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While early researchers thought St. It also gently balances the neurotransmitters GABA, norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. In our practice, we find depression sufferers who have a long-term chronic type of depression called dysthymia often do the best with this herb. If you can get out of bed and function at a job, but are just generally still low in mood, self-esteem and zest for life, this may be a good herb for you. You can take St. It is usually dosed in capsule form at 900 mg to 1800 mg a day in divided doses. Please note St. Two studies show it can help the drug Plavix work better in people for whom it did not initially work. Other studies show it can lower the effects of birth control pills and immune suppressants.

So, if you are taking medications, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using St. Spice Up Depression and Help Digestion Saffron is a well-known Persian spice used for its ability to help the digestive system heal. Because most neurotransmitters are made in the digestive tract, this might be the reason saffron has been shown in studies to elevate low mood. As the most expensive spice, it is high in carotenoids and B vitamins. In studies, saffron has been compared to both Prozac and Imipramine, and found to work at least as well, or better, with less side effects.

While the petal is the expensive part of the herb, you can also take capsules of the stigma part of the plant, which is less expensive, but still contains the powerful mood-enhancing ingredients. Studies use a dose of 15 mg twice a day. No toxicity has been shown when taking saffron in therapeutic amounts or in cooking. While many antidepressants artificially stop the production of enzymes that breakdown serotonin, 5-HTP gives the body more of the raw materials it needs to make more serotonin. It can take several weeks for an antidepressant to kick in and trial and error must be used to find the right antidepressant.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common SSRI side effects include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, nervousness, agitation, dizziness, drowsiness, insomnia, weight gain or loss, headache, dry mouth, and loss of libido. Expected withdrawal symptoms include nausea, dizziness, lethargy, and flu-like symptoms. One commonly reported side effect which is not included in SSRI literature is brain zaps. Brain zaps can be accompanied by disorientation, tinnitus, vertigo, and lightheadedness. Some should not be mixed with SSRIs — or with each other. Tryptophan supplements increase serotonin levels by providing the essential building blocks of serotonin.

Trytophan is found in high-protein foods like meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. While the tryptophan in food is completely safe, tryptophan supplements should not be taken along with SSRIs. Gts Shutterstock Saffron Saffron Crocus sativus is well known as a treasured culinary spice, but is little known as a natural antidepressant. Saffron is believed to work as an antidepressant due to its many healing properties. If so, claim your FREE copy, right now, of our definitive guide on depression. Curcumin Supplements as Natural Antidepressants: Head-to-Head Study vs. Prozac Curcumin, the primary active ingredient of the Indian spice turmeric, is best-known in natural medicine circles for its anti-inflammatory effects.

But researchers discovered how curcumin supplements can also act as effective an effective herbal antidepressant. The study involved 60 patients with major depressive disorder who were randomly divided into three groups: Curcumin and saffron are two natural antidepressants that have been studied in clinical trials and found to be just as effective as Prozac and alternatives to antidepressants. The results of a randomized controlled trial comparing the safety and efficacy of curcumin to generic Prozac were just published in the medical journal Phytotherapy Research. Overall, the average change in the HAM-D scores was similar for curcumin and fluoxetine. In other words, as a natural antidepressant, curcumin worked as well as the prescription drug fluoxetine in terms of improvements in depression severity.

It is not known whether the curcuminoids, the essential oils, or both are acting as natural antidepressants. A number of supplement companies, such as Life Extension and Progressive Labs, utilize BCM-95, since this patented form of curcumin has been the subject of other clinical trials and is known to be better absorbed than some other curcumin extracts. Saffron For Depression Extracts made from the popular Middle Eastern spice saffron have also recently been shown to be effective natural antidepressants in several small clinical trials. One double-blind, randomized, controlled trial compared the effects of saffron with fluoxetine generic form of Prozac in 40 people with major depression.

Depression symptoms and severity were rated using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. At the end of the study, both the saffron and fluoxetine treatments resulted in significant improvements in depression symptoms and severity, with no difference in the amount of improvement between the two groups. At least two previous studies also found that both the stigmas and petals of saffron 30 mg per day act as natural antidepressants with effectiveness equal to generic Prozac. Studies also show that antidepressants can cause a laundry list of side effects, including sexual side effects, fertility problems, increased weight gain and diabetes risk, blood-pressure problems, increased heart attack risk, heart defects in unborn children — even increased desire to commit suicide.

The Naturopathic Advantage for Depression The reason why antidepressants do not work in most cases of depression is because these drugs target only one aspect of this complex condition: Unfortunately, depression is a multi-factorial issue. While conventional medicine focuses only on neurotransmitters, naturopathic and holistic medicines are at an advantage to treat the many factors that contribute to depression: After listening carefully to her story and asking for some testing, we learned her thyroid was working sub-optimally, her vitamin D, B12 and iron was low, and her early life experiences produced negative thought patterns that did not allow her have a more positive outlook.

To help, we gave her some essential fatty acids, vitamin D, B12 and iron, as well as thyroid support. We worked on her digestion in order to allow better nutrient absorption. We also prescribed 100mg of 5-HTP twice a day more on this later , recommended acupuncture, and she also started to work on her negative thought patterns. Her depression lifted in about one month after starting treatment, and she no longer needed medication. For Lenore, no one recommendation might have worked, but all of them together did the job. A naturopathic physician, or other well-trained holistically minded doctor, will work with all these factors to truly create an individualized solution to the menace that is depression.

Nutrients and Herbs for Depression? There are many wonderful and safe nutrients and botanical medicines herbs that can help with low mood. For this article, we are going to focus on a few nutrients that we have seen to be very useful, and sometimes miraculous to help our patients who are suffering from depression. Gts Shutterstock Saffron Saffron Crocus sativus is well known as a treasured culinary spice, but is little known as a natural antidepressant. Saffron is believed to work as an antidepressant due to its many healing properties. Saffron not only increases serotonin but also exhibits antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties.

Since saffron is expensive, saffron fraud is common. Turmeric has been shown to be a more potent antidepressant than Prozac. It is believed to work by increasing serotonin, while simultaneously reducing the stress hormone cortisol. You can liberally use turmeric in food, drink turmeric tea, or take turmeric supplements. Turmeric contains hundreds of compounds, but the one with the majority of the health benefits is curcumin. Although the research remains inconsistent, several studies indicate that vitamin B6 supplementation 100 to 300 milligrams per day helps alleviate depression associated with premenstrual syndrome.

Since oral contraceptives can deplete the body of vitamin B6, women taking birth control pills need to supplement their diets with B6 as well. In addition, niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, has shown some success in alleviating both depression and anxiety. Folic acid A large percentage of depressed people have low levels of the B vitamin folic acid British Journal of Psychiatry; 117: Anyone suffering from chronic depression should be evaluated by a nutritionally oriented doctor for a possible folic acid deficiency. Folic acid is usually taken with vitamin B12 and is best supervised by a physician.

Large doses of folic acid may contribute to mania. Thus anyone with a bipolar disorder should be evaluated by a qualified health care provider before trying this supplement. GABA GABA is usually classified as an amino acid, although it actually serves as a neurotransmitter there are more GABA sites in the brain than for other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine or serotonin. Hence, those suffering from depression exacerbated by anxiety might want to consider taking this supplement. Its tuberous rootstock is used to make a beverage also called kava that is believed to make people happy and sociable.

Hence, it has been used for hundreds of years in native ceremonies and celebrations. In recent years, a number of Western pharmacologists have prepared and ingested the beverage, reporting similar tranquilizing and uplifting effects. Like St. The active ingredients in kava are the kavalactones, although several other components seem to be involved as well. In a number of double blind studies, individuals taking kava extract containing 70 percent kavalactones showed improvements in symptoms of anxiety as measured by several standardized psychological tests, including the Hamilton Anxiety Scale.

In addition, unlike the benzodiazepines- such as Xanax and Ativan, that are prescribed for anxiety-kava extract neither impairs mental functioning nor promotes sedation. Another problem with benzodiazepines is that the body gradually adapts to their presence, so that it takes more of the drug to produce the same effect. This condition, known as tolerance, does not seem to occur with kavalactones. Based on clinical studies, the recommended dosage for taking kava to reduce anxiety is 45 to 70 milligrams of kavalactones three times a day. For sedative effects, a dosage of 180 to 210 milligrams can be taken before bedtime.

To put these dosages in perspective, the standard bowl of traditionally prepared kava beverage contains around 250 milligrams of kavalactones, and more than one bowl may be ingested at a sitting.

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