Editor's Message: About 1 in 10 US adults are believed to be suffering from depression, according to the CDC's MMWR survey. Depression can be a result of many interconnected factors such as genetics, physiology, psychology, gender, and environment. In the Pacific Northwest, many especially women, are familiar with the winter depression linked to the shorter and gloomier days.
The cost of depression is enormous. The emotional toll on the depressed individuals and their families is certainly devastating. It is also very costly economically. Medical costs are apparent. Studies are starting to uncover the hidden economic cost of the illness. On the surface, there are lost workdays and reduced productivity which the CDC estimated to cost employers $17 to $44 billion per year. Adding in the reduced earning potential of these individuals over their lifetime, a study estimated that the cost of depression is a staggering $2.1 trillion.
What can we do about this? As the causes of the illness are many and interconnected, so should the care. Natural health treatments, supplementation, mind-body exercises, and psychotherapies along with lifestyle changes can be the first steps in fighting back. Tierney Salter, an herbalist, offers the following suggestions.
HERBAL APPROACH TO DEPRESSION
Ranging from occasionally mild to chronically unbearable, depression can be a difficult and often debilitating condition for all who suffer from it. A huge list of factors can contribute to depression ranging from poor diet to unresolved emotional issues to neurotransmitter imbalances. Oftentimes, depression results from stresses that occur as a part of life. Chronic stress leads to low adrenal function which can initiate or exacerbate the depression cycle.
An herbal approach to depression includes the long-term use of herbs to strengthen the adrenal glands and to nourish and calm the nervous system. It also includes the use of fast acting sedative herbs to curb the acute symptoms of depression.
HERBAL REMEDIES FOR DEPRESSION
Adapt To Life: Adaptogens in this formula help the body adapt to life and all its stressors to support adrenal and emotional health.
Suggested Use: 60-90 drops 2 x daily.
Kava Kava Plus: Quickly creates a sense of calmness and grounding while supporting the adrenal glands and nervous system.
Suggested Use: 60 drops 3 x daily, or as needed.
Dream Sleep: Calming and sedating herbs effectively promote sleep in those experiencing nervousness and unrest.
Suggested Use: 60 drops before bed.
5-HTP: A precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is important for balanced mood, sleep, pain control, and other important functions of the body.
Suggested Use: 50mg to 100 mg 3 x daily.
Caution: Do not take with pharmaceutical anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications.
ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS FOR TREATING DEPRESSION NATURALLY
Sam-E: Necessary for synthesis of important neurotransmitters and an important component in mood regulation.
Suggested Use: 400 to 1200 mg daily. Can be used with pharmaceuticals.
B Complex (whole food supplement): Provides nourishing support to the nervous system and should be taken daily to promote optimal emotional health.
Omega-3 Oils: Provide brain support and increase neurotransmitter levels.
Vitamin D: Studies have shown a connection between low Vitamin D levels and depression.
Suggested Use: 2000 iu daily.
Exercise is crucial to increase feelings of well-being.
Eat enough… but not too much.
The theories and formulae presented in this book are opinions expressed by the author, and as such are not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or administer in any manner to physical ailments. In any matter related to your health, please contact a qualified healthcare practitioner from a modality of your choice.
Tierney P. Salter has been a practicing Medical Herbalist and Iridologist for over 30 years. She is founder and president of The Herbalist, an herbal company that manufactures therapeutic herbal products. She operates a retail herb store that has been serving the Pacific Northwest for over 25 years.