Information obtained from (By Markus MacGill) (Reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, CRNP)

Depression is defined as a mood disorder. Persistently low mood, sadness and loss of interest characterize the disorder. The problem is persistent and lasts on average 6 to 8 months. Depression is more common in women than in men. Lack of joy and a decreased interest in things that used to make a person happy are included in the symptoms. Mood changes, caused by life events such as bereavement, can usually be distinguished from depression features.

The different types of depression are unipolar depression (major feature is depressed mood), bipolar depression (manic and depressive episodes separated by periods of normal mood), major depressive disorder with psychotic features (characterized by depression with psychosis), postpartum depression (depression associated with childbirth), and major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern (depression that occurs due to decreased daylight of winter).

The causes of depression are not fully understood. Depression may not be associated with a single source but is likely due to a complex combination of factors. These include genetics, biological, environmental, psychological and social. Some of the risk factors for depression include life events (such as bereavement, work issues, relationships, financial problems, etc.), genetic factors (close relatives with depression), childhood trauma, alcohol abuse, having experienced one episode of major depression, chronic pain syndromes and chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc.

The diagnosis of depression begins with a doctor’s consultation. A physical exam may be performed to determine the physical causes and coexisting conditions. A history will be taken. This is to establish symptoms, their time course, etc. Doctors may also use questionnaires to assess the severity of depression.

Some of the symptoms of depression include a depressed mood, weight loss, decrease in appetite, sleeping difficulties or excessive sleeping, restlessness, fatigue, inability to think, concentrate or make decisions, suicide thoughts that are recurrent, attempt at suicide, etc.

Depression is treatable. The three components involved in the management of depression include support (which ranges from discussion of practical solutions and contributing stressors to educating family members), psychotherapy (e.g. cognitive behavioural therapy) and antidepressant medications (e.g. selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – SSRIs). Aerobic exercise may assist against mild depression. Brain stimulation therapies, e.g. electroconvulsive therapies, may be used in severe depression that has not responded to drug treatment.


Cannabidiol (CBD) may be effective in the treatment of depression. According to a 2014 study, results from various studies suggest that CBD appears to have anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects ( ). In a 2018 study, researchers demonstrated that CBD induces a rapid antidepressant effect ( CBD may therefore have promise as a fast-acting antidepressant. It is recommended to take CBD oil tincture or CBD oil capsules on a daily basis for a month. Start with a low dose and gradually build up. CBD oil tincture should be taken under the tongue for maximum absorption. Supplementing on a daily basis with CBD may correct any defect or dysfunction in the endocannabinoid system bringing about homeostasis and therefore may assist in the management of depression.

Moringa oleifera may also assist in the management of depression. Moringa leaves are rich in the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is a precursor to the neurotransmitter, serotonin. High levels of serotonin are related to happiness and relaxation. Low levels of serotonin could cause depression. Therefore, it is recommended to supplement daily with moringa leaf capsules or moringa powder as it contains tryptophan which gives rise to serotonin. Moringa also contains minerals such as magnesium, selenium and zinc, and the B vitamins which are also important for raising serotonin levels. As a result, moringa can make a person happier, increase energy, make a person less anxious and improve immune function.

One of the well known facts about the medicinal mushroom, Lion’s Mane is that it improves mood and decreases anxiety and depression. Results of a 2010 study showed that Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) may have the possibility to reduce depression and anxiety ( Therefore, Lion’s mane may hold promise in the management of depression symptoms. It is therefore recommended to supplement on a daily basis with Lion’s mane capsules.




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