Depression Medical Considerations
Kava Kava: Kava Kava (Piper Methysticum) is an herb that has been used in the Fiji Islands for many years. There it is cultivated in large quantities, and the islanders use it as a social beverage, much like how we would use either coffee or alcohol. The effects of Kava Kava are a relaxation of mental stress while at the same time an enhancement of mental capacities. Kava Kava also helps to relax striated muscles. Striated muscles are the muscles that can be voluntarily moved such as arm and leg muscles groups, or neck muscles. Kava Kava does NOT affect smooth muscle such as the heart muscle or diaphragm muscle used for breathing. It is proposed that the reason Kava Kava enhances mental capacities is because relaxation of stressful situations coupled with relaxation of tense or spastic muscles such as the neck muscles, allows more blood flow to the brain. Additionally, by putting some of the stressful affects aside, anyone can think clearer.
Relaxing Herbs: Valerian Root is an herb that is used extensively in Alternative Care Medicine to provide sedative and relaxation effects, as well as sleep promoting benefits for many patients. Passionflower, which is more widely used in Europe than America, may help combat Parkinson’s disease. (Reference: The Herbal Handbook, by David Hoffmann.) Many other herbalists also agree that Passionflower may help combat Parkinson’s disease. Passionflower contains two reportedly effective anti-Parkinson’s compounds, harmine and harmaline alkaloids. (Reference: The Green Pharmacy by James A. Duke, Ph.D., 1997, p. 353.) Passionflower has anti-anxiety and sedative effects. Lemon Balm and Skullcap are traditional herbs for calming the nervous system.
A good night’s sleep allows Alpha Brains Waves to become active, which is important for quality rest. Alpha brain waves are most active during the phase of sleep known as “Rapid Eye Movement (REM) or more commonly referred to as “Deep Sleep.”
Essential Fatty Acids: Fatty Acids that cannot be made by the body and which must be supplied through the diet, are called Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s), also referred to as Vitamin F. These essential fatty acids are also known as polyunsaturates, and are recommended in order to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and to reduce the risks of heart disease and stroke. EFA’s have also shown to be needed when dealing with candidiasis and coronary heart disease, and to minimize blood clot formation. Omega 3 fatty acids are very important for the brain, and are very important when depression is chronic. It is of critical importance to obtain both adequate levels and appropriate ratios of the different types of essential fatty acids. Both Fish Oils and Flaxseed Oil provide an excellent source of omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids.
Multi-Vitamins: High quality multi-vitamin / mineral formulas are needed to add the necessary “co-factors” needed for enzymatic pathways. Organic chemistry studies (a requirement for medical school students), demonstrates that all enzymatic, energy, and virtually all biological pathways in the human body, need many nutrients, or co-factors, to properly complete each pathway. Shortages of needed nutrients results in dysfunction of the organs for which those pathways could not be completed properly.
Imbalances of Female Hormones can cause serious depression in most women. Your choices are either: going to a doctor’s office and having a hormonal panel performed; or treating at home with natural substances. More and more women are now asking for natural hormonal replacement, rather than prescription hormone therapy, referred to by doctors as HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Natural hormone replacement therapy can be very effective, totally safe, and allow the female body to live naturally, rather than playing the cat and mouse game usually associated with HRT. If you decide to have your doctor test for your hormones, please remember there are three different types of Estrogen, plus Progesterone, plus Testosterone. That is five hormones as a minimum that must be tested and all five MUST be in balance with each other. DHEA should also be tested, preferably with samples taken in the morning, noon, afternoon, and evening. DHEA breaks down into female and male hormones and can have an overall affect.
Blood Sugar Levels: Imbalances in blood sugar can contribute greatly to depression. Chromium is an effective and gentle supplement for assisting in balancing blood sugar levels naturally. If you are diabetic, or hypoglycemic, or hyperglycemic, or have diabetes in your family, you suffer a much greater chance of developing arteriosclerosis than someone who does not have diabetes. The diabetic suffers first from decrease kidney function, decreased eyesight leading to blindness, and decreased feeling in their feet, which eventually leads to open sores in their feet. The common cause is more rapid atherosclerosis / arteriosclerosis. Controlling blood sugar is very important for these patients. Approximately 16 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes, and several other million from hypoglycemia. It has been shown that many of these individuals respond very effectively with the use of herbs and nutritional supplementation, which can complement conventional medical treatment and assist against some complications of these chronic but manageable diseases.
Diet is a major factor in controlling blood sugar levels. This cannot be understated!
The herb Gymnema Sylvester has been used in India for over two thousand years to help balance blood sugar levels.
Ginkgo Biloba: The mechanism of Ginkgo is an increase in blood flow through “micro capillaries.” Micro capillaries are the very tiny blood vessels the supply oxygen and nutrition to the more delicate organs of the body, such as the brain. Without proper oxygen and nutritional to the delicate organs of the body, degeneration occurs. Dementia in the elderly is often a result of insufficient blood and oxygen flow to the brain. Also associated with these deficiencies are short-term memory loss, vertigo, headache, ringing in the ears, lack of vigilance, and depression. Much of this is due to the presence of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Because of the mechanism of Ginkgo, ginkgo can offer great hope. (See also Chelation Therapy, below.) Ginkgo has also been shown to normalize acetylcholine receptors in the brain of aged animals and to also increase transmission of nerve impulses. Both of these factors are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Shop carefully for the best available quality and potency of ginkgo, as this will make a big difference in effectiveness.
Chelation Therapy: Heavy Metal Toxicity can cause many symptoms, some of which are depression. Some heavy metal toxicity can cause severe depression. You will have to be tested for heavy metal toxicity from your doctor. The evidence of aluminum in the brain as a causative factor in Alzheimer’s disease is growing. Both aluminum and silicone have been detected in the neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques of Alzheimer’s patients. Canadian research investigators call Alzheimer’s disease, “Aluminum Dementia.” Chelation therapy reduces the amount of heavy metal toxicity in the body, including the brain. Aluminum is one of the heavy metals that chelation therapy will remove. Another cause of dementia in the elderly is insufficient blood and oxygen flow to the brain. Much of this is due to the presence of atherosclerotic disease. Research and clinical experience over the last 50 years has demonstrated significant benefits when using the specific chelator know as “Ethylene Diamine Tetraacetic Acid” (EDTA). Alternative-care minded medical doctors belonging to the “International College of Integrated Medicine,” the “American Board of Chelation Therapy,” and the “International Board of Chelation Therapy,” all agree as to the effectiveness of EDTA against atherosclerotic diseases. (The AMA and FDA do not agree.)
Thyroid Hormone imbalances Hypothyroidism can be another cause of depression, sometimes even severe; you must be tested by your doctor.
Feelings of sadness or hopelessness characterize depression. It is important to consult with your Health Care Professional. Hormonal issues such as low thyroid and menopause may cause depression, as well as nutritional deficiencies. Depression can be sub-clinical, or clinical. Natural herbs and some vitamins can help with both. Taking drugs like Prozac is NOT the best choice.