Depression is a serious mental disorder. At present, it is affecting up to 17 percent of the American population [1].

It is most prevalent among teenagers and adults.

Psychiatrists explain that it’s not just the usual blues that you can “snap out of” but a series of chronic negative emotions and loss of interest that make one feel that life is no longer worth living. [2]

Depression is not something that should be taken lightly. It can possibly lead the depressed individual to commit suicide or other dangerous consequences.

Depression is a condition that can be treated by seeking professional help. Through proper medical and therapeutic care, one can get out of the claws of depression.

Some natural home remedies may work as complementary treatments for depression.
Let’s get to know about some of these.

1. Lavender Oil

Throughout history, lavender has been used in cosmetics, aromatherapy, and traditional medicine [3].

It also plays a vital role in reducing depression and anxiety, and at the same time, boosting the sense of well-being, as reported in a 2002 study [4].

In this study conducted at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, USA, 17 cancer patients admitted to the hospital were made to inhale humidified lavender essential oil for 60 minutes each day for three days [4].

The results yielded from the experiment showed a decrease in pulse rate, pain level, blood pressure level, and anxiety and depression [4].

Two other studies reveal that it did the same thing for college students facing stressful situations [5, 6].

In Korea, 42 women college students suffering from insomnia were treated with the fragrance of 60 percent lavender oil and 100 percent lavender oil [5].

Insomnia and sleep disturbances were cured by the two dosages, but anxiety and depression were only reduced by 100 percent lavender oil [5].

In a similar study, also in Korea, 24 nursing students who about took their national licensing exam were subjected to the lavender fragrance [6].

The severity of anxiety and depression was much lower after the treatment, even though these students were worried not only about the exam but also about choosing a job afterward [6].

These findings suggest that lavender oil is indeed effective in alleviating depression caused by different circumstances.

Also Read: 11 Health Benefits of Lavender Oil That You Should Know

2. Clary Sage Oil

When you feel like there’s nothing to look forward to or get excited about, sniff into clary sage oil to feel better.

Korean researchers have found that clary sage has strong anti-depressant activities [7].

Using the forced swim test method on rat subjects, researchers discovered that rats treated with clary sage oil either through inhalation or injection had a decreased level of stress hormones [7].

They explain that this may be due to the ability of the oil to regulate the activities of dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline in the brain [7].

These are the hormones in charge of stabilizing the mood [7].

3. Green Tea

Most people love green tea for its overload of antioxidants that can help keep diseases at bay.

Others, meanwhile, laud it for its efficacy as a weight loss aid, helping curb the appetite and boost the metabolism.

Only a few people know, however, that green tea can also work wonders in alleviating depression.

A 2012 study involving 537 participants aged 20 to 68 years stated that consumption of four cups of green tea reduced the rate of depressive symptoms by up to 51 percent [8].

The conclusion was that the higher the consumption of green tea, the more protection there is against depression [8].

Green’s tea anti-depressant properties are said to be due to the presence of polyphenols [9].

Regular intake of green tea has also been found to have a profound positive effect on a person’s reward-learning system [10].

A total of 74 healthy subjects were asked to consume either green tea or a placebo for five weeks [10].

The researchers used the “monetary incentive delay task” to measure the participants’ response to the rewarded trial [10].

Compared to the placebo takers, those who use green tea had an increased reward for learning [10].

Clinical data suggests that the increase in the reward system can be used to “reverse the development of depression” [10].

You may drink green tea mixed with honey several times a day to feel better.

Also Read: Green Tea for Acne: How Effective?

4. Chamomile Tea

A team of American researchers probed the anti-depressant effects of chamomile on individuals suffering from anxiety and depression [11].

As part of the study, 57 participants were made to receive either chamomile extract or a placebo [11].

Of these participants, 19 were diagnosed with anxiety and depression, 16 currently have anxiety with a past diagnosis of depression, and 22 had anxiety but no episode of depression [11].

It was observed that regular oral intake of chamomile significantly improved mood symptoms in all of the participants [11].

It’s safe to say that chamomile works whether for depression or anxiety, or both.

Chamomile has also been confirmed to be beneficial for people who have been diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), reports a 2009 study [12].

Half of the 61 patients with mild to moderate cases of GAD were randomized to receive either chamomile or a placebo for eight weeks [12].

A 50 percent reduction in symptoms has been observed in the patients who were treated with chamomile extract [12].

Also Read: 14 Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea (Backed by Science)

5. St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort has been verified in many studies to be highly effective in combating depression and its symptoms [13, 14, 15, 16, 17].

In 1996, scientists from Germany and USA reviewed 23 clinical trials including more than 1,700 patients with mild to moderately severe cases of depression [13].

It was concluded in the data analysis that this herb was superior to a placebo in curbing depression, and it works just as well as standard anti-depression drugs [13].

The good news is, that this herb does not have the same side effects as the drugs [13].

In another study that was conducted in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Munich, Germany, St. John’s wort was given to 147 patients with mild to moderate cases of depression [15].

The treatment period, which lasted for 42 days, consisted of 300 mg of St. John’s wort with 0.5 percent hyperforin, and 300 mg of St. John’s wort with 5 percent hyperforin [15].

Results demonstrate the clinical effects of St. John’s wort with a higher concentration of hyperforin

6. Fish Oil

Omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil have been found to have beneficial effects on psychiatric problems such as dementia, mood disorders, and schizophrenia [18].

This was the result of a study, in which 54 university students were given either omega 3 fatty acids or a placebo for four weeks [18].

Factors like cognition, attention, facial emotion, decision making, and memory were measured after the study [18].

It was shown that those who took in the omega 3 fatty acids made fewer risky decisions compared to those who used the placebo [18].

It’s also important to note that deficiency in these essential fatty acids has been linked to an increased risk of depression [19].

Experts recommend regular intake of fish oil whether from supplementation or food sources to combat the depressive symptoms [20].

Take fish oil supplements in the dosage recommended by your doctor. Consume fish oil food sources such as sardines, anchovies, salmon, and flaxseed daily.

7. Nutmeg

Commonly found in tropical regions, nutmeg is widely used for its various curative purposes [21].

Studies suggest that it also works in improving the mood and alleviating symptoms in people suffering from depression [22, 23].

In 2006, researchers proved that the n-hexane extract of nutmeg seeds has antidepressant activities in mice [22].

They researched this conclusion after subjecting animal subjects to tail suspension test and forced swim test [22].

It appears that the extract has a positive interaction with the serotonergic, dopaminergic, and adrenergic systems [22].

It’s also good to know that compared to standard medications used for treating depression, nutmeg has significantly fewer side effects [23].

8. Saffron

Active components in saffron have a positive impact on the central nervous system, blocking pain signals, preventing seizures, and enhancing memory [24].

Various studies also confirm that saffron can efficiently tone down symptoms of depressive disorders [25, 26, 27].

It was shown in one of these studies that injecting saffron in mice decreased the immobility time and increased climbing time [25].

The active compounds in saffron namely crocin and safranal are responsible for modulating mood chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine [25].

According to Australian researchers, the anti-depressant effects of saffron are due to its neuroprotective, serotonergic, and antioxidant properties [27].

9. Rosemary Oil

With its multitude of pharmacological benefits, rosemary is indeed one proof that “nature is a great chemist” [28].

Its efficacy as a treatment for depression has been established in several bodies of research [29, 30, 31, 32].

A study featured in the Progress in Neuro-psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry shows that the extract from rosemary leaves and stems exhibited antidepressant effects on animal subjects [29].

One of the many ways it reduces depressive symptoms is by protecting the brain cells from “corticosteroid-induced toxicity” [30].

10. Pumpkin Seeds

Who would think that snacking on pumpkin seeds can actually help lighten up your mood?

Not only is pumpkin an excellent source of nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can keep you in the pink of health, but it also has antidepressant actions [33, 34].

A study published in the International Journal of Pharma Medicine and Biological Sciences confirmed that pumpkin seeds, whether raw or processed, can definitely improve the condition of depression [35].

These findings also come from clinical trials involving animal subjects [35].

As with other similar research, rats were made to engage in a forced swimming test to see how well pumpkin seeds can limit immobility time [35].

11. Exercise

As it turns out, exercise is not only good for the body but also for one’s emotional well-being.

Apart from keeping your body toned and fit, you can also keep depression away with physical activity.

That’s because exercise alters the brain chemicals that regulate mood.
These include serotonin and norepinephrine.

Moreover, it also helps release endorphins, which can give you a euphoric feeling.

How true are these claims?

In 1999, 32 individuals with minor or major depression engaged in 10 weeks of supervised exercise followed by another 10 weeks of unsupervised exercise [36].

After completing the sessions, the participants showed significant improvement in their mood [36].

Even the unsupervised workout turned out beneficial for people with depression [36].

Engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Do something that you’re comfortable with, and something you’ll enjoy even after a while. You can go for a walk, engage in strength workouts, go jogging, enroll in a yoga class, or join dance classes.

When to See a Psychiatrist or Therapist

You should make an appointment with a psychiatrist if the following symptoms trouble you:

  • A sad mood
  • Being preoccupied with past failures in life
  • A loss of self-esteem
  • Feeling useless, hopeless, or suffering from feelings of extreme guilt
  • A slowed-down thinking ability
  • Forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of interest in work, hobbies, and social gatherings
  • Extremely lethargic and fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Changes in weight
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Lower sexual drive
  • Suicidal thoughts and tendencies

A psychiatrist can identify the state of your mental health and identify the nature and cause of depression. There are three types of depression that a person can suffer from.

They are:

  • Manic depression, is also known as, Bipolar disorder.
  • Seasonal adjustment disorder or SAD
  • Postnatal depression, also known as postpartum depression

Traditionally depression is treated with psychotherapy and antidepressant medications.

However, if you’re not comfortable meeting a psychiatrist in person, you can also go for online therapy. One of the most trusted online platforms for counseling is BetterHelp. With just a smartphone and internet connection, you can get help from a licensed therapist anytime, anywhere.

Bottom Line

Depression is a severe mental disorder that should never be ignored.

It is always the best option to consult a professional immediately.

The above-listed home remedies for depression may provide complementary help along with the treatment that your doctor prescribes.

Read Next: 5 Best Essential Oils for Schizophrenia Management

Last Updated: 2/25/2019