Depression is a feeling of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, loneliness, or indifference to surroundings. This sadness is often accompanied by a state of anxiety, and can last for days, weeks or even months. Natural herbal remedies may be helpful for some people, as they may offer relief for mild to moderate symptoms of depression. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, medical treatment is recommended for moderate to severe depression, especially if duration lasts longer than 3 weeks, in the event that severe symptoms occur such as panic attacks or suicidal ideation. Always talk to a doctor before taking herbs for any condition.
St. John’s Wort
According to “Real Depression Help,” St. John’s wort has been used in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years to treat depression. It is widely used in Europe for mild to moderate depression as and insomnia, and is also used in the United States as a natural alternative to medication. Available in 300 milligram capsules, this herbal remedy is taken orally three times per day with meals to prevent gastric upset. It is important to avoid St. John’s wort if taking other medications as it has been found to interfere with other anti-depressants, oral contraceptives, Indinivir, theophylline, warfarin, digoxin, loperamide, and cyclosporine. It also may cause fatigue and nausea. Talk to your doctor before you take St. John’s wort.
Valerian root, also known as valerian officinalis, is another herbal remedy purportedly used to treat depression. This well-known medicinal herbal plant is also used to treat insomnia and anxiety, according to an article pulished online by “Healthy Place.”
Rhodiola is another herbal remedy used to treat depression. This herbal, available in 100 mg capsules, is taken to enhance mood, relieve feelings of depression, decrease fatigue, boost immune function, enhance physical and mental performance, and to increase sexual stamina. Recommended dose, according to “Real Depression Help,” is one to two 100 mg capsules per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Siberian ginseng, also known as eutherococcus senticosus,is an herbal remedy specifically indigenous to Siberia. Used to treat depression, to reduce stress and alleviate fatigue, the recommended dose for Siberian ginseng is 150 mg, taken one to three capsules per day. It is important not to take Siberian ginseng longer than one month at a time, according to “Real Depression Help.” Don’t take Siberian ginseng without your doctor’s approval.
Ginkgo biloba , also known as maidenhair, is one of the oldest, most studied herbal remedies used to treat depression. The leaves have been used in Chinese medicine for over 4,000 years to make tinctures and extracts and in modern times, capsules. Purportedly used to enhance memory and concentration, to stabilize mood and relieve apathy, ginkgo biloba improves circulation by increasing blood supply to the brain. Though the recommended dose is 120 to160 mg per day, it is important to consult a physician before taking this powerful herbal remedy.
Kava kava, also known as piper methysticum, is grown in Polynesia. Known for its sedative effects, kava kava is used to treat moderate depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. Recommended dose is 250 mg two to three times per day up to six weeks. As with all herbal remedies, it is vitally important to consult a physician before consumption, particularly if you are taking other medications to prevent interference with them or other untoward side effects.