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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Are there any natural remedies used to treat depression?

    I am one of those people who is wary about taking prescription medications. Are there any known herbal supplements which are known to reduce depressive symptoms?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    Penny Lewis

    Clinical Psychologist, Counsellor, Psychologist, Psychotherapist

    I am a Clinical Psychologist with more than 25 years experience working with adults with a broad range of backgrounds dealing with a wide variety … View Profile

    I share your concern about prescription medications. There are a range of supplements that have been found to assist with depression. Two common ones are St John’s Wort  and Omega-3 supplements like Fish Oil. However, if you are looking for supplements to avoid side-effects of medications, please be aware that supplements, like medications, can all have side-effects (note the side-effects for these two supplements mentioned in the links), cause allergic reactions or interact with other medications or supplements. Just because a product is “natural” or occurs in a food, does not mean that in a supplement form it is safe.
    Many medications and supplements have only demonstrated safety or effectiveness in short-term studies, often with animals. This does not mean that long term use in humans is safe. Don’t get me wrong – I am all for natural alternatives to medications and have spent many hours looking for alternatives to medications for my own health issues. This is when I became aware of how hard it is for the average person to work out safety of supplements as I was able to apply my years of training to both finding relevant studies and evaluating the research I found. Alternative health professionals gave me conflicting information and were often not aware of the risks of some supplements that my research uncovered. It left me wondering if it was better to take a medication with known risks of X, Y and Z, than a supplement with no good research on long term side-effects.
    For more information about the benefits and disadvanges of natural remedies vs medications, see my article.

    If you are looking at taking a vitamin or supplement for depression, click on this link for a good website to help you check out the benefits, risks, side-effects and interactions of what you might be taking.  

     I don't want to deter you form looking into alternative supplements - just want to help you make an informed choice :) . I hope you find one that is right for you.

  • I am a Melbourne Relationship Counsellor and Family Lawyer who is skilful in helping people get out of the pain of relationship distress and create … View Profile

    In addition to natural remedies you may try getting regular exercise and a healthy diet with plenty of protein. Some evidence suggests that protein is important in maintaining a healthy brain which is linked with depressive symptoms.

    Good luck.

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