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St. Johns Wort vs. SAM-e

We obviously think natural is better, or else we wouldn’t be writing about herbal remedies and natural health.  Same thing applies when it comes to treating depression.  We aren’t the only ones who believe natural is better.  In fact, various colleges have begun educating doctors specifically to aid their patients using natural products; those trained through this path are recognized as naturopathic physicians.  Natural remedies often provide a safer alternative to synthetic medicines.

One popular herbal supplement commonly used to treat depression is St. John’s Wort.  Studies done on St. John’s Wort show that it can have the same affect in treating depression as prescription medicines Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac while inducing far fewer side effects.

St. John’s Wort helps you to regain and maintain a healthy emotional balance – minimizing feelings like sadness and anger while elevating feelings of happiness and contentment. A yellow-flowering plant native to Europe, St. John’s Wort is named for St. John the Baptist, as it blooms around his feast day on June 24th.

It is known to have been used safely for the past 2,400 years as an herbal supplement.  St. John’s Wort can be used in tea, as an oil, or in capsule form. Another popular supplement that has proven effective in treating depression is called SAM-e.  SAM-e occurs naturally within your body, mainly concentrated in your liver and brain.

This substance regulates serotonin and dopamine, the two chemicals which regulate the emotions you feel.  Although an expensive alternative to St. John’s Wort (around $100 per month instead of 25 cents per day), it is a faster acting solution that allows patients suffering from depression to see improvements in days instead of weeks.

By comparison, St. John’s Wort often takes up to a month to become fully effective.  SAM-e is considered synthetic, however, instead of herbal, as it is a copy of the chemical your body already produces.

The only thing with SAM-e is that it must be taken with caution, some reported severe headaches and even worsening depression by taking this supplement, so just use prudence with this natural medicine.

There is also 5htp, which many have reported helps their depression and helps lift mood.  Side effects may include headache or upset stomach if taken on an empty stomach, so take it on a full stomach or at least with some crackers to buffer your belly!

Kava Kava has become more popular as another herbal supplement used in treating the symptoms of depression.  Taken from a Greek word meaning “intoxicating”, this herb is native to the South Pacific.  In lower doses, Kava Kava helps induce a more relaxed state of mind while heightening your senses.  In higher doses, Kava Kava can lead to deeper relaxing states of sleep.  Kava Kava is commonly used as drink.

Some herbal supplements commonly used for a variety of other ailments are also effective in treating depression.  In elderly patients, Gingko Biloba has been found to aid in depression by increasing circulatory oxygenation to brain cells.

Another herbal supplement found to be effective in older patients is Ginseng, which alleviates anxiety, leading to a decrease in depression.  Both Gingko Biloba and Ginseng can be found in several forms, but are commonly taken as a capsule.

No matter the cause of your depression, it is a serious matter to address and should not be taken lightly.  Fortunately, there are a variety of herbal supplements that can make living with your depression far easier so that you can lead a happier, healthier life!

 

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