The German co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, responsible for deliberately crashing Germanwings flight 9525 into the Alps killing 149 passengers, was reportedly suffering from ‘burnout syndrome’, or depression.
An estimated 19 million American adults are living with depression, symptoms of which include fatigue, insomnia, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, headaches, feelings of worthlessness, overeating or loss of appetite, and suicidal thoughts.
Depression is a psychological problem and you need a number of strategies to deal with it. Antidepressant medication, psychotherapy, residential treatment programs and alternative treatments (yoga, acupuncture, meditation and herbs) are proven to be beneficial in fighting depression and will help you come out of it. (Also read: How Depression is Different In Men)
Here’s a list of effective herbs that can help you maintain your mental balance.
1. St John’s Wort
Its the most commonly used herb for depression and treating the conditions accompanying it, such as anxiety, loss of appetite, tiredness and trouble sleeping. It’s beneficial in providing relief from migraine, muscle pain, chronic fatigue syndrome and exhaustion. (1,2)
How To Take It: Two to four grams of powdered St. John’s wort should be taken three times a day with water. You can also take it twice a day as a tea made with 1-2tsp of the dried herb. Buy it here.
2. German Chamomile
Useful in treating attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), restlessness, fibromyalgia, and trouble sleeping, this herb provides relief from anxiety and depression.(3)
How To Take It: Steep a teaspoon of German chamomile flowers for five to 10 minutes and take it twice a day to obtain relief from depression. You can also buy German chamomile supplements online and take them twice daily to see noticeable results.
Ashwagandha has a calming anxiolytic (antianxiety) effect that was comparable to the drug Lorazepam in all three standard anxiety tests. Clinical studies support the use of ashwagandha as a mood stabilizer in clinical conditions of anxiety and depression.(4,5)
How To Take It: Drinking a cup of hot milk containing a teaspoon of powdered ashwagandha before bedtime is beneficial in relieving depression. You can buy ashwagandha powder here.
4. Ginkgo Biloba
One of the longest-surviving trees in the world, the extracts of this herb are used to treat a range of conditions such as depression, anxiety, dizziness, tinnitus, memory and concentration problems, confusion and headache.
How To Take It: Ginkgo supplements can be taken twice daily for up to 12 weeks to find relief from depression symptoms. You can buy the supplements here.
The content made available at Z Living has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or by any other governmental agency. It is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Harrer G, Schmidt U, and Kuhn U. Depressionsbehandlung mit einem hypericum-extrakt. Therapiewoche Neurol Psych 1991;5:710-716.
2. Schrader E, Meier B, and Brattstrom A. Hypericum treatment of mild-moderate depression in a placebo-controlled study. A prospective, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicentre study. Human Psychopharm 1998;13:163-169.
3. Wong, A. H. C., Smith, M. & Boon, H. S. (1998) Herbal remedies in psychiatric practice. Archive of General Psychiatry, 55, 1033–1044
4. Singh N, Bhalla M, de Jager P, Gilca M. An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicines. 2011;8(5 Suppl):208-213. doi:10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.9
5. Abdel-Magied EM, Abdel-Rahman HA, Harraz FM. The effect of aqueous extracts of Cynomorium coccineum and Withania somnifera on testicular development in immature Wistar rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001 Apr;75(1):1-4. PubMed PMID: 11282435.
6.Birks J, Grimley EV, Van Dongen M. Ginkgo biloba for cognitive impairment and dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(4):CD003120. Review. Update in:Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007;(2):CD003120. PubMed PMID: 12519586.