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Natural Remedies for Depression

Finding the right natural depression remedy may seem overwhelming. Hundreds of supplements and remedies are marketed as depression cures, but despite the claims of the companies selling these products, the majority deliver lots of hype but little help. But effective and safe natural depression remedies do exist. So how do you recognize which options are worthwhile and which are worthless? You must judge potential natural depression remedies according to a few key considerations:
  • Does the product contain an ingredient or ingredients proven to relieve depression by solid clinical research?
  • Are the ingredients provided in the proper, proven dosages?
  • In the case of herbal extracts or other remedies that can vary in terms of potency, does the natural depression remedy use ingredients that are standardized to contain a sufficient, consistent amount of the active constituents?
  • Is the product high or low quality? Is it manufactured according to accepted quality-control standards? And does it use pure, potent, premium-quality ingredients?

    First and foremost, the best natural depression remedies are those that have been proven to relieve depression in well-designed clinical studies. Of the dozens of herbs, amino acids, and nutrients claimed to cure depression, only a handful are backed by credible scientific research.

    St. John's Wort...

    The natural remedy for depression supported by the strongest evidence is St. John's Wort extract. Over twenty controlled clinical trials have shown that high-quality St. John's Wort effectively relieves depression. In fact, studies comparing St. John's Wort to prescription antidepressants demonstrate that it works just as well as these drugs, but with fewer side effects. With this in mind, most people should turn to high-quality St. John's Wort extract as their first choice for a depression cure, starting with a dose of 600-900mg daily and increasing to 900-1800mg per day if necessary. According to the research, only St. John's Wort extracts that are standardized to contain 3-5% hyperforin effectively relieve depression, so don't settle for products that aren't standardized for hyperforin or standardize only for another, less important compound called hypericin. Also, keep in mind that St. John's Wort usually requires at least three weeks to begin working, and may not produce its full effects for a month or two.


    Another natural depression remedy backed by scientific evidence is SAM-e (S-adenosyl-L-methionine). The research behind SAM-e isn't as strong as the evidence for St. John's Wort, but it is nevertheless promising and suggests that SAM-e may offer certain advantages over both St. John's Wort and prescription antidepressants. SAM-e works quickly, and most people start noticing improvement in days rather than weeks. Unfortunately, the active dose of SAM-e, 800-1600mg daily, can cost $100 or more per month, making it far more expensive than other depression cures.


    5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a third natural depression remedy shown by clinical research to treat depression effectively. 5-HTP, an amino acid, allows your body to increase levels of serotonin, a mood-related neurotransmitter, in the brain. Low serotonin levels have been linked to depression, and many prescription antidepressants work by increasing serotonin activity. For most people, taking 50-300mg of 5-HTP per day helps improve mood in just a few weeks without causing side effects. Some websites discuss concerns over the safety of 5-HTP, but these misconceptions are unfounded. In fact, 5-HTP has an excellent safety record, and extensive research has shown it to be one of the safest natural depression remedies available. 5-HTP is a good choice for a natural depression remedy when used alone, but it may work best as a natural depression remedy when combined with St. John's Wort.

    Other popular natural depression remedies include herbs such as Ginseng and Ginkgo, amino acids like l-tyrosine and phenylalanine, and certain nutrients including B vitamins. In general, the evidence behind these remedies is still inconclusive, although Ginseng and Ginkgo have been shown to work as natural depression remedies in the elderly.

    In summary, the best natural remedies for depression are those containing proven ingredients in the proper doses and potencies and manufactured with strict quality-control procedures.