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Herbs For Depression

Characterized by feelings of chronic sadness, melancholy and disinterest, depression is classified as a mental illness that affects sufferers in a variety of debilitating ways. Many individuals suffering from depression experience difficulty carrying out everyday activities, and have trouble coping with life in general.

General Herbs-For-Depression By Green 400 Magazine

General Herbs-For-Depression By Green 400 Magazine

Top 10 Herbs For Depression

As symptoms of depression are varied and complex, receiving an accurate diagnosis can be a lengthy process. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), symptoms of depression include frequent feelings of guilt or worthlessness and about past mistakes; recurring thoughts about death and/or suicidal thoughts; fatigue, lack of energy, extreme tiredness, and lack of motivation; irritability, frustration, agitation, and restlessness; indecisiveness, inattentiveness and difficulty concentrating; trouble with memory and thinking. Other common symptoms are decreased libido and sudden bouts of intense crying “out of the blue.” Some people with depression experience unexplained weight gain or loss, and others may develop physical problems with no apparent cause. Symptoms of depression are not the same for everyone, and depend on a number of variables including age, gender, culture, and hereditary factors. People who experience five or more of the above symptoms for over 14 consecutive days may meet the criteria for clinical depression, also referred to as major depression or major depressive disorder.

(1) St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Indigenous to Europe, St. John’s wort has a history of use in traditional herbalism as a remedy for various mental and emotional disorders. The herb is available in powder, tea, tincture and capsule form. Used today by practitioners of alternative and naturopathic medicine, St. John’s wort has been studied in recent years regarding its effects on brain chemistry. A number of clinical trials have suggested the effectiveness of St. John’s wort as a treatment for mild to moderate depression. According to a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center clinical trial published in a 2006 edition of BMC Medicine, St. John’s wort was superior to placebo in treating symptoms of major depression. As determined by laboratory experimentation, active constituents in St. John’s wort prevent reabsorption of serotonin in the brain, and therefore might be used as a natural alternative to pharmaceutical depression medications in the selective-serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) class.

St Johns Wort Flowers    By Green 400 Magazine

St Johns Wort Flowers By Green 400 Magazine

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)- Derived from tryptophan, an essential amino acid, the chemical 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is required for the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with well-being and happiness. Dietary sources of tryptophan include turkey, chicken, dairy products, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, sunflower seeds, and leafy greens including kale and collards. Other tryptophan-rich foods include sea plants such as wakame, kombu, and kelp. In most cases, Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) levels are maintained via regular consumption of tryptophan- containing foods. However, some individuals may lack the ability to absorb tryptophan and thus may benefit from direct supplementation of 5-HTP. Extracted from seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, a plant native to Africa, 5-HTP supplements are widely available have been tested clinically for their effectiveness in treating depression disorders. Results from number of small-scale and preliminary trials suggest that 5-HTP meets the criteria for FDA approval as a medication for depression.

 5-Hydroxytryptophan Plant (5-HTP) ByGreen 400 Magazine

5-Hydroxytryptophan Plant (5-HTP) ByGreen 400 Magazine

Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum L.)

Also called linseed, flaxseed has a history of use in ancient cultures as a remedy for various ailments, especially digestive disorders such as constipation. Due to their high concentration of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a powerful, health-promoting omego-3 fatty acid, flaxseeds have been tested clinically to determine their potential to help cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, eating disorders, addiction, and other disorders affecting the body and mind. Various studies using animal models have revealed that flaxseed might be effectively used to treat various psychiatric disorders, including depression. In 2009, French scientists found that when compared to placebo, depressive symptoms were significantly reduced in rodents treated with ALA from flaxseeds and other omega-rich sources.

Flax Seed and Flax Seed Oil by Green 400 Magazine

Flax Seed and Flax Seed Oil by Green 400 Magazine

Vervain (Verbena officinalis)

Native to eastern Europe, northern Africa and parts of Asia, vervain has a history of use in traditional medicinal systems as a treatment for headaches, respiratory disorders, snake bites, fevers, jaundice, gout, kidney stones, epilepsy, ulcers, and painful menstruation. Mentioned in historical texts as a remedy for feelings of fatigue and ill-will, vervain contains a broad spectrum of active phytochemicals and tannins–including verbenalin, verbenin, and beta-carotene. A precursor to vitamin A, an essential dietary nutrient, beta-carotene is associated with the treatment and prevention of depression and related conditions. Although its medicinal properties have not been extensively studied, vervain is used by contemporary herbalists as a treatment for various disorders, including mild depression.

Green 400 Magazine

Green 400 Magazine

B Vitamins

Found in many herbs (as well as other sources), B-vitamins are involved in the maintenance of healthy brain chemistry. Results from clinical trials indicate that B-vitamin deficiencies are linked to depression, and even those with healthy, well-balanced diets are at risk. In order to properly diagnose B-vitamin deficiencies or imbalances, blood panel analyses are often required.

Herbs that are sources of B- vitamins include catnip, alfalfa, burdock root, yellow dock root, and nettle.

B-vitamins are categorized as follows: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate (also called folic acid), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, biotin and pantothenic acid:

Botanical sources of thiamin (vitamin B1) include leafy green dark-colored vegetables, green peas, lentils, almonds and pecans.

Plants high in vitamin B2 (riboflavin) include dark greens (i.e. asparagus and spinach).

B3 (niacin) plant sources include legumes such as peanuts and lentils, and sources of folate (vitamin B1) include dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale and collards.

Botanical foods high in vitamin B6 include potatoes, bananas, spinach and other leafy greens.

Sources of vitamin B7 (biotin) include leafy greens (i.e. swiss chard) and legumes (e.g. peanuts).

Vitamin B1 deficiencies are characterized by various symptoms of depression including feelings of sadness and disinterest, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, memory problems, insomnia, and–in some cases–suicidal thoughts Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is a necessary component in the production of serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine–all of which are involved in the maintenance of mental health. Deficiencies in vitamin B6 include lowered immune function, mental confusion, and inhibited healing of wounds.

Vitamin B12 (also called cobalamin)–perhaps the most important of all B vitamins–is produced by the metabolic systems of all animals, including humans. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can be the cause depression symptoms including mood swings, irritability, loss of appetite, and fatigue.  For many, dietary consumption of vitamin B12 is an easy feat. For others–such as those who do not eat meat (including poultry and fish), eggs, or dairy–dietary absorption of vitamin B12 is a more difficult feat. Strict vegetarians and vegans may need to supplement with synthetic vitamin B12 supplements in order to remain healthy. However, studies show that people of all dietary habits – -including those who eat meat or consume dairy on a regular basis – are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. To combat vitamin B12 deficiencies, experts recommend sublingual tablets, liquids, and also vitamin B12 shots.

Foods High in Vitamin B12 by Green 400 Magazine

Foods High in Vitamin B12 by Green 400 Magazine

Rhodiola Rocea

Also known as rose root, arctic root, or golden root, rhodiola rosea is a wonderful herb that shows promising effects in dealing with depression. What makes rhodiola effective in combating depression is its ability to inhibit the activities of monoamine oxidase A and B. When the activities of these substances are prevented, neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin cannot be broken down. In effect, they become more available. According to research, low levels of these neurotransmitters usually lead to depression.

Some studies claim that depression and stress level are directly related to each. Excessive level of stress hormones like cortisol, is believed to be one of the major factors that trigger depression. According to research, rhodiola rosea is effective in reducing the level of cortisol hormones thereby limiting one’s susceptibility to depression.  This stuff really works and is off the charts extremely good for depression and for energy…experience speaking on this one.

Rhodiola Rosea By Green 400 Magazine

Rhodiola Rosea By Green 400 Magazine

Ginkgo Biloba

For thousands of years, ginkgo biloba proves to be an excellent herb that treats depression. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center website, intake of ginkgo biloba regularly is effective in eliminating the symptoms of depression. Furthermore, the leaves of this herb contain lipophilic extracts that are believed to have anti-stress and anti-depressant effects.

Ginkgo Biloba Tree With Fruit by Green 400 Magazine

Ginkgo Biloba Tree With Fruit by Green 400 Magazine


For centuries, lavender proves to be an outstanding herb for depression. Though it can be used as oil which can be directly applied onto the skin, lavender is often used in aromatherapy. Experts believe that the scent of lavender helps in promoting relaxation as well as in inducing high quality and longer sleep. This can help in alleviating one’s stress level which is considered as one of the major causes of depression.

Aside from its natural ability to balance the level of cortisol hormones in the body, lavender also works by slowing down the brain waves. Lavender is believed to have natural sedative effects that are beneficial in calming one’s mind, body, spirit and soul, especially in times of depression and restlessness.

Lavender Plant by Green 400 Magazine

Lavender Plant by Green 400 Magazine


Today, valerian emerges to be one of the most popular effective herbs that cure depression. Known for its natural sedating effects, valerian is also capable of calming the nerves by reducing one’s anxiety and phobia towards a certain stimulus.

When taken regularly, this perennial herb brings about promising results in treating depression. In fact, many studies have proved that regular intake of valerian can significantly help in eliminating the most common symptoms of depression which include high blood pressure, insomnia, lack of focus, restlessness, irritability and anxiety. It works because of its valepotriates, which are known to be natural relaxants. Aside from reducing one’s stress level, valepotriates are also effective in relaxing the central nervous system of the body.

Valarian Plant by Green 400 Magazine

Valarian Plant by Green 400 Magazine


Though widely used to treat toothaches, peppermint never ceases to amaze patients who suffer from depression. Through the years, peppermint has proven itself to be effective in dealing with the symptoms of depression. As mentioned in the University of Maryland Medical Center website, peppermint oil offers soothing and calming effects which make it effective in treating anxiety and depression.

Peppermint Leaves and Candy by Green 400 Magazine

Peppermint Leaves and Candy by Green 400 Magazine

We at Green 400 Magazine care about “you” our readers. and hope that in some way that these articles that we write make your life somewhat happier and more content. Please view the following video’s for a bit more happiness and relaxation…… they are just awesome!

Relaxation and Balance~

Herbs For Depression – References:

Depression (major depression). Alternative Medicine. Article by Mayo Clinic staff.

Siegfried Kasper, Ion-George Anghelescu, Armin Szegedi, Angelika Dienel and Meinhard Kieser. Superior efficacy of St John’s wort extract WS® 5570 compared to placebo in patients with major depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center trial. BMC Medicine 2006, 4:14

St. John’s Wort and Depression. National Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Byerley WF, et al. 5-Hydroxytryptophan: a review of its antidepressant efficacy and adverse effects. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. 1987;7:127-137.

5-Hydroxytryptophan. NYU Langone Medical Center.

Flaxseed. University of Maryland Medical Center.

Nicolas Blondeau, et al. Subchronic Alpha-Linolenic Acid Treatment Enhances Brain Plasticity and Exerts an Antidepressant Effect: A Versatile Potential Therapy for Stroke. Original Article. Neuropsychopharmacology (2009) 34, 2548–2559; doi:10.1038/npp.2009.84; published online 29 July 2009.

Beta-carotene. Medline Plus.

Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Nutritional Healing: A practical A-Z reference to drug-free remedies using vitamins, minerals, herbs and food supplements, 4th ed. 2006. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D. What’s the relationship between vitamin B-12 and depression?

Butler, Christopher C., et al. Oral vitamin B12 versus intramuscular vitamin B12 for vitamin B12 deficiency: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Family Practice (2006) 23 (3): 279-285.


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Insomnia HELP!

Insomnia HELP!

Sometimes at night we just cannot sleep…we toss and turn, and we are up and down,  from one side to another. Sometimes it is stress related, sometimes our mind just cannot shut down to rest.
Sometimes it is just the foods we have eaten during the day, that may not have agreed with our systems. In maturing women it could be menopause. Menopause is a stage in a woman’s life when her ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone and she stops menstruating. It is a normal part of aging and marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Menopause typically occurs in a woman’s late 40’s to early 50’s. It can also lead to major sleep problems.

From Google Scholar:   The Impact of Somatic Health Problems on Insomnia in Middle Age

Objective: The objective of this study is to assess the impact on insomnia symptoms of somatic diseases, psychological factors, living habits and life events during the previous year.

Background:  Although health problems are a significant cause of insomnia, psychosocial factors are considered to be even most important. The relative impact of these and other factors on insomnia calls for further evaluation.The  most relevant phychosocial factor is work-related stress. this has the potential to negatively affect an individual’s psychological and physical health. Therefore, it is recognized world-wide as a major challenge to workers’ health especially in males. Males also start to loose testosterone as they start heading towards middle age which is said to begin at 40, which begins the male menopause stages of a males life.
Methods: A questionnaire study in a randomly selected middle-aged population in Finland.

Results: In the conducted study, 9.8% of men and 17.0% of women reported the occurrence of insomnia at least once a week during the previous 3 months. Insomniacs perceived their health as ‘poor’ or ‘rather poor’ more often than others and depression, allergic rhinitis, asthma, hypertension and heart symptoms such as arrhythmias were more common among them. Insomnia was not a side-effect of the treatment of these diseases; lack of medical treatment was associated with a higher incidence of insomnia. Work-related factors such as ‘moving to a poorer job or to poorer working conditions’ during the past year increased the possibility of insomnia, while moving house seemed to have a positive effect. When comparing these associations in logistic regression models, nervousness and tension were, however, the factors most significantly associated with insomnia.

Conclusions: Psychosocial factors appeared to be more significantly associated with prolonged insomnia than somatic health problems.

Here are some important remedies that can help calm down the mind, body and soul and help relax.

1) Melatonin



Melatonin is a popular remedy to help people fall asleep when the sleep/wake cycle has been disturbed, such as in shift workers or people who with jet lag. Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body. The pineal gland in the brain makes serotonin which is then converted into melatonin at night when exposure to light decreases.

Melatonin also decreases in the brain with age, and has been found to be a miracle worker when sleep is much needed.

Melatonin is typically taken about 30 minutes before the desired bedtime. Some experts caution that melatonin should not be used by people with depression, schizophrenia, autoimmune diseases, and other serious illness. Pregnant and nursing women should not use melatonin.

The University of Alberta study examined 17 studies with 651 people and found no significant side effects when used for three months or less.

2) Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques are one of the most effective ways to increase sleep time, fall  asleep faster, and feel more rested in the morning. They require a minimum of 20 minutes before going to bed. There are many different techniques:

Visualization – involves imagining a relaxing scene. You can try it in bed before falling asleep. Involve all your senses. If you’re imagining yourself on a tropical island, think of the way the warm breeze feels against your skin. Imagine the sweet scent of the flowers, look at the water and listen the waves–you get the picture. The more vivid the visualization and the more senses you involve, the more effective it will be.
Relaxation Response – A mind/body technique based on the principles of Transcendental Meditation. Learn how to elicit the relaxation response.
Mindfulness – A type of meditation that essentially involves focusing on your mind on the present. Learn mindfulness.
Yoga – combines deep breathing, meditation, and stretching. A Harvard study found that daily yoga for eight weeks improved total sleep time, the time to fall asleep.

3) Diet

Cut out caffeine
Caffeine can have a pronounced effect on sleep, causing insomnia and restlessness. In addition to coffee, tea, and soft drinks, look for hidden sources of caffeine such as chocolate, cough and cold medicine, and other over-the-counter medicine.
Avoid sweets
Although sugar can give a burst of energy, it’s short-lived and can cause uneven blood sugar levels. This can disrupt sleep in the middle of the night as blood sugar levels fall.
Eat foods that help you sleep
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin. Carbohydrate snacks such whole grain crackers before bedtime may help to promote sleep. Just be sure to stay away from sweets.
Eat magnesium-rich foods
Magnesium is a natural sedative. Deficiency of magnesium can result in difficulty sleeping, constipation, muscle tremors or cramps, anxiety, irritability, and pain. It has also been use for people with restless leg syndrome.
Foods rich in magnesium are legumes and seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, and whole grains.
Other foods include:
A. Fish
Most fish—and especially salmon, halibut and tuna—boast vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness), according to an article published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Fish By Green 400 Magazine

B. Jasmine Rice
When healthy sleepers ate carbohydrate-rich suppers of veggies and tomato sauce over rice, they fell asleep significantly faster at bedtime if the meal included high-glycemic-index (GI) jasmine rice rather than lower-GI long-grain rice, in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. While the authors aren’t sure how it happened, they speculated that the greater amounts of insulin triggered by the high-GI meals increased the ratio of sleep-inducing tryptophan relative to other amino acids in the blood, allowing proportionately more to get into the brain.

Jasmine Rice By Green 400 Magazine

C. Tart Cherry Juice

In a recent study, melatonin-rich tart cherry juice was shown to aid sleep. When adults with chronic insomnia drank a cup of tart cherry juice twice a day they experienced some relief in the severity of their insomnia.Remember you can turn your tart cherry juice into a smoothie…yum.

Tart Cherry By Green 400 Magazine
D. Yogurt
Dairy products like yogurt and milk boast healthy doses of calcium—and there’s research that suggests being calcium-deficient may make it difficult to fall asleep.

Tart Cherry Yogurt

Tart Cherry Yogurt

E. Kale
Dairy products are well-known calcium-rich foods. But green leafy vegetables, such as including kale and collards, also boast healthy doses of calcium. And research suggests that being calcium deficient may make it difficult to fall asleep.

Kale Cranberry Salad

Kale Cranberry Salad

F. Bananas
Bananas, well-known for being rich in potassium, are also a good source of Vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness), according to an article published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.


G. Chickpeas
Chickpeas boast vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness), according to an article published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Turkey has been accused of causing drowsiness: Tryptophan an ingredient in turkey, has a precursor to melatonin, a sleep-associated hormone manufactured in the brain’s pineal gland. “Melatonin secretion is increased during sleep,” and some studies have suggested that melatonin helps people fall asleep as well as adjust their body clocks to new time zones, says psychiatrist Jerry Siegel of the Center for Sleep Research at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Indian Curried Chick Peas

Indian Curried Chick Peas

4) Aromatherapy

The scent of English lavender has long been used as a folk remedy to help people fall asleep. Research is starting to confirm lavender’s sedative qualities. It’s been found to lengthen total sleep time, increase deep sleep, and make people feel refreshed. It appears to work better for women, possibly because women tend to have a more acute sense of smell.

The good thing about lavender is that it begins to work quickly. Try putting a lavender sachet under your pillow or place one to two drops of lavender essential oil in a handkerchief. Or add several drops of lavender oil to a bath — the drop in body temperature after a warm bath also helps with sleep. Other aromatherapy oils believed to help with sleep are chamomile and ylang ylang.

5) Light

If you have trouble falling asleep at night, you may need more light in the morning. Light exposure plays a key role in telling the body when to go to sleep and when to wake up. Try taking a walk first thing in the morning. Just be sure to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from ultraviolet rays.

On the other hand, if you find you’re waking up too early in the morning, you may need more light in the afternoon. Try taking a walk in the late afternoon.

6) Music

Gentle, slow music is another remedy that can help to improve sleep without medication. Music has been found to improve sleep quality, decrease nightly wakenings, lengthen sleep time, and increase satisfaction with sleep.



7) Acupuncture

Acupuncture may help with insomnia. A University of Pittsburgh analysis concluded that acupuncture may be an effective treatment for insomnia. A preliminary study found that five weeks of acupuncture increase melatonin secretion in the evening and improved total sleep time.

8) Traditional Chinese Medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine, insomnia often stems from kidney energy weakness. This syndrome is not necessarily related to kidney disease in Western medicine. A few signs of kidney energy weakness are low back ache, tiredness and fatigue, and a burst of energy at about 11 pm in the evening. Women in menopause often experience this type of insomnia. People who are taking anti-estrogenic drugs such as tamoxifen also experience this type of insomnia, however, they should not take herbal combinations such as the herbal formula liu wei di huang that may increase estrogen levels.

9) Ayurvedic Medicine

In Ayurvedic medicine, insomnia is often associated with a vata imbalance. Vata regulates breathing and circulation. People with a vata imbalance often notice irritability, anxiety, and fear with insomnia. One Ayurvedic treatment is the application of oil on the head and feet. For the pitta type, room temperature coconut oil is used, for the vata type, warm sesame oil is applied, and for the kapha type, warm mustard oil is often applied.

10) Exercise

Lack of exercise can contribute to poor sleep. Muscle tension and stress build in the body. Exercise can promote deep sleep that night. However, intense exercise too close to bed can increase adrenaline levels, leading to insomnia.

11) Natural Awesome Remedies

For hot flashes, a thin, flat foam pillow insert, called a Chillow, can help to cool the head throughout the night.

Chamomile is a wonderful tea that helps relax the body and then it’s magic makes you sleepy , hops, passionflower, lemon balm, and ashwagandha  are often used for insomnia.                                                                                                                  Most people may find benefit from simply having a cup of chamomile tea one to two hours before going to bed. Chamomile can reduce anxiety, calm the digestive system, and relieve muscle tension.

Organic Chamomile Flowers for Tea

Organic Chamomile Flowers for Tea

12) Feng Shui

Feng shui, which originates in the Chinese philosophy of Taoism, instructs on how to arrange rooms, furniture, offices, houses, and other arrangements to maximize favorable energy flow throughout living spaces. Here are some recommendations that may help promote relaxing sleep:

Try not to have the bed in a corner of the room. The corners are where energy tends to be stagnant.
Avoid putting your bed next to a window. Energy can be drained this way.
The bed shouldn’t be positioned so that the soles of the feet, when lying face-up in bed, directly face the doorway.
When lying in bed, you should have full view of anyone coming in the door. If you can’t do this directly, hang a mirror to reflect the entranceway.
Try to avoid facing sharp corners from desks, bookcases, and other pieces of furniture.