Natural Remedies for Depression
At this time, there is not enough scientific evidence to determine whether valerian works as a natural remedy for depression. Studies do suggest that valerian is generally safe to use for short periods of time (for example, four to six weeks). No information is available about its long-term safety. Valerian can cause mild side effects the morning after its use. These side effects can include headaches, dizziness, upset stomach, and tiredness.
General Considerations When Taking Natural Remedies for Depression
Many natural remedies (including herbs and other dietary supplements) have a long history of use and of claimed health benefits. However, before taking any supplement for depression symptoms, there are some things that you should consider. The first is that you should always talk with your healthcare provider about natural remedies you are considering. Just like other medicines, herbs and supplements can interact with other drugs you may be taking.
- It's important to know that an herbal supplement is not necessarily safe or without any harmful effects just because it is labeled "natural."
- Herbal supplements can act in the same way as drugs. Therefore, they can cause medical problems if not used correctly or if taken in large amounts. In some cases, people have experienced negative effects even though they followed the instructions on a supplement's label.
- Women who are pregnant or nursing should be especially cautious about using herbal supplements, since these products can act like drugs. This caution also applies to treating children with herbal supplements.
- If you use herbal supplements, it is best to do so under the guidance of a medical professional who has been properly trained in herbal medicine. This is especially important for herbs that are part of a whole medical system, such as traditional Chinese medicine or Ayurvedic medicine.
- In the United States, herbal and other dietary supplements are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as foods. This means that they do not have to meet the same standards as drugs and over-the-counter medications for proof of safety, effectiveness, and what the FDA calls Good Manufacturing Practices.
- The active ingredients in many herbs and herbal supplements are not known. There may be dozens, or even hundreds, of such compounds in an herbal supplement. Published analyses of supplements have found differences between what's listed on the label and what's in the bottle. This means that you may be taking less -- or more -- of the supplement than what the label indicates. Also, the word "standardized" on a product label is no guarantee of higher product quality, since in the United States there is no legal definition of "standardized" (or "certified" or "verified") for supplements.