Depression is a condition when sadness gets aggravated to a point wherein, the day to day activities or social functioning of an individual gets affected. This is caused by imbalances of chemicals in the brain, in combination with various other factors. Symptoms include lack of interest in performing routine activities, changes in appetite, disturbance in sleep patterns, feeling of overwhelming sadness, feelings of guilt, hopelessness, fear or anxiety, and decline in self esteem.
Though there are various herbs for treating depression, the herb which has been found to be very effective in treating depression through repeated research is St. Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum). However, a few side effect of this herb include sensitivity to sunlight, fatigue, gastrointestinal complaints etc. Due to these adverse interactions, it is suggested that St.Johns Wort should not be consumed in combination with theophylline, indinivir, digoxin, warfarin, reserpine, loperamide, and cyclospine or oral contraceptives.
Few other herbs that are recommended by herbalists for treating depression and its related symptoms are:
Damiana (Turnera diffusa) “ reduces the sexual dysfunction associated with other antidepressant medications.
Valerian root (Valerian officinalis) “ improves insomnia arising during depression.
Ginseng (PAnax ginseng) “ helps in reducing stress levels in the body.
5-HTP (hydroxytryptophan) “ is an herbal compound used in treating depression, which is a natural amino acid that is extracted from the plant Griffonia simplicifonia. It can be taken alone or in combination with St.Johns Wort.
Amoryn “ is an effective herb in treating depression which is a combination of 5-HTP, extract of St.Johns Wort and B vitamins.
On the whole, the best herbs for treating depression are those that contain the right doses of proven ingredients, manufactured under strict quality control process.
Certain other herbs that help in treating depression based on its cause or which help in reducing the side effects associated with depression are:- Licorice, Siberian ginseng, Basil, Balm, Ginkgo, Borage, Black Hellebore, Damiana, Clove, Kava Kava, Ginger, Rosemary, Purslane, Sage, Oat straw, and Thyme.