4 Natural Remedies for Depression

4 Natural Remedies for Depression

We have all heard of the diagnosis of depression however many of us have no idea what this entails. Some believe that it means someone is feeling sad for too long and that they should just “get over it”. Others might think it means someone is crazy or weak. While more reasonable folks may understand that it can be due to a combination of chemical compromises as well as situational challenges such as living in an abusive situation. 

Depression is not easy to get over without proper medical intervention however there are some alternative choices one can make which may, for some, alleviate feeling blue all the time. Making sure that your doctor approves, these 4 natural remedies for depression could have you feeling lighter and more manageable when it comes to dealing with your nagging depression.

A Major Concern

The numbers of those who have visited a doctor for depression is approximately 16.2 million American adults, or 6.7 percent who reported as having had at least one major depressive episode in a given year. However, these are only the recorded numbers of those fortunate enough to seek and hopefully receive help. The number is presumed to be significantly higher as most people neglect or are unaware of the many signs of depression they could be experiencing. 

Major symptoms of depression:

  • Sad mood – Sadness that lasts for a long time and impacts how you live your daily life.
  • Lose interest- Loss of interest in hobbies, sex or other activities.
  • Withdrawing- Avoid contact with people and social activities.
  • Tiredness – Tired all the time; unable to complete everyday tasks and basic chores.
  • Sleep- Struggle to sleep or sleep too long.
  • Appetite-Low energy to cook, skip meals, choose unhealthy “comfort” foods.
  • Low Concentration- Compromised focus affects work, study, and memory.

If you are experiencing these symptoms mildly then a natural remedy may help, however if you are struggling on a more serious level, particularly if you are having thoughts of suicide, it is imperative to seek medical assistance right away.


An adaptogen is a plant-based source derived from fungi or herbs that help the body deal with stress. Stress is major player in almost every health compromise, especially depression. These are 4 adaptogens that have been studied and validated as acceptable alternative remedies to apply to depressive symptoms. 


Derived from a small evergreen shrub, ashwagandha has been linked to reducing stress and alleviating depression. 

In the conclusion of a study of ashwagandha published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine it was stated that, 

“The findings of this study suggest that a high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.” 

Holy Basil

Small scale studies have evaluated this timeworn herb showing a variety of health benefits which have been shown, as combined, to reduce stress and depression. One study of albino mice found that the adaptogenic qualities of holy basil could reduce anxiety and depression. It was particularly interesting that minor doses (50 mg/kg) of this herb were potent enough to significantly ease depressive symptoms. 

The study, published in Pharmaceutical Biology (vol 49, 2011), concluded that, 

“Thus, the OS [Ocimum sanctum – activating holy basil compound] extract shows anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties at the same dose and can be a potential therapeutic agent against mixed anxiety and depressive syndrome.”

Asian Ginseng

Sometimes called Panax or Korean Ginseng, Asian ginseng is considered one of the most powerful adaptogens available for relieving stress and depression. 

According to a study of Asian ginseng for depression published in ‘Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry’ (2009), 

“In conclusion, GTS [Ginseng total saponins] exerts antidepressant-like effects in two highly specific and predictive animal models of depression.”

Healthline reported, 

“Over the course of seven days, researchers showed that doses of both 50 and 100 mg/kg of saponins extracted from Asian ginseng exerted significant antidepressant effects, presumably by reversing neurotrophic [nerve tissue growth] factor expression in the hippocampus [part of the brain thought to be the center of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system.]”

Rhodiola rosea

Grown in the wild of Europe, Asia and North America, Rhodiola rosea is a perennial flower that holds some impressive anti-depressive compounds. However, it is important to note that Rhodiola rosea, as well as many other plant-based remedies, offers a slow, mildly increasing benefit without side effects whereas pharmaceuticals may initially be more potent but come with a side effect compromise. 

Phytomedicine Journal published research out of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine which describes holy basil in place of a prescription drug for depression called sertraline a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI),

“Although R. rosea produced less antidepressant effect versus sertraline, it also resulted in significantly fewer adverse events and was better tolerated. These findings suggest that R. rosea, although less effective than sertraline, may possess a more favorable risk to benefit ratio for individuals with mild to moderate depression.”

Talk to your physician or naturopathic doctor about trying these 4 natural remedies f or depression. If you are struggling with an underlying depression, adaptogens could bring significant relief.