Natural Remedies for Depression: Herbs

Depression is an internal psychological, emotional, and spiritual issue involving a feeling of helplessness, low self esteem, and sadness in response to an outer or inner event. This event might be life changing such as divorce, death of a loved one, or children leaving home. Sometimes depression is caused by a physical illness. Chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s are known to cause depression. Some depression symptoms are lack of energy, sleeplessness or sleeping too much, crying spells, and suicidal thoughts.

There are natural herbal treatments for depression that can be of great help. But the central issue that is causing the depression has to be addressed and dealt with in order for real healing to occur. It is highly recommended that the person affected seeks the help of a professional counselor, therapist or even a pastor or spiritual leader. For a clinically depressed person it is a must. Herbal remedies by themselves cannot cure depression. They play a supporting role while the patient works out their depression. These herbal recommendations are for mild to moderate depression.

Severe depression is beyond the scope of this hub. This herbs for the most part are safe.Also please consult your health care professional before you take any of the herbs listed here especially if you are taking other medication.

If you have read my hub on Natural Remedies for stress you may find similarities. But there are distinct differences. For stress we try to slow down and calm down while for depression we are trying to uplift.


Herbs for Anxiety and Depressed Mood


Herbs can be used as tonics to feed and strengthen the nervous system and ease anxiety depression. One of the best known tonics is oats. Have a bowl of oat every morning if you are feeling low. Use organic regular oats and not instant.

You can also make an infusion of oat straw on its own or along with other tonic and relaxant herbs and drink it as tea.Oat straw had been an ally for depressed people for centuries. This gentle herb nourishes the nerves and lifts the spirit. It is most effective as an infusion. Here is how you make oat straw infusion for depression.

Making Oat Straw Infusion

Make plenty of infusion: Brew one ounce by weight of dried herb in a quart jar filled to the top with boiling water. Steep for at least four hours, then strain and refrigerate your infusion. Drink as many cups a day as you wish. Or make an oat straw bath by adding two quarts of infusion to your bath water.

Some of the other best known tonic herbs are damiana, skullcap, wood betony, nettles and St. John’ worth

Nervine Relaxant and Adaptogens

Nervine relaxant are also important in treating depression. They relax tension and help in mood enhancement. Some of the important relaxant we can use for depression is Jamaican dogwood, lavender, chamomile, black cohash, and passion flower.

Adaptogens are another group of herbs that can be very beneficial for depression. They help by increasing the adaptability of the body to stressful or unpleasant situation. They most probably work by feeding and strengthening the adrenal glands, enabling it to respond appropriately to stressful situation. A good example of an adaptogen that can be used to treat depression is ginseng.

Wood Betony
Wood Betony

Other Anti-Depressant Herbs Uplifts the Spirit

Then there are the anti depressant herbs that uplifts the spirit. Some of these are rosemary, lime blossom. The herbs mentioned above oats, damiana, St. John’s wort, and lavender also uplifts the spirit.

.How to take All the Herbs Mentioned Above

  • For general support and to relax the nerves make an infusion of anyone of the following herbs lemon balm, damiana, and skull cap. Drink 4 cups a day.
  • To uplift the spirit and in times of nervous exhaustion and tension take tablets of St. John as specified on the bottle or make an infusion of the herb and drink 4 cups a day. St. John’s needs s to be taken 2 to 3 weeks to show its effectiveness.
  • If the depression has a digestive component due to stress the best herb will be lemon balm prepare an infusion and drink up to 5 cups a day.
  • If there is panic attack and headache make a skull cap infusion and take 5 cups a day.
  • To strengthen the adrenal glands and help the whole body adjusts to stress and anxiety take ginseng tablets as directed, or chew .5 to 1 gm of the root per day. You can also take 2 to 3 gm of Siberian ginseng capsule up to 3 times a day instead of the ginseng.

( caution: Do not take ginseng or Siberian ginseng for more than 3 weeks at a time. If you are pregnant do not take ginseng. Do not give to children under 11. Don’t drink anything with caffeine while taking this herb.)

How to Make an Infusion

To make an infusion put one teaspoon of the dried herb or three teaspoon of the fresh herb per cup of hot water in a tea pot preferably glass or porcelain and let it steep for 10 minutes. For medicinal purpose it is best to drink it hot but you can drink it cold too. This is the general direction of on how to make an infusion for any herb not just this one.

If you take these herbs follow the direction as given and use them with caution. If you are taking other medication make sure you consult your physician to make sure there is no cross reaction. For the most part these natural remedies for depression are safe.

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Comments 6 comments

Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Excellent advice...anti-depressants should not be the first choice and used only if nothing at least that's my thoughts on this!

thanks for an educational hub, lelane!

lelanew55 profile image

lelanew55 6 years ago Author

Thank you for the compliment Ann. And I agree anti-depressants should be the last resort. I am glad you found this hub helpful.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

I just read in a newspaper that Americans use 66% of the anti-depressants on the world market. Either we are not handling our lives or such drugs are over-prescribed, or both. It is indeed time for us to find alternatives and time for us to take control of our health, and demand some safe options.

Thanks for an informative and thoughtful hub!

lelanew55 profile image

lelanew55 6 years ago Author

Bk yes there are a lot of people on anti-depressants. My brother is a pharmacist he tells me every other prescription he fills is for anti-depressants. It is sad because I think people shouldn't rely on anti-depressants for depression. It should be a last resort after counseling and therapy. People should try meditation even exercise and herbs and nutrients before resorting to anti-depressants. Thank you for your kind words.

D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England

lelanew55, a well written informative hub that conveys sound advise. Another bonus of herbal remedies is that they are not addictive. Thank you for sharing.

lelanew55 profile image

lelanew55 6 years ago Author

D.A.L.Thank you for your kind words. Yes herbs are not addictive and do not have the harsh side effects synthetic drugs have on the body.

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