September 21, 2011

How to Cure Depression by Herbal Treatment

Herbal remedies for depression is not a substitute for medical treatment. But with your doctor’s consultation, they can be used along with the medical treatments.  

Currently, almost 20 million adults in the United States have depression.  The stats are significantly higher after economic recession and rise of unemployment.  The first step is to talk with your doctor, but most people with depression do not seek treatment, although the majority can be helped with treatment. Depression can be a serious sickness and lead to another symptom conditions, such as hypothyroidism or anemia.  

Among many advocated herbal remedies for depression, below herbs have been around for many years.

St John’s Wort : This is highly rated as a natural anti-depressant, called hypericum perforatum and has been used for centuries to treat sadness, worry, lack of sleep, nervousness and depression. The elements present in this herb help to increase the levels of the important neuro transmitters and it may be helpful in the treatment of symptoms of mild depression. In the USA, it is classified as dietary supplement and not yet approved for use in depression.  But it is quite popular in Europe.  St John’s Wort has proved to be effective in countering depression which is an offset of SAD (seasonal Affective Disorder) that  usually occurs during winter when there is a decrease in the amount of available sunlight.

SAMe : SAMe is the short form of  S-adenosyl-L-methionine which is a synthetic form of chemical found in the body. In Europe it is a prescription drug to treat depression, while in the USA it is still classified as dietary supplement and approved for treating depression. Some studies do indicate its effectiveness to treat depression.

Kava : “ the calming plant”  is another natural remedy for depression used for hundreds of years by people living in the islands of the south pacific region. 

Gingko biloba : This herb is among the highest selling herbs in the US. It contributes to mental health as anti-oxidant to combat depression, believed to improve memory and intellectual functions. However lack of conclusive evidence in its role in treating depression exists. This herbal preparation is not to be used if you have diabetes, seizures or bleeding disorders.

Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan (Mood Smooth) and Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan (kidney Yang Tonic : In traditional Chinese medicine, depression is attributed to an imbalance or blockage in one or more of the internal organs (Zang/Fu) and the energy pathways (meridians). Some common patterns that can manifest as depression are Liver Chi Stagnation, Spleen Chi Deficiency, Kidney Essence Deficiency, or Lung and Heart meridian disorder.  Chinese medicine works holistically. A good Chinese medicine practitioner will always give you a complete evaluation including what kind of deficiency or imbalance you have, which energy pathway is blocked, what foods to eat or avoid, and how these things relate to your mental health.  
Examples of Chinese herbal formula Mood Smooth are Buplerum (Chai Hu), Mint (Bo He), Angelica (Dang Gui), Peony (Bai Shao), Atractylodes (Bai Zhu), Poria (Fu Ling), Licorice (Fu Ling), Ginger (Sheng Jiang), Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi), Gardenia (Zhi Zi).  For kidney Yang Tonic (Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan), it includes Aconite (Fu Zi), Cinnamon (Gui Zhi), Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang), Cornus (Shan Zhu Yu), Dioscorea (Shan Yao), Alisma (Ze Xie), Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi), Poria (Fu Ling).

To integrate herbal remedies for depression with proper dietary may help you get better result of treatment.  Avoid caffeine and alcohol, less processed food and sugar, take nuts, whole grains and green vegetables which are good sources of vitamin B 6 and magnesium needed for serotonin production.  In overall, natural remedies for depression are safe alternatives to prescription drugs. But as with any herb, it’s important to monitor for side effects or allergic reactions.  It's still important to be evaluated by your doctor for a proper diagnosis and to rule out other medical problems that may resemble depression.  If you are currently taking medication or undergoing other treatment for depression, do not stop without consulting your doctor.

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