How To Approach Depression Naturally with Chinese Herbs
'Tis the season to be cheerful. But what if all the gift-giving, twinkling lights and family gatherings have the opposite effect on your mood? You may be at risk for depression during the Holidays if you've experienced issues such as the loss of a loved one, abusive relationships, chronic stress or the onset of a serious illness. At Get Well Natural, we offer healthy tips and tricks to help you feel your best during the Holiday Season, and beyond.
Q&A with Dr. Graeme Shaw
Well-versed in both traditional Eastern and modern Western Medicine, Get Well Natural Health Consultant Dr. Graeme Shaw has written many informative articles on various health conditions. We recently had the chance to sit down with him to discuss depression from an Eastern Medicine Point of View*:
Q: A recent BusinessWeek article cited research that, "Omega-3 fatty acids may help alleviate depression, but only when a particular type of fatty acid called DHA [docosahexaenoic acid] is used in the right ratio with another fatty acid known as EPA [eicosapentenoic acid]." From an Eastern Medicine standpoint, what is your take on the role of Omega-3 fatty acids in countering depression?
A: Omega-3 fatty acids support kidney energy – a main proponent of mental functions such as memory and thought. Depression is often the result of low physical and mental energies, and EFAs are a great source for cellular energy because they stabilize cell membrane function, improve detoxification, enhance energy and ease the transport of nutrients. A properly formulated Omega-3 fatty acid like Eskimo-3 Omega-3 Fish Oil can better support cellular energy in the brain as well as healthy emotional states and mental processing.
Q: The National Institute of Mental Health states, "There is no single known cause of depression. Rather, it likely results from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors." When talking with patients who may be depressed, what is the most common imbalance/contributing factors you encounter?
A: From an Eastern Medicine standpoint, imbalances of heart and kidney energies are a contributing factor for depressed individuals. These imbalances are thought to cause the body to store negative emotions and other symptoms of depression. That is why holistic practitioners aim to educate their patients about the mind/body connection. Eastern Medicine practitioners believe that any disturbance or energy blockage within the body or mind can lead to health issues like depression. Treatments in Eastern medicine will often focus on treating the body's imbalances and not directly on treating the symptoms of depression. To support mental and physical health, I recommend acupuncture, herbal medicine, meditation, tai chi, dietary suggestions and positive lifestyle changes.
Q: What steps should a person take if they suspect they are depressed?
A: First and foremost, seek out a primary healthcare provider for advice and recommendations. I always suggest speaking to both conventional Western Medicine providers as well as holistic Eastern Medicine providers. This way, you can make more informed decisions about your health. The healthiest approach is often a well-rounded one. I recommend my patients research holistic health methods such as relaxation techniques, stress reduction, healthy eating, exercise and dietary supplements like vitamins, minerals and herbal ingredients.
Q: How can people prevent depression during the holidays and beyond?
A: A great way to prevent depression during the holidays is to support the body with a sufficient amount of sleep and by eating healthier foods. Many traditional holiday dishes can include high amounts of sugar and fat and lead to energy and mood swings. Reducing nutrient-poor foods can be a great step toward supporting a healthy emotional state. Any dietary supplements that support healthy calming, relaxation and stress reduction would help support positive mental states and physical well-being. Lastly, be sure not to take on more than you can handle. Don't let your expectations and goals become unreachable. Between holiday gatherings, shopping for gifts and decorating, allow yourself time to relax and enjoy the season.
Q: Do you recommend different herbal supplements based on your patient's age or energy imbalance?
A: Yes, different individuals, ages and sexes may benefit from a more specific evaluation and supplement regimen. For example, teenagers with depression may have an emotional cause, and often take herbal support along with individual or group counseling. Women in post-partum depression may use nutritional and herbal support and also have a thorough evaluation of their hormones and endocrine system (including thyroid testing) by their primary care providers. My older patients may suffer from depression due to physical health issues (e.g. heart disease, fatigue, cancer, chronic pain, chronic toxicity, etc.) and those issues should be evaluated by a primary physician.
Q: Can you give some examples of Get Well Natural products you recommend?
Calm Ezz, a natural dietary supplement, promotes healthy emotional balance, healthy stress resistance and natural relaxation for people in all walks of life. This product was formulated to provide important herbal support whenever stress levels are high, especially during the holiday season.*
Q: What makes Get Well Natural's products and service so unique in the dietary supplement market?
A: One thing that distinguishes Get Well Natural from competitors is the personal attention given to customers when they call to place an order. Get Well Natural representatives take the time to answer your questions. They want to make sure you're taking the right products for your body. Unlike other herbal retailers, these products were created using both conventional Western Medicine and holistic Eastern Medicine principles. Customers are often glad to learn about this integrative approach to the mind/body connection.
Q:What criteria do your patients use to evaluate herbal supplements and suppliers?
A: Quality, effectiveness, value and personal recommendations are some of the key criteria my patients use when choosing any herbal dietary supplement. Many of my new patients are referred to me by my other patients who are using Get Well Natural's products and are 100% satisfied.