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What are Natural Remedies for Mood Disorders?

By Ron Marr
Updated Feb 28, 2024
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Not everyone seeks out medical or pharmaceutical relief when overcome by a mood disorder. The choice is individual, and some individuals use natural remedies for mood disorders prior to visiting a medical doctor. Few natural remedies offer proof of effectiveness in clinical trials. These remedies are generally safe, but if a condition progresses or worsens one should seek help from the traditional medical community.

Depression is a common complaint, and many people seek to drive away the blues with St. John’s Wort. Clinical trials indicate that St, John’s Wort is more effective than a placebo. It must be taken for four to six weeks before any relief becomes evident. It should not be ingested by pregnant women, women using oral contraceptives, children, or those taking drugs for HIV or AIDS infections. People with bipolar disorder, or liver or kidney disease, should avoid this compound.

One of the most simple natural remedies for mood disorders involves a change of diet. Too much caffeine, alcohol, or sugar can cause anxiety and mood swings. Beans, nuts, whole grains, and green vegetable contain magnesium. This mineral appears to increase the brain’s serotonin levels, and can sometimes help relieve stress

Food items heavy in omega-3 fatty acids are another natural remedy for mood disorders. Omega-3 is a fish oil, found most heavily in sardines, salmon and anchovies. Supplement capsules are preferred by many over fish consumption, due to fears of mercury poisoning. People who are on blood-thinning drugs should not take omega-3 fish oils.

Folic acid is found in green, leafy vegetables, fruit, beans, and some grains. The acid is a B vitamin, and a deficiency is known to be a contributing factor in depression. Moreover, researchers at Harvard University determined that medical antidepressants are often ineffective on people with low levels of folic acid. Consumption of aspirin or oral contraceptives can cause a deficiency in vitamin B and folic acid.

Some natural remedies for mood disorders appear to back up folk sayings. An apple a day might well keep depression away. Apples contain vitamin B, phosphorus and potassium. They are thought to be most effective in combating depression when consumed with milk and honey.

Other natural remedies for mood disorders include cashew nuts, asparagus, and an infusion of rose petals. All of these contain vitamin B, which appears to be a commonality in most remedies that combat mood disorders. Proper nutrition may not be the entire answer to dealing with mood disorders, but it does appear to play a substantial role.

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Discussion Comments

By browncoat — On Jun 22, 2013

I didn't know some of these. The one that I have heard is that you might feel better after eating some dark chocolate. The chocolate itself can release feel-good hormones, but it also contains chromium which can help people to feel happier as well.

There's probably a few things you would be better off avoiding as well, but that's something that you'd need to figure out by process of elimination.

By KoiwiGal — On Jun 21, 2013

@Fa5t3r - I think that can help when people are depressed because they feel unwell from not eating right and so forth. But a lot of people have mood disorders that are going to persist no matter how nutritional their diet may be (which is not to say that it isn't good advice).

The one that seems to have the most studies backing it up is the fish oil thing. I've heard good stuff about it in general and it really does seem to help people with depression at least to stabilize a bit if it is taken regularly and in large quantities. It's probably the only one of the natural remedies for depression I'd feel comfortable recommending to people.

By Fa5t3r — On Jun 21, 2013

I think that these natural remedies for depression are probably most effective when used with a balanced diet and a good exercise regime, particularly one that involves some strenuous cardiovascular exercise.

I know that's a bit of a cliche by now, but it can really make so much of a difference. I still get depressed, but I feel like I'm more in control of it, since I've tried to start getting more vegetables in my diet and go for a short run every day.

I think the important thing is to not make it another battle ground. Don't feel guilty if you eat a doughnut. Just try to get your daily servings of green vegetables and a bit of exercise and let the rest go.

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