Depression is one of the most under-recognized conditions. Because of a stigma surrounding depression, it remains an under-reported condition and can be difficult to diagnose. Once diagnosed, depression can be managed and healed with a combination of professional help and holistic self-care. Some of the best and most effective herbs for depression help to balance hormones that affect mood and alleviate symptoms of depression.
Depression is a chronic mental state of sadness that often results in a gradual loss of interest in activities and relationships that one time used to make the person happy. The severity of depression that people experience can vary greatly depending on the individual.1
Almost everyone experiences a level of depression at some point in their life or even multiple times throughout life. This is a normal and expected part of life, and nothing to be ashamed of. However, when feelings of sadness, hopelessness or apathy persist for several weeks, months or years, it becomes a more serious condition.1
Major depressive disorder is a clinically recognized mental health condition that creates a whole spectrum of emotional and psychological issues. Depending on your unique circumstances you may have any of the following types of depression:2
- Postpartum Depression: Occurring shortly after giving birth, new mothers can experience severe sadness, anxiety, fatigue and an overall extreme shift in their behavior.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): When depression comes on during winter months, it can be due to limited sunlight and can affect your mood until the spring when more daylight returns.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder: When someone experiences chronic depression symptoms for at least two years, it’s considered persistent. Depending on your situation, you may go through bouts of depression with certain symptoms being more severe at certain times.
- Psychotic Depression: Depression experienced in conjunction with delusions or hallucinations is known as psychotic depression. Psychosis symptoms typically revolve around a particular area of life such as delusions about family, relationships, work or money.
In addition to persistent feelings of sadness, people with depression may also experience the following symptoms nearly daily:1
- Anger and frustration
- Poor sleep habits and fatigue
- Changes in appetite
- Inability to focus and concentrate
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
Top Herbs for Depression
Many people suffer from depression in silence and don’t get the proper tools and treatments to manage it. For mild, persistent symptoms, the best and most effective herbs for depression include:
St. John’s Wort - St. Jonh’s Wort is a natural mood elevator and treatment for mild depression.
5-HTP - 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin—the brain’s happiness hormone—and can help balance mood.
Maca - For depression related to hormones, maca can help improve hormonal balance and alleviate mild depression symptoms.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Omega-3 fatty acids contain essential anti-inflammatory compounds that help regulate cellular communication in the brain that may be causing anxiety and agitation associated with depression.
Ashwagandha - Ashwagandha is an adaptogen herb that helps regulate hormonal levels and balance out high stress and anxiety that many people with depression experience.