The Best Herbs and Supplements for Anxiety & Depression

Anxiety and depression are two of the most common psychological problems that people face today. In extreme cases, therapy and pharmaceutical medications are commonly used to help people face the difficult situations that they have. However, many people have found that they can find more natural items to help them deal with their emotional issues. Here is a look at some of the top choices:

Fish Oil: This oil, particularly when it comes from cold water fish is full of omega-3 oils, which are the building blocks of healthy brain tissue. Not only is fish oil known to boost mood and clarify thinking, it is also one of the only things known to heal brain tissue. Methamphetamine users have been able to have regeneration of damaged tissue after high regular doses of fish oil, and there is some evidence that it increases IQ performance as well.

Probiotics: It is incredible how closely your gut and your brain are connected. This is something that has come as a surprise to many people, and yet new evidence has shown that many mental conditions like depression and anxiety have been given serious relief with regular supplementation with probiotics or probiotic foods. Yoghurt, kim chi and sauerkraut are all foods that can be eaten to supplement as well. This is especially important if you ever spent a long period of time on antibiotics, as this can kill off many of the intestinal flora that help stabilize your mood.

St John's Wort
One of the oldest known herbs that is linked to helping depression, St John's wort use can date back before the discovery of the US, when many Europeans kept this plant in their kitchen garden as a tea herb to treat ailments like melancholy and hysteria. This plant is an on-again, off-again herb, as it doesn't work with continued use, but only after a period of non-use. It also increases your body's sun sensitivity, so be certain that if you're using it for a period, you are staying in the shade, or using adequate levels of sunscreen.

Kava
This South Pacific plant comes from the pepper family, though it is the roots and not the seeds that are in demand for relief from clinical anxiety. The root has been brewed into a drink for centuries that has had an anesthetic and sedative property. Kava as a supplement or powder is used often in energy drinks, bodybuilding supplements and as a stand-alone item to decrease anxiety.

Valerian
Used as a sleep-aid and sedative, valerian is a popular herb in decreasing anxiety. It is a staple of Chinese medicine. It does not work for everyone, however. About ten percent of people will find it has the opposite effect on them, and promotes nightmares and increased anxiety.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "The Best Herbs and Supplements for Anxiety & Depression," in PsychologyDictionary.org, January 9, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/the-best-herbs-and-supplements-for-anxiety-depression/ (accessed November 18, 2019).
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