Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"What are natural remedies for depression?"


What are the best natural remedies for depression? I've heard of all kinds of herbs and light therapies, but I have no idea. I'm a woman in my late 20s and I've been dealing with depression ever since I was a young teenager. It's on-again off-again so I usually try to wait it out. But this last bout was especially bad and I don't want to go through it again.


Depression is a mental disease that millions of people suffer through every day. Luckily it is very treatable. The word "natural" can mean many things, but I think I can give you a broad review of the options.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Psychiatrists near you

There are no herbal or supplemental remedies that have been shown to help patients consistently deal with depression. Herbal remedies sold at health food stores are not FDA regulated and contain hundreds of unknown chemicals which have unknown effects on the body. A good diet and exercise are likely to help your symptoms, but have not been shown to provide lasting relief. Only pharmacologic agents that increase serotonin and/or norepinephrine in the brain have been shown to provide lasting meaningful relief from depression symptoms with very low risk of side effects. Most patient do not need these medicines for life. The only non-pharmacologic therapy that works for depression is counseling. A professional counselor or psychiatrist may be able to help you cope with your symptoms. Most patients need many sessions before they will report good results, but this may be a good option for you. My suggestion is that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss your symptoms, treatment options, and side effects of those treatments. You have suffered way to long to not pursue treatment now. Good luck.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.