Depression is becoming more and more diagnosed in today's society thanks to new understanding of the human brain. While there is less stigma about mental illness, there is still negativity around seeking professional treatment. With media portrayals about frightening "mind-altering prescriptions" and mentally ill bad guys in ever superhero film, is it really a surprise? Luckily, there are some herbal products that show promising results that could be a great alternative to heavier substances.
While depression can vary from mild to severe, most herbal remedies have only been studied on the lighter to moderate scale. There is still a lot to learn about severe depression and the study numbers simply aren't there. However, for an alternative to antidepressants, St. John's Wort
is at the top of every list.
An old treatment, St. John's Wort has numerous studies conducted over many countries to vouch for it's reputation
. Moreover, there are reportedly less side effects than regular antidepressants. This can vary by quality of supplement. It's important to get a pharmaceutical or high grade when picking out which St. John's Wort supplement to take, as one study
states. It could have a prominent effect on your results.
A downside of St. John's Wort is its effect on prescription medicine. There's documented evidence that it will interfere with any antidepressants you're already taking along with other prescription medication. Needless to say, this may hinder any positive effect that could come from the herb if you're already on something.
So if you're not sold on St. John's Wort, give saffron
a try. There's been significantly less studies but the ones that have been done look promising
. From the crocus flower family, saffron is usually used in cooking and is hard to harvest. Still, saffron has been compared to Prozac in effectiveness against depression symptoms. But, and there's always a but, the long-term use hasn't been documented. It's important to stay in regular contact with your doctor when taking this supplement in case of any long-term interaction.
Another promising supplement is SAMe
. Our international readers may already be familiar with this one because it's been a prescription treatment in European countries for decades. While I'm not qualified to explain how scientists are hypothesizing the workings of SAMe inside the brain, this article
from the New York Times does a pretty good job. Essentially, results look positive and long-standing. With pregnancy and nursing mothers, however, there are less studies.
It's clear there needs to be more research done for herbal research as well as mental illness research as a whole. But at least there are choices out there. I am not a doctor and highly encourage seeing one if you're experiencing depression symptoms
. There's no shame or negativity in asking for help. And if you are starting a supplement, you always need to consult your doctor for possible medication interactions or health risks.