Many of us are struggling to cope in the pandemic and trying to prevent our periods of anxiety turning into depression. People who have previously suffered from depression are particularly susceptible but we all may be vulnerable during the present crisis. There are many different causes of depression, but we need to address those over which we have some control.
Depression has been linked to anxiety resulting from chronic stress, poor sleep disrupting circadian rhythms, general bodily inflammation, disruption in the gut bacteria caused by poor diet, and hormone imbalances. The causes and responses will be different for each person.
The two most common treatments are antidepressant drugs and talking therapies. Both are effective for some people but not others. Many people experience problems with taking antidepressant drugs because of side effects and withdrawal symptoms. This has led to the search for other forms of treatment.
Herbal medicine has been used to treat depression for hundreds of years. Recent evidence demonstrates the effective antidepressant action of individual herbs such as St John’s Wort, Saffron, and Rhodiola. These herbs are effective, well tolerated, with few side effects, and do not cause dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
Since depression is a complex condition resulting from a range of contributing factors, regulating a single target may not reduce depression as effectively as targeting multiple systems. The advantage of herbal medicine is that different herbs can be selected with different sites of action and combined in a single formula. The selection of herbs with a range of different actions increases the potential effectiveness of treatment. The herbs selected will vary with each individual depending on the causes of depression.
For example, you may be given a herbal formula to treat depression which contains herbs to reduce anxiety, balance the stress hormone cortisol, promote healthy bacteria in the gut, and reduce inflammation.
Many people turn to herbal medicine in search of a treatment that is effective, long lasting and with few side effects. Combining different herbs in a formulation for each individual provides a multitargeted approach and sustainable form of treatment.