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How Effective are Herbal Remedies in Solving Depressive Symptoms?

When looking up treatments for depressive symptoms on WebMD or Google, you might find that it suggests you start taking herbal remedies or altering your diet. Herbal remedies and diet alteration seem like easy solutions to your depression, when in reality the effectiveness of these treatments are doubtful. Studies show that only around 1/3 of alternative therapy options for depressive symptoms have been tested in random placebo-controlled double-blind trials. In other words, that means that approximately 2/3 of alternative therapy options for depressive symptoms haven’t undergone thorough trials for proven effectiveness.


Marketing for these alternative therapy options are highly misleading. Looking at a bottle of herbal remedies, you might read statements like “Promotes a better mood” or “makes you feel better instantly!” However, one key fact is missing: these herbal remedies have not undergone rigorous FDA-regulated testing. Due to this, the companies cannot claim that they treat depression. That is why while looking at herbal remedy bottles, you’ll read that they treat mood, and not your depression.


People with depression often overlook FDA regulation in looking at their range of therapy options. Without the FDA’s approval of the treatment, it is not proven that the treatment is safe, effective, or consistent.


Medications that have undergone FDA testing are subject to very high testing standards to study their effectiveness and safety. Antidepressants that you get from your pharmacy have undergone several tests and stages as medication. They start out going through clinical trials as experimental medication; these clinical trials are run in four separate stages that take years to receive the FDA’s seal of approval. To receive the FDA’s approval, the medications must have very little side effects and significantly diminish symptoms in the majority of patients tested. Depression can only be effectively treated through FDA approved treatment options.

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