Herbs for Depression and Anxiety

anxiety-depression.jpgDepression and anxiety are one of the common mental disorders. Although depression and anxiety disorders are not the same, at the first glance they seem similar, and are often confused. While depression generates emotions of despair, hopelessness and anger, anxiety generates feelings of fear, panic or threatened feeling. While a person suffering from depression feels devastated even by routine tasks and personal relationships that are so essential to life, a person with anxiety experiences sudden anxiety or panic attacks, without any specific reason, and lives with constant anxiousness or worry.

Both anxiety and depression are treated much in the same manner. Although various herbs help in relieving mild symptoms of depression and anxiety, only a few best proven herbs containing high-quality forms in proper dosages, with well-designed clinical trials have proven effective in treating severe cases of depression.

A good herbal antidepressant that has the strongest evidence in effective relief from depression is extract of St. Johns Wort. High-quality St. Johns Wort extracts contain minimum of 3% hyperforin and the best standardized forms contain atleast 5% hyperforin. Hyperforin is the active antidepressant compound present in St. Johns Wort. However, the effective daily dosage to be consumed should be decided only of consultation with an expert, as it varies from case to case.

Another effective herb is the Griffonia simplicifolia plant, from which a natural amino acid 5-HTP (5-hydroxytrptophan) is extracted. Sometimes, experts recommend a combined dose of St. Johns Wort and 5-HTP for effective cure.

Amoryn, is another herb for depression, which could be used in combination with St. Johns Wort and 5-HTP, B vitamins and mood-related nutrients.

Kava (Piper methysticum) has a long history in reducing anxiety, but is comparatively a new treatment in anxiety-related depression. Various European countries have approved kava to be good for depression, and associated insomnia and nervous disorders. The beneficial agents of Kava, are the kavalactones, that are found in the dried rhizome of the plant.

The best herbs for depression, in short, are those containing effective ingredients in right dosages and potencies, manufactured under strict quality-control procedures.