According to the World Health Organization statistics, over 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Although depression is perceived as a psychological disorder that affects adults, studies suggest that incidence of depression is steadily rising among children and adolescents. Women are more vulnerable to depression than men.
Moreover, depression in its worst form increases the risk of suicide. A lingering sense of sadness that interferes with the day-to-day activities is called depression. If left untreated, depression can cause serious psychological problems. However, given the side effects of pharmacological antidepressants, more and more people nowadays are searching for herbal remedies for treating depression.
For centuries, herbal remedies have helped a large number of people to overcome various psychological disorders. Herbs help in calming the mind by correcting imbalances in the brain chemicals that affect mood. The effectiveness of a number of herbal remedies in alleviating depression and improving mood is supported by clinical trials.
Herbal Remedies For Depression
St John’s Wort
Hypericum perforatum (St John’s wort) is one of the most widely studied antidepressant herbs. Studies suggest that St John’s wort works by inhibiting uptake of the neurotransmitters serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine. The effectiveness of the herb in improving the symptoms of major depression is supported by a number of clinical trials.
According to a Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews report published in 2008, St John’s Wort is as effective as standard antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tri and tetracyclic antidepressants. Moreover, compared to the standard antidepressant, St John’s Wort has fewer side effects.
Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha)
In Ayurveda, the herb Withania somnifera, commonly known as ashwagandha, is recommended for people suffering from depression. The antidepressant property of the herb is primarily attributed to the plant compounds glycowithanolides present in the root of the plant.
In a laboratory study, reported in the journal Phytomedicine in December 2000, researchers claimed that the antidepressant effect of Withania sominifera extract is comparable to that of the standard tricyclic antidepressant drug imipramine. The herb helps in stabilizing mood, hence, suitable for people suffering from depression.
Bacopa Moniera (Brahmi )
Bacopa moniera, commonly known as Brahmi, is widely recommended for treating mental health disorder. In Ayurveda, Brahmi ghrita, a clarified butter based formulation containing Brahmi juice as the key ingredient, is recommended for treating depression. Practitioners of Ayurveda consider clarified butter as an effective carrier that can easily cross the blood-brain barrier to deliver the herbal ingredients into the brain cells.
In a study published in the journal Ayu in 2008, researchers reported that about 40 to 50 percent people suffering from depression experienced moderate improvement in the symptoms of depression following intake of Brahmi ghrita. Another study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2008, revealed that Bacopa monnieri extract helped to ameliorate symptoms of depression in elderly people.
Nardostachys jatamansi (Spikenard)
The roots of Nardostachys jatamansi is an effective remedy for depression. Studies suggest that the antidepressant effect of Nardostachys jatamansi is comparable to that of the tricyclic antidepressant drug Imipramine and the SSRI drug Sertraline. Studies also suggest that Nardostachys jatamansi also helps in correcting the GABA level in the brain.
Sceletium Tortuosum (Kanna)
Folk healers in Africa have been using Sceletium tortuosum, commonly known as kanna, for centuries for treating depression.Researches with kanna have attributed the antidepressant property of the herb primarily to the compound mesembrine that acts as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. By improving the serotonin level in the brain, kanna helps to calm the mind and improves mood.
Caution: Please use Home Remedies after Proper Research and Guidance. You accept that you are following any advice at your own risk and will properly research or consult healthcare professional.