Skip to content

Surprising Herbs That Help Fight Depression


Depression is a serious condition that affects millions of people each year. Many different treatments are available for depression, but they often have unpleasant side effects and don’t always work as well as you might hope. Fortunately, some natural remedies may be just what you need to combat your depression symptoms without any of those nasty side effects! Below we’ve compiled a list of herbs that might help you in treating this debilitating mental illness.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to help people with low energy and fatigue and those who are recovering from illness. When taken regularly this herb can increase serotonin levels which combat depression symptoms such as anxiety and obsessive thoughts, there is also evidence that it might even treat some of the more severe aspects of depression-like suicidal tendencies.

Some studies show that taking just one dose per day will start making improvements after two weeks, but benefits usually only last about six months, so although it’s not a permanent fix it can be helpful to those who are looking for a natural remedy in the short term. So if you’re just feeling depleted or struggling to sleep there’s a chance this could be the perfect solution for your problems!


Saffron has been used in Persian medicine for centuries to combat a variety of mental and physical illnesses. It’s thought that saffron is effective because it contains compounds that mimic the mood-elevating properties of serotonin. Using this herb can be as simple as adding a few strands of saffron into your tea or food. You can make yourself up a cup from scratch by heating water then steeping the saffron (in this case we recommend three tablespoons) for five minutes before straining out any remaining ingredients.

Astragalus Root

This root comes from an ancient Chinese plant called Huang Qi, which means “yellow chicken”. The name comes from the long-standing belief that consuming Huang Qi could help people feel lighter and happier, just like a chicken. Astragalus is one of those herbs that seem to be very safe in moderate doses; as such, it has often been used by patients recovering from surgery or other physical trauma because it can reduce pain and increase energy levels. One study showed that participants taking Astragalus Root were significantly more likely to have their depression symptoms improve than placebo recipients, meaning there’s definitely something going on here!

Hops Flowers

This herb comes from hops plants grown for beer production but also offers some great benefits for fighting depression. Hops contain compounds called flavonoids which mimic the effects of serotonin in your brain, and this can help to lift your mood and reduce the feelings of anxiety that often come with depression. The best way to use hops is as a tea, so add some water before steeping three or four heaping teaspoons of this herb for five minutes then strain off any remaining ingredients when you’re done. You should start feeling better after just one cup!

Jujube Fruit

This fruit comes from Central Asia where it has been used in traditional medicine for centuries thanks largely to its antioxidant compounds which may also be able to fight depression symptoms by increasing serotonin levels. Jujubes are usually eaten raw but they do have another benefit: jujube peel extract contains an amino acid called arginine which is thought to increase brain activity and dopamine levels, which may also help to lift your mood.

One study suggests that jujubes can improve depression symptoms within a day of eating them and make the negative thoughts disappear completely in just two days! It’s not clear how long any improvements will last for but it does seem promising!

Turmeric Root

This herb has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries because of its ability to reduce pain and inflammation without causing stomach upset as other drugs would do. Turmeric root contains compounds called curcuminoids which are thought to mimic serotonin once they get into the brain, meaning this might be able to treat depression too – although more research is needed before we know this with certainty.

If you want to try turmeric, you can either make it into a tea with three tablespoons of water and five minutes’ steeping time before straining off any remaining ingredients; alternatively, add some freshly grated root (one teaspoon) or ground powder (half a teaspoon) to your food.

Ginger Root

This is one of the most popular herbs in traditional Eastern medicine thanks largely to its potent anti-inflammatory properties which have been shown to help reduce pain levels for centuries! Ginger also contains compounds called gingerols that may mimic serotonin when they get into the brain, meaning this might be able to fight depression just as easily – although again more research is needed. You could use fresh ginger pieces by adding them directly into whatever dish you’re cooking, or you could use ginger in a tea by adding three tablespoons of boiling water and steeping for five minutes before straining off the remaining plant material.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are distilled from plants like lavender, peppermint, and rosemary which can be used as aromatherapy to help treat depression. You might think that these won’t work because they don’t contain any active ingredients but this isn’t entirely true: some essential oils do contain compounds called terpenes which have been shown to act on serotonin receptors both outside of your body and within it too! Some researchers believe that inhaling peppermint oil while looking at pictures (or videos) of happy things may even affect mood more than just smelling it alone.


If you’re feeling down and want to find a natural way to treat your depression, try one of the herbs or plants mentioned above. It’s not clear how effective these treatments will be at improving mood long term but it certainly won’t hurt – so why not give something new a go?