Depression is one of the top five diseases world-wide and directly effects upwards of 1.4 billion of us at some point in our life. Measuring depression should be left to a professional, but moderate depression will certainly effect a persons daily work and social activities.

It is well known that there is a ‘pharmacological toxicity’ and side effects associated with psychotropic medications such as fatigue, dizziness, confusion, agitation nightmares, constipation, sweating, palpitations, erectile dysfunction, and a long list of other potential effects.

Chances are you, or someone close to you, will be afflicted with mild to moderate depression at some point. There are scientifically validated proven ways to escape the feelings. Herbal medicines are not ‘magic elixirs’, they are supplements that will help the consumer to the ‘next level’ where they’ll have to willingly make the constructive changes to their diet and associative lifestyle changes that will get them out of the rut of depression. These natural cures will aid in getting people out of the rut just as fast as doctor prescribed psychotropic ‘cures.’ The best thing is, you can do-it-yourself, and that alone may be enough to get you out of the rut – or it will get you to the point where you have the will to ask a professional for further help.

The following herbs have been shown to help reduce mild to moderate depression.

Saffron: The petals and stigma of this plant have repeatedly been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. “At 6 weeks, Crocus sativus produced a significantly better outcome on the Hamilton depression rating scale than the placebo.” A daily dose of 30 mg of dried stigma, (the female part of a flower that receives the pollen), in a tea is enough to produce significant results.  In fact, compared to fluoxetine, which is also known as Prozac, there was no significant difference in terms of a reduction in the symptoms of depression – powerful indeed.

Lavender: Also has a long tradition as an herbal remedy. It has been found to be significantly responsible for improving mood. There was an odd side effect associated with regular lavender use, headaches – which is ironic since lavender has been traditionally used to treat headaches. The research found significant results with a daily dose of 375 mg, or 60 drops if it is taken in liquid form.

Echium: The leaves and flowers are dried and used in a tea. Studies have shown that it produces significant or very close to significant results in alleviating depression. Echium fastuosum - Star of Madeira   1280x960The plant is native to North Africa and Iran, where it is associated with mood lifting properties there.

Rhodiola: Is a plant native to high altitudes and cold areas of the northern hemisphere. A daily dose of 680 mg produced a significant reduction in depression and also improved reports of low self-esteem. It was used by the Vikings to increase stamina.

Motherwort: Has been approved by the German health agency for use in treating an irregular heartbeat caused by anxiety and stress. Motherwort has also been studied as being useful in regulating inflammatory disease. The ancient Romans used it to treat conditions of the heart and claimed it improved one’s mood as they believed mood was affiliated with the heart. Motherwort should not be used by pregnant women.

Just like Prozac, these remedies need to build up in the body and will need 4 weeks to begin working.