The holy grail of natural treatments for depression surely has to be something without side effects, that’s easy to use and has long term benefits. We often assume that natural treatments for depression fit more easily into this category but do they?
The problem is that when we look at the claimed beneficial compounds of these treatments very few appear to have actual ‘active ingredients,’ although all will undoubtedly have placebo (psychological) effect benefits, to a greater or lesser degree.
In this section I’ll talk you through the effect of a number of natural treatments for depression by considering how the psychological aspects combine with the ‘active ingredient.’
You may be surprised to learn as you read on that in many cases the psychological effect of these treatments is greater than the active ingredient. This opens up the possibility for the determined investigator to figure out how to harness the psychological effects and use them without the active ingredient to yield the ultimate in natural treatments for depression!
But first there is a natural treatment for depression that appears to yield clinical benefits over and above the psychological effects that accompany it...
St John's wort for depression
You've likely heard that one of St John’s wort uses is to treat depression but do you know what it is? St John’s wort is actually an extract of the plant Hypericum perforatum and it has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes which includes the treatment of depression. As a preparation it is widely available in health food shops and over the counter in pharmacies.
Antidepressant meds: The most common treatment for depression
As this section is about natural treatments for depression I will not be commenting on antidepressants per se, but I wanted to show you that much of the benefits of antidepressants (many gain valuable benefits from them) are available to you without taking the antidepressant itself. Hence no side effects! But you have to acquire a little knowledge to unlock this mysterious power. The power of placebo!
The powerful placebo effect (psychological effects)
Surely the most natural treatments for depression are those that originate within your own body. They have no side effects, no toxicity, no autoimmune issues, no natural limit on effectiveness and no fundamental cost. Furthermore they have all the power you could possibly want or need to combat depression. The only admittance criteria to use these powerful treatments are you have to want to use them. I think it is quite possible to use some elements of any placebo response as part of your goal to good mental health.