What Are the Different Types of Herbs for Depression?

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  • Written By: Lumara Lee
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 29 February 2020
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Various herbs have established a history of effectiveness when being used medicinally to treat various afflictions. Depression is an affliction that strikes most people occasionally, and there are some herbs for depression that are known to help. Some of the most popular herbs for depression are St. John’s wort, valerian, Siberian ginseng, lemon balm, and gingko biloba. Other herbs that people have taken for depression include cardamom, chili pepper, saffron, and sage. Nutmeg, dill, caraway, celery, and fennel have also been used by some in the treatment of depression.

St. John’s wort acts as a natural antidepressant. It is a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor, which means it has the ability to prevent the breakdown of the brain chemicals norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. These important neurotransmitters are the keys to a person’s mood and sense of well-being. It is one of the most popular herbs for depression.

It can be found at health food stores and some pharmacies. Studies have suggested that St. John’s wort can help some forms of depression that are mild or close to moderate, but that it isn’t as effective for a person suffering from severe depressive disorder. A person taking a prescription antidepressant shouldn’t combine it with St. John’s wort or any other herbs for depression without first discussing it with a professional health care provider.


Valerian, commonly known as heliotrope, has long been used to treat depression and anxiety. The medicinal properties are found in the roots, which contain natural tranquilizers called valepotriates. These powerful substances can help relieve many of the symptoms commonly associated with depression, including irritability, insomnia, and high blood pressure.

Lemon balm is a member of the mint family that smells like lemon and has been used as a folk remedy to treat various ailments. It is another of the herbs for depression that has seen a long history of use. Lemon balm is especially effective at treating digestive disturbances such as nausea and heartburn caused by depression, and it also acts as a mild antidepressant.

Gingko biloba is another of the popular herbs for depression. This herb acts by increasing the circulation of blood. When the blood supply to the brain of a person who is depressed improves, so can that person’s mood. Increased circulation of blood can also improve memory and strengthen the heart. Gingko biloba also is a powerful antioxidant, and this activity can assist in elevating the mood as well.


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