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Did you know that more than 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide? Depression is a tragic mood disorder that disables a person from thinking, feeling, and acting freely and normally. It is most common in people ages 18-25. According to the World Health Organization, it is also the leading cause of disability in the world.
With the aim of relieving symptoms and treating depression, numerous patients are daily prescribed anti-depressants medicines. According to InformedHealth.org, out of 100 people, 40-60 people who took antidepressants displayed considerable improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks.
Treatment for depression involves medicines, counseling, and varied kinds of therapies. But is it enough to fight the catastrophic diseases? Well, the answer might be no! There are various natural remedies available to fight depression. These remedies are never a standalone treatment for depression but when followed, they can considerably improve and help with the treatment.
If you are looking to improve your depressive symptoms in a natural way, it is suggested that you follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Adding moderate to high-level exercises and eating super food also helps prevent and treat symptoms of depression. In this quick guide, we will take a look at the top 10 natural remedies for depression:
Botanically known as Withania Somnifera, ashwagandha is a tiny woody plant with yellow flowers found majorly in India and North Africa. Classified as an adaptogen, it is believed to help you manage stress in a better way. It's rooted and orange-red fruit has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. It is also called Indian ginseng and winter cherry.
In Ayurveda, a medicine and healthcare system started in India about 3000 years ago, ashwagandha is considered as a Rasayana, which means that it helps maintain youth, both physically and mentally.
A modern study shows that ashwagandha can be used to treat stress and anxiety. You can buy it in capsules form, powdered version, or take it as a liquid extract.back to menu ↑
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are a healthy form of fat found in fish such as wild salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies. It is known to increase and boost serotonin levels naturally. There are three types of omega 3 fatty acids: ALA, EPA, and DHA. Out of these three, EPA is considered best to fight depression.
Also found in flaxseeds and walnuts, omega 3 fatty acids have proven effects on improving the symptoms of depression. A high intake of diet rich with omega 3 fatty acid will help you fight depression naturally and boost your mood levels.back to menu ↑
Extracted from Matricaria recutita plant, Chamomile has a proven effect in helping to manage depression and anxiety. In a study about chamomile, researchers found that it gave higher levels of relief from depressive symptoms than a placebo.
Chamomile is mostly taken in tea form. You can brew its dried leaves and flowers with warm water and sip it slowly.back to menu ↑
Popularly known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble nutrient. Most of the time, Vitamin D is absorbed by your body through direct exposure from the sun. A Vitamin D deficiency leads to poor bones health, symptoms of depression and low levels of mood.
In a study, researchers found out that a low level of Vitamin D is linked with depression. People who have low levels of Vitamin D are at higher risk of getting depression.
Important for brain function, it is essential that you have a good amount of Vitamin D in your body. Sun exposure in the cheapest and easiest way of getting Vitamin D. Apart from the sun, you can always take capsules to increase the levels of the sunshine vitamin.back to menu ↑
Regular exercise can be a powerful mood booster. Medium to a high level of exercise can not only help you get fit but also help you fight mental illnesses. According to Dr. Miller, “In people who are depressed, neuroscientists have noticed that the hippocampus in the brain — the region that helps regulate mood — is smaller. Exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, improving nerve cell connections, which helps relieve depression.”
Exercise boost your energy, improves your sleep and helps build confidence. Aim to exercise for at least thrice in a week for 20 minutes. Exercises like yoga, Pilates, and running are helpful exercises. If you are a complete beginner, start from moderate walking and then slowly move towards high-intensity workouts.back to menu ↑
A regular meditation session can help your brain fight and manage stress and anxiety better. Meditation simply means focusing on the present. When you are in a mental rut, you tend to have negative thoughts about yourself. Meditation may help you calm down and restore your energy. Meditation has proven the effect of helping in depression. A regular session of 20 minutes five times a week is enough. If you are a beginner, start by meditating only for 5 minutes a day. Regular meditation will surely help you fight depression and anxiety.back to menu ↑
Your gut health is directly related to your brain health. The healthy gut microbes potentially influence your brain health. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that are good for your digestive system. To increase the healthy gut bacteria, it is essential that you take probiotics daily. Adding foods like yogurt, kefir, pickles, kimchi, and tempeh helps you increase the good bacteria in your gut which in turn helps fight depression and anxiety.back to menu ↑
A native to the Mediterranean Sea, Southern Europe, Africa, Southeast India, and Middle Eastern countries, Lavandula includes more than 30 species, hybrids, and cultivars. Traditionally alleged to have therapeutic and curative properties, lavender is now being touted as a remedy for fighting depression symptoms and treat neurological disorders. Lavender Oil has sedative and calming properties. It helps to relieve stress, improve sleep, and promote the feeling of wellbeing. Lavender oil can be used as an oral supplement, through aromatherapy, dripping oil, and bathing.
Add 5-10 drops to your bathing water, diffuse a few drops in your bedroom at night and apply little drops on your chest, temples, and wrist.back to menu ↑
Remaining indoor for a large amount of time increases anxiety and stress. Humans are a social animal and are not meant to remain indoors or covered. Moving out gives you exposure to people, nature, and varied experiences. It is essential for a person suffering from depression symptoms to move and go out daily or at least thrice in a week. Meeting people and friends, going out for a cup of coffee and just walking in a park will help you feel better and forget about your worries, even if temporarily.back to menu ↑
Nature is the gift of the planet. A blissful time spent between plants, trees, and forest can help you feel naturally better and improve your mood levels. Walking in nature reduces the risk of depression and calm down the stress. A walk outdoors in nature helps you fight the stress and negative emotions. It yields positive results and boosts your energy levels.
Go for a morning walk in your nearby park. A daily 20 minutes of brisk walking in nature is enough to help fight stress and anxiety.back to menu ↑
The Bottom Line
Depression is a deadly disease that completely takes over a person. It feels like you've been forcefully jailed. Depression cannot be explained to someone who has not gone through it. It takes over your emotions, feelings, and complete wellbeing. To help fight this disease or any other mental illness, it is imperative that we take the best of treatments available. Apart from regular medicines, counseling, and therapy, it is essential that you look towards natural remedies too.
Natural remedies are affordable and risk-free ways of fighting depressive and anxiety symptoms. They help you to regulate your feelings and emotions, boost mood, and improve sleep. Remember that natural remedies, as a standalone cannot cure the depression completely. But when combined with the regular treatment, they can help to dissolve the dullness of depression early and let you enjoy the sunshine again.
Although most of the remedies have mostly less to no side effects, it is best if you speak with your doctor before starting on anyone. Start with a lesser amount of exercise or oral consumption. Wait for at least a week before you increase the intake. Write down your experiences and share it with your mental health doctor. Mind that natural remedies are no easy-peasy solution to your tiring illness but act as a helping hand. Use them wisely.