3 Natural Depression Remedies
Depression is a serious problem. At any given time, about 8% of the population suffers from depression. Since depression can ebb and flow, the number of folks who are at risk of depression at any given point is much higher. And unfortunately—while we’ve been getting better—depression is still often misunderstood, misdiagnosed, or mistreated. Depression isn’t a failure of will, or some sort of character defect. It’s not the result of a bad day or a bad week. It’s a biochemical imbalance, which can cause serious damage—sending over 8 million people to treatment every year. It can even cause death—as depression drives a significant chunk of the nearly 43,000 suicides we see annually. But, as with many health issues, there are solutions available, if you know where to find them. The answer isn’t to “keep your chin up” or to try to “smile more” or to “fake it ‘til you make it.” The key is regaining your biochemical balance. And today, I’m going to show you exactly how to do it—naturally, safely, and with minimal impact on your daily life.
How Do I Know If I’m Depressed?
It may seem like a simple question, but it can be difficult to tell the difference between different types of depression, because we use the same word to describe disparate things.
There’s a general depressed state of mind—if you’ve got low self-esteem, you are disappointed in yourself or the choices you’ve made, you might simply have a depressed personality. In this sort of case, therapy can be a great option, to help you reframe your place in the world.
There’s profound depression, usually kicked off by the loss of something or someone dear to you. That’s perfectly normal—we’ve all felt it at one time or another. This will fade over time on its own, though counseling can help speed the process along.
And then there’s clinical depression—an entirely biochemical issue that tends to run in families.
If you have disturbed sleep patterns, fatigue combined with a loss of appetite and weight, feelings of despair and lack of motivation, for more than a few months, with no outside cause you can point to, odds are good you’re suffering clinical depression.
This is most often dealt with through drugs. However, in many cases, you can avoid the drugs by doing a few simple things.
In fact, these tools are so strong, versatile, and powerful, that they can work on any type of depression, no matter which you suffer from.
They can even help you turn a regular old bad day into a better one.
To be clear: If you or someone you know suffers from a deep depression that isn’t going away—no matter the cause—you should speak with a doctor or other professional.
I can’t stress this strongly enough—especially since one common symptom of depression is to stop caring about yourself or what happens to you. That’s why so many depression sufferers don’t get help when they need it.
But, in many cases, a few homegrown remedies can really do the trick—or at least provide enough of a lift to increase the odds of good results from further care.
Natural Depression Remedy #1: Griffonia Extract
Griffonia is an African flowering plant which can look quite beautiful in bloom.
But, more importantly today, its seeds contain high concentrations of 5-HTP.
5-HTP is a chemical precursor to serotonin. And, as you probably know, serotonin is a very important mood regulator in the body.
Depression is usually accompanied by very low levels of serotonin. In some cases, the low levels themselves can cause the depression, while in others depressed thoughts and emotions depress serotonin levels.
In either case, giving your body 5-HTP is an important way to jump start serotonin expression and help lift your mood.
Griffonia extract is one of my favorite ways to get 5-HTP, since it’s completely natural and much safer than other forms. However, when you take griffonia, make sure the amount of 5-HTP you take doesn’t exceed 900 milligrams daily. 100-200 mg should be plenty.
Natural Depression Remedy #2: Exercise
The same as in most cases, exercise is better than almost every drug alternative. It’s even been shown to be just as effective as pharmaceutical antidepressants.
You’ve probably heard of runner’s highs before. The jury is still out on exactly what’s happening when runner’s experience a small bit of euphoria when they run—but it’s probably linked to increased dopamine, serotonin, and norepephrine levels—all hormones that decrease depression.
Here’s the good news: You don’t need to run to get the same effect. You just have to exercise.
High-intensity exercise is great—think things that make you sweat. But even simply going for daily walks has an effect.
And, better still, that effect is cumulative. People who exercise or move regularly have better moods, stronger feelings of well being, less anxiety, and less depression.
There isn’t a guaranteed silver bullet when it comes to depression, but exercise is the closest thing we’ve got.
Natural Depression Remedy #3: Healthy Carbs
In this case, it isn’t just that healthy carbs can beat back depression.
It’s more that unhealthy carbs can make it worse.
A recent study of women age 50-79 found those who ate diets high in unhealthy carbs—like refined flour, added sugars, and white rice—had higher levels of depression than control groups.
Meanwhile, those who ate more of the healthy carbs out there—like whole grains, or the sugars found in whole fruits—had lower levels.
When you think about it, this all makes sense. Healthy whole grains and natural, whole food carbohydrates are important dietary regulators. When you eat them, you ensure your body is running the way it should.
Conversely, when you eat unhealthy carbs, you get blood sugar spikes when the carbs—or sugars—hit your blood, followed by insulin spikes and sugar crashes.
Down that path leads irritability and low energy. You’re halfway to a depressed state already.
So skip the added sugars, the artificial sweeteners—which act the same way in your body—and the refined carbs. They aren’t doing you any favors.
Instead, replace them with the healthy carbs you get in unprocessed grains and whole fruit. You’ll feel better in the short-term, and in the long.
There is no one, easy cure for depression. But these three remedies will go a long way towards helping you feel better, by helping to restore hormonal balance to your biochemistry. And they do it more safely—and, often, more effectively—than drugs ever could.
- Mozes, Alan. The Surprising Link Between Carbs and Depression. Health. Published Aug 10, 2015. Accessed Jun 1, 2017.
- Hatfield, Heather. Runner’s High: Is It For Real? WebMD. Published Oct 17, 2006. Accessed Jun 1, 2017.
- Neuman, Frederic. Diagnosing Depression. Psychology Today. Published Jul 4, 2013. Accessed Jun 1, 2017.
Last Updated: August 16, 2018
Originally Published: June 26, 2017