St John's Wort as the first herb you can try
A review of 35 studies in 2016 found that St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) treatment reduced symptoms in people with mild to moderate depression. On the other hand, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, funded by NIH, found that for treating depression it was no better cure than a placebo. A review of 29 studies with St. John's wort in 2008 found that the plant is effective in mild to moderate depression and that antidepressants lead to fewer side effects.
The herb is one of the most studied and popular natural food supplements and herbs associated with the treatment of depression. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) it can help milder forms of depression but its effect has not been proved in either case.
In other parts of the world, it has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. S wort is a plant that is used to drive away evil spirits and has been researched in herbal medicine for depression. As a herbal supplement, St. John's wort is the most common herbal supplement recommended for depression.
A study conducted with passion flower in people who had to deal with anxiety showed that it worked as well as a tablet, with no side effects. There are 29 well-designed studies on St. John's Wort, taken as a pill for severe depression, that suggest it is more effective than a placebo and also less effective than antidepressants such as Prozac but with fewer side effects. Not surprisingly, the physician Klaus Linde from the Technical University of Munich and his colleagues found no advantage of seasoning compared to placebo in these studies.
Oriental herbs bring relief
Recent research has shown that the dietary supplement saffron is more effective than a placebo in mild to moderate depression. An earlier meta-analysis of five studies found that saffron was most effective in treating symptoms of severe depressive disorder. For example, studies that cited the use of the supplement as a safe and effective measure to control symptoms of depression were a non-systematic review in 2018.
A study found that a dietary supplement of Rhodiola and saffron reduced depression and anxiety symptoms for up to 6 weeks in adults with mild to moderate depression. A summary of Rhodiola reduced depressive symptoms when used alone or in combination with saffron. A limited meta-analysis concluded that saffron supplementation in patients with depression can improve symptoms, and a review of the literature indicated that it could help mild to moderate depression. Vitamin B12 supplements have been shown to reduce depressive symptoms in people with MDD who take antidepressants.
A review of 61 studies concluded that vitamin D levels are connected to depressive symptoms and that supplements can help, but more evidence is needed before vitamin D is recommended as a universal treatment for depression.
Although eating foods containing omega-3 fatty acids seems to have heart-healthy benefits, further research is needed to determine whether these have an effect on preventing or improving depression. Saffron extract can improve symptoms of depression, but further studies are needed. Several preliminary studies have shown an improvement in depression symptoms when taking DHEA supplements, although more research was needed.
Studies have shown that medicinal herbs and secondary plant substances have a positive effect on depression through their mechanisms of the central nervous system. A research supplement for depression is 5-HTP, which works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.
The following are a number of a evidence-based and effective alternative to naturopathic treatments for depression, including dietary supplements, massage herbs, sunlight and more. In this article we look at some of the most common herbs and supplements associated with treatment of depression and discuss their safety and efficacy.
Natural supplements are herbal remedies that have proven to be useful treatments for people with depression without the annoying and frequent antidepressant side effects. Where other methods have failed, natural supplements can give people with depression an unexpected boost and overcome it.
For people with mild depression, certain herbs and supplements can supplement and replace traditional treatments such as antidepressants and therapies. Conventional antidepressant therapies can help relieve the symptoms of depression and prevent relapse into depression, but complementary therapies require drawbacks of conventional antidepressant therapies, such as side effects. This means that there are treatments for depression and anxiety through an overlooked therapy method: natural supplements.
There are a number of studies investigating whether complementary therapeutic approaches can improve outcomes for depression patients. A number of preliminary studies suggest that certain remedies can offer health benefits.
We can do more with natural methods than we think…
In summary, the available evidence suggests the benefits of herbal medicines in relieving anxiety and depression, but there is a lack of conclusive data demonstrating the superiority of the benefit-risk ratio of herbal medicines over current medicines. For some people, certain herbal supplements seem to work, but further studies are needed to determine which are likely to help and what side effects they may cause.
Herbal preparations are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of depression in the USA, but are available. Some dietary supplements are designed to act as synthetic forms of the body's own mood-enhancing chemicals. Omega-3 supplements have been studied as a potential treatment for depression and depressive symptoms in people with bipolar disorder.
A review of 26 studies with 2,160 participants found that omega-3 supplements had an overall positive effect in the treatment of depression symptoms. In a systematic review in 2015, researchers concluded that fatty acids were not useful as a blanket treatment for depression. Although the researchers did not report any serious side effects of these supplements, they pointed out that they could be an effective treatment for depression caused by omega-3 deficiency.
A meta-analysis in 2014 in the Public Library of Science found that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids may be effective in patients with mild depression, but more research is needed.