Depression affects millions of people around the world. It is considered by experts to be on of the greatest hidden conditions affecting not only the lifestyles of sufferers but also their families, friends and employers. In fact, the condition can last from moments of simply “feeling down” or “a bit blue”, to weeks of worry and complete debilitation.

Depression, What is it?

At its worst, depression is labeled “Clinical depression”. This is best understood as a complete overwhelming emotion of sadness and helplessness. It can also be experienced as a period of utter despair without hope of escape. Sufferers lose the ability to express their feelings at this stage and the spiral continues to draw them into a seemingly endless spiral of fear. In this state, people can lose their appetite, and lose touch with friends and family. Their employment also suffers, and they may be at risk of suicide.

In its more minor form depression can be a less intense suffering of the same symptoms or maybe only suffering from on or two symptoms. Nevertheless depression, in any form, is a hidden menace for many people who are not able to deal effectively with their problem because they have difficulty talking about it. They suffer from the feeling of shame and “stupidity” which they attach to their behavior that unfairly keeps this debilitating condition hidden.

Treating Depression With Herbs

Doctors will prescribe a variety of drugs for the depressed patients. Often the side effects of these prescriptions leave the patients with a set of side issues to deal with, such as feelings of sleepiness, lack of clarity or mental focus and loss of libido and appetite. Herbal remedies on the other hand, offer a wonderful alternative that have few if any side effects. Two herbs that have shown great promise are Licorice and St Johns Wort.

Having its origins in Europe, St. Johns Wort contains the vitally active ingredient called hyperforin. Experts recommend a dosage of 900 – 1800 mg a day with a concentration of 3 per cent. This dosage can be altered in accordance with the severity of the condition and will be adjusted by your naturopath.

Ironically, St Johns Wort is classified as a toxic weed because it adversely affects the central nervous system of some animals. Although demonstrating this negative affect in animals, it does not affect humans this way in the slightest, and the herb has been effective in the treatment of depression. Studies have shown that it inhibits the release of Serotonin which is the result that traditionally prescribed medications seek to achieve. Some patients have found this naturally occurring product more acceptable than a drug prescription, and have achieved good results in the treatment of their depression.


Licorice has been known for a long time as an effective herbal treatment fro colds, but recently recorded results have shown impressive results in the treatment of depression. Licorice is a natural anti-depressant which contains eight monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

This herb is taken either as a capsule or can be drunk as a tea. There is one cautionary rider to the use of Licorice. If taken in too large a dose or over a lengthy period, there may be side effects like increased blood pressure, headaches and lethargy. It is recommended that licorice be supplemented with potassium capsules and increased water intake to offset the side effects, but in any case you should only use licorice on the advice of a licensed practitioner.