Have you ever felt unusally sad and demotivated? Are you finding the activities once pleasureable a burden? Are you feeling dejected, anxious, sad and restless?
What is Depression? Can it be treated naturally?
Depression is a medical illness, which is characterized by the state of being in a low mood, symptoms of sadness, lack of motivation, and unwilling to take part in activities that were once pleasurable or to become social. A depressed person remains in a state of hopeleseness for long. He may also feel anxious, guilty, sad and restless.
Depression can be classified as mild, moderate and severe according to the severity of the symptoms present.
Herbal treatments for depression
Depression can be managed by the use of medications, psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. However, apart from all these, some herbal remedies are also present to cure depression. The greatest advantage of adapting herbal remedies is that they lack side effects, or have the least of them. However, before going for herbs, make sure that you have consulted your doctor, for certain herbs are not suitable for all the individuals, or you may have a condition in which use of herbal remedies is contraindicated.
Let us take a look at what nature has in store for us in managing depression.
Rhodiola rosea: Scientifically referred to as Crassulaceae, Rhodiola rosea produces improvement in a depressed person's mood. It also wards off other symptoms related to depression such as anxiety and stress and enhances memory and concentration. Besides all this, Rhodiola rosea is also known to improve physical fitness.
This plant is found in cold parts of the world, which include the Arctic region, the mountainous areas of Europe, the mountains of Central Asia, etc.
St. John's Wort: Also known as Hypericum perforatum in the scientific world, St. John's Wort is yet another herb that has proved itself as a useful agent in the management of depression. Found in the subtropical regions, the flowers and leaves of the plant are used to prepare herbal supplements. It can cure anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, and other such symptoms related to depression.
St. John's wort is found to work efficiently in cases of mild to moderate depression.
Ashwagandha: This Indian herb, which is scientifically termed as Withania somnifera, is frequently used in Ayurvedic medicine. The herb has properties to fight off the free radicals; hence, it is useful in preventing degenerative ailments such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. The herb is also used to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Other than this, Ashwagandha also improves concentration and reduces fatigue.
Ashwagandha grows in drier areas of India. It is also found in Nepal.
Myrciaria dubia: This bushy tree is yet another remedy that is helpful in reducing the symptoms of depression. Commonly called as 'Camu Camu', its berries are known to be rich in vitamin C, which imparts the herb some really useful and effective anti-oxidant properties. Camu Camu improves immune functioning and also cures depression.
Lepedium Meyenii: The root of this herbaceous biennial plant, which is also known as 'Maca', is a rich source of certain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc. The herb casts good effects on the immune system and also improves the energy levels. Maca was used in the ancient times to boost libido, to increase stamina and to enhance immune functioning. According to some researches made in this perspective, it has been found that the plant can cure depression and anxiety in women who have reached their menopause. It can also relieve other symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes.
Another great thing about Maca is that, it is devoid of side effects that occur with the usage of anti-depressant medicines.
Also known as 'Maidenhair', Ginkgo biloba used to be a part of Chinese medicine. In fact, this tree, which is native to China, is dated back around three million years, and is known to be the oldest surviving tree specie. The herb has anti-oxidant properties, and is also known to improve nervous functioning, memory and concentration.
Its extracts can also provide relief from sinusitis and headaches. Gingko biloba aids in elevating the mood of depressed persons.
Ginseng: (Panaz ginseng):
The medicinal use of this herb dates back about 5000 years. This herb is found only in North America and Eastern Asia. The species found in Asia have been found to contain anti-oxidant and insulin-like substances.
Its medicinal properties are endless. Since it relieves stress and boosts the mood, Ginseng makes a good cure for depression. Besides all these benefits, Panax ginseng lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Pregnant women and high blood pressure patients must refrain from using this herb.
You must consult your doctor before using Ginseng since it may interact with the mechanism of action of some medicines.
Centella asiatica: This small herbeceous annual plant that grows in swampy tropical areas is a part of the Ayurvedic, Chinese and traditional African medicine. Centella has culinary uses too.
This herb improves nervous system functioning and also stimulates the brain to concentrate better.
Liver ailments and pregnancy are two contraindications that are to be considered before the usage of Centella.
Headache, nausea, dizziness and stomach upset are some side effects associated with the usage of Centella asiatica.
Piper methysticum: The herb is also known as 'Kava Kava'. It is useful in curing insomnia, nervous tension, anxiety and mucle tension too. Kava is also chewed to relieve throat pain, since it contains anesthetic properties.
One must be careful when using Kava Kava for it is known to be associated with liver toxicity in some cases. Better consult a doctor before going for this herb.
Headache, mouth numbness, skin rash, indigestion, headache and drowsiness are some side effects associated with this herb.
Pumpkin seeds: Have you ever wondered that this food that you munch upon casually can actually cure depression? Well, it is all due to the 'tryptophan' content of the seeds, an amino acid that is used to make several useful neurotransmitters. Most important of these, which are needed to treat depression are serotonin, and also melatonin.
The seeds also contain vitamin B that aids in relieving anxiety and managing stress.
Omega 3 fatty acid: Here is yet another natural component that is used to relieve depression. Omega 3 fatty acid can be obtained either through supplements, or via natural sources such as fish oils.
Studies reveal that this fatty acid helps combat mood swings.