If your depression is taking your life away, herbal supplements for depression is an absolute necessity to incorporate in your life.
Herbal supplements may improve your mood and general well being while stabilizing neurotransmitter balance.
We need to understand what our body and brain needs to perform, and how the lack of certain nutrients can really affect us and even cause depression.
I personally prefer to take herbal supplements for depression through meals as much as possible. It is virtually impossible to overdose on vitamins and minerals through food.
But, eating enough supplements through foods may not be realistic, so you may need the extra boost of herbal supplements for depression in tablet form.
For that reason I’ve included a list of herbal supplements for depression along with those which may have associated side effects.
Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for the brain’s development and proper function. Omega 3s are the best herbal supplements for depression, and has also been shown to reduce heart disease.
Omega 3 comes in three forms: ALA (alpha-linelenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). ALA is found in certain nuts, while DHA and EPA are found in certain fatty fish and algae.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in cold water fish, most importantly salmon (not farm raised, which have little to no Omega-3); some other good sources are tuna, and halibut. You can also find it in algae and krill, plants, and nut oils.
Food Sources. For DHA and EPA sources, eat fatty fish two times a week:
Salmon, anchovies, bluefish, carp, catfish, halibut, herring, lake trout, mackerel, pompano, striped sea bass, tuna (albacore), and whitefish.
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Do not eat fish more than 2 times per week, because most fish contain traces of mercury.
For ALA, eat flaxseed, flaxseed oil,
canola (rapeseed) oil, soybeans and soybean oil, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed
oil, perilla seed oil, tofu, walnuts, and walnut oil.
Supplements. The World Health Organization and
governmental health agencies of several countries recommend consuming 0.3-0.5
grams of EPA plus DHA, and 0.8-1.1 grams of ALA daily.
5-HTP is a herbal supplement for depression that raises the level of Serotonin (your happy hormones) in the brain. Normally 5-HTP comes from foods containing tryptophan. The body transformes the Tryptophan into 5-HTP, which in turn converts into Serotonin.
Increasing the intake of Tryptophan does not increase the level of 5-HTP, but there are 5-HTP supplements you can take that will directly help increase Serotonin.
Some low level studies suggest that 5-HTP is effective with depression and even with losing weight.
Food Sources. You can’t get these herbal supplements for depression from food, but tryptophan, which the body uses to make 5-HTP, can be found in turkey, chicken, milk, potatoes, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, turnip and collard greens, and seaweed.(3)
Supplements. Take about 50 mg of 5-HTP taken 1 - 3 times per day. NOTE: higher doses can be toxic.
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is sometimes called “adaptogen,” because they are considered herbal supplements for depression that helps with stress. American ginseng were used by American natives for stress and headaches.
There are similarities with the Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), but the American ginseng seems to have a more relaxing effect.
There is also a Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) which have different active ingredients and are used for different purposes.
Standardized extract: 100 - 200 mg, 1 - 3 times daily, standardized to contain 4 - 5% ginsenosides
Fresh root: 1 - 2 g, once daily for up to 3 months
Dried root: 1/2 - 2 g, chew and swallow once daily
Tincture (1:5): 1 - 2 teaspoonfuls, 1 - 3 times daily
Fluid extract (1:1): 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoonfuls, 1 - 3 times daily
Lavender is a natural remedy for a range of ailments from insomnia and anxiety to depression and fatigue.
Research has shown that these herbal supplements for depression produce calming, soothing, and sedative effects when its scent is inhaled.
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It can be effective in treating insomnia, stress, and anxiety.
Lavender has also been used in aromatherapy to treat headaches, nervous disorders, and exhaustion.
Internal use: Speak with a knowledgeable health care provider to find the right dose for you.
Inhalation: 2 - 4 drops in 2 - 3 cups of boiling water. Inhale vapors for headache, depression, or insomnia.
Topical external application: For ease of application, add 1
- 4 drops per tablespoon of base oil (such as almond or olive oil).
Peppermint are herbal supplements for depression known for having a calming and numbing effect, so they can be used for depression anxiety as well as headaches, skin irritations, nausea, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, and flatulence.
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Peppermint is known for having a calming and numbing effect, so it can be used for depression anxiety as well as headaches, skin irritations, nausea, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, and flatulence.
One study suggested that peppermint applied to the forehead and temples helped reduce headache symptoms.
For tension headaches use a tincture of 10% peppermint oil to 90% ethanol, lightly coat the forehead and allow the tincture to evaporate.
SAMe can be found naturally in the body. Research has shown that SAMe can be effective in Arthritis pain as well as treating depression; although further research is needed to corroborate such claims.
studies patients claimed that SAMe were effective herbal supplements for depression compared to anti-depressants,
but much quicker, because anti-depressants need at least 6 to 8 weeks to take
Food Sources. SAMe cannot be found in foods so the only sources are in capsules or tablets.
Supplements. The recommendation for depression treatment is 800 to 1,600 mg of SAMe per day, in 2 divided doses (morning and afternoon).
Studies have concluded that St. John’s Wort is just as effective herbal supplement for depression as anti-depressants in the treatment of mild to moderate depression (not for major depression or bipolar disorder). It may take 3 - 4 weeks to feel any effects from St. John's wort.
St. John’s Wort also improves recovery from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) when taken in conjunction with light treatment. However, danger to sunburn is increased because St. John’s Wort makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight.
St. John’s Wort can be taken in capsules, tablets, liquid extract or tea. The usual dose for mild depression and mood disorders is 300 mg (standardized to 0.3% hypericin extract), 3 times per day, with meals. St. John’s wort is available in time-release capsules.
St. John’ s Wort is also available as a liquid extract or a tea. Ask your doctor to help you find the right dose.