Natural Antidepressants: 7 Home Recipes (to Complement Treatment)

Natural antidepressants, such as St. John's wort tea, oat smoothies or banana nut smoothies, contain substances that help to promote optimal nervous system functioning. They can be great home remedies to add to your medical depression treatment. 

Depression is characterized by symptoms such as a feeling of emptiness or sadness, lack of energy, or lack of desire to do daily tasks. It is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, biological and psychological factors, such as trauma, a family history of depression, and imbalances in brain chemicals. Learn more about what causes depression.

Natural antidepressants can be used to complement medical treatment and help to combat mild to moderate depression. However, they do not replace treatment with medication or psychotherapy as prescribed by a doctor. Some of these are not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding, or in combination with some medications. Be sure to speak to your doctor before preparing these natural antidepressants.

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Some natural antidepressants for depression include:

1. St. John's wort tea

St. John's wort is a medicinal plant of the Hypericum perforatum species. It is rich in hypericin, hyperforin and flavonoids, which have a natural antidepressant effect. It can help relieve symptoms of mild to moderate depression, such as mood swings, anxiety or agitation.

Furthermore, some studies[1,2]  have shown that St. John's wort has an action similar to antidepressants, which is why its use is particularly indicated when classic antidepressant medications are poorly tolerated.

St. John's wort tea can also help treat postmenopausal depression by improving sleep quality and alertness during the day. Check-out other natural remedies for menopause that help to manage symptoms.


  • 1 teaspoon (2 to 3 grams) of leaves and flowers of St. John's wort
  • 250 mL of water


Boil the water and pour into a cup with the St. John's wort. Cover and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Then strain, wait for it cool, and drink 3 to 4 cups a day.

St. John's wort tea should not be used by children, pregnant or lactating women. It should also be avoided by women taking birth control, as it can reduce the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives.

St. John's wort also affects the functioning of various medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, anxiolytics, digoxin, cyclosporine, antiretrovirals, warfarin and some cancer medications.

Be sure to speak to your doctor before taking St. John's wort, especially if you take medications.

2. Banana nut smoothie

This banana nut smoothie is an excellent way to naturally treat milder cases of depression. Both bananas and nuts contain tryptophan, an amino acid that participates in the formation of hormones, such as serotonin, which improve mood and help you to relax. It can promote high mood levels and help reduce feelings of sadness and depression.


  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 handful of walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon of honey


Blend the yogurt and banana in a blender and then add the chopped nuts and honey, stirring them in gently. Take this smoothie for breakfast daily.

3. Saffron tea

Saffron, scientifically known as Crocus sativus, is a medicinal plant that has been shown to have an effect on depression. It stabilizes mood and combats anxiety, due to the safranal in its composition.


  • 1 teaspoon of saffron
  • 500 mL of water
  • 1 lemon


Add the saffron to the water and then squeeze the lemon juice into the mixture. Finally, bring to the boil, and let it boil for about 5 minutes. Then strain and drink the mixture twice a day.

It is also possible to take saffron supplements in capsule form. The recommended daily dose is approximately 30 grams. Another option is to add saffron regularly to your food, like rice, for example.

Although it has promising results, there are still few studies on the use of saffron to treat depression in humans. It is also known that very high doses of this plant can be toxic to the body, so you should avoid using saffron in excess or taking more than 60 mg of this supplement per day.

4. Grape juice concentrate

Concentrated grape juice is another way to combat depression and anxiety naturally. It is useful for calming your nerves and improving mood, as the resveratrol present in the fruit improves blood circulation and brain oxygenation.

Furthermore, resveratrol also appears to regulate natural levels of serotonin, which helps to promote well-being.


  • 60 mL of concentrated grape juice
  • 500 mL of water


Mix the ingredients and drink 1 glass regularly, before bed. Although it is possible to make grape juice using fresh fruit, the concentration of resveratrol is higher in concentrated juice, making the above recipe the best option. Note that powdered grape juice found in grocery stores does not have the same effect.

According to some studies, the bioavailability of resveratrol appears to be greater when associated with piperine, the main compound in pepper. Thus, you can try adding a small amount of black pepper to this juice, for example, to increase the effect of resveratrol against depression.

5. Damiana tea

Damiana, known scientifically as Turnera diffusa, is an adaptogenic plant that helps reduce symptoms of depression, as its leaves contain active substances capable of relieving the physical and mental symptoms of stress. It also improves sleep and overall psychological well-being.


  • 2 tablespoons of chopped damiana leaves
  • 500 mL of water


Combine the ingredients in a pot and boil for about 15 minutes. Then strain and drink 2 cups a day, for at least 30 days.

This plant has not yet been fully studied and, therefore you should not exceed the doses above. Furthermore, it should be avoided by pregnant women and diabetics, as it can lead to fluctuating blood sugar levels.

6. Valerian root tea

Valerian root is a widely used medicinal plant that helps regulate sleep, allowing the brain to enter a cycle of activity and rest that helps reduce day-to-day stress and anxiety.

Therefore, this tea is perfect to complement the effects of other home remedies, especially for people with sleep problems. Check-out other teas for sleep that you can prepare to achieve a similar effect.


  • 5 g of valerian root
  • 200 mL of water


Add the valerian root to a pot with the water and boil for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover the pot and let the tea steep for another 15 minutes. Strain and drink one cup about 30 minutes to 1 hour before bed.

7. Oat Infusion

Oat infusion, prepared with the medicinal plant Avena sativa, is rich in vitamin B5 and alkaloids, which help fight depression, as well as reduce stress and tiredness.


  • 3 g of dried Avena sativa
  • 250 mL of water


Boil the water and add it to a cup containing Avena sativa. Let it steep for 5 minutes and strain. Then wait for it to cool and drink 3 to 4 cups a day.

Oat infusion should not be used by people who have a gluten intolerance.