Winter blues can creep in on you when you least expect it. Depression can take many forms, but it seems to spring up mostly in the winter when people are experiencing less sun and less social interaction.
Humans need and require sunlight. We derive our Vitamin D from this natural source and it is essential for boosting serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. These are the happiness hormones we all need to combat stress, anxiety, and depression. So if you can – get out in the sun as much as possible and up your magnesium levels as well by either eating magnesium-rich foods or taking a supplement, you’ll be on your way to feeling a whole lot better. Why magnesium? All of the enzymes that metabolize Vitamin D require magnesium.
NaturalHealth365.com states the following: “If you’re not consuming enough magnesium, then your efforts to get enough of the “sunshine vitamin” will be ineffective, at best. So, be sure to add in these ten magnesium-rich foods into your weekly diet (and maybe add a high-quality magnesium supplement, too):
- Pumpkin seeds
- Oily fish
- Lima beans
- Sesame seeds
- Peanut butter”
Humans also require social interaction. This is the time of year people need others the most when feeling and being alone can be very painful. Instead of turning to others though, people tend to turn towards social media for that social interaction which is empty.
Social media has a way of making you feel less connected and less appreciated. Social media is terrible and turns everyone judgemental. Think about your interactions on there and how superficial they are and begin to understand that social media can never make you happy. The first thing you should do if you are suffering from depression is to turn off all social media and start focusing on you. Who cares what everyone else thinks and does. It’s not important. You are and you need to get back to that.
What about taking drugs to combat depression? Drugs to treat depression is just not the way. There are scary statistics showing addictive dependency to these and long-term use contributing to very harmful effects on the body. “People who used antidepressants had a 14% higher risk of heart attacks and strokes and a 33% greater risk of death, according to findings in a meta-analysis of 17 studies that was published in 2017 in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.….
The most popular antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, affect the action of the neurotransmitter serotonin not only in the brain but throughout the body. And because serotonin is involved in critical processes like growth, digestion and immune function, disrupting serotonin levels could have widespread negative health effects, says Marta Maslej, a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and the lead author of the study.” – Wall Street Journal
But there’s good news because almost ALL herbs can combat depression and anxiety!
If you have the winter blues here are some great herbal alternatives that I’m sure you’ll appreciate.
- Holy Basil – Also known as tulsi. This herb ups production of the brain’s own antidepressant compounds including serotonin and dopamine. This herb starts working in as little as 72 hours (compared to weeks like popular anti-depressant drugs). It also lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Salba – This is an ancient grain prized by Native Americans and Mexicans. Although not necessarily considered an herb, but rather a plant grain, it acts as one with its beneficial properties. Salba is the white seeds of the chia plant and is a great source of omega-3s. These fatty acids are proven to relieve depression, help memory and boost brainpower. These seeds also absorb several times their volume in water which promotes the feeling of being full.
- Rose Hips – These are the seed pods of wild roses. These are bursting with antidepressant properties and calming minerals, including potassium, which help de-stress. Rose hips contain up to 30 times more mood-brightening Vitamin C, ounce for ounce, than an orange. By drinking this herb, it’s been shown to slash the number of stress chemicals in the bloodstream significantly. Bonus – rose hips are also anti-inflammatory which means it can help to regularly reduce joint pain and swelling.
- Passionflower – This is a perennial climbing vine native to the U.S. It’s available in powder or leaf form. This herb can be used in powder form in smoothies or cereals as an added benefit. It is very calming and soothing to the body and mind. This herb is great for anxiety, stress, and depression. I keep this on hand during the winter months. This herb is so effective at calming the mind, it can be used to treat insomnia as well. It is highly effective in managing anxiety with no adverse side effects. Bonus – passionflower stimulates libido and curbs drug addiction.
- Chamomile – This is a wonderful flowering herb. While there are many different varieties on this herb, German chamomile is more potent than its counterpart, English. Click Here to learn more about chamomile – treatments, uses, and cautions. This is a traditional herb used among the centuries as a sleep aid, anxiety, colds, and an upset stomach. Studies show Chamomile is highly effective at treating depression as it acts as a mild sedative and relaxes the mind and body relieving stress and anxiety.
- Kava Kava – This is an herbal plant native to the South Pacific area. This herb is effective at treating anxiety, depression, stress, tension, agitation, agoraphobia, specific other phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, adjustment disorder, menopausal symptoms, and insomnia*. Kava Kava is a very relaxing herb. This herb is generally safe for occasional use, but not long term as studies also show it’s detrimental to the liver (although rare). Bonus – kava kava helps fight cancer and has been shown to reduce the size of tumors found in the prostate. It boosts the immune system and combats breast cancer. Long term use has shown this herb to have adverse effects on the liver. I recommend increasing your milk thistle while taking this herb to help with any damage this herb may cause. Milk Thistle is a liver protectant and can help eliminate or correct liver damage.
Kratom is another herb being presented as a natural anti-depressant. Dr. Axe shows the following on his website:
I haven’t done any research on Kratom so to be continued with that herb. This is a relatively new herb for me. I’m still learning about it but I hope to have a blog on it soon so stay tuned.
- Lemon Balm – This is part of the mint family. It is a perennial native to south-central Europe. This herb has been used for centuries to cure sleeplessness. This herb is a powerful antioxidant that not only promotes restful sleep but relieves discomfort, soothes irritation, supports the body’s natural response to harmful organisms, supports DNA integrity, encourages mental clarity*. Because it promotes restful sleep, this herb has been shown to alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression and studies prove it. Bonus – lemon balm sharpens memory and focus, improves alertness, attention, and recall. This herb also steadies your level of a neurotransmitter that helps protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and it supports the liver.
- Skullcap – Like lemon balm, this is also part of the mint family. This herb has two different varieties, the American and the Chinese. American skullcap is what you want to treat depression as this variety is shown to be a nerve tonic to help with anxiety. Skullcap contains antioxidants which makes it great at reducing anxiety or any oxidative stress such as depression.
- Catnip – Similar to catmint (catnip is stronger), this herb is native to southern and eastern Europe. This herb has a host of benefits. Click Here to learn more. Catnip is a mild sedative and has a soothing effect on the central nervous system. It’s been known to ease anxiety and help with sleep aiding in stress relief and depression. Regular use of this tea helps with nervousness and irritability. Catnip relieves depression, irrational fears, and worries. It relaxes the muscles and relieves headaches.
- Rooibos – Rooibos is also referred to as “red bush”. This herb is part of a family of plants that grow in South Africa. Similar to catnip, rooibos also has a soothing effect on the central nervous system. It is a long term herbal remedy for headaches, irritability, disturbed sleeping patterns, insomnia, nervous tension, stress, hypertension, panic attacks, and even mild depression.*
With these herbs, you’ll want to do 1-2 tsp per 1 cup boiling water. Leave covered to retain any volatile oils while it is brewing and let brew for 15-20 minutes before drinking. Enjoy 🙂
You can’t go wrong with herbs when it comes to treating depression. I’ve named a few of the best, but all herbs contain antioxidants and free radical fighting compounds that aid against depression and the winter blues. Drink herbal tea and you’ll be well on your way to fighting and ridding yourself of the winter blues.
A couple of other things to keep in mind, start exercising and start eating right. Studies show that eating a healthy, well-balanced, organic diet can keep not only your mind but the body in shape.
Also, start exercising. Whether it’s in a gym or at home. Exercising boosts those happy hormones in the brain and makes you feel better, plus your body will thank you.
Third, buy some Vitamin D and start taking it daily. Supplement this with a magnesium supplement or magnesium-rich foods for the best absorption. Your body can’t metabolize Vitamin D without magnesium.
Lastly, pray. I know a lot of people are against religion, but you’d be amazed at what it can do for you. Buy a KJV Bible, read it, listen to some Charles Lawson, and Pray – knowing and believing that God is in control at all times and it’ll only get better from here. Distance yourself from social media and start living. Do this and you’ll be miles away from any winter blues or depression. I promise you that.