Thousands of people in the United States of America alone experience the strangling grasp of depression at some point in their lives. Many of these individuals suffer undiagnosed, untreated, and without counsel as they sink further into the swamp of isolation and inescapable hurt.
Depression, hardly a laughing matter, often goes unnoticed or unacknowledged by the people surrounding the individual suffering from it, furthering the feelings of isolation. If you or someone you know suffers from depression ranging from the slightest touch of the blues on a rainy day, to a journey within an emotional desert that lasts several months, there are ways to keep this depression or depressed feeling in check – in addition to help from trained therapists of course.
While we highly recommend that you seek therapy as a part of a plan to relieve the symptoms of depression, many individuals also turn to different forms of herbal remedy as an alternative to medicines offered by commercial pharmaceutical companies. Nature has much of what you need to help take control of this spiraling mental drought before it takes control of you.
Before we dig into the depths of potential plant treatments, let us start by examining the exact definition of depression. Clinical depression, a mood disorder, is characterized by often extreme or overwhelming feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, or loss.
While everyone experiences these feelings at some point or another, clinical depression causes these feelings to interfere with an individual’s ability to tackle the tasks of daily life, and lasts for a number of days, weeks, or even months. Popular treatments include speaking with a psychiatrist or counselor and taking prescription medications as a means of managing this disorder. However, alternative remedies used before Western medicinal practice gained increasing popularity offer a safe and natural approach to treating or managing depression.
The intake of herbal supplements or foods can make a positive impact on management of depression. The results of multiple studies confirm that St. John’s wort relieves the impact of depression when ingested for four to six weeks, three times a day, in 300 mg capsules.
Ginkgo biloba, another herb available by supplement, aids in the brain’s process of creating neurotransmitters. One study’s results suggested that the extract could ease the mental state of a group of elderlies struggling with depression and dementia.
One method that staves off depression through the intake of herbal substances includes consuming foods rich in beta-carotene (i.e. carrots or spinach), and vitamins A (i.e. blueberries and strawberries) and E (i.e. vegetable oils). A high antioxidant intake can prove helpful in staving off depression as they fight off cell-damaging free radicals – a cause of cellular damage and dysfunction.
Another alternative method of treating depression lies in the simple act of drinking tea. Chamomile tea can treat some depression-related symptoms, including insomnia and agitation by soothing and relaxing the body from the inside out. Peppermint tea performs a similar task, by relaxing the muscles.
Another tea that treats symptoms of depression, lemon balm, has two ways of acting on your body. The lemony scent of the tea has an immediate effect on the mind with its aromatic qualities. Plus, the surplus of citrus oils released into the brew can lower blood pressure – allowing the grip of stress to loosen. This herbally-induced relaxation brings clarity to the mind, and quickens the process of falling asleep.
Rosehip tea, another tasteful suggestion, has a high count of vitamins A, C, and E. As mentioned before, these vitamins also serve as antioxidants – thus allowing them to stave off damages that have destructive potential on the mind and body.
Red raspberry leaf tea also performs well in management of depression. The leaves contain a bioflavonoid called quercetin which specifically works as a natural antidepressant. It is suggested that consuming up to six cups a day maximizes the potential for health benefits.
Aroma therapy also employs the benefits of herbs to relieve depression. A couple of psychologists in England studied the effects that certain scents unleash on the brain, their findings concluding that some smells equivocate some drugs used to manage depression. Numerous other studies had similar conclusions, specifically with the oils of lavender, citrus, and mint.
One article suggests combining “4 ounces of sweet almond oil, 10 drops of bergamot essential oil, 10 drops of petitgrain essential oil, 2 drops of rose geranium essential oil, and 1 drop of neroli essential oil. Store in a small bottle, open and sniff as needed to overcome feelings of depression.” Other methods of introducing aroma therapy as a part of depression management include; lighting up incense, candles, and heating up scented oils over a flame.
Other ways that you can make your struggle with depression a little easier include exercising regularly. Exercising increases blood flow and circulation, which means in turn that more blood goes to your head. This speeds up the brain’s processes, including repair and renewal of damaged cells.
Exercise outside on a sunny day for a double dose of depression relief. The sunlight contains vitamin D, which soaks into the skin and through the rest of the body. Evidence exists that suggests that the sun’s rays can raise the levels of serotonin in your body, creating a natural ambiance of happiness.
Other ways to manage depression include a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables in general. In fact, the brighter the fruit, the more likely it is to brighten your day. Many fruits contain vitamins and antioxidants that ward off damage to cells – which may increase the severity or likelihood of depression.
We produce organic soaps, toners, and cleansers that contain organic herbs – including the ones mentioned in this article. Many of our products contain lavender, which provides an uplifting floral aroma shown to relieve insomnia and boost your mood. Some of our lavender-infused formulas include our Lavender Fields Bar Soap, Lush Lavender Body Cleanser, and Lavender Dream Body Lotion.
We also have a wide variety of products containing peppermint – an herb proven to stimulate mental awareness, relax the physical body, and soothe the temperament. Experience the tingle of relaxation along with the mind-opening scent of refreshing organic mint.
And, we carry Melissa Leaf Hydrosol. Melissa leaf is another name for lemon balm, and a spritz of this skin treat will not only tone your skin but balance your mood and stress levels. The smell of this product is pleasantly light.
We carry a number of other products containing ingredients like organic citrus oils of lemon, lime, and orange. The smells of citrus have a natural boosting effect on the mind, while also boosting and brightening your complexion.
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