What Herbal Supplements Are Good for Depression?

Posted by WTHN on

Let’s talk about herbal supplements.? Herbal remedies are great additions to your daily routine for an extra boost to your overall wellness. 

They’re convenient and truly have some amazing health benefits, ranging from supporting brain function to aiding the digestive system - herbal dietary supplements are definitely worth a try (especially given that they're generally easy to tolerate and don't have side effects like you’d see in prescription medication).

But first let's explain what herbal supplements are. Herbal supplements are products derived from plants that are consumed orally. They’re known to support specific functions within the body, both mentally + physically. 

Keep in mind that herbal supplements are, in fact, dietary supplements - which are regulated to a point by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but not to the same extent as prescription drugs like SSRIs or even over the counter medication. So make sure that in your wellness journey, you choose a reputable company with trustworthy products and ingredients

So, how can these supplements best support our mental health? 

Clearly mental health is super important, and yet it can be overlooked. This happens especially when someone isn’t sure what to look for or how they’re feeling. But don’t worry! We’ll go through which supplements best support mental health, and what to keep an eye out for when you’re not feeling like your best self. 

Herbal supplements are recommended by many health professionals in modern medicine, especially when it comes to supporting positive mental health

Let’s find out why!

Which Herbs Are Best Suited for Promoting Better Mental Health?

Herbal supplements have some amazing overall benefits, but first we’re going to identify  which ones work best when it comes to your mental health. These herbs are all great for managing sadness + calming emotions, as well as promoting overall mental health. Here are a few supplements you can add to your shopping list:

St. John’s Wort

Also known as hypericum perforatum, this special herb is great for supporting serotonin production in the brain. Serotonin plays an important role in regulation, especially when it comes to mood. 

But before taking it, discuss it with a doctor first, as it could alter the absorption of other medications you’re taking if you’re not careful.  

Ginseng

Sourced from the root of the ginseng plant, this special herb is sourced from both America + Asia. Ginseng has supported mental health for thousands of years - it’s an ancient plant that’s been consumed in the earliest days.

Ginseng can also promote feelings of wakefulness + alertness, perfect for those that need a little jumpstart to their day.

Chamomile

Not only is chamomile made for calming emotions + relieving tension, it can also help with feelings of restlessness throughout the day. ake this herb as a supplement, or add it to your tea.

Lavender

Like chamomile, lavender is also great for promoting healthy sleep and alleviating feelings of uneasiness. 

This herb can be used in so many other calming ways, too: in a candle, or as an essential oil or supplement.

Additional Supplements to Take

These supplements provide additional support, too. Your body's physical + mental health depends on an array of vitamins, minerals + amino acids to be able to function properly.Unfortunately, a lot of Americans are supplement-deficient. 

The most common supplements you can add to your diet to support mental health

  • Omega-3 fatty acids (think fish oil!)
  • 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan)
  • B vitamins (folic acid, vitamin B12 + vitamin B6 in particular)
  • GABA
  • Vitamin D
  • DHA
  • SAM-e
  • Zinc
  • Ginkgo biloba (okay, this is part of the herbal alternative medicine category but we couldn't leave it out!)

Just like with herbal supplements, make sure to speak with a medical professional before beginning use of dietary supplements as well. There may be other prescription drugs you’re currently taking or other symptoms you may be experiencing that may warrant a professional’s opinion. 

We want you to feel healthy, safe + like the absolute best version of you! 

How You Can Help Yourself?

In addition to herbal supplements, you may need an extra boost in other ways to truly start feeling like your best self again. Here are a few  actions you can take that can help when you need a little extra pep in your step.  

Perform Small Acts of Service

There’s something about small acts of kindness that really make someone feel good about themselves. It could be as simple as buying someone a cup of coffee or helping someone carry their groceries to their car. 

A small act of kindness will go a long way for both you and the person(s) involved. How sweet! 

Create a List of Goals

Have a quiet moment with yourself and see what goals you want to achieve. Plus, there’s nothing more satisfying than a list. Once you’ve accomplished one goal, you can check it off the list and move on to the next. 

Remember, these don’t have to be huge goals. Short-term (or even daily) goals are great! They can be as simple as doing laundry for the day or taking your pup for a nice long walk to the park to get some exercise for the two of you. Create the goals that work for you, write them down and then get to work to achieve them!

Write a Letter

This is great when you want to be alone with your thoughts. It’s your time to get whatever you’re thinking out of your head + down on paper. Think: a mental way to detox. 

Write what you’re thankful for, what you’re upset about and anything in between!  

Then tear it up + throw it away as a way to release those worries or be thankful for those gifts the universe has provided. It’s such a great way to get some relief + peace of mind, and it can be done whenever + however you desire. 

Attend Events

Go out and have a little fun! Take yourself on an ice cream date or buy yourself a new outfit. 

These events can be as big or as small as you wish! As long as you’re having fun + feeling energized, anynight on the town will work. 

Engage in the Present

There’s no time like the present! So, enjoy it! Don’t worry about the future. Take control now and take everything one step at a time. This is the perfect time to use that checklist, too. By taking it day by day, project by project, your mind will be more at ease. You’ll feel less overwhelmed, and more of  a daily sense of accomplishment.

Eat Balanced Meals

Eating right is super important for you + your mental health. Be conscious about what you’re putting in your body, and it will thank you time and time again. 

Not that you can’t indulge every once in a while, but everything truly tastes better when consumed in moderation. Have trouble keeping track? ake a list to get a visual idea of what you’ll be eating for the week. 

Chicken salad one night? Maybe homemade pizza the next? Both sound great!

Get Moving

Staying active is one of the easiest (and hardest) things to do. A body in motion will stay in motion, while a body at rest will stay at rest. So… it’s time to get moving!

Join a gym with a friend or tune in live for an online workout. Not a fan of the gym? Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Getting the blood pumping will have you feeling energized + will relax your mind.

Partner with Positive People

No one likes a Negative Nancy. The people you’re with can affect your mood. Are you laughing + smiling while with certain friends? Then they’re the ones worth spending time with. If not, then find people who do. When you surround yourself with positivity, it rubs right off on you!

What Are the Signs of More Severe Mental Health Changes?

While all the signs of a mental health change may not be apparent, there are definitely some major factors that should be taken into consideration if you or a loved one experiences them. While it's normal to feel upset or sad when dealing with life’s many curveballs life, depressive symptoms should be taken seriously if they're affecting your everyday life. 

Mood disorders, mental disorders + mental illness are easy to miss, and when depression symptoms are left uncheked, you can miss out on the range of options available for the treatment of depression. Mild depression, moderate depression or major depression--your mental health is important, and you should never be afraid or ashamed to seek help when you need it. Whether you prefer antidepressant medications or if you just need an outlet to vent, there are plenty of people who are willing + able to support you.

If you’re going through any of the following, you may want to consider reaching out to a mental health professional:

  • Upsetting mood swings
  • Issues with sleeping 
  • Changes in interests
  • Excessive guilt 
  • Levels of low self-esteem 
  • Feelings of low energy 
  • Minimal self-care 
  • Major changes in appetite 
  • Self-harm thoughts or behaviors

What Could Cause a Change in Mental Health?

These mental health challenges + changes may have underlying reasons - which may be the same reasons your mental state may have quickly or abruptly changed. Here are some common reasons for a sudden shift or switch in feelings or mental health status:

  • Abuse 
  • Specific medications (birth control pills in particular)
  • Death or loss 
  • Genetics 
  • Major life events
  • Serious illnesses

We cannot stress enough--please reach out if you need it.

Our Final Thoughts

Are herbal supplements the right move to help improve your mental health + wellness

Herbal supplements can truly offer support across multiple body systems, or give you that extra boost you’ve been wanting to help you feel like the happiest, healthiest version of you!

Sources:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/causes-depression#1
  2. https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/live-well/2017/05/7-ways-to-overcome-depression-without-medication/
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314421#symptoms-of-depression
  4. https://nndc.org/resource-links/