Natural Ways to Enhance Brain Serotonin

Information and natural remedies for the treatment of depression.

Tess Thompson



If we determine the basic causes of emotional distress, we will find that it is our inherent desire to control life that often causes the distress and the depression in the first place. Depression and anxiety only appear to be modern terms, as they are always referred to in context of today’s fast-paced lifestyles and the race to the top. The reality is that man has always wanted to exercise control over his life, and we all know that life is extremely unpredictable, and situations do not necessarily turn out to be the way want them to.

It is only recently that medical science discovered the changes in serotonin levels in the body that affected mood and other emotional health, which led to the discovery of antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs work to restore levels of serotonin. It is interesting to note that the ancient man, though unaware of the neurotransmitter, serotonin and changes in brain chemistry, knew of certain ways and procedures to combat depressive feelings and anxiety. Some of these are highly effective and known to enhance serotonin activity in the brain.

Sceletium tortuosum is a chewable, succulent herb found in abundance in the semi-desert areas of South Africa. It has been used as a mood enhancer by the South African tribal population. The herb was chewed and the saliva swallowed. It is now available as teas, tinctures and gel capsules. Sceletium tortuosum has been shown to have a potent affect as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor and the effect has been known to be better and more effective than certain tricyclic antidepressants.

St. John’s Wort is one of numerous plants of the genus Hypericum. It is specifically referred to as hypericum perforatum, and is probably the most widely known natural antidepressant. The first recorded history of the use of this yellow flowered perennial for its medicinal value dates back to ancient Greece. Hyperforin, the principal constituent of St. John’s Wort, works as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor and is responsible for it antidepressant effects.

Exercise and diet control have also been used traditionally for overcoming depressive feelings. Even a small amount of exercise elevates mood by enhancing available serotonin. What we eat also has a direct effect upon the production of brain chemicals. Certain types of mushrooms, fruits and vegetables contain serotonin, and can be used for increasing serotonin in the body.

Lack of control over life often leads to depressive feelings, which is termed as depression if it prolongs over an extended period. Ancient Oriental scriptures are full of procedures like yoga and meditation that have a positive affect on how we think and respond to emotional stimuli.

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