Natural Remedies

Dealing with Depression Naturally

Cold Showers

Posted by Jacklyn (Vancouver, Canada) on 05/03/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I've been living with depression for two years, I wanted to find a natural way to help ease the stress of life, cold showers every day have helped me feel better and have elevated my mood substantially, I feel less stress, I especially love taking a cold shower after a workout or jog, I am so happy to hear that cold showers have helped do many people, we have to get the word out!by the way, my hair is a lot shinier too!

Posted by Marc (Toronto, Canada) on 02/28/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I've been suffering from anxiety and depression for years, and recently I've started to get panic attacks. I finally got motivated to start researching my problem on my own because I've discovered that doctors (at least the ones I've been too) are useless.

I've discovered a lot of useful information on this website, but what really caught my eye is the cold shower therapy. I've never taken a cold shower in my life so I tried it today. Honestly, I've never felt so great. I don't know what it did to me, but I got a terrible fit of the giggles that lasted half an hour. I feel a lot better, and motivated, which is rare for me especially in the morning. I'll keep it up and see what else happens, but I definitely recommend trying it, for whatever reason. And Thank You for this great website!

Posted by Cory (Tacoma, WA) on 02/26/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I am 52 and have been swimming in cold water all my life, and always enjoyed how the cold water made me feel afterwards. I only recently started taking cold showers, and I wish I had started years ago. I had been taking Prozac and other anti-depressant medications for eleven years and desperately wanted to get off them, but the withdrawal symptoms would hit like a nightmare. The cold showers have enabled me to get off these drugs cold turkey. I keep the water ice cold for at least five minutes, then switch to warm and finally hot. I aso discovered that targeting the armpits is absolutely essential.

Posted by Trevor (Cambridge, NY) on 08/04/2005
5 out of 5 stars

My hot water tank malfunctioned recently so I had to take cold showers. At first I dreaded the idea but have since found that tepid showers invigorate my spirit and lighten my mood. I'm bipolar and have crushing depressive episodes. Believe me when I say that I feel my cold showers mitigate the effects of my dark moods and project a feeling of well being and joy throughout my whole body and mind!

Posted by Jerry (NYC) on 06/06/2005
5 out of 5 stars

I have found out that taking ice cold showers works wonders for depression, also my skin is much healthier.

Couch Exercise

Posted by Gary (Mesa, AZ) on 05/08/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Dear Earth Clinic, I may have some good advice on how to drastically cut or eliminate depression/anxiety. An exercise. I lay over the edge of the couch face down with my lower stomach on the arm. Keeping my legs straight on the couch I lean down with my torso and back up straight. This works the back muscles and takes pressure off the spine and nerves. Also, a simple visit to the chiropractor helped tremendously.Thanks, Gary.

EC: We emailed Gary for more details...

Replied by Gary

You would lie on the arm of sofa with your stomach. Legs on couch and head off. Use your arms like a pushup to help straighten your body. Your legs may want to raise up but you`ll have to secure them somehow.

In the exercise, I use my arms to help me straighten myself almost like a push up. Most people will not be able to do it without using their arms. I guess whats important is to use back muscles without straining them of course. Also, I just want to tell people with depression to go to a chiropractor,therapist or qualified trainer. This gets dismissed because they don`t have back pain. Spend $30 It could be the answer. It`s well worth it. Hope this helps.


Hi Gary, could you send a photo or the name of the exercise. I think most people don't understand your exercise.

Replied by Kathy
Melbourne, Australia

Is this what they call planking? lol :-)


Posted by Gloria (Santa Rosa, CA) on 06/05/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety 6 years ago and i tried the meds for a while, but i hated the side-effects.

I had always wanted to take dance classes so in college i took a class for p.e. credit. It was extraordinary how much dancing affected me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I got into better shape while being challenged to learn steps and movement and when i danced, i felt so happy like i could fly!

Since then, I haven't had any need to see a therapist or take meds and I've now changed my major to became a movement therpist (who knew there was a whole field dedicated to what I had experienced). I hope to inspire others to make that connection with their body and mind and I will continue to pursue this awareness for the rest of my life.

Here's a tip for those of you interested in trying this. Most community colleges have beginning adult dance classes and it's usually really cheap (in california it's $20 a unit and dance classes are normally only 1 unit).

Replied by Joyce
Joelton, Tn
512 posts

Yea and congratulations. DANCING is a whole lot more fun and safer than popping antidepressants (which I have read are mostly fuorides, which is another excitotoxin or neurotoxin). The only adverse side effect I ever heard of from dancing was, my physical therapist, telling me that one of his male patients said his knee went out on him while he was dancing - Must have been "break" dancing, huh?

Posted by Elise (Irving TX)
5 out of 5 stars

I am a manic depressive and i found that dancing gets my mind off of things when I'm feeling down plus it's a good exercise.

Day Light Lamp, Dietary Suggestions

Posted by Toma (Chicago, IL) on 01/23/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Day light lamp not only helps to relieve the symptoms of SAD, but it also works great for depression. Make sure the lamp has a filter that blocks UV rays. Also, the supplement Isocort helps to fight every day stress.This diet will help your mood swings and depression a big deal: avoiding diary products, sugar, caffeine, canned foods, red meat, roasted foods, and alcohol. Doing deep breathing exercise 3 times a day helps to fight anxiety, and, also, a good remedy for panic attacks. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day may help to relieve depression symptoms, too.


Posted by Brian Mahoney (Bellingham, Washington) on 05/21/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I've been on different antidepressants the last several years, natural and pharmaceutical and have found DHEA supplementation to be one of the most effective for myself. I'm currently taking usually 150mg /day of dhea and 200mg of Zoloft. Added in deer antler velvet this last month. The jury's still out on the DAV. I aso just tried Saint John's Wart standardized for hypericin and hyperforin and can't say it did any good. D3 didn't help. Will probably try urine drinking last if at all. Rhodiola may be next and/or a trip to a sunnier climate. I just saw some info at Perlmutter Health Center (Naples Fl) web site about hyperbaric oxygen giving some people depression relief, so that will be in the future as well.

Replied by Debbie
South Bend, IN

Please don't discount D3 so quickly. If you are deficient it can take months to rebuild your levels.The RDA that the gov. has been recommending is way below what we need. Please, everyone, have your vitamin D levels checked. It's not a vitamin, it's an essential hormone and every single cell in your body has a receptor for it.

Please visit for current and improtant information on vitamin d.

South Bend, IN

Replied by Joylie
Solana Beach, Ca
5 out of 5 stars

I like 5-HTP very much. I take one of the smallest dosages, 50 mg., but it has been very helpful.

Replied by Tanya
Ny, US

Careful combining St John's Wort with an SSRI like Zoloft. SJW may interact negatively with SSRIs. However in those with mild depression or SAD, who are not on SSRI meds, SJW can be very effective.

Dietary Change

Posted by Eliza (Vermont) on 09/19/2018
5 out of 5 stars

I have enormous help with depression by avoiding all animal protein and limiting plant protein. (Plant protein is nuts, beans, and seeds.). Also avoid GMO foods because the high pesticides on them contributes to depression. Also avoid wheat, oats, and barely unless they are organic, because in a process called "desiccation, " they are sprayed with pesticides a few days before harvest. Also experiment with avoiding nightshade foods. Supplements that help are zembrin, inositol, and P5P ( active vitamin B6). But most crucial for overcoming depression is to minimize eating protein. It would be too lengthy here to explain how this strategy increases serotonin. Especially avoid animal protein. (don't eat anything with a face and avoid eggs and all dairy). You already know to choose whole grains over refined grains, and avoid sugar. (Most sugar is GMO beets, anyway.)

Please comment on whether this helps you. It is saving me from unbearable misery. I did a great deal of research on this.

Replied by Eliza

I have enormous help with depression by avoiding all animal protein and limiting plant protein. (Plant protein is nuts, beans, and seeds.). Also avoid GMO foods because the high pesticides on them contributes to depression. Also avoid wheat, oats, and barely unless they are organic because in a process called "desiccation, " they are sprayed with pesticides a few days before harvest. Also experiment with avoiding nightshade foods. Supplements that help are zembrin, inositol, and P5P ( active vitamin B6). But most crucial for overcoming depression is to minimize eating protein. It would be too lengthy here to explain how this strategy increases serotonin. Especially avoid animal protein. (don't eat anything with a face and avoid eggs and all dairy). You already know to choose whole grains over refined grains, and avoid sugar. (Most sugar is GMO beets, anyway.)

Next day:

This is a follow up to my post yesterday about depression. I want to explain the science behind my suggestions.

1. Avoiding protein for depression. Two reasons: a. Protein, especially animal protein, has high Branch- Chain amino acids. They compete with Tryptophan to enter the brain, and Tryptophan is needed to make Serotonin. More Serotonin = less depresstion. b.Protein is high in Choline. Choline is used by the brain to make Acetylcholine. As Acetylcholine goes up, Serotonin goes down. The ancient Greeks knew that Choline is associated with depression, hence the word "MelanCHOLIa."

2. Avoiding pesticides for depression: Pesticides including Roundup are Cholinesterace Inhibitors. That means they inhibit Cholinesterace. Your brain uses Cholinesterace to limit Acetylcholine. Too much Acetylcholine means less Serotonin. They are in inverse proportion of each other: as Acetylcholine goes up, Serotonin goes down.

So buy organic when you can, and when you cannot, especially avoid GMO foods (get lists online) since they are the most heavily sprayed. Also avoid wheat, oats, and barley unless organic, because although they are not GMO foods, in a process called "desiccation, " they are sprayed a few days before harvest, and then not washed, so the pesticides go directly into the grain.

Note also that in whole wheat, the wheat germ is high in Choline. See above on choline.

You can wash pesticide off produce by soaking for 30 SECONDS in boiling water. But for grains the pesticide goes inside, and you can't soak bread, flour, etc.

A final note on pesticides: Animals are given GMO grains to eat. That means their foods are doused with pesticides, usually Roundup (glyphosate), known to cause Lymphoma and Multiple Myeloma. The pesticides reside mostly in the animal FAT.

So I advise avoiding both animal PROTEIN and animal FAT.

3. Here is a helpful strategy to increase your Serotonin: For the times you do eat high protein, you wait a few hours, then eat high carbohydrate foods, especially without added fats. (Fats slow down this process.) This will increase Serotonin because the amino acids from the protein will still be in your blood. The carbohydrates will call forth Insulin, which not only drives down blood sugar, but also pushes amino acids into the muscles, except Tryptophan. That one insulin leaves alone. Without the Branch-chain amino acids in your blood, your Tryptophan is now free to enter your brain, where it creates Serotonin. Please note that fruit, which is also a carbohydrate, will not work for this method because fructose is metabolized differently. Of course fruit being low protein is great for this diet, but it just won't work to drive amino acids into your muscles. For that you need carbohydrates, and please do this responsibly with COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES, not the refined sugary products that are the bane of modern society.

Plant foods that have high Tryptophan are the best for this method: sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

Also: some persons have a mutation on the BCHE gene that codes for Butyrylcholinesterace. As a result these persons have higher Acetylcholine in their brains. For them, avoiding choline is especially helpful, as well as avoiding Nightshade plants. (Potatoes, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Peppers, Tobacco). Also avoid Fluoride. You can find out if you have this mutation by getting your genes tested by 23andMe, and then uploading your results to If you have it, it will show up near the beginning of your report.

I did a ton of research, and I hope you will benefit from it, as I am.

Think about this: in our parents' day, before factory farms, meat was expensive so animal foods were occasional. Now meat is cheap, so animal foods are abundant in our meals. Suicide rates have skyrocketed, and school shootings are frequent. Low serotonin, now epidemic in society, is a major player. It's Karma: we kill animals, and they kill us.

Two other suggestions:
1. Pay extra attention to your sleep. You can try the various supplements and sleep on grounding sheets. Sometimes a lack of good deep sleep masquerades as depression.

Currently a pricey supplement called Kavinace Zem is helping me sleep, and I am experimenting by trying its ingredients as separate supplements: Zembrin, Phenibut, and Blueberry Extract. Note that Zembrin (an African plant) works like Prozac, Zoloft, and that class of antidepressants: Zembrin increases Serotonin by blocking its reuptake, so your brain makes more use of its supply. Inositol and P5P also help me with sleep and mood, I assume by increasing Serotonin.

2. Be careful about eating too much nuts/seeds/ nut butters. These foods are high in Arginine, which viruses need to replicate. Sometimes chronic low-grade viral infections masquerade as depression. Do you feel achey and feverish along with your depression? That is a sign of viral presence. You can balance out the Arginine with a comparable amount of Lysine foods or Lysine supplements.

A final word: on this diet your main course is whole grains (organic) and vegetables. Fruit too, best absorbed BEFORE a meal. Small amounts of healthy fats are fine, avoid omega 6 fats in favor of olive oil and especially omega 3 like flax and walnut oil. FATS DO NOT HAVE PROTEIN, even when derived from protein foods. The only thing is that fats slow down the release of insulin that you need to create serotonin, as explained above. So be sparing and just experiment.

Dietary Changes

Posted by Jodie (Littleton, Co) on 07/13/2017
5 out of 5 stars

Hello, I am brand new to this site and a nobody. I will tell you I used to have horrible depression my whole life. I was suicidal as long as I can remember. What changed it? I went gluten free. It took a few months and I just kept feeling better and better each day. I am 54 and for the first time in my life I am free of depression. And guess what? If I get a hold of even a crumb of wheat, the depression will come back for about 2 weeks, feeling like I did before going gluten free. Now a days its much easier to find the gluten free substitutes for pasta make the transition easy peasy (and I'm a foodie). You can still have Mexican food as long as its a corn tortilla rather than flour, Yes you can eat fudge and ice cream on this diet too. It changed my life and I also lost 35 lbs even eating fudge on the holidays. It definately wont hurt. I can even think better..much better now.

Hope you know you are loved in this word..regardless


Posted by Somya (Hyderabad, India) on 02/15/2013

I have been diagnosed bipolar disorder, am using oxetol 450mg, amixide in the night, flutop 20mg on alternate days. I feel very sad for no reason, feel like crying, sensitivity in head. What diet can cure my low mood?

Replied by Ken
London, Uk

Eliminating gluten and sugar might be a good place to start for your depression. I also recommend at least 45 minutes of cardio exercise 3-4 times a week. This will help immensely. Also check your magnesium levels.

Posted by Tina (Venice Beach, Cali) on 12/20/2009

Holiday Depression

I have been feeling more & more depressed the past month. I don't usually get depressed, so it's strange even though it IS around the holidays, a time when many get depressed. Anyhow, today I realized that maybe my depression has something to do with the radical increase in white flour and sweets, thanks to the constant supply of pastries, cakes, chocolates, candy canes and m&ms at my office during the entire month of December!!!! I normally don't eat much gluten and sugar products, which is why I am making a connection here.

Thank goodness I am on holiday now and don't have to be around the sugary temptations for a couple of weeks, so I am going to detox (stop eating junk food) and see if my depression disappears. I will let you know if I am successful. I know the holidays can be tough times for many people, but maybe we should also be highlighting the fact that people are eating so much crappy food that they might also be going into candida overload.

Thank you for reading! Happy Ho Ho Ho to all.

Replied by Carmen
Nova Scotia, Canada

oh yes!!! I too am feeling something, not a depression but an underlying GLUM feeling. I too am eating holiday junk to excess, it is everywhere!!! I went to a holiday party last night and ate a late supper, eating foods i rarely eat at an hour I never eat, slept very poorly and had odd dreams all night. I made the connection this morning, it must be it!!! Let us know how it goes.

Replied by Tina
Venice Beach, Cali
5 out of 5 stars

Update: after one day off sugar and flour products, my depression totally went away. I am back to normal. WOO HOO!!!! Glad that this was such an easy fix and boy, do I feel like a fool for letting it go on for so long before figuring out the overload sugar connection to depression. Hope this helps someone else to cure the holiday blues!

To Carmen, yes yes "glum" is a great description for what I was feeling!

Replied by Merryanne
Orange City, Florida, USA
120 posts

Thanks,, from Merryanne in Florida,,maybe the bread carbs are my problem,,I have been crying several time a week for 1 and 1/2 years and blamed it on the fact my dog died,,but it has been 1 and 1/2 years!!! so i think i will cut down real low on the sugar and bread and see what happens in the next couple weeks,,Thanks

Dietary Changes, Exercise, Supplements

Posted by Jill (Bronx, New York, United States) on 12/18/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Dysthymic Depression

I've suffered from a moderate constant form of depression called Dysthymia since I was 14 (I am now 43). I've been on several different antidepressants over the years. The last one I took was Paxil CR (which I was forced to quit cold-turkey in 2005 after production of it was briefly stopped after a problem at the pharmaceutical lab). It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It was a hellish experience and though I did get an appointment with my Dr. a week into the cold-turkey and could have taken regular Paxil to ease my distress, at that point I wanted NOTHING to do with these medications. The withdrawal symptoms showed me just how much they mess with your brain chemistry. I was getting all sorts of electrical "zappy" sensations, dizziness, tremors, and neuralgic pain that traveled all over my body. It took about 3 months for me to get over the hardest part of it. After that I joined a gym and started a simple EXERCISE program. Just 20 minutes of cardio (pick the machine of your choice) and another 20 minutes or so of weight training and stretching. Yoga classes are super helpful as well. Not only did this help me detox from the residual symptoms but my mood improved dramatically. I still have some 'down' days, but who doesn't? Overall I feel much more energized and balanced than I ever did on the antidepressants.

I've since made incremental changes in the quality of my DIET over the years and this has boosted my mood even more. I no longer eat any overly packaged/refined foods. I eat whole grain breads (sprouted & hemp mostly), and try to cook from 'scratch' as much as possible. Extra virgin olive oil is my cooking oil of choice (except when I am sauteing or using a relatively high heat, in which case I use sesame oil). I still eat meat, but not at every meal or even every day, and when I do it is no longer the "star" on my plate, it is about a 3-4 oz serving and the rest of the plate is filled with vegetables and whole grains. I've learned to love leafy green vegetables (so much so I pile them on my plate). I still 'allow' myself to have guilty pleasures, but after awhile you find you don't really want them because your body has everything it needs nutritionally (so you don't get carb cravings) and your mood is so good you don't cave in to the emotional eating binges. The only 'difficult' time is around that time of the month...I get a little hungrier and may have a slice of cinnamon toast or a little ice cream, but nothing like the pig-outs of the past :) For any emotional irritation during that time there is nothing like a good cup of tea (sweetened with agave so as not to spike your blood sugar...I've come to prefer it over sugar).

Finally, SUPPLEMENTS can be the icing on the good mood cake. I take a whole food multivitamin to fill in any nutritional gaps, a good Omega blend oil (something with borage oil in it is excellent too) and vitamin D drops in the wintertime (along with plenty of time under a sunlight simulator bulb - I keep one in my reading lamp).

Record numbers of people are suffering from depression because of the standard American lifestyle & diet. It doesn't have to be that can feel good again without dependency on pharmaceuticals and by only making a few simple lifestyle changes (no need to go vegan or raw, though go for it if that makes you even happier).

Replied by Luiz
South America

I totally agree with this post. Well being is tightly associated to our diet.

About three years ago I lived on fast-food and frozen processed food. I was addicted to cocaine, got drunk every day, and had bouts of depression all the time where I simply could not function.

I started to change things little by little, first with education by monitoring sites and forums like this, reading books, trying diets and new "real" foods. My theory is that we were made perfect. We just need to put our physical body in a position to heal and maintain itself: literally give our body a chance.

Today I crave things like brown rice, sauerkraut, chilled açaí bowls with granola, steamed vegetables, etc. When I feel like eating something sweet, I have a can of coke (not very often). I no longer crave coffee, but I do drink cups of green tea tea with molasses and VCO. Yum!

I do not crave or desire any of that crap anymore! I have a frozen lasagne in my freezer and ice cream that must have been there for months and months. I just get this stuff for emergencies or when people visit, and end up not needing them.

I still eat meat, french fries, fast food, but it's just not part of my daily diet because my body no longer see that as "food". It's just something to have when there is nothing more nourishing available, a filler.

I learned the difference between being hungry and "feeling like having something to eat". I can also now tell the impact of foods in my life... my mood completely changes after eating a lot of barbecue for example. Coffee now puts me in a state where I feel a anxious and apprehensive about everything, and sometimes a bit shaky.

I still have my struggles with life as everybody else as well. I drink beer more than I should, but things are changing slowly. I no longer have that urge to change everything overnight. That's just not sustainable in the long run. You have to commit a small positive change, and wait a few weeks to see what the impact it. Once you do this over and over, one day you will come to the realisation that you are a whole new person. And also in love with it!

I haven't been sick in years. I take no medication of any kind. No doctor can scare me into doing anything. I'm not opposed to seeking help if I need it either, but I understand now that a good doctor is one that understands that he is an instrument in healing, nothing more. I can't run from pompous doctors fast enough.