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4 ways Naturopathy can help with Depression

By Kitty Dubourdieu
from Endeavour College of Natural Health - Naturopathy Student

Low mood, irritability, poor energy and low self-esteem are a few of the symptoms that I see with clients that have diagnosed clinical depression. Unfortunately, the prevalence of those experiencing these symptoms is on the rise. Clinical depression can lead to impaired cognitive function, isolation and issues completing simple day to day tasks.

Natural medicine can be life changing for clients diagnosed with depression who want to take a more natural approach to healing, although it can also be beneficial for those who are medicated. This is due to some of the herbs having the ability to cause synergy between the pharmaceutical medication, which can in some cases, enhance their efficacy. All naturopaths are trained to understand both the potential positive and negative interactions between herbs and medication to avoid any adverse reactions.

When seeing a naturopath there are many areas we can focus on to help with symptomatic relief, as well as delving deep into understanding the root cause of what may be causing the depressive symptoms. Below are my 4 favourite ways that a naturopath can help manage and support individuals with clinical depression, and yes – we can work alongside other healthcare practitioners to help optimise your results and provide the best treatment suited to your individual needs.

  1. Herbal tonics

Herbal medicine is a great tool that we have as naturopaths to help support clients with clinical depression. The herbs specific for these types of cases have anti-anxiety (anxiolytic), anti-depressive and mood enhancing (thymoleptic) actions. Some examples of herbs frequently used for these conditions include St John’s Wort, Saffron and Lavender, along with many more! There was a study done that compared the efficacy of a pharmaceutical anti-depressant and a herbal anti-depressant which showed they had similar effects, how amazing! Article below.

  1. Dietary advice

Diet plays a huge role in mood and on an individual as a whole. Food as medicine is a first point of action when coming up with a treatment plan for my clients. Natural food sources that contain tryptophan like sunflower seeds, yoghurt and pumpkin seeds can be a great place to start. Tryptophan can enhance certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin (your happy hormone) which can be very beneficial for clients with clinical depression. Naturopaths have the clinical nutritional education to recommend natural food sources that can support this biological pathway.

  1. Supplements

As the research around depression and causative factors is increasing, new information is identifying the importance of certain nutrients for optimal functioning. Natural medicine includes the use of high-quality practitioner only supplements to help support individuals that may have particular nutrient deficiencies.

For example, B12 is a precursor to serotonin and dopamine (your mood hormones) which means you need b12 in order to make these neurotransmitters. These hormones have direct effects on emotion, sleep and mood. Suboptimal levels can wreak havoc on your mental health, so ensuring that you have a high-quality supplement is important. Having natural supplements to support clients is vital for appropriate and effective treatment planning, especially as some nutrients can be challenging to get from food sources due to certain conditions and particular diets.

  1. Testing

Natural medicine covers a wide range of investigation tools, one being the ability to run in depth testing to help uncover the root cause of what may be causing symptoms. For example, the GI MAP (stool sample) covers an in-depth report on your gut which can help us determine if there is any pathology that could be impacting your mood. We now understand the vital communication between the gut and the brain (gut- brain -axis) and how sub optimal gut function can be a cause for low moods and other symptoms associated with clinical depression.


As you can see there are lots of things that can be done to help with clinical depression from a naturopathy and natural medicine perspective. Natural remedies are great for helping with symptoms of depression and can be used to help support your mental health journey.

Please always make sure that you are working alongside qualified professionals, and in the case of a major depressive disorder ensure that all healthcare practitioners/specialists are aware of what treatment you are getting. No serious depressive symptoms should be overlooked.

Lifeline Australia 13 11 14

Article references:

Medicinal herbs with anti-depressant effects –

St Johns V fluoxetine – mild/moderate depression –


More about the author

Kitty Dubourdieu
Kitty Dubourdieu
– Endeavour College of Natural Health - Naturopathy Student

Hello! My name is Kitty and I’m a 26 year old full time uni student studying at Endeavour College of Natural health. When I finish I hope to find my own clinic space and start taking clients from there. I have a special interest in mental health as well as skin health, although I love learning about anything and everything!

My goal as a naturopath is to inspire you, educate you and finally provide you with a bag full of health and wellness tools so that you can use these in your daily routine to optimise health. I want to show you how to support your body’s innate ability to heal itself using the simple power of nature!