Wellness Wednesday :: Remedies for Depression

In today's video, I discuss those days we feel down. Depression and low moods affect so many people so I put together a few suggestions and herbs that may help you find more emotional balance.

Depression is a huge topic. If your depression feels severe or you’re having thoughts of harming yourself or others that you should seek support. Please know you’re not alone and there are people out there who can help. To get immediate help please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

There are many factors that contribute to a low mood. First, it's important to assess whether there could be physiological reasons why you’re feeling the way you are. Thyroid problems, troubles with sleep, blood sugar imbalance, and low iron or nutrition can all contribute to the symptoms and signs that look like depression. 

There are many studies that now show anti-depressant medications have very low efficacy especially in cases of low to moderate depression. In fact, we now know that mental illness is really not just a psychological or chemical issue in your brain. Depression is actually just a symptom that something else in your system is out of balance.  

I have some great resources on my site where I discuss things like how unbalanced blood sugar and an unhealthy digestive system contributes to mood disorders. I also have a number of posts related to gratitude and heart centred practices that may be of help as well. So if you’re interested in learning more be sure to check that out.

In eastern medicine, if you feel stuck, stressed and depressed your Liver could be stagnant. If you feel bloated, have a low appetite or loose stools with depression you could have too much damp or ama in your digestive system. And finally, if you feel wired but tired and depressed your Kidney energy or your blood could be depleted.  

When treating your depression you’ll first need to assess if you tend towards feeling overstimulated and anxious or if you feel heavy and low energy. This will determine whether you need herbs and practices that slow you down and ground you or if you need remedies that will pick you up and get you going.

Before talking about herbal remedies remember that exercise is incredibly helpful for depression. So try to get outside or at the very least get to your local gym for some regular cardiovascular movement. The second most important remedy is diet. Eat a whole foods diet with plenty of omega - 3 fatty acids like fatty fish or flax, hemp and chia seeds. And cut out processed sugar. 

As always, you’ll want to check with your health care provider about the remedies suggested. This is absolutely essential if you’re currently taking pharmaceuticals for your mental health as some of the herbs I mention can interact with drugs like anti-depressants.

St.John's Wort

St.John's Wort thrives in sunny conditions and its effect is sort of like sunshine. When you purchase it be sure to get products made with the fresh herb which turns remedies into a beautiful red colour. This plant is a wonderful support for our nerves. It not only supports us when we’re under stress but it also heals nerve damage and helps neurotransmitter functions. While it’s overall fairly safe, this is one of those herbs you’ll need to check with your health care provider about if you’re on other medications or if you’re pregnant. Some people find it causes sensitivity to light so if you notice that side effect you’ll want to discontinue use as well.

Purchase St.John’s Wort here.

Lemon Balm / melissa officinalis

The next remedy is Lemon Balm or melissa officinalis. This beautiful herb is calming while not being sedative. It won’t put you to sleep but it can help with all kinds of nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, and low moods. Lower doses can also be used for children.

Tea from the freshly picked or dried plant is best but you could use a tincture as well. Use this plant under guidance during pregnancy or if you have hypothyroid disease.

Purchase Lemon Balm here. 

I hope these suggestions help you on your healing path. Keep moving, heal your digestion, and try out those herbs to find more emotional balance.