16 Effective Natural Treatments For Depression

Depression sucks and if you’re someone who suffers from it, my heart goes out to you. In fact, depression is so common and widespread these days. There are many times in the course of life that you may feel overwhelmed and worried. But if you didn’t feel like singing the blues now and again you wouldn’t be human. If you are depressed, you’re not alone. Neither do you have to let it control your life. There are some natural depression treatments that might help lift your mood.

It’s actually very healthy to get down from time to time. It’s when that down-in-the-dumps feeling begins to stick around longer than a couple of weeks that you might be suffering from a more serious condition. While there are prescription medications that can mitigate these symptoms, they are pricey and they come with extreme side effects. Learn about simple, cost effective natural depression treatments.

16 Effective Natural Treatments For Depression

However, if you’re considering the use of any supplement or remedy, talk to your doctor first. Because avoiding or delaying standard care can have serious health consequences.

Effective Natural Treatments For Depression

Despite the wide array of medications for depression, there are also some simple natural treatments that you can try to restore your balance.

1. Chamomile Tea

Depression goes hand in hand with sleep problems. It’s like you can’t get out of bed during the day but can’t fall asleep at night either. Chamomile has relaxing properties that can help you unwind. This is because, it contains a particular naturally occurring flavonoid.

How to Use

  • Boil 1 cup of water and pour over 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile (or a chamomile tea bag) and let steep for 5 minutes.
  • If you are using a tea bag, let steep for 15.
  • Strain and add a little milk and honey if you like, and drink 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • You can also tuck a little lavender sleep sachet under your pillow. You’ll have an extra relaxing boost when you curl up.

2. Cardamom as Natural Treatments For Depression

16 Effective Natural Treatments For Depression

Cardamom is a natural antidepressant. Generally, it is used as a herbal spice in many delicacies and is also useful in the case of depression. It is often used to add aroma to tea. This aroma acts as a medicine in the providing relief from depression. It also activates the brain cells and gives a refreshing feeling.

How to Use

  • Crush 4 cardamom seeds into powder.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of this powder to a glass of water.
  • Drink daily.
  • Continue until you see better results!

3. Lavender oil

Lavender oil helps to relieve stress, promote a feeling of peace and improve sleep. It has been used as an inhalant in various forms such as in sachets, sprays, oils and lotions for centuries. The smell induces calm and sleep. Lavender oil is now available in an oral form, collected into microscopic bubbles and placed in a capsule that allows it to cross the intestinal barrier. Once it does, it induces calm and reduces anxiety.

Moreover, it’s not addictive or dangerous at all. Lavender is one of the natural treatments for depression that doesn’t make you tired. You can use it whenever the need arises, or regularly, depending on your needs.

To use lavender oil as a natural remedy for depression, add 5–10 drops to warm bath water. You can also diffuse 5–10 drops in your bedroom at night to promote sleep. Apply 2–3 drops topically to the temples, chest and wrists in the morning.

4. St. John’s Wort

16 Effective Natural Treatments For Depression

A popular home remedy for depression comes in the form of St. John’s wort. This herb has been used to treat various “nervous disorders” since the times of ancient Greece. It is the most effective in cases of mild to moderate depression. It does the magic chiefly because of the effect of hypercin, one of its main constituents.

Hypercin appears to affect various neurotransmitters in a similar manner to serotonin reuptake inhibitors. This raise the levels of serotonin accessible in the brain. There are several other components of St. John’s wort that may contribute to the antidepressant effects, although hypercin is the most widely recognized.

While this plant does seem to have less side-effect than prescription medications, it can still interfere with them, so double check before using it. The normal dosage for an adult is 300 milligrams 3 times daily. However because it can interact with other drugs, talk to a professional before delving into use.

5. Light Therapy as Natural Treatments For Depression

Light therapy is particularly useful if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder. This is in the case of those who live in areas where it is dark for nearly 24 hours a day during the winter. Light therapy can also be beneficial to major depression as well.

Light therapy simply means exposing oneself to light that replicates sunlight for 15 minutes to an hour every day. The timing depends upon the severity of symptoms and the intensity of the light, which a doctor can determine. It may work to elevate your mood by activating the brains “circadian pacemaker” which regulates sleep cycles. This therapy doesn’t cure the depression but it helps to ease the symptoms.

6. Yoga and Meditation

Practicing yoga and meditation may also give some relief from depression. They are known to alter the biochemistry of the brain very efficiently. While you stretch yourself when you do yoga, you are actually sending a message to the brain through your spinal cord. This message changes the brain chemistry.

The perfect balance of stimulation and relaxation that you are providing to your brain enhances the ‘feel-good’ sensation after the yoga practice. This makes you feel better and also healthy. It keeps you away from illnesses such as depression so, practice regularly.

7. Avoid Coffee

While there are many claims for the benefits of coffee, when it comes to depression, it just doesn’t mix well. If you’re a regular morning coffee drinker, you know what life can be like if you don’t have your morning cup. You get a headache, you’re cranky, and you feel bad.

Well, researchers are finding that caffeine can indeed alter your mood. It makes you less irritable and helps you feel better. Experts do think that having a cup or two of coffee a day may indeed help ease mild depression. But don’t go overboard. Downing too much caffeine can make you jittery and may even make you more anxious.

8. Exercise as Natural Treatments For Depression

Regular exercise is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to improve mood. It is something that can be integrated into a treatment plan. Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, releases mood-elevating chemicals in the brain and can decrease stress hormones.

Choose something you enjoy and will stick with. Whether it’s going to the gym, signing up for dance classes, playing tennis, gardening, or taking a brisk walk outside each morning for at least 30 minutes five days a week.

9. Acupuncture

There is a lot of back and forth about acupuncture, but I say keep an open mind. There have been a number of studies that have shown acupuncture helps with pain, and may help with depression and anxiety as well. When the needle enters your skin at one of the 400 body points used by acupuncturists, your body responds by releasing endorphins. This makes you feel calm, happy, and relaxed, and many people say this feeling lasts long after the session is over. Be sure to go to a reputable acupuncturist.

10. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The brain is one of the richest sources of fatty acids in the body. And research is finding that depressed people have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids. This polyunsaturated fat is found mostly in fatty fish, such as salmon, cod, herrings and tuna. It’s also abundant in flaxseed and soy products. Researchers believe that getting enough omega-3 fatty acids is essential to ensure the brain is at its healthiest. And a healthy brain is less likely to become seriously depressed.

11. SAMe as Natural Treatments For Depression

This dietary supplement is a synthetic form of a chemical that occurs naturally in the body. SAMe (pronounced sam-E) is short for S-adenosylmethionine. It helps the body’s naturally mood-boosting chemicals. According to the Mayo Clinic, SAM-e is regarded as a supplement in the United States — the FDA doesn’t consider it a medication.

SAMe isn’t approved by the FDA to treat depression in the U.S., but it’s used in Europe as a prescription drug to treat depression. As with many other studies into herbs and supplements, the investigations into the safety and efficacy of SAMe are of low quality. More research is necessary to determine its exact effect.

Take 200mg SAMe on an empty stomach twice/day. Increase your dose every two weeks to a maximum dose of 600 mg twice daily. This can be a very effective antidepressant, but it can also be expensive. In higher doses, it can cause nausea and constipation. Also do not use SAMe if you’re taking a prescription antidepressant. Because the combination may lead to serious side effects.

12. Folic Acid

Folate, is a B vitamin found in green leafy vegetables, fruit, beans, and fortified grains. It plays an important role in the brain, producing chemicals that mainly impact mood (serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine.) If you lack this vitamin, you may be shorting your mind as well as your body. 

Preliminary research suggests that people with depression who also have low folate levels may not respond as well to antidepressants. So taking folic acid in supplement form may improve the effectiveness of antidepressants.

13. Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts contain selenium, which is a natural anti-depressant. Studies have shown that people who had low levels of selenium tended to be more anxious, depressed, and tired. Eat them regularly, along with other foods that contain selenium, like tuna, swordfish, oysters and sunflower seeds.

14. Magnesium as Natural Treatments For Depression

We underestimate the importance of magnesium! Its one of the most abundant mineral in the body that is supplemented through diet. It is also a cofactor in over 300 enzyme systems that regulate a wide range of biomechanical functions in the body. Magnesium helps us produce energy, synthesize DNA or RNA and also regulate our heartbeats. Without it, we can’t keep the chemicals in our brain stable.

Our modern diets often times lack magnesium and stress also depletes it. However, no living organism is capable of producing it unless we eat it. So take a supplement or follow the best route-add magnesium rich foods to your diet. Examples of mag-rich foods includes; almonds, cashew, banana, soymilk etc.

15. 5-HTP 

The supplement called 5-hydroxytryptophan, also known as 5-HTP, may play a role in improving serotonin levels. This is a chemical that affects mood. But evidence is only preliminary and more research is needed. There is a safety concern that using 5-HTP may cause a severe neurological condition, but the link is not clear. Another safety concern is that 5-HTP could increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, a serious side effect if taken with certain prescription antidepressants. Take 50-300mg up to three times/day; start at 50mg in the morning. If you are taking too much, you will feel sleepy or have runny stools.

16. Identify Your Triggers

Sometimes depression is a symptom of something circumstantial in your life, rather than biochemical imbalances. Does your job require you to sell out your integrity every day? Have you been unable to admit that you need to end your marriage? Are you feeling spiritually disconnected or sexually restless? Are you suffering from creative blocks? Is your body failing you? Are you facing financial ruin? Be honest with yourself about what might be off-kilter in your life, and make an effort to get to the root of why you might be feeling depressed.

Other Tips For Reducing Depression

  • Set a daily schedule and stick to it. Set small goals you know you can achieve.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Go out with friends.
  • Learn to laugh and also think happy thoughts.
  • Join a support group to further educate yourself.
  • Write a journal to sort out your thoughts and feelings rather than keeping them inside.
  • Avoid drinking and smoking.
  • If none of these home remedies help you, consult a doctor.

Have you tried any of these natural remedies for depression? Do you know of any others we haven’t mentioned? Share your experience with us!

About felclinic 593 Articles
Felix Ntifo is a Registered General Nurse who has so much passion to improve health care delivery. He founded FelClinic with the hope of making health information accessible to everyone who may not come in contact with him personally. "At felclinic.com we are very passionate about health and well-being of everyone. Our team is made up of professional doctors, nurses, midwives and lab technicians."

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