Depression sounds like just one simple thing, and most people think that it is. In fact, depression occurs when certain types of imbalances reach certain functions in the human body. These imbalances are many, and there are three common combinations that produce three distinctive types of depression. Knowing these combinations will help facilitate healing for those struggling with this condition.
The first imbalance is the agitated depression. This person actually is very active, irritable and mobile, but has an underlying dimension of depression. This person has trouble calming down and depression is part of the exhaustion response to all the agitation. Irritants in thought, life and diet are the causes, and the treatment, in addition to removing the causes, is to give the person calming herbs that will take the edge off.
The traditional remedy for agitated depression is valerian root and St. John’s wort. These together will calm and improve the condition of the person. Sometimes, motherwort is used in the formula if the digestion is also irritated, and rosemary may be used if the person cannot switch their brain back to a happier state.
The second type is the constipated depression. This person is more classical and is the type of depressant we see in cold, stogy cultures or blocked, resistant and aggressive peoples. This condition can become a bowel subtype or a liver subtype. In any case, the constipated depressive person actually has decreased brain circulation secondary to blocked liver and bowel.
Cathartic herbs and cholegogues are the perfect solution for this person. A formula of cayenne, cascara, cape aloe, fennel, barberry, Oregon grape root, ginger and wild yam will really help this person get things moving. Several formulas like this are currently available, and they are close enough to this description. Constipated depressives usually have to abandon all dairy, bread, processed sugar and most animal products. They need more fruit, vegetables and raw food in general. When their diet is changed they will turn around very fast, and yet they can seem to be the most stubborn appearing cases that do not respond to anyone, and who may not move from the couch, leave the house or even speak.
The third type is the flaccid depression. This person is relaxed to the point of lacking an upward flow of energy to drive them. These cases respond best to removal of energy draining sources (television, potato chips, soda pop, garbage food) and to supplementing with exercise, adaptogens (especially red ginseng or codonopsis) that warm and give yang energy, and blue cohosh, which boosts yin energy.
These cases usually have flabby, horizontal appearances, drooping eyes, large, expansive adipose tissue roles and a very flaccid liver. They do well to also supplement with liver herbs that increase activity and stimulate function and blood flow to the liver. Strong cleansing may irritate or exhaust this type and they are better suited to a deeper, subtler change. I really like ashwagand and dong quai to treat them, 2 capsules 2 times daily for several months, in addition to the other herbs mentioned. This person may get dramatic improvement from giving up all wheat and refined sweeteners, dairy and chemical non-foods.
When these three types of depressive constitutions are understood, much more precise and helpful healing can be offered by natural healing professionals or by an individual trying to make it work him or herself.
Thanks for reading,
Kal Sellers, MH