Natural Remedies for Depression
More Detail on Natural Depression Remedies
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a bushy, low-growing plant covered with yellow flowers in the summer. It has been used for centuries in many folk and herbal remedies. Today in Germany, Hypericum perforatum is used in the treatment of depression more than any other antidepressant. However, the scientific studies that have been conducted on this treatment have been for short-term use only and have used several different doses.
Because of the widespread interest in St. John's wort, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a three-year study that looked at the herb's effects in people with major depression of moderate severity. The study compared people taking St. John's wort to people who took sertraline (Zoloft®) and people who took a placebo (a sugar pill which is equivalent to taking nothing).
This study concluded that for treating depression symptoms, the antidepressant was better than either St. John's wort or the placebo. While this study did not support the use of St. John's wort in the treatment of major depression, ongoing depression research is examining a possible role for St. John's wort in the treatment of milder forms of depression.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of fat found in fish oil and certain plants and nut oils. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in a variety of dietary supplements. For example, they are found in products containing flaxseed oil, fish-oil supplements, and algal oils.
Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (also called PUFAs, short for polyunsaturated fatty acids) are among the natural remedies used for treating symptoms of depression. Based on some pretty small studies, there is evidence that using PUFAs, especially omega-3 fatty acids, can improve symptoms of depression. While the evidence to support using PUFA supplements as a treatment for depression is not strong, enough potential exists to merit further research.