Depression is now a serious problem all over the world. If we look at figures from the USA, for instance, we see that 6.7% of Americans suffer from depression; 6.8% suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) ; 31% suffer General Anxiety Disorder GAD);2.7% suffer from Panic Disorder and 1% suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). That’s a big percentage of the population, who are suffering in one way or another. Also, this problem is not just an isolated incidence, as the World Health organisation (WHO), reports that the global figures for depression suggests an average global depression rate of 5%. So it’s fair to say that at any one time, around 1 in 20 people are suffering from depression and probably 1 in 10 are suffering from some sort of mental-emotional distress!
These are alarming figures!
The causes of depression are varied and so are the solutions. Probably the most popular ‘solution’ is to take anti-depressants and then get on with one’s life. But that doesn’t sound like much of a solution to me!
More progressive approaches include reading self-help books, attending counselling or therapy sessions and generally working through one’s issues.
But whichever way you look at it, anti-depressants tend to be used and for a good reason. The problem with depression is that it is highly corrosive. Think of it this way, you might have say a sore back, but still your mind is working ok, so you get on with things. But if your mind is not working properly, it can be difficult to do even the simplest chores!
So it’s easy to lecture people, who are depressed about what they should or should not do, in order to cure themselves, but ultimately the first thing which must be done is relief. Some sort of mental-emotional relief has to be implemented, in most cases, if a person is to make a good recovery.
This is where anti-depressants come in, but they have a lot of nasty side-effects, and for anyone who is suffering from depression, finding a natural way to reduce the symptoms of depression, is often appreciated.
So this is where herbs for depression come into their own. Herbal remedies for depression, have a couple of distinct advantages above and beyond taking anti-depressants which include:
1). Herbal remedies have very few side effects, because these natural herbal remedies for depression, are far less aggressive than allopathic medications.
2). Herbs for depression and stress, have a boosting effect upon the body. So whereas allopathic medications make the body work a little less effectively, herbs are tonic like in nature and they actually improve the overall functioning of the body.
So where possible it is a good idea to substitute herbs for allopathic medications. Also, if you are unfortunate enough to have to rely upon anti-depressant medications, for a long period of time, then taking up herbal remedies, for anxiety and depression, can be a good idea as they are far more gentle on the body, whereas long-term exposure to allopathic medications will tend to be injurious to health.
At the same time, herbs for depression can also have some long-term contraindications. So while it is a better idea to substitute anti-depressants and anxiolytic medications, with herbal remedies, the reason why these herbs relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety is because they do possess potent medicinal qualities, and consequently they do have some contraindications. So do bear in mind that even herbal remedies can be injurious for health, if taken in excessive dosages and over a long period of time.
So while I strongly advocate switching over herbs for allopathic medications, do keep in mind the following:
A). Herbal remedies for depression and anxiety are not a cure, rather they are natural anti-depressants. This is great, but still if you want to cure yourself of depression, then herbs for depression are a crutch, just like allopathic medications. So see them as a tool rather than as a cure.
B). Herbs for depression can have contraindications.
C). If you have to use these herbs, over among period of time, do cycle on and off them every few months or so, in order to reduce the possibility of developing toxicity!
How best to take herbs for Depression
The best way to take herb for depression, is to start taking a herb, while remaining on allopathic medications and take them simultaneously for a week or two, then slowly reducing the amount of allopathic medications, which you are taking.
The thing with herbs, is that herbs take anywhere from one to three weeks to start working. Also they stay in the system up to six weeks after you stop taking them. Now this is quite different from allopathic medications which take anywhere from a few days to a week, before they start working, and also for a similar amount of time they continue to work after you stop taking them.
Allopathic medications are more aggressive in nature, which means that they work fast and also they stop working faster. Also if you add in herbs, then it will take a week or two before they really start kicking in, at which time you can start reducing allopathic dosages. But do so slowly, as you don’t want a sudden drop of in allopathic medications.
The issue with anti-depressants is that they boost neurotransmitter levels, in the brain, which boost our positive feelings. Now this is fine, but if we suddenly drop the medications, then our neurotransmitter levels will suddenly drop, thus creating a rebound effect, which will launch us into a depressed state, which is not good. So it is important to reduce allopathic anti-depressant medications slowly. So if you’re taking say one pill a day, and then start after a week or so, by reducing it to one pill one day and half a pill the next day. Then after a week reduce down to half a pill every day, then after a another week reduce again down to quarter of a pill one day and half a pill on the other day. And keep on reducing until you are completely free from the allopathic medications, which will take several weeks to become completely free of allopathic medications.
Week 0 – 1 pills a day + ads in herbal remedy
Week one 1 pill a day + add in herbal remedy
Week Two 1 pills a day + ads in herbal remedy
Week Three 1 pill one day and half a pill the next day + herbs
Week Four ½ pill every day + herbs
Week Five ½ pill one day and no oil on the second day + herbs
Week Six zero pills and stay with the herbs
This sounds conservative, but the idea is to gently swap over herbs for allopathic medications.
Secondly, if you want to come of off herbs, then do so over a period of several weeks.
The important thing here is to go gently on and come gently off, in order to avoid neurotransmitter crashes!
Final Thoughts on herbs for Depression
Firstly if herbs don’t cure depression, why take them in the first place?
The thing with human beings is that they are very complex and a chemical solution (whether pharmaceutical or natural) is still just chemical substance, which is designed to boost neurotransmitter levels in the brain, thus reducing the symptoms of depression.
Anti-depressants and herbs for depression are crutches which are there to relieve symptoms, so that you can continue with your life. But if you don’t take your depression seriously, then medications are only there as a crutch. So if you cannot cure your depression, then it makes sense to rely upon a crutch with fewer side effects, which is the case with herbal remedies.
So this is the first good reason for taking herbs for depression.
Secondly, ideally you will rely upon anti-depressants for a short period of time, while you work on curing your depression, which is great. But then again why take allopathic medications if you can substitute them with herbal remedies!
So we can conclude that herbs will not cure depression, but they do provide either a viable alternate to anti-depressants, or in cases of severe depression, at least they can help to reduce dosages of anti-depressants, which they take.
Thirdly if you are suffering from depression then please realise that you are not alone. About 5% of the world’s population is in the same boat as you!
So do take anti-depressant medications, as they will help you.
Fourthly, try to take some herbal remedies as well and if they produce a good effect then either reduce the allopathic medication, or at least reduce the dosages a little bit, as the herbs will have fewer side effects.
Fifthly, do make some efforts to improve your depressed state. While depression is common it is curable, although a cure can take anywhere from months to years. So read self-help books do some counselling, whatever it aces, you will get there over time!
Hopefully this article has convinced you as to the efficacy of herbs for depression. Read on in part two about specific herbs which will help to relieve depression and anxiety.