If you're suffering from depression, anxiety or high levels of stress, you may be considering an over-the-counter supplement for relief of your symptoms. Certain supplements can provide a mood boost and may be as effective as certain prescription medications used to alleviate depression or anxiety. Before taking any supplement, you should consult your doctor or a licensed mental health professional.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, S-adenosylmethionine, or SAMe, is a naturally-occurring compound that plays an important role in many bodily processes. It is a molecule that all living cells in your body produce constantly. SAMe helps to produce and break down chemicals responsible for your moods: serotonin, melatonin and dopamine. It has been shown to be as effective at fighting depression as some prescription medications. SAMe works by increasing the production of serotonin in your brain, fighting low serotonin levels that can contribute to depression.
Lavender is an herb that has been used for centuries in aromatherapy and herbal medicine for its ability to promote relaxation and stress relief. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, lavender may help to alleviate conditions such as stress, depression, fatigue, restlessness, anxiety and insomnia. It has soothing sedative effects and may help to boost your mood when you inhale the fragrance. You can use lavender in herb or essential oil form to benefit from its mood-elevating properties. You can prepare a relaxing tea using one to two tsp. of the dried herb in a cup of boiling water. Allow to steep for 10 minutes, and strain before drinking. You can also inhale the aroma by using two to four drops of lavender essential oil in boiling water or in an oil diffuser.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort is an herb that has been used for thousands of years to treat various medical illnesses. It has gained popularity in recent years and has shown to be effective in alleviating depression and other mental disorders such as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, St. John's wort may be as effective as tricyclic antidepressant drugs in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. It generally produces no side effects if used properly. You can take St. John's wort in capsule form.
- lavender image by Lytse from Fotolia.com
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