15 natural antidepressants (with explanation of their benefits)
Several natural antidepressants that you can find in herbalists or even in supermarkets.
Depression is a psychological problem that requires the intervention of mental health professionals, both psychologists and psychiatrists.
However, although it is always preferable to go to therapy, we can introduce in our lifestyle several foods and natural compounds that can help us to reduce and prevent the symptoms of depressive symptoms.
Below we are going to discover several natural antidepressants which are very easy to obtain and whose regular consumption contributes to regulate the state of mind, although it does not serve to cure psychological disorders.
15 natural antidepressants: characteristics and how to use them
We can consider as natural antidepressants any element containing one or more active principles that contribute to regulate the state of mind. They are natural remedies, in that their therapeutic or potentially preventive properties for mood problems are found naturally in the plant or animal from which the final product is extracted.
This type of antidepressants are not as potent as psychotropic drugs, nor are they as effective as seeing a psychologist in case of depression.However, they can be a good option to keep the mood regulated in addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Certain plants taken in the form of infusion or phytotherapy pills are not only natural antidepressants, but also foods such as fish, citrus fruits or legumes contain vitamins and nutrients that contribute to good mental health.
Below we will discuss three main groups of natural antidepressants: herbal remedies, "natural" pills and foods with antidepressant properties.
Within this group we would find all the plants that taken either in the form of infusion or ingested, it is believed that they could have some therapeutic value in regulating mood.
1. St. John's wort
St. John's wort or St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a yellow flower widely known in the history of medicine. It is considered a very effective herbal remedy against depression, perhaps one of the most effective, and is readily available in herbalists.
It is usually marketed as a dietary supplement that produces effects similar to SSRIs.This is one of the main antidepressant drugs used in psychiatric therapy such as fluoxetine, which inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and changes the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine.
The administration of St. John's wort is usually in the form of an infusion with this herb and, in addition to regulating mood, it is useful as an anti-inflammatory for muscle pain and spasms.
It is usually recommended to take it at the end of summer to avoid what is known as seasonal affective disorder and also to combat post-holiday syndrome. It can also be taken to calm anxiety.
2. Rhodiola rosea
The Rhodiola roseacommonly called rhodiola, is an herb that is consumed because it is believed to provide high levels of energy. Rhodiola is consumed dried, taking doses between 250 and 750 mg per day maximum.It can be taken in one or two doses, helping to reduce fatigue, tiredness and anhedonia, which is why it is used to combat depression.
But besides being useful to treat mild depression naturally, rhodiola is traditionally used to stimulate sexual activity and has also been attributed with anti-cancer properties. In fact, this vegetable is widely consumed in the Nordic countries, and there it has also been taken to prevent hair loss, combat infertility and withstand the harsh climatic conditions of cold places.
3. Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo biloba is a particularly useful plant for people over 50, especially because it improves circulation and reduces brain damage associated with aging, changes that can alter mood. Normally it is recommended to consume it at low doses.It has been found that the extract of this plant contributes to the levels of serotonin, the hormone of happiness.
Lavender (Lavandula latifolia), besides being a very beautiful plant, has also been used as a natural remedy to combat health problems, including depressive symptoms. This vegetable helps to reduce stomach symptoms, promoting appetite, relieving colic and nausea. It is usually taken in the form of infusion or in the form of pastries..
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is used in the form of essential oil to take baths and also in aromatherapy to induce relaxation. Its benefits are also taken advantage of by being consumed as an infusion. in the form of infusionIt is recommended to do it every night, before going to sleep, reducing anxiety, fatigue and having antidepressant properties.
Borage (Borago officinalis) prevents contributes to enhance emotional well-being. Its consumption is recommended at night, before going to sleep, as with basil infusions. It can be consumed in the form of tea or juice, depending on the time of year.depending on the time of the year and how you prefer to drink it.
The damiana (Turnera diffusa) is considered one of the best natural antidepressants that can be found in herbalists. This plant has antidepressant properties, besides being attributed to be an aphrodisiac, laxative and natural stimulant because it stimulates the spinal centers, helping in urination. It also helps the hormonal system, being used for postpartum depression and menopause.
There are a multitude of natural pills made to combat depression. As we have mentioned, they are not as potent as psychotropic drugs, nor are they as effective as psychotherapy, but they can be a good option for milder cases of depression and also as a less invasive measure to treat it.but they can be a good option for milder cases of depression and also as a less invasive measure to treat it.
Animus is a natural food supplement, made up of saffron and vitamin B6 which helps to maintain a stable mood, contributes to emotional balance and induces relaxation. This pill can be found both in pharmacies and herbalists and its administration consists of one oral intake per day.
Courage is a natural pill used to regulate mood. This is achieved thanks to its composition, made up of five nutrients with psychoregulatory capacitiesB1, B2, B12, niacin and magnesium, as well as a combination of other minerals. It is used as a food supplement by taking a daily dose.
10. Gaba 50
Gaba 50 is a tablet whose effects contribute to reduce anxiety, help to fall asleep and also has Anticonvulsant and antispasticity properties.. One of its therapeutic or secondary effects, depending on what it is used for, is that it reduces appetite. Among its components we find vitamin B6 and magnesium, it can be obtained in herbalists and pharmaceuticals and should be taken once a day.
Finally we enter the group of antidepressant foods. Here we are going to group them according to the nutrient that is associated with therapeutic effects for depression. The main ones are the following.
11. Foods rich in folic acid
Different studies have concluded that the absence of folic acid is a common condition in depressed people. Therefore, in order to avoid problems related to its shortage, the following should be taken foods rich in this nutrient, among which we can find peanuts, citrus fruits, vegetables, milk and cereals..
12. Foods with omega-3
Omega-3 can help reduce depressive symptoms. They are natural fatty acids that, besides helping with low mood, can contribute to avoid anxiety states.. This nutrient must be incorporated through the diet since the body does not manufacture it.
It is found naturally in oily fish, nuts, vegetables, oats, quinoa, olive oil, egg yolk and seafood, being the Mediterranean diet especially rich in omega-3.
13. Foods rich in L-tryptophan
Tryptophan is an amino acid involved in the production of serotonin, which influences mood. Its consumption induces states of relaxation and tranquility.For this reason, the consumption of foods with L-tryptophan serves to prevent the symptoms of anxious-depressive conditions.
Tryptophan is obtained through the diet and, once the organism has obtained it, it is converted into niacin, serotonin and melatonin. Foods containing this nutrient include bananas, pineapples, mangoes, dates, avocados, sesame seeds, oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, turkey, chicken, beef, eggs and cheese.
14. Foods with vitamin B
Vitamin B has a high content of folacin or folic acid.. This type of vitamins are of great importance for the regeneration of the nervous system and, although they are not strictly a natural antidepressant, they do exert a protective function of the nervous system, restoring the nervous tissue. Vitamin B can be found in many foods, such as seafood, offal, fish, dairy products, eggs, chickpeas, spinach, oats, carrots, buckwheat and avocados.
Finally, among the foods with antidepressant properties we find three spices: saffron, turmeric and cayenne pepper..
Saffron is a rather expensive spice that has a very powerful effect in treating depression. This food protects serotonin and dopamine levels contributing to mood regulation.
Then we have turmeric, a food that contains curcumin, a compound that is considered a natural antidepressant. This spice can increase the level of serotonin, inducing a better mood and greater tranquility. It also increases dopamine in the brain, regulating emotions.
Finally we find cayenne pepper which, thanks to its compound, capsaicin, manages to stimulate the production of endorphins, the same substances that are produced after physical activity and that cause a feeling of pleasure and peace of mind.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)