Most people occasionally feel low, usually because of an upsetting event. Depression however, is a more serious condition that can lead to the inability to function or even to suicide. Major depression often goes undiagnosed because it is confused with feelings that arise from a specific life situation. Conventional therapies are appropriate for major depression and include psychotherapy along with antidepressant drugs. For minor symptoms of depression, natural remedies may be all that are needed.
Aromatherapy can ease mental fatigue and anguish and help you sleep. Essential oils used in aromatherapy to treat depression are basil, clary sage, jasmine, rose and German chamomile. Place two to three drops of any or all of these essential oils into a steaming large bowl of water, and inhale the vapors. Alternatively, you can place five to six drops of any or all of these essential oils into your bath, and soak for symptomatic relief of fatigue and mild depressive symptoms. A few drops of these essential oils on the edge of your pillowcase at night will help ease you to sleep.
Physical exercise is a key component to any therapy for depression. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain, helps to lift mood and reduces stress levels. If all you do is add mild exercise to your daily routine, it can be effective in treating mild symptoms of depression. Thirty minutes of exercise three times a week can yield positive results.
Herbs can be used to treat minor depression. Some of the most popular herbs used in this manner are St. John’s wort, lavender and mugwort. St. John’s wort is widely available in tincture form. A tincture is a liquid concentrated form of a herbal remedy. Tinctures are usually combined with water to offset an offensive taste. Make a homemade tincture using the above herbs by combining 2 teaspoons of St. John’s wort oil with 1 teaspoon of lavender oil and 1 teaspoon of mugwort oil. Take a dropper or one teaspoon of this tincture in one 8-ounce glass of water three times a day for at least one month. For continued use after one month, consult your physician.
Many mind and body practices are helpful in dealing with mild depression. Use music and dance to lift your spirits and soothe your body. Progressive muscle relaxation and meditation both stimulate and relax the body and mind. Yoga and t’ai chi are other possibilities to soothe your spirit.
Regardless of how you choose to treat your mild depression symptoms, if your symptoms seem to get worse, or you feel no relief, consult your physician for other treatment options.