Herbs For Depression, Anxiety, and General Sadness

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Herbs for Depression Anxiety

The holiday season is upon us, and for many this means happy memories and time with friends. For some, the holiday season is not so happy. It can be a strong reminder of those who are no longer with us. It is often a time that amplifies feelings of depression and loneliness.

Natural Help for Sadness, Depression, and Anxiety

Fortunately, there are many helpful herbs for depression, sadness, and anxiety. If you struggle at this time of year, these herbs can be a good choice to add to your daily routine.

Standing on the outside of the depression of a loved one can be difficult. Never discount their feelings or suggest they stop feeling them. If you know someone who is struggling, an herbal gift and a visit might be nice. You might offer to make a tea for both of you to drink while you are there, but never “dose” someone with herbs without their knowing.

How Herbal Options Differ From Prescription Medications

Herbal options for this sort of issue don’t alter emotional experience as prescriptions can. They are best if used by someone who is willing to work through how they are feeling. They are a shoulder to lean on rather than something that will carry us. It is important that we understand when to reach out for help. If you or a loved one is not working through feelings, symptoms are getting worse, or the individual is becoming a danger to himself/herself, then the time for herbal therapies has passed and medical help should be sought.

Herbs for Depression and Anxiety

The following herbs have a well-deserved reputation for helping with depression and anxiety:

Rose (Rosa spp.)

Rose is used for healing the heart space (chakra in Eastern methodologies). I recommend it to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, and for those who struggle with anxiety.

Borage (Borago officinalis)

“I borage, bring courage.” Borage has quite a long history of use in mild depression.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

This herb has struggled due to a misunderstanding about how it works, but it appears to increase the levels of serotonin in the body. It is important to avoid taking St. John’s wort with an SSRI.

Saffron (Crocus sativus)

These tiny orange sigmas are very expensive, but a little goes a long way. Add dishes that call for saffron to the holiday rotation for a quick lift in mood. Paella anyone?

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

This adaptogen has been found not only to affect how the physical body handles stress, but also our emotional state. It has been proven effective for depression and anxiety.

These herbs may be found online or at your local health food store.

Using Nutrition to Deal With Depression and Anxiety

Beyond supplements, it’s important to think about our nutrition whenever we struggle with sadness, depression, and anxiety.

Some of the most common causes are a lack of omega-3 (fish oil), B-complex (spirulina, bee pollen, fermented foods), magnesium (nuts, beans, leafy greens), and Vitamin D (sunshine and good fats).

Remember that our days are getting shorter and we’re staying inside away from the sun more and more. Insist on a daily walk out in the sun and it might just make a difference.

Do you know of any other great herbs for depression, or other natural ways to deal with sadness and anxiety? If so, share below!


About Dawn Combs

Dawn is a wife, mother, farmer, author, ethnobotanist, professional speaker, and educator. She has over 20 years of ethnobotanical experience, is a certified herbalist, and has a B.A. in Botany and Humanities/Classics. Dawn is co-owner of Mockingbird Meadows Farm. Her books include Conceiving Healthy Babies and Heal Local.

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  1. John Paul says

    Olá. Tudo bem ? . Obrigado por postar este conteúdo.
    Ele é incrível. Sempre acompanho seu blog, mas nunca deixei um comentário.

    Gostaria de compartilhar no meu twitter.

  2. Kathleen says

    I found that Wild Lettuce Extract is very helpful for a restful sleep.
    Also lavender pillows which help calm the mind and enhance relaxation.
    Thank you!

  3. Angela Murray says

    Maureen, Dawn is correct that you MUST NOT go off your meds “cold turkey”!!! You must wean off slowly, over many weeks, otherwise your depression can get much worse!!

  4. Suzy says

    I have been using sage for years with great success! Just start with 1 teaspoon daily for a week then increase to 1 tablespoon if needed. In less than 2 weeks depression is gone! What a miracle this is for me!

    • Dawn says

      Congratulations on your success Suzy! I love sage!!! Such a simple solution that is so easy for many to grow themselves!. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Stacy says

    I was on prescription meds (Zoloft, Paxil) for depression, anxiety and violent outbursts on and off for 10 years. 7 years ago I went off the meds for good, and started looking to the food that I eat to manage my moods. In the time since, I have discovered that cutting out processed sugar, wheat, alcohol and caffeine, along with getting regular exercise, have helped immensely! For exercise, I try to do 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times per week of dance aerobics, walking on my elliptical trainer, or practicing Qigong (similar to Tai Chi).

    • Dawn says

      Thank you for sharing your tips for success, it’s a big deal for others to hear from someone who has actually been there! You should be so proud of what you’ve done for yourself!!

  6. Maureen Keim says

    I have taken lexapro for years and would like to transition to a more natural way of managing depression. Any suggestions?

    • Dawn says

      Hi Maureen, there are several folks in this feed who have real solutions that are working for them. I think they all have sound advice. It is important that you start slow, ensure that you have a full prescription in your home when you start weaning. You don’t want to use up what you have and then start. Start by building up the nutrition and movement habits that you see here from others. When you are feeling really good, back off just a bit of your dosage. Keep your habits up and monitor yourself. When you feel really good and stable back off a bit more. Never feel it’s a failure if you have a day that you need a full dose again… use your prescription as a tool for self care and just keep moving back toward your goal. By moving slowly, focusing on tuning in to giving yourself what you need and building up your system rather than focusing on “taking away” you can get there. If your doctor is open to it, share your plan with them, they may be able to monitor you from their expert eyes as well… OH and tell your friends and family what you are doing… stay accountable to them that you’re using the medication when you need it and that they can speak into your life if they see something you don’t! Good luck!!!

  7. Angela Murray says

    I am bipolar and decided to wean myself off meds a few years ago and instead try natural remedies, which is working well for me. I lost a son to suicide, and attempted it myself many years ago. I use a tincture by Herb Pharm called Good Mood, which contains St. John’s Wort, Skullcap, Prickly Ash Bark, and Ashwagandha. I also use Holy Basil, and for the manic side of my bipolar disorder, calming Lemon Balm when needed. I use these tinctures 2 to 4 times a day depending on my moods. I eat a mostly plant-based diet (no meat!). I also use blackstrap molasses and nutritional yeast for b-complex vitamins, and take a vegan B12 supplement and vitamin D3. I have also learned from experience that sugar increases my depression.
    Thank you for this info, I was unaware of the use of borage for depression, though I have used rhodiola at times for energy.

    • Dawn says

      Thank you Angela, you should be so proud of all your hard work and the success you’ve found in balance. I’m so sorry it claimed your son. Thank you for sharing!

  8. paula williams says

    I just read that a couple of handfuls of cashews or burning bay leaves will help with depression. I have several people in my life that suffer from theses things. so I always have my eyes open

  9. Anja says

    What helped me the most was getting a simple blood test for the MTHFR Gene Defect and finding out I tested positive for the defect. Once I started proper supplements and got the dosage nailed down my world changed. This gene defect runs in my family since it’s fenetic. My family has a history of suicide due to the gene defect, so it’s very serious.

    Magnesium in the evening brings me better sleep and more relaxation.

    I make my own spray bottle of essential oils with water, lavender and jasmine. I spray it on my pillow and sheets for calmness.