Natural Remedies for Depression

By Jordan & Kyla Miller

Contributing Writers for Wake Up World

Nearly 20 million people have been diagnosed with depression in the United States alone; this does not account for the many more million globally who suffer from it.

Most people who suffer from this condition may not seek any treatment; although many can be helped with natural remedies, they often find it hard to stick with the protocols because more often than not they are looking for an instant cure.

The truth is, a magic bullet or formula does not exist. It is up to us to find the cure, as we all have the ability to solve many, if not most, of the problems that ail us.

On the other hand, depression can sometimes masquerade as a symptom of some other underlying condition such as hypothyroidism or anaemia leaving many taking unnecessary medication.

We must recognize the problem when it arises and take necessary steps to help alleviate some of the symptoms. Most times depression is simply a state of mind or consciousness. As we are all a crystallization of consciousness, sometimes curing depression is as easy as changing our outlook on life.

For those of you who need an additional nutritional boost, we have listed below some great remedies to help you along the path of healing.

Natural Depression Remedies

St. John’s Wort

This wonderful herb has been long used as a folk remedy for sadness, worry, and poor sleep. Today, however, the results of over 20 clinical trials suggest that the popular herb works better than a placebo in treating mild cases of depression without any side effects. It may take up to 4-6 weeks to notice the full effects. St – John’s wort grows in many regions of the world. Please consult your local herbalists or botanist for further information on the plant. It is important to note that pregnant or nursing woman should avoid taking the herb.

Folic Acid

Also known as folate (its natural form), is a B vitamin (B9) which is often found in lower amounts in people who suffer from depression. Folate is found primarily in green leafy vegetables, fruits and beans. It is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies because of poor diet. Some other reasons for its deficiency include other chronic conditions and the use of various medications like aspirin and birth control pills which heavily deplete this important nutrient from the body.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These are important “good” fats that are needed for proper brain function. It is important to note that our body cannot make these fats, so we must retrieve them from our diet; if diet isn’t enough, we must ensure that a good quality supplement is administered daily. Studies have linked depression with low dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Countries who’s diet consists mainly of fish (Japan & Taiwan) the rate of depression is 10 times lower than North America. Cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, anchovies and krill are the richest food source of omega-3 fatty acids; plant sources include walnuts and flax seeds.

Diet

With any sensible diet it is important to reduce your intake of sweets. Sweets disturb the secretion of insulin. As they may give you a temporary high, they are sure to worsen your mood when the effect wears off. Further to this, avoid caffeine and alcohol. Both substances can dampen mood so much so that they can worsen mood swings, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Apart from eliminating certain foods, ensure that your getting plenty of good foods. Vitamin B6 and magnesium are important for the production of serotonin (your happy hormone). Although B6 deficiency is often rare, it can often times be correlated to taking oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy. Good food sources of vitamin B6 include: tuna, chicken, potatoes, and sunflower seeds. Similarly, magnesium deficiency is common among most people living in the “western world”. Good sources of magnesium include: legumes, nuts, whole grains and green vegetables.

Exercise

Exercise is an important part of anyone’s routine; It is the most effective and inexpensive way to improve one’s mood. Exercise, particularly aerobic, releases mood-elevating hormones in the brain (serotonin, dopamine), thus decreasing cortisol levels (stress). One of the best ways to include exercise in your routine is to take a brisk walk at least 5 times a week for 30 minute periods; the most important thing however is to choose what you enjoy doing.

Light Therapy

Many people develop what is called as seasonal depression, whereby they are not being exposed to enough sunlight (particularly in the fall and winter months). Serotonin is activated in the morning during the exposure to sunlight, however, during the winter months serotonin levels can drop dramatically making us feel tired an prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). One of the most simple ways to increase your exposure to light is to walk outdoors in the morning. Just be sure to use natural sunscreen to protect your skin from ultraviolet light. Another option is to use special lights that simulate natural daylight. Studies have found they are effective. These lights can be found online. There are different types available, from light boxes to visors, that are typically used for 20-30 minutes a day. Look for lights with a minimum of 3,000 lux. many experts suggest 10,000 lux.

In retrospect, depression can be a serious condition if not properly treated. Make sure to consult with your naturopath or homeopath on the very first signs of any depressive tendencies. Tune into your inner voice for guidance; often times it’s a battle of mind over matter. Always try to culture a positive mental attitude.

Your question(s): What other methods or protocols do you follow to treat depression? (post your comments below)

Sources:
1. Prescription for Nutrional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch
2. webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-living-managing
3. natural-remedies-nurse.com/natural-remedies-for-depression

About the Authors

Jordan & Kyla are passionate about health; together, they have overcome many illnesses through dietary and lifestyle changes, and the art of practicing a positive mindset daily. Kyla is currently studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Reiki Master, and Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist. For more information, please visit the following sites; guidinginstincts.com, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest


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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Wake Up World or its staff.

  • Rhonda

    Magnesium oil helped me the most. In relatively short time, I started feeling better and before long my depression was a thing of the past. I wouldn’t be without it.

  • You suggest consulting a homeopath yet you don’t offer Homeopathy as one of your options–it happens to be a highly effective treatment for depression if individualized to the person. Changing our outlook on life is easier said than done: it comes gradually with the healing process.

  • Shannon

    It is a common and dangerous misconception that St. Johns wort has no side effects. I was taking it for mild depression and it caused an irregular heartbeat. If you look up possible side effects online you will find that there are many and that dome are serious. People often think that because it is an herbal supplement it is completely safe but this is absolutely not true. I realize all man made drugs have side effects as well and am in no way discouraging people from seeking alternative methods of dealing with ailments, but definitely know the risks.

  • Sephora

    What help me was: 5 HTC. Google it, you can buy it quite cheaply on Amazon. I thought it wouldn’t help at all, so after finishing my first bottle, I just stopped. After 3 days I really crashed, I didn’t understand why I felt so bad, my head was full of heavy cloud, I was really miserable for 3 days until I made the connection. I’m a bit slow 🙂
    Anyway I’m taking it again and feel much better.

    • ?

      do you mean 5-HTP? Once you returned to it did it remedy your original symptoms?

  • Richard Broome

    I absolutely loved your post – I have also posted on depression -and I think yours is much better! You asked about other methods to help depression. I learned Transcendental Meditation 38 years ago – and my mild depression bouts went away. More recently I have found MA151 – a Maharishi Ayurveda product – very useful for mild depression. Available by mail order in most countries.

  • Tiffany

    Try going outside. NATURE.

  • Ana

    You have listed 5 natural remedies for depression. Great thanks. However you also dished out some judgement in your preamble. People don’t stick with them because they are looking for an instant cure? “Most” times depression can be due to our state of mind or consciousness? With all due respect, no and stop. Your comments about it come out of ignorance and feed into the stigma of mental illness. So unless you want to educate yourself in the psychology and physiology of mental illness, stick to what you know best. Your natural remedies.

  • Christy

    I have had a lot of success with light therapy, it has helped to ease my depression symptoms with no side effects. I also have made some changes in my diet but I don’t have a lot of time for exercise. I use a 70w light therapy desk lamp that gives 10,000 lux. It has made a huge difference in my life, mood, and energy levels.

  • Shannon

    Excellent article! I’ve also found that removing certain aspects of your diet can help with depression too. Staying away from sugars, chemicals, and starches seems to help a lot of people I know of with their depression. Sometimes a good parasite cleanse will take care of it. St. John’s Wort, as you mentioned, is a favorite too. It all really does depend on the cause of the depression in the first place.

  • Carl Farnsworth

    I’ve noticed that there is a LOT of emphasis on minimising the symptoms of depression to the point where it is seemingly no longer an issue, but why aren’t we focusing on the cause of the depression?

    I love natural remedies as much as the next person, but it just seems counter intuitive to have more and more people with depressive symptoms, but we never seem to look at WHY there are more people. I’m not a physician, but my job involves solving many complex problems, and the best way to prevent those problems from recurring is to look for the cause. It would make sense to me to do as much as possible to prevent any sort of depression in the first place.

    There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, and I’ve lived through such with someone where the only solution was to constantly treat the symptoms. It was heartbreaking.

  • Mel

    I agree with Carl above. First you must find the cause of the depression and then treat it. Copper/zinc imbalance, thyroid problem, low folate, parole disorder etc are all causes of the numerous types of depression. Once the reason is found, then natural remedies can help cure it.

  • best natural remedies for depression

    When we’re depressed, nothing matters but the feeling we have inside. We ran out of good judgments and could hardly trust people. If we are feeling this way, then let’s trust in the powers of chocolate. It has been found that chocolate raises serotonin levels in the brain – a happy hormone, and boost blood sugar levels for energy. However, too much consumption could also lead to aggravated depression.

  • Jeannette

    I have been using sam-e, rhodiola, kava kava, vitex (chasteberry extract), gotu-kola, niacin, calcium, and vitamin B6 as extra boosts to my recurring depression. A symptom of depression is a feeling of resignation, which I have now resolved to take nutritional preventive measures against. It isn’t instantaneous but I feel equipped to face my moods most of the time, as opposed to overwhelmed which was the old state of my consciousness.

  • Jane

    Please watch what you say about a psychological condition as writers with no medical background. For the average person with mild depression, these things may help. However, IN NO WAY is it true that “sometimes curing depression is as easy as changing our outlook on life.” This is an absurd and ignorant comment. Did you research depression at all when you wrote this article? It is in no way easy to cure depression. Maybe if you’re having the blues for a few days then yes, but not the complex psychological condition that depression refers to.