St John’s Wort
The Remedy Unlike some herbal fads, dozens of studies have established that, if taken for several weeks, St John’s wort is better than a placebo – and almost as good as some prescription medications – at relieving symptoms of mild to moderate depression.
The Proof A review of 23 clinical trials found that St John’s wort lifted mild-to-moderate depression more effectively than placebos. But the studies were short – no more than eight weeks – so more long-term research is needed.
How To Use It For mild depression, look for products with 0.3 per cent hypericin or 3–5 per cent hyperforin. Take one 300 mg capsule three times a day with food. Do not combine with prescription antidepressants. Consult a pharmacist before using with other drugs of any kind.
The Remedy S-adenosylmethionine is the body’s basic building block for cells, chemicals and hormones. It is manufactured naturally in the body and occurs in almost every cell.
The Proof Several small-scale studies indicate that synthetic oral SAM-e supplements may ease depression, most likely by raising levels of serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that help to regulate mood.
How To Use It For mild depression, take 400 mg each day for two weeks on an empty stomach. If you’re still blue, raise the dosage to 600 mg a day. If you aren’t better within two weeks, see a doctor. Do not take with prescription antidepressants or if you have been diagnosed with bipolar depression.
The Remedy The ground roots of the kava-kava tree seem to relieve some symptoms of clinical anxiety and some of the stress of ordinary living.
The Proof European investigations involving several hundred people with clinical anxiety found that those who took kava felt much better than those given a placebo.
How To Use It The studies used 300–400 mg daily doses of kava extracts, standardised to 70 per cent kavalactones, kava’s main active ingredients. Don’t drink alcoholic beverages with it; consult a doctor or pharmacist before using with any medications.
For some people, the shorter amount of daylight in autumn and winter triggers a type of blues or depression known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD.
Studies have found that decreased daylight leads to a drop in the secretion of serotonin and an increase in melatonin levels, causing seasonal depressive symptoms to surface in some individuals.
How To Use It
Spend time outdoors, sit in front of a north-facing window several times a day, or invest in a light box. Exposure to 5000–10,000 lux (a measure of the light’s intensity) for 20–30 minutes a day at a distance of a metre from the box will keep most people upbeat through even the darkest winter days. Caution: UV radiation is a major factor in causing skin cancer.
Numerous studies have shown that exercise of all kinds can be an inexpensive, effective therapy for anxiety, mild-to-moderate depression, and low self-esteem.
Although the mechanism of the benefit is not clear, some experts theorise that aerobic exercise may encourage the release of endorphins, the brain’s so-called ‘feel-good’ chemicals. One study found that the moods of depressed patients who jogged or walked briskly for 30 minutes three times a week improved as much as those who took antidepressant medications.
How To Use It
Try to get on the move for 20–60 minutes, three times a week – outdoors, when you can, to take advantage of sunlight.
Helping others reduces your sense of isolation and gives you good feelings of accomplishment and purpose, feelings that many depressed people experience all too rarely.
Researchers who analysed 37 studies on volunteering found that older people who offered a portion of their time to others were happier overall, had a better sense of well-being and were less likely to feel sad, lonely and anxious.
How To Use It
You don’t need to join an organised volunteer group to experience a mood lift. One study has shown that informally offering help to a friend, family member or neighbour who needs it is just as effective in boosting your level of personal satisfaction.
|Sam on 23 August 2012 ,09:03 |
Great article.. we all need help to feel better sometimes. I have a website with more info on this if you're interested? See http://homeremedieslog.com
|Gilbert on 21 May 2010 ,01:50 |
I love singing even though I sound terrible. There's no point in me singing to anyone else but I can sing to myself. My favourite place is in the car in traffic jams (it also calms you down) with the stereo turned up loud. It just makes me happy.
|Julie on 13 May 2010 ,11:48 |
Singing is also an activity that has shown remarkable results in lifting mood and sense of well-being. It is my area of research and I have found it to be very effective in the retirement setting especially, where people gain benefits by 1. joining a singing group for regular rehearsals 2. work on improving their singing technique, by breathing posture and singers mouth 3. perform for peers and other audiences. The movie young@heart showed the same effects.
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