What are Natural Treatments for Depression?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
St. John's wort, which is used as a natural treatment for depression.
St. John's wort, which is used as a natural treatment for depression.

Depression is a serious condition that is often treated with medication and counseling. However, medications may have unpleasant side effects, and the results of counseling may take some time to note. For these reasons, some people seek out natural treatments for depression. It is important to keep in mind that many medical professionals question the efficiency of natural remedies when compared to tested medications.

A jasmine-scented candle may have a calming effect, which could help relieve depression.
A jasmine-scented candle may have a calming effect, which could help relieve depression.

Among the natural treatments for depression are acupuncture, aromatherapy, biofeedback, and chiropractic therapy. Others include hypnosis, massage therapy, guided imagery, and yoga. Even meditation and hypnosis are said to be helpful for treating depression. Results from these treatments may vary, depending on the severity of the patient’s depression, his unique disposition, the skill of any involved practitioners, and a full range of other factors.

Massage therapy may be helpful when dealing with depression.
Massage therapy may be helpful when dealing with depression.

Besides natural treatments for depression that involve altering one's mental state or physical body, there are remedies that are herbal in nature. One of the most popular of the natural remedies is St. John’s Wort; it grows as a wild, yellow flower, and in the United States, it’s often referred to as a weed. Other cultures have used it for thousands of years. There have been some studies that produced evidence of the plant’s mood-improving properties. However, some have indicated that its effectiveness may be limited when used for those in the throes of major depression rather than experiencing a more moderate case.

To use St. John’s Wort as a natural treatment for depression means taking it in liquid or pill form. This form includes the dried leaves and flowers of the plant. Some may also use the dried leaves of the plant in tea.

Ginko biloba may provide relief for depression.
Ginko biloba may provide relief for depression.

Ginkgo biloba is another popular remedy among those dealing with depression. This herbal remedy is actually an extract derived from the leaves of the ancient Ginkgo tree species. Some studies have shown Ginkgo biloba extract to be effective at relieving mild cases of depression. It is also reputed to improve memory and blood flow to the brain. Found in capsule, tablet, powder, liquid, and soft gel form, it is said to be less helpful than St. John’s Wort but beneficial when taken in combination with other natural treatments for depression.

It is best to seek the advice of a doctor before taking an herbal remedy.
It is best to seek the advice of a doctor before taking an herbal remedy.

Despite the promising studies of natural treatments for depression, it is best to seek the advice of a doctor before taking an herbal remedy. In some cases, herbs can be harmful or alter one’s absorption of, or reaction to, prescription medications. In other cases, they may not work, causing the patient to delay seeking medical treatment in favor of a remedy that does not perform as expected.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • St. John's wort, which is used as a natural treatment for depression.
      St. John's wort, which is used as a natural treatment for depression.
    • A jasmine-scented candle may have a calming effect, which could help relieve depression.
      A jasmine-scented candle may have a calming effect, which could help relieve depression.
    • Massage therapy may be helpful when dealing with depression.
      Massage therapy may be helpful when dealing with depression.
    • Ginko biloba may provide relief for depression.
      Ginko biloba may provide relief for depression.
    • It is best to seek the advice of a doctor before taking an herbal remedy.
      It is best to seek the advice of a doctor before taking an herbal remedy.
    • Although many people use herbs to alleviate depression, the practice remains controversial among some medical professionals.
      Although many people use herbs to alleviate depression, the practice remains controversial among some medical professionals.
    • Meditation is said to be helpful for treating depression.
      Meditation is said to be helpful for treating depression.