Herbs For Depression

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Herbs For Depression

Herbs for depression can be very effective when it comes to the treatment of the condition.

Herbs usually refer to a plant or plant part used to make medicine, spices (flavoring in food) or perfume. These medicinal materials have been used in all cultures throughout history, and are integral to the practice of medicine even today. [1]

In fact, many drugs used by conventional western doctors today were discovered by following native folklore claims or by examining the herbs used by traditional herbal healers. This means that conventional pharmaceutical drugs actually work in the same way as herbs do, i.e. via their chemical constituents. [1]

Around the world, there are a number of highly developed medicinal systems that make use of medicinal plants for the treatment of ailments, including depression. Two of these medicinal systems include Western Herbalism and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).


Herbs for depression in Western Herbalism

In traditional western herbalism, there is a category of herbs that helps with different kinds of nervous disorder and imbalances – the nervines. [2, 3, 4]

In turn, nervines can be subdivided into 4 other subcategories [3, 4].


Functional nervines

According to Christopher Hobbs, founder of Native Herb Custom Extracts (now Rainbow Light Custom Extracts) and the Institute for Natural Products Research, a fourth generation herbalist and botanist with over 30 years experience with herbs, the first subcategory is known as functional nervines. Herbs in this subcategory (e.g. St. John’s wort and wild oats) help repair damages and weaknesses in the nervous system. [4]

Functional nervines are probably what Rosemary Gladstar, author of “The Family Herbal”, knows as nerve tonics, since nerve tonics nourish, rehabilitate and strengthen the nervous system. According to Gladstar, nerve tonics often contain high levels of nutrients (e.g. calcium, magnesium, B vitamins and protein), are mild and hence are suitable for long-term use, and are included in many formulas for disorders of the nervous system, including depression. [3]

In turn, nerve tonics include Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis and related species), Hops (Humulus lupulus), Kava Kava, Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), Oatstraw (Avena sativa), Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), and Wood Betony (Betonica officinalis). [3]


Sedative nervines

The second subcategory of nervines is known as sedative nervines. Herbs in this subcategory help in relaxation, relieve pain, anxiety and tension, as well as improve sleep, without blocking nerve endings [3]. Hence, they are suitable herbs for depression accompanied by anxiety, aches, insomnia, irritability, and pains. [2, 3, 4,]

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