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7 Herbs and Spices That Can Treat Depression Naturally
If you suffer from depression, you are not alone. Whether it is a temporary condition caused by a specific situation or event, or you have had it for years, more than 15.7 million adults in this country have suffered from depression at one point each year (based on statistics from 2014). This illness is usually treated with pharmaceutical drugs in order to get the patient back to a point where he or she is able to think clearly again and is better able to deal with the cause of the depression.
People who are experiencing depression display feelings of sadness, are generally unhappy, and have lost interest in most or all areas of life. Long-term patients may choose to seek therapy in order to better cope with situations they can’t handle. There are also herbs and spices that may provide relief in a more natural way. If you are looking to explore other ways of treating this common disorder, here are 10 herbs and spices that may alleviate some symptoms of depression.
Turmeric has been touted as an effective anti-inflammatory substitute for many prescribed medications. In a study in Phytotherapy Research, turmeric was found to be more successful at alleviating depression than most of prescribed antidepressants.
2. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort has been found to be effective in dealing with people who suffer from mild forms of depression. This European plant helps to raise the serotonin levels in the brain, which is usually deficient in those with depression. A number of studies which showed that St. John’s wort worked just as well in alleviating mild depression as prescribed medications, and with fewer side effects, were reviewed by the National Institutes of Health. Because it has been found to interact with other medications, make sure you discuss this with your doctor before trying it for your depression.
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This herb has a distinct aroma and makes a delicious addition to many meals. But its usefulness doesn’t stop there. Rosemary has been proven to not only help with depression, it has been used to treat those suffering from frayed nerves, burnout, and even insomnia. Published findings showed that those who exhibited distinct levels of rosemary oil in their bloodstream demonstrated “improved cognitive performance.”
Practitioners of Eastern medicine regard saffron as “the spice of happiness.” A study conducted in Iran in 2015 found that the use of saffron had the same results in treating depression as prescription anti-depressants. Saffron strands are known for giving Spanish food that vibrant yellow color. It is also popular in Indian food.
Thyme may be more well known for its use in cooking, but when you see its capabilities, you will see why it is being successfully used to treat depression. This herb is brimming with lithium, which is a mineral that addresses depression, and also tryptophan, which creates serotonin and serves as a sleep aid. In addition, thyme can both calm you down and stimulate your brain. You may be able to incorporate this into your daily regimen as a tea found in a health food store.
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Lavender has long been recognized for its soothing aroma. It has been administered to people who suffer from mid-level to severe anxiety. Lavender oil was shown to have some success in improving anxiety after a six- to ten-week period. It was not resolved as to whether it was more effective than regular anti-anxiety medications, but it was able to successfully reduce anxiety levels.
Cinnamon has a fragrance that is distinct and soothing. It is a delicious spice that is used in baking, in hot tea, and on breakfast cereals. Ceylon cinnamon has been shown to be a successful treatment for those suffering from depression. Cinnamon is easy to incorporate into your day. Cinnamon also helps to refresh your body and mind when they are out of balance, and it will also encourage your brain to operate at its optimum level. Studies have demonstrated that cinnamon may help reverse depression. A simple cup of hot tea with some cinnamon and honey will begin to relax you from the first sip.
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While these are all natural alternatives to treating your depression, make sure that you talk to your doctor before switching from any prescription medications that you are already taking.