Do you easily become irritated or burst with anger just on small things? Does the daily errands become taxing for you? If you are experiencing such symptoms, then you are prone to depression. Depression is a state in which an individual feels low energy, insomnia, feelings of guilt, ignorance and indifference and a sense of despair. Depressed people fail to maintain even normal relationships. Difficulty in taking the simplest decisions, lack of concentration, lethargic and sluggish movements, agitation, restlessness, loss of appetite, and mood swings are some other symptoms which indicate that you are feeling blue. The major causes of depression are hormonal changes, certain medications, harrowing events like death of a loved one, loss of a job, and monetary troubles etc. And in some other cases imbalance of chemicals in the brain like dopamine, selenium, norepinephrine and serotonin occurs.
Although men and women experience same symptoms, women may show some other signs like atypical depression in which they tend to eat more, sleep excessively and gain weight. Seasonal affective disorder (low sunlight in winters makes females depressed) is another symptom. Various biological, psychological and social factors are associated with the experience of melancholy in women, such as infertility, pregnancy, premenstrual problems, postpartum depression, menopause, focus on negative feelings, marital problems, discrimination at workplace etc.
There are several herbal and home remedies to overcome the bouts of mild depression. But in severe cases, when one experiences suicidal tendencies, it’s essential to consult a doctor as soon as possible.
Home Remedies for Depression
Whenever you feel low or depressed, try your hand at the following home remedies.
“An apple a day keeps depression away.” Apple is considered to be the best fruit which prevents all sorts of ailments, for eons. It is equally effective for depression. Add finely chopped pieces of half an apple and 1-2 teaspoons of honey in a glass of milk. Consume it on a daily basis. If you don’t like milk, you can drink apple juice.
Saffron boosts up the levels of serotonin in the brain, thereby cures mild depression. It’s a delicious seasoning for food. You can have a pinch of it regularly or add it to your food.
3. Rose Petals
Put 25-30 fresh rose petals in water. Boil it for 12-15 minutes. Let it cool and add sugar. Drink this mixture twice or thrice a day. This home remedy effectively relieves you from the bouts of depression.
The pleasing odor of cardamom soothes the nerves of our brain. Prepare tea by adding a few tea leaves. Add finely powdered cardamom seeds to it. Sip it slowly.
- Or else, add sugar and powder of 2 cardamoms to a cup of hot water. Boil it. Sip it warm.
Give a refreshing start to your day with a cup of coffee. Caffeine present in the coffee is a good mood booster and makes you feel better. 1-2 cups of coffee per day relieve mild depression. But don’t consume more than 2 cups; otherwise, it may enhance depression.
Note – It is suggested only for coffee-lovers, others may choose to avoid it.
If you are suffering from depression caused due to seasonal changes, turmeric could be of great help. The curcumin present in the turmeric positively affects the pathways of serotonin in the brain, thus, mitigates the depression.
7. Green Tea
Sip 2-3 cups of green tea a day to reduce the symptoms of depression. Green tea has a soothing effect on the brain due to the presence of amino acids in it.
8. Ginger Tea
Boil 1 teaspoon of ginger powder in hot water for a few minutes. Allow the liquid to cool. Sip it two times a day. It’s an excellent cure for depression.
Add garlic to your food as it wards off the symptoms related to depression, fatigue and insomnia.
10. Balanced Diet
A balanced diet prevents you from catching any/every disease. Have a diet rich in folate, Vitamin B (especially B6) and C.
- All dark leafy vegetables are rich in folate.
- B6 rich foods are spinach, asparagus, sunflower seeds, parsnips, citrus fruits and beets. Non vegetarian sources are lean pork, poultry, fish, chicken, lean beef, spinach, avocados and bananas.
- For Vitamin C consume tomatoes, oranges, fresh juice, brown rice, grams, green vegetables, Indian gooseberries etc.
- Magnesium containing foods are required to cope with suicidal tendencies. Ingest pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds. Nuts like almonds and cashews are also beneficial for the same. In addition, black beans, navy beans, soybeans, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens and whole grains.
- Eat selenium containing food such as tuna, swordfish, oysters, and sunflower seeds.
Cook 4-5 tablespoons of oatmeal in 1 cup of soy milk or rice milk. Add dried fruits, almonds, nuts, honey or maple syrup in it. It relaxes and keeps depression at bay, so, consume it on a regular basis
12. Cashew nuts
Cashew nuts keep your heart in the pink as it’s affluent in Vitamin B and B2. It also keeps your mind hale and hearty. You can also grind 5-8 cashew nuts into powder and have it with a glass of milk every day.
13. Pumpkin Seeds
Roasted pumpkin seeds are not only yummy, but are also loaded with a number of nutritious elements, like glutamic acid, arginine, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, iron, fiber, protein, etc. The seeds has peanut-like flavor, and can be added to soups, salads, or can be consumed as a snack. Other magnesium rich foods are sesame and sunflower seeds.
14. Folic Acid
Cabbage is a great stress-buster as it’s an affluent source of Vitamin C and folic acid. You can prepare steamed cabbage curry, cabbage soup or can consume it in the form of salad.
- Spinach is another well-off source of folic acid, which works well against depression. One must intake ¾ cup of spinach per day in order to fulfill the daily requirement of folic acid.
Note – Folic acid may lead to cancer, as per a few researches. So, we recommend you to discuss with your doctor about this. It also damages central nervous system.
15. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids such as Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are essential for the optimal functioning of the brain and reducing the risk of depression. Fish like salmon or tuna, flaxseeds, cod, soy, pollock, flounder and walnuts are well-off in omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil also resists depression. So, you should include fish and fish oil in your diet.
Laughter aids in offsetting the symptoms of depression by improving the mood and impacting social relationships favorably. After all, “Laughter is the best medicine.”
To improve your mood, relax your mind, uplift your self-esteem, and keep your mental health, it’s very important to indulge yourself in some sort of moderate physical activities. Muscle relaxation and breathing exercises are considered to be great for the depressed people. Jogging and walking are equally effective.
18. Yoga and Meditation
Meditation and yoga efficiently alters the brain’s biochemistry. You send a message to the brain via spinal cord when you stretch during yoga. It stimulates the sensation of ‘feel good’. Daily practice of pranayamas and asanas keeps you from melancholy.
The level of natural antidepressant in the brain increases in the sunlight. A research has revealed that our brain produces more serotonin, a mood-lifting chemical, on sunny days than it does on darker or cloudy days. So, sunbathe for a minimum of 30 minutes whenever you require warmth.
Since sunbathing is not possible at night or on an extremely hot day, have a shower, if you feel dejected. Surprised? Researchers discovered that bathing or a neutral immersion bath relaxes mind and uplifts mood.
21. Soak Feet in Hot Water
If bathing is not possible due to any reason, you can try this remedy. Fill a tub with hot water and add some soap, chlorine and rosemary leaves to it. Dip your feet in this tub for 15-20 minutes. It will calm down your dejected mind.
Massage the soles of your feet with sunflower or coconut oil before going to bed. It will revitalize your nerves making you feel unperturbed.
Acupuncture is considered to be a natural way to do away with depression as it elevates one’s mood and calms the mind. Studies revealed the fact that acupuncture changes the release of neurohormones and neurotransmitters, thereby altering the chemistry of the brain favorably.
24. Guided Imagery
It is a method in which your mind and body communicates with each other via touch, taste, smell and vision. It involves imagination of things that bring positive thoughts to your mind like mountains, waterfall, sunrise and sunset on the beach etc. You endeavor to feel the breeze, smell the flowers and hear the sounds in nature. You can practice it during touch therapy and massage. The skills of visualization can’t be learnt overnight. One needs continuous practice, patience and time to master it.
25. Music Therapy
Music therapy is a non-medical way to overcome grief, anxiety, fear and stress. It tranquilizes your spirit naturally and is good for people of all ages. Put on your headphones and listen to classic old melodies or hit rocks depending on your taste and mood.
26. Light Therapy
In this therapy, depressed person is seated close to an intensely lit box. This box imitates light from outside. Initially, the patient is exposed to this box for 15 minutes, but depending upon the of severity of symptoms, the time limit may extend up to 2 hours each day. The intensity of the light is also determined according to the level of depression. This therapy only relieves the signs associated with melancholy; it does not completely cure depression.
27. Writing Therapy
Maintain a mood diary and pen down all the positive things that occur around you. Don’t write about any negative event. If you find it difficult to maintain it on a daily basis, write at least once-a-week. Whenever you feel dejected, come back to your dairy and read it. It will remind you of your good days and bring a smile on your face.
In general, pouring your heart out by the means of writing is considered to be healing, according to the researchers. So, we suggest you to write more often, it has no side effects.
28. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This therapy focuses on your thoughts. Depression can easily be resisted by developing an optimistic outlook and altering the way of your thinking. Pessimistic thoughts elicit the feeling of solitude and triviality, but you can overcome this condition by staying focused solely on positive side of everything that happens to you. It is a short-term therapy that lasts for 10-20 sessions and effectively treats mild to moderate depression.
Herbal Remedies for Depression
Here are some of the herbal remedies which really work wonders in fending off the depression.
29. Lemon Herb
Put 25 grams of lemon herb in cold water. Leave it for 12-15 hours. Use this ointment twice or thrice a day.
30. Asparagus (Shatavari)
Grind the dried roots of asparagus into the powdered form. Ingest 1-2 grams of this powder at least once a day.
31. Nardostachys or Spikenard (Jatamansi)
The extracts of rhizome and roots of this herb are said to have tranquilizing effect on the brain. It is a mild sedative that reduces aggression.
32. Indian Ginseng (Ashwagandha)
This herb has antidepressant properties. Have 2 tablespoons of powdered Indian ginseng with a glass of water to overcome melancholy.
Extract juice of fresh Indian gooseberries. Add 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg powder to it. Drink it three times a day.
1-3 cups of licorice tea a day alleviate depression. You can also take licorice powder with milk.
Note- Breast-feeding and pregnant women should not consume licorice in any form. Besides, people with renal, heart and liver diseases, high blood pressure and those take aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin) must abstain from having licorice.
35. Sage and Basil Leaves
Prepare a tea by adding ½ teaspoon of sage and ¼ teaspoon of basil leaves to a cup of hot water. Drink it twice a day to reduce depression.
36. Lavender Leaves
Boil 1 cup of water, then steep 1 teaspoon of lavender leaves. Strain the liquid and consume the resultant solution when it’s hot, thrice a day.
37. Sandalwood Powder
Apply sandalwood powder on the forehead on the daily basis. It calms and soothes the mind of depressed person.
38. Commiphora mukul (Guggul)
This herb strengthens the nervous system, apart from reducing weight. It is available in the form of various supplements and herbal capsules in medical stores. Alternatively, dry some guggul resins and spread it on burning coal. Inhale the smoke for a few minutes. Its smoke is said to be good for rejuvenating the mind.
39. Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi)
Consume 5 grams of Bacopa monnieri with a glass of milk on a regular basis. You can also add licorice to it.
- Massage your head with brahmi oil. It eases depression.
- Nasal drops of warm brahmi ghee or sesame oil (1-2 drops in each nose) also treat the symptoms of depression.
40. Ginkgo biloba
This herb stimulates the brain to produce neurotransmitters which in turn relieves depression. The supplements of Ginkgo biloba are made by its extract which is obtained by taking out the active ingredients of dried and crushed leaves of the herb. It relieves dementia and depression by increasing the flow of blood to the brain.
41. St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Consume 300 mg of this herb thrice a day.
Note- While using St. John’s wort, remember the following points-
- Over doses of this herb for a longer period may result in sensitivity to sunlight, particularly in people with fair complexion.
- While using this herb, avoid the consumption of pickled herring, yeast, red wine and cheese.
- Pregnant women should not use St. John’s wort.
- It is not suggested for those who are taking any antidepressants prescribed by your doctor/physician.
Aromatherapy helps treating some of the major symptoms of depression like insomnia and mental fatigue. The essential oils used in this therapy are lavender, sandalwood, ylang-ylang, basil, clary sage essential oil, angelica, geranium, juniper, mint, rosemary, chamomile, and jasmine essential oil. Use these oils in correct ratio for diffusers, baths and massages for excellent results.
- Infuse your room with perfume by lighting an aromatherapy lamp.
- Pour any of your favorite essential oil on a cloth or handkerchief and place it inside the pillowcase before you sleep at night.
Note- Those who are allergic to fragrance can avoid using this therapy. It’s better to consult an aroma therapist before starting it.
- Sleep for a minimum of 7-8 hours.
- Whenever negative thoughts hover in your mind, divert yourself by reading a good book or listening cheerful music.
- Develop optimistic attitude. Try new endeavors everyday to keep your mind busy having fun.
- If workload is the reason behind your depression, try to delegate your responsibilities. If possible, take a break from your work.
- Remember talking about or sharing your emotions, feelings or problems with your friends and family members are not at all signs of weakness. In fact, it will help you reduce your stress.
- Abstain from consuming chemicals additives, sugar, junk foods, colas, alcohol, tea, strong condiments and food colorings.
- Refrain from overuse of psychosomatic or antidepressant drugs.
- Don’t set unrealistic goals. Instead, set small targets and try to achieve them wholeheartedly.
- Never hop a meal. A proper meal stabilizes your blood sugar, thereby decreasing mood swings.
- Don’t neglect the symptoms of depression as it may lead to heart diseases.
If you find yourself down-in-the-dumps, try any of the above remedies to deal with this problem.
Alice grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in California, though she likes to visit home frequently. She graduated from a marketing specialist degree and worked at the core of outreach teams for more than 5 years.