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Fight Depression With Herbs

Aug 17, 2007
In the fast-paced society that we live in today, it is very common for people to get the blues from time to time. It may be due to the pressures of work, running a growing household, or the common financial pressures that abound. Most people however, are able to overcome the blues with little or no help. In this case it is a very short-lived state of being "down in the dumps." However, if your depressive state is rarely changeable, you may have a serious disorder. If you suffer from on-going depression, you should seek your doctor for treatment. However, in the meantime there are many herbs that have been proven to help you feel alive again. Let's take a look.

First and foremost, let's take a look at a possible root cause. One of the most common causes of depression is low levels of the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is a raw material that produces the neurotransmitter chemical serotonin. Without going into much biochemistry, higher tryptophan levels can be reached by simply eating a higher carbohydrate diet. Studies have actually shown that after a person with mild clinical depression ingested a few high-carbohydrate foods, their mood was significantly changed. Other foods high in tryptophan amino acids are sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Besides a change in your overall diet, you can also incorporate many herbs into your day. Some of these herbs can be put directly into your foods; others should be taken in pill form.

* Licorice has the most antidepressant compounds than any other plant. There are at least eight licorice compounds that serve as MAO inhibitors, compounds that are potent antidepression fighters. The easiest way to take licorice is in an herbal tea. Licorice is safe for normal use in moderate amounts, or up to 3 cups per day. Long-term use or ingesting larger than normal amounts of this herb can produce headache, lethargy and water retention.

* There is no other herb that is better known for fighting depression than St. John's Wort. This herb has a long folk history. Studies have shown that the active compound hypericin, found in St. Johns Wort, resulted in very significant improvement of this condition. In fact, some studies even show that it is more powerful as an antidepressant than some pharmaceutical drugs. Why don't you try it for yourself and be the judge.

* Aside from St. Johns Wort, Ginkgo Biloba is probably the next well-known natural fighter of depression. Ginkgo Biloba is especially known for fighting depression in the elderly, or people who suffer from reduced blood flow to the brain. If you want to give Ginkgo a try, check out your local health food store.

* Siberian Ginseng is also a well-known MAO inhibitor. This herb has been proven to improve a persons overall sense of well being.

Aside from the well-documented treatments above, there are many simple herbs that you should certainly try. Herbs such as caraway, celery, coriander, dill, fennel and nutmeg are all natural MAO inhibitors. Ginger is another herb that has a long folk history is treating anxiety and depression. Rosemary essential oil is normally the number one used essential oil by aromatherapists for treating depression. Rosemary contains the compound cineole, which is known to stimulate the nervous system. Furthermore, who wouldn't like a nice relaxing massage?

It is also a good idea to incorporate as many vitamin B rich foods into your diet as you can. Vitamin B vitamins folate and vitamins B6 and B12 are essential at keeping neurotransmitter levels high, and neurotransmitters, the chemicals that allow nerve cells to communicate correctly, play a big role in depression. Foods rich in these chemicals are beans, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, okra, bananas, onions, squash, kale, sunflower seeds, watercress, soybeans and brussel sprouts.

Herbs have played a role in achieving strong mental health for centuries. Why not see if herbal remedies will work for you too.
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