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Can TCM Herba Help with Depression?

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders and affects millions of people in the US. Though pharmaceutical antidepressants such as lexapro are the most widely used treatments, they often exacerbate the problem. As a result, more and more people are looking for a more holistic approach to treating their depression.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been used to treat depression, particularly in Asia, for thousands of years. Studies show these herbs contain properties that produce similar therapeutic effects as synthetic medicines used in western medicine, but come with far less side effects. In fact, much of western medicine mimics plant-derived compounds to achieve the intended result.

With the rise in demand for natural, holistic therapeutic and treatment options for various health conditions, including depression, consumers are shifting their interests towards Chinese medicine. Chinese Medicine may be used independently or it can complement other treatments or medications. In this article, we’ll discuss the different ways in which Chinese Medicine can help with depression.

What Chinese Medicine Therapies Help With Depression?
From a Chinese medicine perspective, depression is explained as a disturbance in the shen, which translates to our spirit. When one’s shen is disturbed, it can result in feelings similar to the symptoms of depression such as feeling a lack of meaning in life, difficulty connecting to others, feelings of worthlessness, self-loathing, and lack of energy among other things. Chinese medicine treats these symptoms of depression by reconnecting the shen or spirit with the deepest part of ourselves.

There are many different methods in Chinese medicine to help treat depression. One of the most common methods is using herbs. Chinese herbs are often considered a natural and powerful alternative to prescription medications. Herbs will also often be combined with other Chinese medicine methods to provide the best treatment path for the individual.

One of the unique aspects of Chinese medicine is that it seeks to treat the individual, not the disease. Though there are specific herbs that are frequently used to treat depression, there is no one-size-fits-all approach nor is there a standard set of herbal formulas that every person receiving treatment for depression is given. A licensed Chinese medicine practitioner will prescribe a treatment specific to the individual’s needs.

What Chinese Herbs Help With Depression?
Chinese herbal formulas are widely used to treat a variety of symptoms of depression and to help with the disorder as a whole. Generally speaking, herbal formulas are more effective than using single herbs when treating depression. These formulas target the root causes of the disorder, which can be different for each individual.

Commonly recommended herbal formulas in Chinese Medicine to help with depression include:

Ren Sheng Yang Ying Tang – for self love
Ga Mai Da Zao Tang – for depression caused by a deficiency
Gui Zhi Jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang – for nightmares
Chai Hu Jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang – for manic depression
Jia Wei Xiao Yao San – for emotional upset
If you would like to read more about the science behind Chinese Medicine and Depression, we recommend you read this published medical journal by the NIH.

Unlike many Western treatment options, Chinese herbs focus on healing the individual and depression rather than simply masking it and its symptoms. With the support of a licensed practitioner, individual patients using Chinese Medicine herbs to help with depression will go on a treatment journey of restoring their mind, body, and spirit. A practitioner will look at a patient’s spiritual, emotional, mental, and energetic needs to create a herbal formulation customized to their unique needs and condition.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Chinese Medicine and herbs can help with your depression, find a qualified practitioner in your area that can provide you with the right treatment path and herbal formulation for your needs.
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