Herbfacts

Beat the blues

We all have down days. But with a little herbal help to boost your mood naturally, you can face every day with a spring in your step.

Medical Herbalist Gabriella Clarke shares her top three herbs to help beat the blues and also explains why you need to increase your Vitamin D intake.

ST JOHN’S WORT

Often known as the sunshine herb, this is the number one natural remedy for treating low mood, anxiety and depression.

St John’s wort contains a chemical known as hypericin, which increases our natural levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin. This is also how antidepressant drugs work, but the benefit of St John’s wort is that it doesn’t cause the side effects that can occur when taking some antidepressant medications.

Anxiety and low mood can significantly affect how well we sleep. Thankfully, St John’s wort also helps deal with insomnia by increasing the body’s melatonin levels – a hormone that helps regulate the quality and quantity of sleep.

It is important to note that St John’s wort is contra-indicated with many common medicines such as antidepressants and the contraceptive pill so always check with your health care provider before taking.

RHODIOLA ROSEA

Rhodiola is a great herb to help combat some of the things associated with low mood, such as a lack of energy. It helps to reduce fatigue, which in turn will help boost your feelings of wellbeing.

SIBERIAN GINSENG

This herb helps to combat anxiety and fatigue enabling us to cope better with day-to-day life.  It is also thought to help regulate sleep patterns.

VITAMIN D

Although we absorb a small amount of vitamin D from foods such as oily fish, 80% of our vitamin D intake comes from exposing our skin to natural sunlight. However, many of us living in the Northern hemisphere are deficient in this vital vitamin, essential for healthy bones and teeth, and also a strong immune system.

When it comes to beating the blues, vitamin D plays an important role in how we feel. Low levels of vitamin D in our blood have been associated with low mood and depression so unless you are lucky enough to be travelling to tropical climates regularly, you could probably do with taking a vitamin D supplement every day. If you think you could be very low in this essential vitamin, you can also request a blood test from your GP.