Do you have any information on the use of aurum for treating depression or anxiety? I'm aware that it comes in many forms. Is one better than another? -- Paul Ryan

Aurum or homeopathic gold is widely promoted on the Internet as a remedy for depression, post-partum depression, and anxiety. I've also seen it recommended for insecurity, anger, self-reproach, fear of failure, worry, tension, stress, and heart conditions. In general, if you have serious problems like these, I suggest you rely on the advice of health professionals rather than on remedies promoted on the internet.

Iris Bell, MD, Ph.D., director of research here at the Program in Integrative Medicine and a trained homeopathic practitioner, tells me that aurum is one of the homeopathic remedies for suicidal depression. However, she notes that there are hundreds of other homeopathic remedies, any one of which may be the correct one for an individual with depression. Only a highly trained and experienced homeopath can determine which of the available remedies would be right for a specific patient.

Dr. Bell makes the point that anyone depressed enough to require treatment with Aurum should be seeing a licensed mental health professional in addition to a homeopath and should not attempt to use a homeopathic remedy for self-care. In fact, Dr. Bell recommends treating yourself with homeopathic remedies only for acute problems that are likely to be self-limited. I agree.

As far as natural treatments for depression are concerned, one of the most effective I know is aerobic exercise--30 minutes five times per week should yield results within a few weeks. Others, such as St. John's Wort and SAM-e can help relieve mild to moderate depression. To ease anxiety, give up coffee and other forms of caffeine, and try breathing exercises for relaxation.

Dr. Andrew Weil

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