sunflower seeds and sprouts, especially alfalfa. Yoghurt has vitamins A, D and B complex, which have soothing properties.

Drinking herbal tea combats stressHerbal teas, especially chamomile tea, are relaxing and induce sleep, thus alleviating stress. Teas made of sage leaves and rose hips are also soothing. A number of herbs, including the holy basil, are used in ayurveda (the traditional Indian system of medicine) to reduce stress. Warm milk with honey and cinnamon or just honey in hot water are popular home remedies.

Stress can be alleviated and controlled by including certain foods in the diet, or increasing their quantity during times of stress. Fruits, vegetables and other antioxidant rich foods, proteins and magnesium are some of the items that are effective in combating stress naturally through the diet.