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Depression is a real disease that warrants medical help. Over 15 million Americans are affected by it, equaling over 6% of the country’s population. Depression is all-encompassing and can take a toll on a person’s day to day life. It can also run the range from mild to dangerously severe.

If you or a family member suffers from depression, it is important to seek a medical professional’s help. They can determine a proper treatment for you and your individual situation. In some cases, medication and therapy are both needed to reduce the symptoms of this illness.

These aren’t the only options though. Lifestyle changes and natural home remedies can offer some possible relief. Remember to always check with a medical professional first before making any changes. Also, keep in mind that even though these might work for one person, it doesn’t mean they’ll work for you. Everyone is different and will have to find the right remedy to be effective for them.

Eat Happy Foods

It’s a well-known fact that food can affect your mood. Foods like cherries, chocolate, coconut oil, eggs, and flax seed can actually stimulate serotonin production. When we talk about comfort food to make us feel better, we’re talking about serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in our body that handles our mood. Prescription drugs like Prozac work in a similar manner to raise the levels in our brain.

Say No to Coffee, Yes to Green Tea

Coffee is a daily requirement and standby for many. It can help you keep going when you have a lot of things to do and no energy to do it. However, the energy boost comes with a significant crash once the caffeine wears off. You may end up feeling even more exhausted than before you drank the coffee.

Green tea can be a great alternative to coffee. It has a small amount of caffeine, but it also boasts L-theanine. This amino acid helps reduce anxiety and boost your mood. It is also popular for many other ailments and uses.

Pause and Meditate

With everything that needs to be done on a daily basis, the chaos and noise can become overwhelming. Meditation can help quiet it all. Clearing the mind when you have a lot on your plate is a great way to help with your mood and overall well-being. All you need is a quiet place and about half an hour to shut out the world and just BE.

Acupuncture

The Chinese have used acupuncture for thousands of years. This means that this form of alternative medicine must work for some people. Practitioners tell us there are 400 points in the body which sometimes get clogged. The use of super-fine acupuncture needles opens these points up. They can help in alleviating the symptoms of depression along with other ailments.

Chamomile Tea

When you are depressed, it is hard to sleep. Chamomile tea can help with calming your mind and body. Boil your water, steep the tea, and add a little bit of milk and honey. You should be able to get the restful sleep you need soon.

Load up on B-Vitamins

B-Vitamins play a role in producing chemicals that get the brain running. People who have a deficiency in them tend to be irritable and in a permanent fog. Try eating more fish, cheese, shellfish, spinach, and bell peppers. They are a great source of this vitamin and others.

Magnesium

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant substance on earth which could be why it is often ignored. This mineral is responsible for a ton of biomechanical functions. It helps produce energy, regulate the heart, and synthesize other nutrients. Magnesium can be taken in a supplement form or found in many foods.

Snack on Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are unassuming but they pack a lot of minerals, taste, and vitamins into a small package. They have healthy fat, magnesium, and protein that work together to boost your mood. Plus they are also chock full of amino acids.

Exercise

Being active is a fundamental factor in boosting a person’s mood. Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy. So, whenever you feel down and sluggish, get up and go for a walk. It might be a struggle at first but you will definitely feel recharged and happier afterward.

Depending on the type and extent of your depression, you can help ease symptoms with a few simple changes. Try a few of these home remedies and see if they work for you. Just don’t forget to talk to your doctor first.

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How To Dry Your Own Herbs

An herb garden is a delicious addition to any homestead. But what do you do with a bumper crop of oregano, basil, or lavender? Don’t commit the deadly sin of letting your fresh herbs go to waste! You can easily dry today’s fresh herbs to add a splash of seasoning to tomorrow’s home-cooked meals.

How to dry herbs

Before drying your herbs, it’s important to remember that every herb is different. Some herbs, like basil, rosemary, and oregano, have hardier leaves and dry very easily. Delicate herbs like parsley or lemon balm require a more tender touch during the drying process. Know what you’re working with and adjust accordingly! You don’t want moldy or flavorless herbs.

Be sure to harvest your herbs before they bolt, or flower. Once they go to flower, the flavor and texture won’t be the same. Keep the leaves on stems or stalks if possible; they’ll be much easier to work with.

Gently wash the herbs with cold water. Spread them out on a dry kitchen towel and let them dry completely at room temperature. You want as little moisture as possible for the best results. Toss any discolored or squashed leaves.

Tie the herb stalks or stems together with kitchen twine or rubber bands, with about six stems per bundle. Fill a brown paper bag halfway with the herb bundles and fold the bag shut. Don’t overfill your bag! You want enough air to get to the herbs to remove moisture.

Now it’s time to play the waiting game. Store the sacks in a dry, dark cabinet for 2 – 4 weeks until the herbs are totally dry. Once the herbs have dried to your liking, remove the leaves from the stems and process if necessary. Give herbs like basil, parsley, or lavender a good crushing in a mortar and pestle or food processor.

Once the herbs have processed, it’s time to get to the fun part: cooking! Store the herbs in glass Mason jars to preserve their flavor for up to one year. If you still have more herbs than you can use, they make great great gifts!


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