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Depression is the most common mental illness in the Netherlands. GPs are quick to prescribe regular medication for depression, the commonly used antidepressants. But natural remedies can often be just as effective and have less serious side effects. In this blog, you can read more about 4 of these natural remedies you can use for depression.

What are the symptoms of depression?

When you feel gloomy at times, it is quite normal. You don't have to be beaming with happiness every day. A gloomy mood passes quickly. This is not the case with depression. It persists for a longer period of time, leaving you feeling listless, gloomy and uninterested in the world around you.

Depression is more common in women than men, but basically anyone can suffer from it. Depression affects men and women of all ages, backgrounds and education. And many people suffer from it, some 5% of Dutch people suffer from depression every year. And almost 20% suffer from depression at some point during their lives. Sometimes this mood disorder goes away on its own, but unfortunately it can also last for years. Those who are depressed always experience a reduction in pleasure and interest in things you used to always enjoy. You also always suffer from a gloomy mood. In addition, you have at least five of the following symptoms:

  • Listlessness and feeling sluggish
  • Insomnia or sleeping a lot
  • Irritability
  • Worrying
  • Reduced desire or no desire for sex
  • Weight change: less appetite or overeating
  • Restlessness, not being able to sit still
  • Thinking about death
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Reduced self-esteem

Taking antidepressants

If you suffer from depression, it is wise to seek help for it. When you see your GP, chances are he or she will prescribe antidepressants. These could help you function normally. Unfortunately, while these drugs can help, they also bring many side effects, such as nausea, dry mouth and anxiety. They may also make you lose your appetite for sex, make you tired, and can cause muscle tremors. Of course, you may take these side effects for granted. But in nature, you can also find all kinds of remedies that are effective for depression. Often, these are more tolerable and you can safely use them for longer periods of time. Read more about them below.

Kanna: natural mood enhancer

You may have heard of kanna. It is often used at parties. But kanna actually works exactly like regular antidepressants, affecting the uptake of serotonin. A nickname for this drug is therefore the "natural prozac". Kanna also makes serotonin less rapidly absorbed by the body, keeping levels of this neurotransmitter higher.

Research shows that serotonin plays an important role in depression. Higher levels of this neurotransmitter make you feel better about yourself and reduce depressive feelings. There are several ways to take kanna, from drinking tea to vaping or taking some of the drug under the tongue. Be careful not to combine kanna with other antidepressants and drugs that affect the amount of serotonin in your body. That could be dangerous.

Lion's Mane

This medicinal mushroom also affects mood and is one of the natural remedies you can use for depression. Lion's Mane (also known as Whig mushroom) helps protect the brain from age-related symptoms. Depression involves worse brain functioning. Possibly Lion's Mane can help counteract the symptoms. Research also shows the benefits of this fungus. In combination with chlorella, Lion's Mane was found to have a positive effect on depressive symptoms in mice. Lion's Mane can be taken as a supplement. It is available as capsules or extract.

Passion flower for depression

Passion flower can also help with depressive symptoms. Stress has a negative impact on body and mind. It makes you less able to rest and relax, and it causes feeling agitated and gloomy thoughts. Passion flower can bring peace into your life. It has a calming and relaxing effect, which can help well with irritability and restlessness. It is often used to sleep better and reduce anxiety. Passionflower can be used as an extract (from Mystic Herbs or from Fit Up) or as a tea.

The effects of microdosing

Earlier, we mentioned medicinal mushrooms as natural remedies for depression. But psilocybin mushrooms, the well-known magic mushrooms, can also be used well for this condition. If you take a normal dose of magic mushrooms, you will be tripping. This can have positive effects on various mental symptoms, such as PTSD, as well as depression. But not everyone is into tripping.

Fortunately, you can also microdose. The principle of this is that you take a very small dose (a tenth of a normal dose). You won't hallucinate from this, but you can still notice the subtle effects. Psilocybin can help you gain new insights and it can have a positive effect on your mood. So it can work as a natural antidepressant. Microdosing has virtually no side effects. For example, use the Fadiman routine to avoid habituation to the drug.

Working on your depression yourself

With the remedies mentioned above, you can start working on your own. But keep a finger on the pulse with your mental health. Everyone is different, and perhaps one remedy works better than another or your symptoms are too severe to treat on your own. In any case, don't keep walking around with depression. Try one of these natural remedies, or seek help from a doctor, a psychologist or another therapist, so that you too can regain a sense of well-being and enjoy life to the full.