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Deborah Wiig
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Herbal therapy is an alternative to traditional drug treatment
for depression, anxiety, mood swings and insomnia


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The right flowers, stems and leaves can help relieve mood symptoms, anxiety and insomnia, naturally and with few side effects. Most authorities agree that herbal therapy may be effective for mild or moderate depression or anxiety, but not severe forms of these conditions.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't test herbal remedies for safety or effectiveness and they are not approved as medicines. To gain FDA approval for their drugs, drug companies invest millions of dollars in studies, but herbal therapies cannot be patented and profited from so they do not undergo this expensive process.

The FDA classifies herbs as dietary supplements. Because they are not regulated, dosages, strength and purity can be inconsistent. Obtain herbal products from a trusted source.

Be sure to talk with your doctor if you are considering adding herbal therapy to your traditional drug regimen because herbs can interfere and interact with traditional medications. Call your doctor immediately if you experience side effects.

Herbal remedies are sold as tablets, capsules, powders, teas, extracts and fresh or dried plants. Some can be grown in your own herb garden.

"I was being treated for physical and mental problems associated with menopause," said Mary L, a Denver elementary school teacher., "and the herbal therapy really helped. Oriental medicine appealed to me because it treated the whole person. And my overall health improved."


  Fresh herbs and mortar and pestle

Click to read about herbs
often used for symptoms of mood
and anxiety disorders.

For more information about individual herbs, including safety and side effects, go to MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health | Department of Health & Human Services or the University of Maryland Medical Center

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Page updated November 1, 2009