Best Herbs to Help Treat Depression

Depression is a major problem faced by today’s youngsters. The rate of Death due to depression is increasing all over the world. Students and working professionals are getting affected by depression due to stressful exams and job complications.

In this competitive world, you have to work hard to gain a good position which may lead to a stressful life. Apart from work pressure, there are numerous reasons that lead to depression. Depression is a kind of mental illness, in which the people suffer from a prolonged sadness or tension, which will recession them in daily life and activities.

The depression state of mind may lead to other health problems like heart attack, kidney disease, diabetics, etc. In some bad cases, people may get suicidal thoughts. 

When compared to other medicinal issues, Depression is a dangerous problem in which we have to take immediate medicinal steps. Friends and family should support them to get relief from those kinds of thoughts. You can find out whether people who are suffering from a depressed state of mind by the following symptoms,

Late Night sleep
Early morning anxiety
Loss of appetite
Low energy level
Mental Fatigue
Loss of interest in daily life
Feel of worthlessness

Herbs For Depression

Apart from medicine, Depression can also be treated by doing meditation, yoga, other outdoor games, and activities. Calming the mind is the challenging factor one has to face during the depression. Converting the mind to other activities will make them relax.

In the ayurvedic system of medicines, there are various medicinal herbs that can be consumed internally or applied externally to cure depression problems. 

Externally concentrated aromatherapy oils like lavender oil, rose oil, and sandalwood oil are mixed with almond or olive oil, and then it can be massaged into the skin surface. The oils get absorbed by the skin and then entered into the bloodstream which is involved in the treatment of depression.

Internally, Herb can be consumed as a tea or as a side ingredient for food to treat depression and anxiety for thousands of years all around the world. In major parts of the world, people are taking prescription medicines. But herbal treatments are always the best medicine without any side effects.

Most of them believe that the main reasons for depression are the modern lifestyle, stressful jobs, and overdose medications. Do you know that heavy dose medicine consumption may also cause depression.

The consumption of antidepressant medicines may also produce minor or major side effects. Overdose will affect your kidney, liver, and heart health. So for alternatives, try taking an ayurvedic herbal medicine. The excellent herbs in Ayurveda which treat depression problems are listed and explained below.

List of Best Herbs for Treating Depression

1] Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha’s name means: ashwa means horse and gandha mean smell, which is the smell of horse in Sanskrit. The botanical name of Ashwagandha is Withania somnifera. Ashwagandha is also known as Indian ginseng which is a traditional ayurvedic herb. It has been used as Rasayana for 6000 years in the Indian medicinal system. It is used to treat many diseases and acts as an excellent antidepressant. 

In Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha is an excellent natural remedy to treat people with depression-related issues such as stress, anxiety, loss of appetite, and insomnia. Bipolar disorder can also be treated by using Ashwagandha Root and it also improves auditory-verbal working memory. You can treat a Vata dosha depression which can cause fear, insomnia, etc, by preparing tea with an equal ratio of Ashwagandha Powder, Brahmi, and drinking Twice a day.

Ashwagandha is an effective herb that reduces stress hormones, promotes memory, protects against neuronal injury conditions such as 

Parkinson’s – affects executive function, thinking speed, mood, and memory.
Alzheimer’s – affects language and memory
Huntington’s – causes uncontrolled movements, emotional problems, and cognition.

    It also reverses the synaptic loss i.e, nerve cells pass from one nerve cell to another nerve cell.Ashwagandha is experimentally tested in mice during swimming activities, which successfully enhances the tolerance of mice from swimming stress. It is consumed in the ancient period to attain hore like strength. It also works against stress-induced gastric ulcers.

    Cortisol is the main stress hormone that increases glucose levels in the bloodstream. The high amount of cortisol creates prolonged fatigue, a lack of sharp mind, and damaged brain structures for emotion and memory. A double-blind study of Ashwagandha shows the minimum level of cortisol in the blood after 60 days. Ashwagandha is said to be a good protector against depression.

    Many other studies have shown that Ashwagandha is effective as an anxiolytic which reduces anxiety, acts as a mood stabilizer, and used in the treatment of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. The dosage of ashwagandha is a high-concentration full-spectrum extract ( 300 mg capsule) which can be consumed twice a day. It will not cause any harmful side effects on the human body.

    2] St. John’s Wort

    St. John’s wort is a plant that grows in forest areas. Olden age people use this plant to treat various mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression for centuries. The botanical name of St. John’s wort is Hypericum perforatum. It has been widely used in European countries.

    It is a well-known and effective antidepressant that is mostly used in Germany for mild-to-moderate depression. It also has a very few and mild side effects. Same as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), St. John’s wort also possesses an anti-anxiety effect. It also treats mild anxiety, sleeping problems, and seasonal affective disorder.

    Consult your doctor before intaking St. John’s wort because it may cause problems while consuming with other drugs. It also deals with treating lots of health issues such as thinning the blood, used as birth control medicine, and minimizes the potency of chemotherapy and hormone-replacement therapy.

    St. John’s Wort can be consumed 450 milligrams two times a day. Initially start intaking half dosage of this herbal plant as a medicine for the first few days then increase the dosage step by step to get the full power.

    3] Chamomile

    Chamomile is an excellent herb and it is the daisy-like flowering plant that comes under the family Asteraceae. This beneficial herb is involved in the treatment of anxiety and depression problems. It has been used as good medicine for hundreds of years to treat health issues. You can consume chamomile as a tea, by drying and powdering the flowers and then infusing them into hot water.

    There are two main species of chamomile available in the herbal market.

    German / wild chamomile / Matricaria recutita
    Roman / English chamomile / Chamaemelum nobile

      Both species possess very similar health values. But, German chamomiles are the most widely used variety.

      An experimental study has been conducted by comparing chamomile extract with a placebo for the treatment of anxiety disorder. After 8 weeks of this experiment test, a double-blind study showed that people with an anxiety disorder have reduced anxiety.

      4] Saffron

      Saffron is the costliest spice with an intense and pleasant aroma. It is harvested from the Crocus sativus flower, which is closely related to lily. Saffron is very expensive because of the difficulty in harvesting. Farmers have to pluck the threads from each and every flower using hand. After that, they heat the threads of saffron to bring out the aroma. This makes saffron one of the most expensive spices in the world.

      Saffron has various plant compounds that act as antioxidants that protects your cells from free radicals and oxidative stress. The color of saffron is deep red. Saffron is safe and enriched with antioxidants namely crocin, crocetin, safranal, and kaempferol which has many health benefits.

      Crocin and crocetin are carotenoid pigments that are responsible for saffron’s red color. It possesses antidepressant properties which protect brain cells against damage, improve inflammation, reduce appetite, and aid weight loss.

      Safranal present in saffron gives a distinct taste and aroma. It boosts mood, memory capacity, learning ability, and protects brain cells from oxidative stress.
      Kaempferol is found in saffron flower petals that treat inflammation, possess anticancer, and antidepressant properties.

      Saffron increases the level of dopamine present in the brain without changing the other brain hormone levels such as serotonin. It used to treat mild-to-moderate depression. Studies suggest that intaking 30 mg of saffron daily treats depression. It will not create more side effects when compared to other treatments.

      5] Basil

      Basil is a holy plant that has an adaptogenic substance. It helps to adapt stress and enhance mental balance. The pharmacological properties of holy basil help your mind from many types of stress. Stress causes physical problems such as affecting the neurological, endocrine, and immune systems.

      The main reason for your stress can be chemical, physical, infectious, and emotional reasons. In the case of physical stress, holy basil is known to increase tolerance capacity. According to the Ayurveda Medicinal system, Dried Holy Basil has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties.

      The study suggests that people who consume holy basil decoction each day will feel less anxious, and depressed. Just make a tea with holy basil leaves or Basil Leaf Powder and drink it. Adding basil tea to a daily diet can be ritualistic and gives you clear thoughts, and relaxation. Hot basil tea also treats Vata type of depression which can be consumed two times a day.

      6] Clary Sage oil – Salvia Sclarea

      Clary sage is a flowering herb. The essential oil which is prepared from the leaves and buds of the plant has a clean, aromatic, refreshing scent that will calm down and give great relief from stress. You can use that oil as a skin balm or gently inhale the evaporated stream during aromatherapy treatment.

      Aromatherapy uses the effect of clary sage oil to calm down the mind and minimize anxiety. Your smelling sense (olfactory system) directly affects the part of your brain that regulates emotion. Therefore both positive and negative effects of the smell can trigger memories.

      The study found that when women inhaled clary sage essential oil, It decreases the blood pressure level and gives you a relaxation feel. Another study reveals that when menopausal women inhaled clary sage oil will reduce cortisol level – the stress hormone, and act as an antidepressant.

      Clary sage essential oil can be used by

      Inhaling the scent deeply to enhance calmness.
      Mix the essential oil with water and use it as a room spray. Shake it while using it.
      Mix the essential oil with a carrier oil like olive or almond oil and then use it. Don’t apply oils directly to your skin, it may cause irritation.

        7] Rose Oil

        Rose is one of the rich aromatic flowers all around the world. The pleasant aroma of rose will calm down your mind from stress. Rose oil prepared from the rose petals has an antidepressant and relaxing effect. Applying rose oil to the skin treats anxiety by lowering blood pressure level, heart-pumping rate, the oxygen level in the blood, breathing count, and cortisol levels – the stress hormone.

        The rose oil treatment will relax the depressed patients. It also reduced women’s anxiety during the time of delivery and the postpartum period. Rose essential oil stimulates the secretion of dopamine which plays an important role in relieving depression. For rose oil, aromatherapy massage is better than the inhaling process to treat depression.

        8] Sandalwood

        The distinct aroma of the Sandalwood will relax and calm your mind. This deeply rich, woody texture sandalwood is an antidepressant. For its benefits, Sandalwoods are overharvested in India. So the harvesting is done by the government to ensure the minimum harvesting rate to protect the sandalwood species S. album. In India, Sandalwood has been used for spiritual activities like doing poojas, prayer, and meditation to give the people’s positive vibes. 

        It provides mental clarity, enhances memory, and calmness. Sandalwood aids to reduce blood pressure levels; they also possess medicinal values such as anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, anti-viral, and antiseptic properties. In ancient days, the earthy scent of sandalwood is used for relaxation and stress relief. Sandalwood has sedative effects that give you a good sleep.

        9] Rosemary

        Rosemary is a woody plant, and its leaves possess various medicinal properties such as antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer, antidiabetic, antidepressant, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and anxiolytic properties. Rosemary will increase dopaminergic, serotonergic, noradrenergic, and cholinergic neurotransmitter functions within the brain to reduce antidepressant feel.

        Rosemary has compounds namely carnosol, betulinic acid, ursolic acid, and polyphenols which acts as an antidepressant. It also treats neurodegenerative diseases like

        Alzheimer’s disease – creates language and memory issues.
        Dementia – loss of memory and problem-solving capacity.

          By increasing choline levels in the brain, rosemary could cure Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and depression. Consumption of Rosemary Tea also enhances the mood.

          10] Lavender oil

          Lavender is grown for its flowers and oils which is used for beauty and medicine purposes. Historical pieces of evidence show that it is used for its antibacterial, antifungal, carminative, sedative, and antidepressant values. Lavender comes under the family Labiatae. It is used in dried form or as an essential oil.

          Lavender flower and its oils have been consumed both internally and by inhaling through smelling organs. Lavender oil has been used as an inhalant which is available in pockets, bottles, sprays, and lotions. Lavender oil smell makes you calm and induces sleep. In oral form, tiny bubbles of Lavender oil are placed in a capsule. After consuming the capsule, it induces calm.

          Lavender is enriched with a high concentration of volatile oils, which gives it a pleasant fragrance. Lavender has been also used internally to treat anxiety, insomnia, and gastrointestinal distress.

          The main components present in lavender oil are linalool, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-ol, and camphor. When fresh lavender flowers are steamed after harvest, then the highest amount of linalyl acetate is obtained.

          11] Ajwain

          Ajwain is also called Carom Seeds which are used in the traditional Ayurvedic system of medicines. The fruits are brown, oval-like cumin, and it has a bitter and pungent taste which is the same as the taste of anise. It can be used as a spice in cooking or Use ajwain with garlic for roasts.

          Ajwain is a rich source of lithium and tryptophan. Both the chemical compounds present in ajwain act as mood stabilizers that provide better sleep and calm your mind. Drinking water with ajwain seeds regularly cures various diseases. It promotes the digestion system, treats flatulence, and relieves motion sickness.

          12] Brahmi

          Brahmi is an excellent ayurvedic herb that is highly used in the treatment of a Pitta type of depression. This type of depression causes anger, fear, and loss of control. In the worst cases, it may lead to suicidal thoughts. Brahmi is also used to treat Alzheimer’s disease by improving memory, boosts up your brain, treats anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, and fights against stress.

          Brahmi Powder has a bitter and sweet taste and also possesses cooling properties which give relief from depression. It also induces good sleep.

          Drinking Brahmi tea thrice a day will give great relief. It improves long-term memory, short-term memory, and retaining capacity. Brahmi decreases the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and treats stress and anxiety.

          13] Valerian Root

          Valerian roots are the best antidepressant and anxiolytic drugs. The extract from Valerian root has good sleep-enhancing capabilities. But when compared to the property of lavender Valerian root treats stress and anxiety, and it will make you feel tired.

          In day time, Valerian should be taken in small doses, maybe less than 20 milligrams. In the evening, you can intake a dosage of 600 milligrams. Better to consult your doctor before consumption.

          14] Kava

          In most of the Polynesian Islands, Kava root is consumed as a ceremonial tea. It is an effective herb that treats Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Kava has the same feel as alcohol but it contains natural & medicinal components.

          Kava has been shown in several studies to have an effect similar to that of valium in treating anxiety. Consuming kava once a day decreases anxiety, and improves brain function. Take a doctor’s prescription before taking herbal medicines.

          15] Rhodiola

          Rhodiola herb is also called Arctic Root or Golden Root, which cures the symptoms of stress. Rhodiola Rosea is mostly used in Russia as a tonic for fatigue and poor memory. It treats the mild-to-moderate type of depression; besides it may cause dizziness and dry mouth as side effects.

          16] Ginkgo Biloba

          Ginkgo is widely used in European countries which aid in curing health issues including memory loss, lack of concentration, depression, and anxiety. It increases blood supply, reduces blood viscosity, and boosts up neurotransmitters. Serotonin and dopamine contained in the Ginkgo plant treats depression. It also decreases the symptoms of anxiety and depression by reducing the stress hormone cortisol level.

          17] Maca

          Maca is also called Peruvian Ginseng which comes under the family Brassicaceae. In Peru, Maca has been traditionally used in the treatment of depression and libido. In women, it reduces stress due to menopause and improves brain functions.

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