Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Aromatherapy essential oils can help treat stress, depression, anxiety, inflammation and other health problems

The scent of Gardenia jasminoides flowers can reduce anxiety and promote sleepIs jasmine the next Valium substitute? Perhaps. Recent research has discovered that the scent of jasmine has the same effect on the brain and is as strong as barbiturates and the anesthetic propofol. Jasmine calms, relieves anxiety and promotes sleep. Researchers Professor Hanns Hatt and his team in Germany tested hundreds of fragrances and found jasmine and one other plant fragrance are especially good relaxants.

Other studies have found that the use of fragrant plant oils (essential oils), such as rose, lemon and lavender oil, can reduce stress, and the symptoms of anxiety, depression and more. This is no surprise considering the fragrant parts of plants have been used for health and healing throughout history all over the world, including China, India, North America, the Far East and the Middle East.


50 natural ways to help treat depression without taking antidepressants

Healthy eating habits are important for happiness Imagine if you often drove your car with very little engine oil. This one thing could have a huge negative impact on the car’s performance. When it comes to having happy minds, our bodies are similar. Just one thing out of balance can have a huge negative impact on our mental health — whether it’s a lack of vitamin D, omega-3 fat or sunlight, too much junk food and so on.

Finding that balance can be difficult, but there are many things that can help us gain inner peace and happiness. A holistic approach is important — one that addresses the body, mind and spirit.

Below are 50 natural alternatives to antidepressants that can help bring the body into balance, reduce symptoms of depression and boost happiness.


Get into probiotics – good gut bugs that improve our mental and physical health

How important are probiotics — “good” (beneficial) bacteria and other microorganisms? According to Dr. Mercola: “The research into probiotics indicates that supplementing with probiotics is probably more important than taking a multi-vitamin and its true importance for your health is likely right up there with vitamin D.”

We all have trillions of bacteria, fungi, yeasts and other microorganisms (gut flora) in our guts. Gut flora is a mix of “bad” (harmful) and good microorganisms. When this mix is out of balance, with too many bad types, we get sick. Celeste Perron reports that Mark Hyman, M.D., founder and medical director of the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, says: “If you have an autoimmune disorder, depression, allergies, or any number of other illnesses, the underlying cause may be an unhealthy balance of gut bugs.”

Dr. Mercola says: “The secret to improving your mood and brain health is in your gut, as unhealthy gut flora can impact your mental health, leading to issues like anxiety, depression, autism and more.”

Many people have gut flora that’s out of balance, so are ill as a result. These people could benefit from eating more foods that contain probiotics, taking a probiotic supplement and/or making healthy lifestyle changes so their good gut bugs can thrive.


Exercise can be as good as or better than antidepressants for treating depression

Exercise can be as good as or better than antidepressants for treating depressionMichael Otto, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of psychology, says the effects of exercise on treating depression rivals antidepressants in head-to-head studies, reports Susan Seligson in her April 2010 article on the Boston University website BU Today. Otto says many clinical trials show that people with major depression who regularly exercise get better at the same rate as they do with antidepressants.

A passionate advocate of physical activity for treating depression, Otto recommends that clinicians consider exercise as important and valid a treatment for depression as antidepressant drugs and talk therapies. He is one of a group of researchers calling for psychologists to include exercise programs in treating people with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

This article summarizes some significant research findings showing exercise can be just as effective as antidepressants for the treatment of depression, and in some cases even better.


Ginkgo can treat depression, poor circulation, memory, concentration and more

ginkgo leavesKate Fraser, one of Australia’s leading medical herbalists, writes in her book Positive Health with Herbs that ginkgo extract has been claimed to be ““the most important single development in Western Herbal Medicine” in recent years. This claim is supported by the fact that, according to the World Health Organisation, (WHO), it was the most prescribed pharmaceutical in France and Germany… Such widespread use of a herbal extract by medical practitioners is unprecedented in post-war medicine.”

Ginkgo trees have been revered as sacred plants in China, where they have been used to treat illnesses for about 5,000 years. Today ginkgo is mostly used to help treat circulation problems, boost mood, and enhance memory and concentration. Ginkgo extract is generally considered safe, and side effects are rare.


Lemon balm is a safe and effective relaxing herb to naturally treat anxiety, stress and insomnia

lemon balm leavesFrom before the Middle Ages the delicious herb lemon balm has been used to improve mood, help heal wounds, and treat insect bites. Today lemon balm is still used for health, especially stress, anxiety, relaxation, insomnia, cold sores, shingles, and digestive problems. Lemon balm is grown in herb gardens, and in crops for medicine, cosmetics, and making furniture polish. The herb is generally considered safe, with few side effects.


Can glutamine enhance your mind and mood by reducing stress, anxiety, depression and more?

Dr. Priscilla Slagle, author of The Way Up From Down, says on her website The Way Up that L-glutamine and L-tyrosine are the two amino acid supplements she most often prescribes in her practice. She recommends L-glutamine (a common form of glutamine) for various health problems, mostly to increase energy, and improve mood, concentration, focus, and memory.

According to Slagle, glutamine is often low in people with yeast overgrowth (candida). This depletion is partly responsible for the “brain fog” they feel.

Could glutamine supplements improve your mind and mood?


Vitamin D likely to help treat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health problems

Our bodies make vitamin D after exposure to sunlightLow vitamin D has long been linked to depression. Experts now believe a lack of vitamin D might also contribute to other mental health problems such as personality disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.


Have high hopes for greater happiness, better health and prosperity

Hands held up to the sunWant to be happier and healthier? Be hopeful. Dr. Allan K. Chalmers was on the right track when he said: “The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for”, as studies have found that hope is a key to good health, a predictor of a meaningful existence, an indicator of athletic and academic performance and more. Those of us with high hope are likely to be happier, healthier and more successful than those of us with less hope.

Louise Danielle Palmer wrote an article about hope in volume 22 number 8 of the magazine Wellness News published in September 2007. Below are some of her key points.


Meditation therapy at least as good as antidepressants for preventing relapses in depression

Person meditating on a lakeA recent trial in Exeter found that Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is at least as good as antidepressants at preventing relapses in depression, according to an article in Times Online. Other studies have found lower relapse rates in depression between groups of people who receive MBCT and groups who don’t.

MBCT is so good at preventing depression that a report by the Mental Health Foundation in Britain calls for much wider use of “mindfulness” treatment – a combination of meditation with orthodox “thought training”.

MBCT trains people to focus their attention on one thing instead of thinking about issues, the past, future and other distractions. There are various ways to do this, such as focusing on breathing, and what we feel while we are moving.

Meditation is inexpensive and recommended by mental health professionals for depression. When combined with cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), meditation is better than CBT alone for preventing depression.


Tyrosine – an answer for a better mind, memory, mood and sleep

The amino acid supplement tyrosine, sold in health food stores, can help improve mood, sleep and alertness, according to some research. Tyrosine has been called the ‘anti-depressant amino acid’ because of its ability to boost our mood. It is used to make adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine – chemicals called neurotransmitters, which all affect our mind. Can taking a tyrosine supplement benefit you?


EMDR – a safe, easy and effective natural therapy to treat depression, anxiety, stress and trauma

eyesDid you know that doing some simple eye movements can stop the emotional pain from bad memories? Called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), it’s a key treatment for trauma used all over the world by thousands of trained therapists.

Studies show that EMDR is a safe, fast and worthwhile treatment for many problems such as depression, stress, anxiety, phobias, addictions and eating disorders.

The technique works like the rapid eye movement (REM) we have while we sleep. REM is believed to help sort out our problems so that we still remember bad events, but no longer feel the pain linked to them.


Is clinical hypnotherapy a safe and worthwhile technique to make you more happy, healthy and successful?

Woman being hypnotized I’ve been interested in having hypnosis for years but, for various reasons, I put it off. Earlier this year I decided to have weekly clinical hypnotherapy sessions with a trained psychologist. I’m glad I went. I found that it helped me achieve some of my goals, and it was very relaxing – just what I needed.

I decided to write this blog post about hypnotherapy to share a bit about my experience with the technique, learn more about it myself, and share some of what I learnt with others.

St John’s wort – natural relief for depression, anxiety and sleeplessness

yellow St John's wort flowersDid you know that St John’s wort is one of the most popular natural antidepressants in the United States and Canada?

St John’s wort is a flowering plant that has been used to treat depression for centuries. Today it’s available from health food stores, pharmacies and even some supermarkets. It is generally safe and has few side effects.


Stop feeling sad this winter – how to treat winter depression

dark cloudy day on the ocean with the sun shining through the cloudsStaying happy during winter can be a challenge for some of us, when the amount of natural sunlight reduces.

Our mood is directly affected by how much sunlight we receive. Many people find that they become seasonally depressed as they receive less light in winter. People are especially affected if they live in the far northern hemisphere.

How gloomy people feel during the dark, rainy season can range from mild to major seasonal depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The good news is that there are many things we can do to help us stay happy during winter.

Dr. Alan Manevitz from the Cornell Medical Center says that 2009 is one of the worst years for SAD. Are you affected?

Is 5-HTP a safe, natural option for helping treat depression and anxiety by boosting serotonin?

A naturally occurring chemical in our body, called 5-HTP, has been shown to help treat depression with fewer side effects than conventional antidepressants.

Some studies show that supplementing higher than normal amounts of 5-HTP causes the brain’s serotonin-producing neurons (nerve cells) to increase production. This leads to more serotonin and improved mood.

While 5-HTP appears to be a promising treatment for depression, more research is needed to find its long-term side effects.

Best B vitamins to boost mood, brain power and happiness

Vitamin B tabletsCan popping a vitamin pill help cure mental health problems? For people who lack vitamin B and show symptoms of mental illness as a result, this may be the case.

All of the B group vitamins affect brain function, mental sharpness and mood. Research shows that folate and vitamins B6 and B12 might be particularly vital. Some studies show a link between memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly and low levels of B12, for example.

Mild deficiencies of B vitamins can badly affect mental health. Severe deficiencies are linked to serious mental illnesses such as severe depression.

This article discusses vitamins B6, B12 and folate.

Zinc supplements can help treat depression, ADHD, schizophrenia and other mental health problems

Oysters are high in zinc Since the 1920s zinc has been known to play a role in mental health. Decades of research has found a link between taking zinc supplements and an improvement in the symptoms of schizophrenia, autism, ADHD and other mental health problems.

Along with iron, zinc is the most common trace mineral in the body. Zinc is found in every one of our cells, and is needed for about 100 enzyme reactions. It’s vital for a healthy mind, immune system, reproductive system and more.

Treating neurotransmitter imbalances can help cure mood problems such as anxiety and depression

Neurotransmitters passing between nerve cellsDid you know that many experts believe that an imbalance of neurotransmitters in our brain can cause mental health problems?

Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers between nerve cells. They affect mood, behavior, sleep and more. Perhaps the best known neurotransmitter is serotonin, however this is just one of over 50 in the brain.

How do we know if we have an imbalance and how can we treat it?

Is the natural antidepressant SAMe a safe option for depression, arthritis and other health problems?

A natural compound in our body’s cells called SAMe, pronounced ‘Sammy’, has been shown in some studies to be safe, fast-acting and effective for treating depression.

“SAMe has been hailed as the safest and most effective natural antidepressant ever used”, according to Marios Kyriazis, MD. He says it’s one of the best all-round anti-aging supplements available. In his book The Anti-Aging Plan he claims SAMe is one of the six key ingredients of the modern equivalent of the ‘elixir of youth’.

Like other antidepressants, SAMe can have side effects and it isn’t for everyone. Can SAMe benefit you?

Exercise your way to health, fitness and happiness

soccer ballFor some of us exercise is a chore, for others it’s a joy. We all know exercise is good for us, but most of us don’t do enough for good health. Doctors estimate that between 65% and 85% of the world’s population do not exercise enough.

There are plenty of excuses not to exercise, the most common being “I don’t have time.” Make time. If we can do non essential things, we can exercise. It’s vital for health, fitness and happiness.

The benefits are worth it. Professor Mario Maranhao, president of the World Heart Federation said, “Moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk for 30 minutes most days, helps control weight, cuts stress, anxiety and depression.”


Is magnesium a cure for depression?

Spinach is a good source of magnesium Are you suffering from a lack of magnesium? Chances are you could be, as many of us aren’t receiving enough from our diet. In fact magnesium deficiency is an epidemic throughout the western world. About 80% of Americans are low in it. Depression, anxiety, irritability, ADHD and nervousness are just a few of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency.

Beat depression and improve your mind by avoiding gluten

Some foods containing glutenDid you know that gluten, a common protein, is one of the causes of depression, mood swings and other mental health problems? Professor Rodney Ford, a world authority on gluten and food allergies, believes gluten “is sapping the energy and wellbeing of countless millions”, and causing mental health problems.

With Mental Health Action Week running from 12 to 18 April in the UK, now is a good time to consider whether you, or someone close to you, is suffering from gluten-sensitivity.

Fight depression and improve mood with omega-3 fat

Salmon sashimiBy now you’ve probably heard something about the wonders of omega-3 fat for improving mood. From helping overcome depression and ADHD, to treating Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia, some might call omega-3 fat a miracle cure for the mind.

How can omega-3 help give us extra happiness? How much do we need to be happy, and how do we get it?