Are you sick and tired of pumping your system with conventional drugs? Then try these.
How are you feeling lately? Are you depressed? OK, so let’s clarify some points and analyze if what you’re feeling is really clinical depression and not simply depression (which is a normal part of the human cycle of emotions). Let’s define these two terms:
Depression – is a feeling of sadness, being unhappy, down, blue or miserable. Many of us feel this at some point in our lives. The important things to consider here are that your depression shouldn’t last that long, and it mustn’t interfere with your daily routines. The one you should be worrying about is what they call true clinical depression which is defined below.
True Clinical Depression – this one belongs to a set of psychiatric disorders termed mood disorders. The feelings of anger, loss, unhappiness or sadness, and even frustration, meddle with daily tasks and could last for weeks or even years. Just remember that there are other clinically significant types of depression. The natural remedies listed here can also be utilized to treat the symptoms of those other forms.
How do you know you have true clinical depression?
- When you have depression, everything is perceived as going wrong. You view everything happening around you in a negative way. Seeing the positive side of any situation is almost impossible.
- Depression can also manifest as a change from a previously functioning state to a condition wherein you’re unable to carry out your daily activities.
- You are having thoughts of harming yourself or taking your own life.
- You have a lot of difficulty in concentrating.
- You often sleep too much or too little.
- Your weight could go up or go down suddenly because of a significant change in your appetite.
- You hate yourself, and you become withdrawn from society.
- Nothing excites you anymore.
- You feel fatigued and lose energy to do anything.
- You lose all hope of recovery.
These are just some of the many clues that could signal you may be experiencing depression. Finding the exact cause of your depression could even be harder. Some causes of true clinical depression are medical conditions which should be addressed first, in order to rule them out as the cause. Now that you know that you may have depression (the real kind my friend), you may want to try the natural remedies mentioned here before you pump your system with the drugs, or you may be sick and tired of the usual drugs and may want to try something new?
Herbal Supplements to consider
(be sure to check with your doctor or natural health practitioner first)
- 1. S-adenosylmethionine. Tongue tied with the long word? Try this one, SAMe. It’s pronounced as sammy. There you go. Easier, right? This substance is produced naturally in your body. It works best if you have adequate levels of vitamin B9 (folate) and vitamin B12 in your system. Some studies point out its usefulness in alleviating the symptoms of osteoarthritis. SAMe’s ability to cure mild to moderate depression is believed to be by way of increasing the levels of serotonin in your brain. This mechanism of action is similar to some antidepressant drugs. What’s valuable here is that SAMe doesn’t take as long as those antidepressant drugs to work and better yet, zero side effects. You might want to give this new kid on the block a try.
- 2. St. John’s Wort. This medicinally important herb also goes many common names that include Klamath weed, devil’s flight, and grace of God, to name a few. It was believed during the Roman times that this herb contained magical properties to drive evil spirits away. It has a scientific name of Hypericum perforatum. The herb was also used during the feast day celebration of St. John the Baptist (hence St. John’s wort) as an adornment (they look beautiful). Beyond the year 2004 up until now, it’s a commonly used herb in the US, specifically among women.
This herb has many uses. In the past, it was used to treat wounds and burns. It also eases away anxiety and helps women get through menopause. It’s noteworthy to mention that the herb is actually licensed in Germany as an alternative treatment for sleeplessness, anxiety and mild depression. Hypericin and hyperforin are active ingredients found in the fresh leaves and flowers of the herb. This herb is believed to possess antiviral and antibacterial properties. The antidepressant activity is brought about by hypericin’s ability to prevent the reuptake of neurotransmitters which make us feel happy and excited. These neurotransmitters include serotonin, epinephrine and norepinephrine. As a consequence, the neurotransmitters stay longer within the vicinity of your “unhappy” brain cells making them happy (so to speak). This herb is contraindicated in pregnant and nursing females out there. It should not be taken if you’re currently on antidepressant drugs or the oral contraceptive.
- 3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Recent studies have implicated omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) having a positive effect in treating depression. Some of these studies also pointed out that EPA may be more efficacious than DHA when compared side by side in managing depression. The main source of EPA and DHA in the studies was from fish oil. Current available data is unclear how the omega-3 fatty acids are able to decrease depressive symptoms and it was recommended by the majority of the experts that additional larger scale studies be done to verify the findings. Rest assured, we can expect more to come regarding essential fatty acids. In addition to alleviating depressive symptoms, supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids also showed that they can improve memory and learning among those suffering from mild cognitive impairment. Do you have a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in your system? Remember, they’re called essential fatty acids, emphasis on essential.
- 4. Saffron. This wasn’t named after Zac Efron, nor did he endorse the use of it. And no, the spelling isn’t wrong. Saffron is actually a spice. According to a recent study, this spice from the Middle East may alleviate symptoms of mild to moderate depression. The mechanism of action appears to lie in saffron’s ability to enhance (beef-up) the biological activity and increase the level of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. In one study, saffron’s efficacy is found to be comparable to a common antidepressant drug. Unlike those taking this drug, participants who took saffron didn’t experience tremors, sweating or the dreaded and never wished for sexual dysfunction. Move over Zac.
- 5. Bacopa monnieri. We have traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) to thank for this one. This wonderful herb has been demonstrated to optimize several brain functions. It increases levels of acetylcholine, which is responsible for improving memory and cognitive abilities (the reason why it’s also given to patients with Alzheimer’s disease). Furthermore, it also has antioxidant properties which protect brain cells from stressing themselves out, thus reducing oxidative damage. Several active ingredients (Bacosides A and B) present in this herb are able to increase levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters. This is the reason for its use as an antidepressant. Please don’t expect it to taste like Indian curry though ok? (yummy!).
- 6. Folate (Vitamin B9). Do you eat a lot of green leafy vegetables and fruits? Or do you take a multivitamin supplement? The chance of you developing a deficiency of folate are slim then. Studies have shown that people diagnosed with true clinical depression often have a folate deficiency. In addition, a sufficient level of folic acid enables them to have a satisfactory response to antidepressant medications.
- 7. Vitamin B12. Another B vitamin you should be well aware of if you think you’re suffering from depression. There is some conclusive evidence that suggests response to antidepressant medication is better with vitamin B12 supplementation. Both vitamin B12 and folate work with SAMe so if either of these B vitamins is deficient, this may reduce SAMe levels in body. Remember the long word? SAMe is responsible for the methyl group donation needed for optimal neurological function (so your brain cells are capable of thinking better). Remember vitamin B12 is abundant in milk and milk products, fish, eggs, meat, poultry and of course in supplement form.
- 8. Vitamin B-Complex. B vitamins are well known as a family of nutrients needed for healthy brain and central nervous system (CNS) function. As we’ve seen B9 and B12 are important for depression, but it is also important to ensure that the whole family of B vitamins are supplemented at the same time as these two. Because they are a family they work best together, and your body will utilise B9 and B12 much more efficiently when all the other relatives are there.
You’ve probably heard of the alternative therapies available for treating the symptoms of depression. Chances are, if you’re not used to seeking out alternative therapy, you may be skeptical. Any health therapy or management not categorized under Western Medicine is regarded as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). There are many forms of CAM available to treat the symptoms of depression. It is quite possible that one will suit you. Below are some examples:
- 1. stretching
- 2. meditation
- 3. relaxation
- 4. massage therapy
- 5. chiropractic therapy
- 6. aromatherapy
- 7. biofeedback
- 8. acupuncture
Before you try any of the natural solutions for depression, you may want to consult any one of our qualified naturopaths . We’re here to guide you in any possible way we can. Who knows (only you of course), natural remedies may be the long lost solution you’re searching for. **If you have been prescribed antidepressants it is very important that you consult your doctor or natural health practitioner prior to taking anything mentioned in this article.**