Are Herbal Remedies Safe for Treating Depression?
If herbal remedies are used in the recommended doses adverse reactions or side effects are unusual. Problems are more likely to occur if an herb is overused. This can occur if the dosage is too high or if the herb is taken continuously for too long a period of time. Chamomile, for example, if given on a daily basis for too long, may cause an allergy to ragweed and the prolonged use of licorice can lead to high blood pressure.
Herbs should be used for set periods of time or alternated with another remedy or remedies. For example, if an individual has taken St. John's wort for three months and is still feeling depressed, he should discontinue using the herb and try to find an appropriate alternate herb or herbal formula. On the other hand, if the individual is doing well on St. John's wort after four to six months, they should still stop using the herb, and try another herb or herbal formula to deal with any other symptoms. For example, if the predominant remaining symptom is fatigue, one may want to take Siberian Ginseng; if the symptom is agitation, kava may be called for; if insomnia is the major complaint, valerian is the appropriate herb.
Moderation is the key when using herbs for therapeutic purposes. Consult with a qualified herbalist or health care professional if you have questions about the use of a particular herb or herbal formula.
Today, herbal medicine is enjoying a renaissance in the United States, and almost fifty percent of the American population use dietary and herbal supplements to improve their health. Consumers are becoming more and more informed about their health choices, and are looking to utilize the best that conventional medicine and natural medicine has to offer. Based on current trends, the twenty-first century has the potential of becoming the "healthiest" century in human history.