DEPRESSION: WHAT IS IT AND HOW CAN I USE PLANT MEDICINES TO TREAT IT?

Depression is a common and serious medical illness which can have a huge negative impact on your life. It’s a feeling of being in a black hole, controlled by continuous negative thoughts and emotions, which affect the way you function and feel.

Depression can often follow feelings of anxiety and can cause feelings of sadness and hopelessness, causing lack of interest in all activities, that were once enjoyed by you. Depression can lead to other emotional and physical issues and can have long standing negative outcomes on your life and work. These feelings create a chemical reaction in the brain that cause an imbalance serotonin and dopamine in the Brain.

There are also medical conditions that can also cause depression such as thyroid problems, a brain tumors or vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, adrenal fatigue, so it is important to rule out general medical causes before just treating the symptom of depression.

There are certain chemical changes that occur in the brain that cause these feelings of depression some causes are:

  • Genetics: where depression can run in families.
  • Personality disorders like, low self-esteem, stress, overly anxious, and negative thinking people
  • Environmental factors, such as abuse, poverty violence, and neglect.

Depression can have mild to more aggressive symptoms like:

  • loosing interest or pleasure in things that previously made you happy.
  • Changes in your appetite causing either weight loss or weight gain.
  • Not being able to fall asleep and stay asleep at night, or wanting to sleep all the time.
  • Feeling tired and fatigued all the time.
  • Panic attacks, pacing, clenching your teeth and fists all the time.
  • Feelings of no self-worth, desperateness, loneliness, fear, and sadness
  • Talking slowly and sometimes slurring your words
  • Finding it very difficult to stay focused and make even small decisions.
  • Thinking suicidal thoughts.
  • Extreme mood swings

PLANT BASED SUPPLEMENTS:

  • Ginkgo Biloba: this Herb can enhance serotonin activity, and in regulating the function of HPA axis.
  • Rosemary: reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improves sleep as well as memory
  • Cannabis CBDa, CBD, THCa (non-psychoactive) has potential benefits for depression and are related to its positive effect on serotonin receptors in the brain. CBD also appears to have some benefits over antidepressant medications, as it works fast and has a sustained antidepressant-like effect and has fewer side effects than antidepressant medication.
  • Sceletium: Sceletium is a plant from South Africa. It has a long history of use as a traditional medicine by tribes of South Africa. It has been used to enhance mood and bring about relaxation. It is believed that it has the ability to influence the amygdala of the brain a brain region that has a central role in emotion and behavior. It can thus greatly enhance the serotonin function in the brain  Sceletium is generally protective of our brain and nervous system
  • Macuna Pruriens: Found all over India—particularly in the tropics as well as the tropical regions of Africa and the Caribbean. It balance the nervous, reproductive, and digestive systems. And is known for its ability to enhance dopamine levels.
  • Ashgwandha: is excellent in Stress management, because of its effectiveness in supporting adrenal function and helping you overcome adrenal fatigue and chronic stress.
  • Magnesium: magnesium plays an important role in biochemical reactions all over your body.  It is involved in a lot of cell transport activities, in addition to helping cells make energy aerobically or anaerobically. It regulates how muscles contract and nerves send signals. This combats feelings of anxiety, apathy, depression, headaches, insecurity, irritability, restlessness, talkativeness, and sulkiness. It has been proven that magnesium deficiency can cause depression, behavioral disturbances, headaches, muscle cramps, seizures, ataxia, and irritability all of which can be reversed with magnesium supplementation.
  • Vitamin B’s and folate:
  • B9 (folate): is needed for cell growth, amino acid metabolism, the formation of red and white blood cells and proper cell division, also known as folic acid is an important nutrient, found in green leafy vegetables. Low folate levels have been associated with depression. Especially when taken with other B supplements.
  • B1 (thiamine):  plays an important role in the metabolism by helping to convert nutrients into energy.
  • B2 (riboflavin):  helps convert food into energy and is also an excellent antioxidant.
  • B3 (niacin):  plays a role in cellular signaling, metabolism and DNA production and repair.
  • B5 (pantothenic acid):  helps your body obtain energy from food and is also involved in hormone and cholesterol production.
  • B6 (pyridoxine): helps with amino acid metabolism, red blood cell production and the creation of neurotransmitters.
  • B7 (biotin):  is involved with carbohydrate and fat metabolism and regulates gene expression.
  • B12 (cobalamin):  is vital for neurological function, DNA production and red blood cell development. Vitamin B12 has a major influence on the function of neurons and also on the ability of the bone marrow to make red blood cells. A deficiency of B12 can cause can cause almost any psychiatric symptom, from anxiety, and panic to depression and hallucinations. This is because B12 deficiencies trigger symptoms in the nervous system and red blood cells.
  • Iron: The first symptoms of iron deficiency are often neurological, with symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, and also restless legs which often lead to insomnia as well. iron deficiency can often present as anxiety, depression, irritability, and even poor concentration and general restlessness and unmanaged stress can cause a decrease of serum iron.
  • Vitamin D: A Deficiency in vitamin D has been linked with anxiety, depression, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Vitamin C: There is a huge link between vitamin C and mood, people who have vitamin C deficiency often feel fatigued or depressed. But even for people who aren’t known to have low vitamin C levels, taking a vitamin C supplement might help mood. A study of high school students indicated that vitamin C definitely lowered anxiety levels, and had mood-elevating effects.
  • Probiotics: These bacteria could potentially help to treat a huge range of mental health conditions, including depression, and boosting overall mood. Many experts believe there’s a strong connection between your gut, and your brain, called the gut-brain axis. It is believed that tiny microorganisms living in your gut, including probiotics, play a crucial role in the gut/Brain reactions. As they produce and express neurotransmitters that can affect appetite, mood, and sleep habits, and also play a role in reducing inflammation in your body, which are huge contributing factors in depression, probiotics improve cognitive function and your response to stress
  • Omega 3: high in EPA and DHA are very important in reducing the frequency and severity of panic and anxiety attacks. They improve cognition and boost the oxygenation levels in the brain and the heart and lungs, it is also a great anti-inflammatory.
  • Milk thistle:  silymarin is a well-known antioxidant and recent studies have revealed that it interacts with the central neurotransmitters such as those in serotonergic system and may have a role in the modulation of mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
  • Medical mushroom, Lions Maine: has been used over centuries for mental stability and mood disorders. Scientific research shows that lion’s mane contains antioxidants and beta-glucan. And is very beneficial for depression and combating stress.

Chinese herbal medicines: are well know in the treatment of stress, and anxiety (all available on prescription)

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