Sunday, March 8, 2015

Depression Medicine

I’m been thinking about, experimenting with, and enjoying creating my own natural remedies for a few months now.  Some of my concoctions have been amazing; others less impressive.  Either way, I’m gathering knowledge about herbs I’ll be able to use for the rest of my life.

My curiosity with natural health remedies got started when I looked into alternative ways to treat depression.  I am very thankful for the bump in my mood I get each day thanks to my little white pill.  I don’t know how I would have survived the last few years without it.  But I hate feeling so reliant on one piece of medicine

Over the past few years, I’ve supplemented the medicine with getting as much sunlight and Vitamin D as I can.  In the winter I take Vitamin D supplements and go tanning once or twice a week for 10-12 minutes on the most basic bed available.  I also keep a big full-spectrum light by my bed to use when I wake up in the morning and before going to bed.  I spend as much time as I can run in a sunny location during the winter months.  Usually I can only squeeze in a couple weeks, but I was lucky to be able to train in Albuquerque for two months last year.

Over the past year, I’ve tried a couple new things. I’m meditating regularly, about 10 minutes, 5 days a week.  I’ve also tried to get some counseling, but there are not many options on my poor-runner state health care plan.  My latest scheme has to get seen by a local psychiatric clinic that takes Medicaid, but you have to go through an intake process, and I’ve been playing phone tag with the admissions dude for about a month now.

While all these methods seem to elevate my mood, I’m always looking for better ways to manage my depression and seasonal affective disorder.  In my research, I came across St. John’s Wort, a plant that has been used medicinally around the world.   St. John’s Wort is commonly prescribed for depression in Europe, but is rarely used in the United States.

I’ve started drinking St. John’s Wort tea, and I made a St. John’s Wort tincture, which will be ready to try soon.  I also just put together the ingredients to make a seasonal affective disorder tincture from Rosemary Gladstar’s book, Medicinal Herbs. The tincture calls for equal parts St. John’s Wort, oat tops, and Hawthorn berries, leaves, and bark.

St. John’s Wort Tincture (from Medical Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar)

ü     2 parts St. John’s Wort flower
ü     1 part green oar top (milky top of just-riped oats)
ü     1 part hawthorn leaf, flower, and berry
ü     80 vodka


  1. Fill a glass jar with herbs, leaving 2 inches of space at the top. 
  2. Fill the jar with vodka.
  3. Let the mixture sit by the radiator/heater/fireplace for 1-3 months, depending on the recipe, shaking it as often as you remember (recipes recommend once or twice every day). 
  4. Once the time is up, strain the herbs out of the liquid, and divide between dropper bottles. 

To use a tincture, squirt a droperful of the tincture into a glass.  Fill the glass with some water or juice, and drink.  Tinctures don’t always taste great, but the health benefits are well worth the flavor.

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