Sunday, 11 December 2011

Natural Cures For Depression - Health

If you are suffering from mild to moderate depression, conventional antidepressants may not be your best option because of their side effects. Over the last few years more and more natural cures for depression have been shown to be effective in alleviating depression symptoms, so taking natural remedies for depression is a credible alternative.

The most effective natural remedies for depression include antidepressant herbs, essential oils, selected vitamin and mineral supplements and physical exercise.

Herbal tinctures

Herbs for depression are best taken as a tincture. Herbal tinctures such as St John's wort, rose, vervain or oats have been shown to be beneficial for mild depression. You can buy these tinctures ready-made from herbal shops or make your own.

Take up to 2ml of your chosen tincture (tincture strength 1:2) diluted in some water, 2-3 times a day. When taking St John's wort avoid excessive exposure to sun or UV light. If you are taking any other medication, consult a specialist before taking the tincture.

Essential oils

Essential oil mixes specifically formulated for depression can be used as massage oils or put on the space between the nose and upper lip. Never apply essential oils neat on the skin. Always mix them with a base or carrier oil.

Mix 15 drops of geranium, 10 drops of bergamot and 5 drops of lavender essential oil in two tablespoons of base oil such as avocado, grapeseed, apricot kernel or sweet almond. Alternatively, use 15 drops of geranium, 12 drops of nutmeg and 8 drops of neroli oil. For chronic depression 3 drops of osmanthus oil and 3 drops of jasmine oil will bring relief.

You can also use any of the above mixes in a bath. Sprinkle your preferred mix into the water and swish around to disperse the oils. Soak in the bath for about 15 minutes.

Essential oils can also be poured on a tissue or handkerchief to sniff or used in a vaporiser. Use fewer drops of each oil for this.


Vigorous exercise helps to counter depression. Exercise that increases your heart rate at least three hours a week (or 30 minutes a day) may help boost your body's natural mood-enhancers. Exercise in natural surroundings is particularly beneficial as contact with nature and green spaces has a positive effect upon mental health. Gardening is an ideal activity of this sort.

Mindfulness meditation and the traditional Chinese exercises of Chi Gong and Tai Chi can also be employed to relieve depression. In addition, a type of controlled breathing with roots in traditional yoga (Sudarshan kriya yoga) can provide relief for depression. The program involves several types of cyclical breathing patterns, ranging from slow and calming to rapid and stimulating. Overall, exercise is a more effective treatment for depression than antidepressants, with fewer relapses and a higher recovery rate.

Vitamins and minerals

People suffering from depression often have low vitamin B levels. By eating a healthy diet and taking vitamin supplements that contain folic acid and vitamins B6, B12 and B6 you can correct any deficiencies. Taking vitamin D together with calcium supplements or 100 mg of selenium per day will also improve your mood.

Make sure you get enough iron. A lack of iron can make depression worse. Let a health professional check your iron levels. Also balance your fats. Depressed people may have lower omega-3 fatty acid levels, so increase your intake of oily fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. Take 10g of omega-3 fatty acids per day.

Depression is a complex disease. A low mood can be improved with natural cures for depression as described above but for severe depression you should always consult a health professional.

Monika Ruthe is a complementary therapist and the creator of an online information resource on natural healing remedies. To discover the best natural remedies for a variety of common ailments and how to use them visit

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