[Originally published in December 2014 issue of Health Action by Health Action Network Society Homeopathy for Depression]
In Canada, approximately eight percent of adults will experience a major depression in their life and almost half of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have not sought help.
For the past thirty years, a common medical treatment option for many Canadians has been the use of anti-depressant medications, including SSRIs. Over time, research has show they come with a host of side effects for some people and have limited effectiveness in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.
Fifteen years ago, researchers discovered a connection between depression and low levels of our main inhibitory neurotransmitter, γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is the body’s main relaxing neurotransmitter. When it’s low or absent, people can feel anxious, depressed, feel excessively stressed, and/or have sleep disturbances.
More people are seeking out natural alternatives for their health and homeopathy may have a part to play as a safe, non-toxic, and effective option for treating mild to moderate depression.
In March 2014, a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that a homeopathic medicine called, Gelsemium sempervirens, caused a statistically significant decrease of the prokineticin receptor 2. Its neuropeptide, Prokineticin 2 (PK2) has marked inhibitory effect on GABA activity.
The authors contend that it is possible Gelsemium enhances the activity of GABA by removing the suppressive effects of PK2. Full GABA function would allow a person to feel calmer, sleep better, be able to settle, and relax.
Interestingly, Gelsemium sempervirens has been used in homeopathic practice since the 1860s for anxiety and depression patterns and I have recommended it to patients who have stage fright for its calming effect.
Classical homeopathic treatment takes a whole view on health, which can include creating a timeline with the patient. Sometimes it is very clear that from a period of time onwards there is a marked change in their emotional health. If there is a clear aetiology, it becomes a very important factor in determining what remedy to prescribe for the depression.
Many homeopathic remedies, like Gelsemium, have been used in clinical practice for over one hundred and fifty years and have indications for use based on a range of causations. Depressions following a severe loss emotionally or financially, such as a death in the family or losing a job, can strongly indicate different remedies.
Sometimes the cause is more physical such as in menopause. I have seen many women who relate the start of anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness to when their cycles started fluctuating.
Through individual treatment and with minimal dosing, the process can be supported with many only coming in for a consultation two to six times per year and taking two to twelve doses per year to manage all their health complaints; hormonal, emotional, and otherwise.
Health isn’t merely the absence of disease but being able to bounce back too and I’ve certainly seen homeopathy’s ability to strengthen this.
1. Canadian Mental Health Association, Fast Facts about Mental Illness, Accessed: 21 September 2014.
2. Laughren, T, ‘Overview for December 13 Meeting of Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee (PDAC)’, Department of Food and Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, November 2006, Accessed: 15 September 2014.
3. US Food and Drug Administration, Antidepressant Use in Children, Adolescents, and Adults, Accessed: 24 September 2014.
4. Sanacora G et al, ‘Reduced Cortical γ-Aminobutyric acid in Depressed Patients Determined by Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy’, Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry, November 1999, Volume 56, p.1043-1047, http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/, Accessed on: 25 September 2014.
5. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Opportunities and Challenges Facing the Canadian Functional Foods and Natural Health Products Sector , Accessed: 21 September 2014.
6. Matthiessen P & Bornhoft G (eds), Homeopathy in Healthcare: Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2011, p.206-207.
7. Olioso D et al, ‘Effects of Gelsemium sempervirens L. on pathway-focused gene expression profiling in neuronal cells’, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, March 2014, Volume 153, p. 535-539.
8. Xiong YC et al, ‘Prokineticin 2 suppresses GABA-activated current in rat primary sensory neurons’, Neuropharmacology, December 2010, Volume 59, p. 589-594.
9. Allen T(ed), The Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica, 1874, http://www.homeoint.org/allen/g/gels-1.htm, Accessed : 24 September 2014.
Thanks for sharing Tara! And for anyone looking for an excellent RCC in the Okanagan- look her up!