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 Depression  Holistic-online.com

Kampo - Japanese Herbal Therapy

Kampo is a Japanese system of herbalism. It is to treat disease and to return people to health.
Kampo share the view with modern psychiatry that depression is a physical condition that manifests itself in emotional symptoms. In Kampo, depression is often compared to a "broken heart," and Kampo's ancient theorists developed an elaborate theory of how disorders of the heart caused depression.

Kampo Classification of Depression Types

Kampo distinguishes three types of depression:

1. Depression that results from too little nutritive energy reaching the heart. Symptoms for this depression are: insomnia, nervous unrest, and night sweats.

2. Depression that results from too much nutritive energy reaching the heart. 'Blazing heart fire' caused acute mental illness, a condition in which depression alternated with mania, nightmares, palpitations, redness in the face, restlessness, and ulcers of the mouth and tongue. This type of depression is the most dangerous. It has to be handled with extreme care.

3. 'Liver oppression' is a from of depression that originates from restrained anger. Symptoms include acid regurgitation or heartburn, anxiety, bloating, a feeling of fullness in the chest, and pain in the side.

Treatment Strategy

Kampo practitioners prefer herbal formulas rather than single herbs for the treatment of depression. Herbal formulas offer a more comprehensive balancing of energies in various parts of the body.

Do not take more than one Kampo formula for depression at one time. We suggest that you use the one formula that best fits the symptom pattern. Consult a Kampo or TCM practitioner to determine which formulas are appropriate for you.

Single herbs are useful for long-term use in cases of mild to moderate depression. They should be used to augment or complement antidepressant therapy rather than substitute it. Kampo therapy complements antidepressant therapy by acting on the brain in ways different from those of the various drugs.

Individual Kampo Treatments

Barley Sprouts (Herb)

Relieves sadness and mild depression in adults who have both diabetes and attention deficit disorder. Juices or teas of young rice or wheat seedlings can be used instead of barley sprouts. 
Dosage: 1-3 tbsp (6-15 g) powder dissolved in 1 cup water once daily. 
Caution: Will inhibit lactation.

Biota (Herb)

Used for the treatment of age-related memory loss and accompanying symptoms of depression. 
Recommended form: Biota Seed Pill to Nourish the Heart 
Dosage: 1 cup of tea 3 times daily before meals. 
Caution: Do not use over the long term, since dizziness, nausea, or vomiting could result. For long-term depression, use the formula instead.

Ginkgo (Modern Herbal Preparation)

Reverses depressions particularly when used with prescription drugs in elderly patients, by increasing the flow of oxygen to the brain.
Dosage: 1 40-mg tablet of Ginkgolide extract, 3 times daily or 1 60-mg tablet twice daily. Increasing dosage to 160 mg (4 - 40-mg tablets) or 180 mg (3 - 60-mg tablets) may give increased relief.
Caution: Do not use ginkgo-leaf tea.

Licorice (Herb)

Useful for depression that accompanies chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Stimulates the production of cortisol. In most CFS patients, this action can increase blood pressure, which in turn increases the brain's oxygen supply, lifting mood. Avoid deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). 
Dosage: Glycyrrhizin extract, 200-800 mg daily, depending on severity of symptoms for up to 6 weeks. Resume after a 2-week break. or 1 cup tea, 1-5 times daily for up to 6 weeks. Resume after a 2-week break. 
Caution: Avoid if high blood pressure is present. Also avoid if an estrogen- sensitive disorder is present, such as bladder cancer, melanoma, or disorders of the female reproductive system.

Morinda (Herb)

An antidepressant herb that increases, rather than diminishes, male sexual function. Increases the rate at which tryptophan is supplied to the brain, but does not affect the rate at which serotonin and other neurotransmitters are made or broken down. Also lowers high blood pressure. 
Dosage: Freeze-dried extract, 2-5 1,000-mc capsules 3 times daily. or 1 cup tea, 3 times daily. 
Caution: Avoid in cases of dribbling or difficult urination.

Kampo Formulas

Biota Seed Pill to Nourish the Heart

Relieves depression in a symptom pattern of low energy, chills, cold limbs, palpitations, insomnia, headache, dizziness, poor memory, agitation, or nightmares. 

Bupleurum Plus Dragon Bone and Oyster Shell Decoction

Treats depression that occurs with a combination of symptoms which includes delirious speech, irritability, and palpitations that are frequently accompanied by urinary difficulty, a feeling of fullness in the chest, and difficulty in turning the body sideways and forward. Particularly useful for treating depression accompanied by migraine headaches in men. 
Caution: Be sure the formula does not include the traditional ingredient minium (lead oxide). Use with caution if fever is present, and discontinue if preexisting fevers worsen.

Coptis Decoction to Relive Toxicity

Treats depression alternating with episodes of "hot" symptoms, including bleeding gums, fever, facial flushing caused by embarrassment or emotion- al tension, headaches, nervousness, or sinusitis. 
Caution: Should not be used by women who are trying to become pregnant.

Drive Out Stasis from the Mansion of Blood Decoction

Treats depression accompanied by extreme "psychosomatic symptoms," including chest pain, chronic headache with a piercing quality, choking sensation when drinking, dry heaves, insomnia, extreme mood swings, or fever. Particularly useful for depression accompanied by migraine headaches in women.

Frigid Extremities Decoction

For depression that is accompanied by a queasy stomach. May cause a loss of sensation in the mouth and tongue. 
Caution: Discontinue the formula if fever occurs.

Ginseng Decoction to Nourish the Nutritive Qi

For depression complicated by anemia, forgetfulness, hair loss, jaundice, or tired limbs. Contains small amounts of ginseng, which softens the effects of stress and also stimulates the immune system.

Licorice, Wheat, and Jujube Decoction

Has calming actions similar to those of opium, acts by occupying brain receptor sites that receive sedative drugs such as opium without causing addiction. It is usually given to women and children experiencing frequent sobbing and loss of emotional control, and displaying a detached demeanor.

Restore the Spleen Decoction

This formula regulates digestion to treat depression that manifests itself as anxiety, difficulty in maintaining concentration, fatigue of mind and body, and/or poor memory.

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