11 Herbs and Supplements to Help Fight Depression

Jillian Kubala is a registered dietitian based in Westhampton, NY. Jillian holds a master’s degree in nutrition from Stony Brook University School of Medicine as well as an undergraduate degree in nutrition science. 

Depression is a mental health condition that affects more than 17 million adults in the United States alone. However, the actual number is thought to be much higher, as many people with depression don’t seek treatment for various reasons (1Trusted Source2Trusted Source).

Below are the five classifications of depressive disorders, which share features like sadness, irritable mood, a feeling of emptiness, and cognitive changes that affect functioning (2Trusted Source):

  • major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
  • persistent depressive disorder
  • premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • depressive disorder due to another medical condition

Depressive disorders are treated with medication and psychotherapy. In addition, lifestyle modifications, including making dietary changes and taking certain supplements, may also help people in recovery and relapse prevention.

For example, some research shows that specific vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other compounds may provide added benefits in improving depressive symptoms.

That being said, herbs and dietary supplements are not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the same way as medications. So, you can’t always be certain of what you’re getting and whether it’s safe.

Additionally, more studies are needed to determine which natural supplements are more likely to help with depression, and what side effects they may cause.

Before introducing any supplements into your diet, it’s worth doing your research and discussing with your doctor. This article lists 11 supplements that may benefit people with depression.

Herbs for depression

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

Rhodiola is an herb linked to a variety of potential health benefits when taken in supplement form. These include reduced depressive symptoms and an improved stress response, which can help your body adapt to stressful situations.

The herb may exert antidepressant effects via its ability to enhance nerve cell communication and reduce overactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis.

The HPA axis is a complex system that regulates your body’s stress response. Research suggests overactivity of the HPA axis may be associated with major depression (3Trusted Source4Trusted Source).

Some studies show that supplementing with rhodiola may benefit those with depression by affecting neurotransmitter receptor and molecular networks that may have a beneficial effect on mood (5Trusted Source).

For example, a study in 57 people with depression found that treatment with 340 mg of rhodiola extract per day for 12 weeks led to clinically meaningful reductions in depressive symptoms (3Trusted Source).

What’s more, while rhodiola treatment was less effective than the antidepressant medication Sertraline, it caused much fewer side effects (3Trusted Source).

Another study found that a supplement composed of rhodiola and saffron significantly reduced depression and anxiety symptoms in adults with mild to moderate depression after 6 weeks (6Trusted Source).

Read more https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/herbs-supplements-for-depression#supplements