Many commonly prescribed antidepressants work by keeping the neurotransmitter serotonin circulating in the brain. Herbs such as Siberian ginseng, licorice and Saint-John's-wort also increase the availability of serotonin in the brain.
In clinical studies, Siberian ginseng has repeatedly proved helpful for people who are depressed or have other serious emotional problems. According to a 1980 study, licorice is more effective than one of the commonly prescribed MAO inhibitors. Other herbs that may help depression are basil, thyme, lemon balm, lavender, spearmint, peppermint, rose petals, gingko, marjoram, lemon verbena, and ginseng.
Herbs for Depression
Herbs Useful for Depression
Listed below are important herbs that are useful for depression either for depression itself or to minimize the depression related side effects. For details on specific herb, click on the name of the herb. You can also get detailed information about the herb and its safety information etc. from
A combination of herbs are usually more effective and preferred for treatment of depression. The tonics are prepared with special consideration to neutralizing the side effects caused by one and with consideration to the specific situation of the individual who is taking it. Listed below are examples of herbal tonics used for depression. As always, you should consult a doctor before starting on any herbal therapy. Since the herbs may interact with prescription medicines, make sure you check with your doctor before starting on any herb if you are currently taking any prescription medications.
Gentian Root Tea
Steep 1/2 ounce each of finely chopped poplar bark and gentian root in two pints of water for fifteen minutes. Boil and add 1/2ounce each of agrimony and centaury. Simmer for ten minutes, cool, and strain. You can add honey for sweetener if you desire. Take three or four tablespoons before meals.
Boil two cups of water with one teaspoon each of rosemary and sage. Steep for five minutes, strain, and drink daily.
1 teaspoon tincture of Saint-John's-wort leaf
Combine ingredients (if you do not or cannot drink alcohol, buy glycerites instead of tinctures). Take 1 dropperful 3 times a day.
Crush cloves and add to sage, camomile or peppermint tea and a dash of ginseng powder to lift mild depression.
St. Johns Wort Blend
Useful as a general purpose remedy for depression
2 parts St. John's-wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Take 5 ml of the tincture three times a day for at least one month.
Mix equal parts of kava, lemon balm, valerian root and St. John's wort. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tsp. of herb mix. Drink 1 cup three times daily, one hour after meals.
Feel Good Herb Tea
This tea encourages a feeling of well-being
3 Parts lemon balm herb
Mix the above herbs and flowers in a bowl. Store in a glass jar. To prepare the tea, use 1 to 2 teaspoons of herb per cup. Pour hot water over herbs and allow it to steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Flavor with honey or lemon if desired. Drink up to three cups per day.
Bupleurum and dong quai make up a Chinese herbal formula that helps reduce anxiety, irritability, and depression. Take 1,000 milligrams of a bupleurum and dong quai combination formula two or three times daily for two weeks out of every month (if you are a woman, take it for the two weeks prior to the anticipated onset of your menstrual period).
Aspiration is a combination of several Chinese and Western herbs believed to help lift depression. The formula addresses physical symptoms as well as psychological ones, including loss of appetite, chest constriction, and constipation.
Another Chinese herbal formula, Gather Vitality, may help with insomnia or oversleeping, aching limbs, and fatigue.
For depression and anxiety: Ginseng, Longan and Bupleurum Combination (Chia-wei-kuei-pi- tang) General tonic formula: Astragalus Combination:
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