Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is one of the most common but serious mood disorders that affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older, in a given year.
It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.
Ginseng for Depression
Study 1:Antidepressant-like effects of the active acidic polysaccharide portion of ginseng in mice.
Panax ginseng also appears to have significant anti-depressive properties as well. In a study carried out at the School of Life Sciences at Northeast Normal University, researchers found that mice treated with 100mg/kg of the acidic polysaccharide compounds found in Panax ginseng experienced decreased depressive symptoms and an improvement in social interaction.
Study 2: Antidepressant effects of ginseng total saponins in the forced swimming test and chronic mild stress models of depression. Other research has indicated that the Ginsenosides found in Panax ginseng have anti-depressive qualities as well. When mice were subjected to tasks that induce chronic depressive symptoms (forced swimming in the case of this study), the oral administration of Ginsenosides was found to enhancing the monoamine neurotransmitter concentration in the hippocampus, thus mitigating the negative symptoms.
The results of these two studies suggest that both of the main active components in Panax ginseng play a role in ginseng’s ability to treat the symptoms of depression. Study 3: Antidepressant-like effect of altered Korean red ginseng in mice. Interestingly, a 2011 study demonstrated that fermented Panax ginseng actually had stronger anti-depressive properties than unfermented varieties.
Wait and see – if you're diagnosed with mild depression, it may improve by itself. In this case, you'll be seen again by your GP after two weeks to monitor your progress. This is known as "watchful waiting".
Exercise – there's evidence that exercise can help depression and it's one of the main treatments for mild depression.
Self-help groups – talking through your feelings can be helpful. You could talk to a friend or relative, or you can ask your GP to suggest a local self-help group.
Mild to moderate depression
Talking therapy – if you have mild depression that isn't improving, or moderate depression, your GP may recommend a talking treatment (a type of psychotherapy). There are different types of talking therapy for depression, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling.
Moderate to severe depression
Antidepressants – antidepressants are tablets that treat the symptoms of depression. There are almost 30 different types of antidepressant. They have to be prescribed by a doctor, usually for depression that's moderate or severe.
Combination therapy – your GP may recommend that you take a course of antidepressants plus talking therapy, particularly if your depression is quite severe. A combination of an antidepressant and CBT usually works better than having just one of these treatments.
Mental health teams – if you have severe depression, you may be referred to a mental health team made up of psychologists, psychiatrists, specialist nurses and occupational therapists. These teams often provide intensive specialist talking treatments as well as prescribed medication.