Depression is a mood disorder characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness and melancholy. The treatment of depression depends on the use of prescription antidepressants and psychotherapy, and some may prefer to resort to herbal depression treatment to contribute to relieving symptoms and improving mood.

This article deals with the most prominent herbs used in the treatment of depression, and their effectiveness and safety.

herbal treatment for depression

Herbs may contribute to the treatment of patients, but a doctor should be consulted before using any herbs to treat depression, as herbs may interfere with prescribed medications, and have potential side effects, especially when excessively used, in addition to that herbal supplements are generally not subject to the control of the Food Authority. The American medicine. [1]

It should be noted that despite the benefits of treating depression with herbs and its contribution to relieving some symptoms of depression, it does not replace psychotherapy or medications prescribed by the doctor. [1]

Here are the most important herbs that may be used in the treatment of depression:

St. John’s wort

It is one of the folk medicine plants that is used to treat depression, stress and anxiety with herbs, as it contributes to overcoming the symptoms of depression, anxiety, nervousness, and lack of sleep. [2]

St. John’s wort can appear in treating mild to moderate depression, but it is not effective in treating severe depression, and herbal treatment of depression using St. John’s wort may take 3 to 6 weeks to show its effect. [2]

Despite the benefits of St. John’s wort in treating depression, its use may have many side effects, including: [2]

  • dizziness;
  • Dry mouth.
  • Indigestion.
  • Fatigue and general fatigue.
  • Increased sensitivity to light.
  • confusion.
  • Muscle stiffness.

St. John’s wort may also interfere with the effectiveness of some medications; Therefore, you should consult your doctor before taking it and tell the doctor about any medications the person is taking, and among the medications that St. John’s wort may interact with: [2]

  • Medications to treat HIV infection and AIDS.
  • Immunosuppressants.
  • Contraceptive pills.
  • Certain antidepressants and medications that stimulate serotonin secretion.

John’s wort should be avoided as a herbal remedy for depression in children, as well as not used in the treatment of depression in pregnant and lactating women, and it is contraindicated in people who suffer from kidney disease, or liver disease. [2]


Curcumin is known as the primary active ingredient of turmeric. Curcumin has an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. It is an effective and safe alternative herbal remedy for depression, but it is not used in depressed patients with suicidal thoughts or psychotic symptoms along with depression. [3] [4]

Excessive intake of curcumin may be accompanied by some side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, headache, rash, as well as yellow stool. [5]


Saffron is a rare spice made from the dried stigmas of Crocus Sativus. Saffron has been used for centuries to promote digestion, relieve menstrual pain, improve mood, and aid relaxation. [6]

It is used in the treatment of depression in adults with herbs as an alternative treatment, as it was found that saffron supplements are useful in improving mood and reducing symptoms of depression. [6]

Saffron is taken as a herbal medicine for depression in the form of herbal supplements. The capsules contain dried powder from the stigma of the flower, and the daily dose is 30 mg. [6]

Although taking saffron by adding it to food or in the form of an herbal supplement is considered safe, its excessive use may lead to side effects, such as dizziness, vomiting, and diarrhea. [6]


Ginseng has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, and recently it has come in the form of herbal supplements containing the extract of the roots of the American or Asian ginseng plant. To contribute to the treatment of many medical conditions.

Ginseng may be useful in herbal treatment of depression, as it works on: [1]

  • Mood improvement.
  • energy boost.
  • Reduce general fatigue.


Chamomile may contribute to relieving insomnia and aiding sleep, in addition to its well-known effect as an antidote. This makes it one of the plants that may be used in herbal treatment of depression, but more studies are still needed to confirm its health benefits in treating depression. [1] [7]


Inhaling lavender oil is one of the ways to treat depression with herbs and aromatherapy, as it works to temporarily relieve some symptoms of depression by: [1]

  • Reducing stress.
  • Relaxation assistance.
  • Improve sleep quality.

Inhaling lavender oil is also a herbal remedy, but we still need more studies to confirm this.