Saturday, June 27, 2009
When it comes to treating depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders, the best course of action is to address the underlying cause. You may just want to take a pill that covers up your symptoms. But if you prefer to get to the root of the problem and treat it naturally, there are many options that are safe, effective, and affordable.
Botanical (herbal) medicine is ideal for anyone who wants a natural alternative to taking medications with harmful or unwanted side effects. There are a wide variety of medicinal plants, and we can prescribe these herbs to you as either capsules, liquid extracts, or teas.
It is important to check with a naturopathic physician before beginning any new botanical prescription, because some herbs have strong medicinal properties, and may interact with other medications. There are also several different options regarding the strength and frequency of dosing medicinal herbs. By talking with a doctor who specializes in natural medicine and knows about not only how to prescribe botanical medicine, but also how to determine drug-herb interactions, you will be sure to get the best and safest results.
Botanical medicine can be very effective for treating a variety of conditions, and may be used in combination with other therapies in order to restore health. Certain herbs can decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, such as:
- St. John’s Wort (Hypericum)
- Passion Flower (Passiflora)
- Lemon Balm (Melissa)
- Kava (Piper methisticum)
- Siberian ginseng (Eleuthrococcus)
- And many other herbs
St. John’s Wort can be helpful for symptoms of depression. This herb works by prolonging the time that serotonin is in the blood, thereby allowing serotonin to work longer. St. John’s Wort also slows down the reuptake of dopamine and GABA from the synaptic cleft. This can result in feelings of happiness, relaxation, and better energy.
Passion Flower, Lemon Balm, and Kava are often helpful for anxiety, because they promote mental tranquility and reduce restlessness. These herbs can also be used to help with insomnia.
Siberian ginseng can help to improve energy, promote better physical endurance, and also can reduce the negative effects of stress. This type of ginseng is energizing, but somewhat less stimulating than some of the other types of ginseng available.
Before you try any of these herbs, check with a naturopathic doctor to determine the ideal dose, or whether one herb or a combination of herbs would be best for your symptoms. Botanical medicine works well in combination with other natural therapies, and many of the best formulas for depression and anxiety contain both vitamins, amino acids, and herbs, for optimal mood support.
Tara Peyman is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in the state of Arizona. Her expertise is treating depression and anxiety with natural medicine. She has also developed comprehensive, naturopathic programs for weight loss, diabetes and smoking cessation. She practices at East Valley Naturopathic Doctors in Mesa (480.985.0000) and in Tempe (480.456.0402). Call for your free 15-minute consult, or visit www.DrTaraPeyman.com for more information.