According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the leading cause of disability and ill-health. Here we look at home remedies for depression.
The fact is, depression is rapidly becoming a lifestyle problem with many people suffering from symptoms such as stress, anxiety, and insomnia. These symptoms may seem minor, but they can turn into serious problems in the long run.
People with mental disorders are unable to get the right treatment, due to lack of support and fear of stigma.
There is no short cure for depression yet. It’s a long-term process. But there are many ways to slow and calm it down.
In this article, we will look at Ayurvedic herbs and spices that have been proven to reduce symptoms of depression.
Herbal Remedies for Depression
The ashwagandha is a little shrub, with yellow flowers mostly growing in India and North Africa. Its extract from leaves or roots is used for medicinal purposes.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, meaning it helps your body manage stress.
Ashwagandha has many benefits for your brain and the body. For instance, it boosts brain function, lowers cortisol and blood sugar levels, and fights symptoms of depression.
A study conducted in rats showed that it blocked stress pathways in the brain, by controlling chemical signaling in the nervous system.
Human studies have shown that it can relieve stress and anxiety disorders, due to the presence of active compounds like saponins, steroidal lactones, and alkaloids. These compounds provide anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant properties.
These properties help reduce stress from emotional and physical fatigue. They also help balance out mood swings and increase mental focus, alertness, and concentration.
Ashwagandha can be consumed in its powdered form or as a liquid extract.
Home Remedies for Depression – Bacopa monnieri
Bacopa monnieri, also called water hyssop, brahmi, herb of grace, or thyme-leaved gratiola. It’s a staple plant in ancient ayurvedic medicine. It grows in tropical, wet environments, and it thrives underwater making it popular for aquarium use.
Bacopa monnieri has been used for centuries for its purposes, like reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood, and treating epilepsy.
Research shows that it helps adapt and reduce anxiety and stress by reducing hormone
cortisol, a hormone linked to stress and by elevating your mood.
It’s also believed to increase serotonin levels in the brain – serotonin helps calm the mind and relieve anxiety and nervousness.
For instance, two 12- week human studies found that taking 300g of bacopa monnieri daily reduced anxiety and depression levels in adults than placebo treatment.
Although bacopa monnieri is considered safe, it can cause some side effects to some people. For example, it can cause digestive symptoms, like stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.
Home Remedies for Depression – Jatamansi (Spikenard)
Jatamansi, also known as tapaswani, is a dwarf, hairy, perennial, herbaceous, and endangered plant species.
It helps improve memory and brain function by preventing cell damage, because of its antioxidant property.
Jatamansi helps manage the symptoms of anxiety. This is due to its property of Tridosha balancing (Tridosha defines the three fundamental principles that control the function of our bodies – both emotional and physical level.) and a unique Medhya (improving intelligence) effect.
Jatamansi also helps erase negative thoughts by channeling mind energies in the right direction.
Tips for using jatamansi:
- Take a ¼-½ teaspoon of its powder.
- Swallow with honey after taking food, once or twice a day.
- Take for 1-2 months to control symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Also known as peppermint, pudina is one of the oldest medicinal herbs known to mankind.
It has powerful antioxidant properties. It has many benefits, like managing blood sugar levels, curing insomnia, helps calm the nerves, having a cooling effect, and aids in breathing.
Pudina is part of aromatherapy. Its refreshing and strong smell can help beat stress and depression by rejuvenating your mind.
It has adaptogenic properties that boost the body’s resilience to stress and reduces cortisol levels.
Breathing in the aroma instantly calms your mind
Studies show it helps release small amounts of serotonin in the brain that aids to beat depression.
Pudina also boosts brainpower. It ups retention, alertness, and cognitive functions.
Pudina can be consumed with tea, using its extract on a vaporizer, blend them in smoothies, or add them to chutneys.
Home Remedies for Depression – Maca (Peruvian Ginseng)
Maca is a plant, it mainly grows in Peru, in harsh conditions, and high altitudes, above 13000 feet.
The edible part of the maca plant is its roots, which grow underground. It has several colors, from white to black. Maca has been known for its culinary and medicinal use in Peru.
Maca is mainly dried and consumed in its powder form, but it can be available as a liquid extract. Studies have shown that maca helps fight stress and depression, by enhancing your mood.
A study conducted in menopausal women showed maca helped reduce anxiety and depression, compared to placebo.
Maca is said to contain compounds like flavonoids, which are believed to reduce stress and anxiety. It’s rich in amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients that increase libido and stamina and reduce excessive anxiety.
Maca is a natural healer, it helps with neurotransmitter and hormone production, due to the presence of adaptogen. It’s also a natural energizer and helps people get over lethargy.
Maca can be consumed with smoothies, baked goods, oatmeal, energy bars, and more. It’s available in powder form or as a liquid extract. It’s found in supermarkets, online retailers, and healthy food stores.
Eating fresh maca roots may have some health effects, it’s advisable to boil it first.
The Bottom Line
Ayurvedic herbs and spices, such as maca, pudina, jatamansi, ashwagandha, and many more are mostly used for their medicinal properties. They help beat stress and depression.
Although safe, pregnant and lactating mothers are not authorized to take such herbs without consulting health professionals.
It’s also advisable to seek help from professionals before taking the herbs. This way, you’ll be advised on the right amount and in which form to take the herbs.