Are you a coffee lover? Perhaps you have a thing for herbal green teas. It doesn’t matter what your go-to beverage is; chances are you probably reach for one often when you are feeling low or simply ‘out of the zone’. There’s something inherently comforting about hot beverages that can instantly put us in a good mood. We can all agree with that!
With that said, take a look at these 5 mood-enhancing herbs that can help you fight ‘the blues’ much like coffee and green teas. In the right dosage and form, they can act as a mild mood-elevator.
Kratom, also known as Mitragyna Speciosa, is a naturally growing plant that belongs to the coffee family. It is found in the rainforests of Southeast Asia. Kratom’s true strength lies in its leaves that are rich in active alkaloids namely mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Although kratom remains a rather controversial herbal supplement, it is easily available in most states. Kratom is available in many forms such as tincture, powder, capsules, oils, and salves that may come from different kratom strains.
While you can always toss it in mouth and drink with water, some like to use crushed kratom leaves for tea preparation. You could always replace your morning coffee with an occasional cup of kratom tea. It’s worth mentioning that kratom is not regulated by the FDA. Therefore, one must be careful in terms of quality and dose of kratom to avoid unwanted effects.
2. St. John’s Wort
This plant hails all the way from Europe. It also grows in Northern Africa and Western Asia. The natives of Europe would generally use St. John’s Wort as a natural way to help with mild depression. However, we would like to point out that the FDA hasn’t approved this herb for any medicinal application.
According to the NIH (National Institute of Health), this herb holds potential to manage milder forms of depression. St. John’s Wort is linked with enhanced production of serotonin (the happiness hormone). That should explain the ‘feel-good’ sensation associated with its consumption.
This excellent herb is also available in a variety of forms including tablets and tinctures. You can create a more sophisticated herbal infusion using tea bags and hot water. It’s important to point out that St. John’s Wort may interact with several medications; particularly with blood thinners, chemotherapy medication, and contraceptives. Therefore, you may want to consult your doctor first before taking it.
Kava grows in tropical climates. The islands of the Pacific Ocean are believed to be the home of this plant. In terms of appearance, it looks much like a shrub with heart-shaped, light green leaves. Traditional usage of kava was to brew the leaves for an herbal preparation. In many places, it’s also a ceremonial drink.
Kava can have calming and mildly relaxing effects. It can induce pleasant sensation much like kratom. Because of kava’s potential to induce calmness, the medical community has started to consider it as a potential remedy for GAD or generalized anxiety disorder. However, the research is still ongoing with this herb still remaining largely unregulated.
Kavain is the active ingredient in kava that research found out to affect mood receptors. This is definitely an unconventional herb that you can try out to explore mood-enhancing and relaxing effects much like herbal teas.
4. Valerian Root
It’s not just the name of this herb that sounds therapeutic, but Valerian Root in itself carries a huge potential as a mood-enhancing herb. It’s a perennial plant that goes by the name of Valeriana Officinalis in the science community. You can find this plant all through the grasslands of North American, Europe, and Asia.
A typical herbal preparation would use the rhizome root of the valerian. Although researchers are not fully sure how valerian root can help put you in a good mood, they do feel that it works by subtly improving the production of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. GABA is the chemical responsible for the calming effects. If you also want to give this herb a try, you can try out capsules, tincture, oil. You can even find green teas containing valerian extract.
Although not an herb, saffron does qualify to be included in this list. It is a known spice which comes from the dried part of crocus (a flower from the Iris family).
As per a study conducted by the Alternative Medicine Review, saffron was found to be one of several herbs that can be immensely helpful in managing mild depression and anxiety. Today saffron is easily available online. It’s one of the more expensive spices but it could be worth a try if you want to try out new herbs and spices to improve your general health.
In some countries, many of these herbs may not be so readily available due to the possible side-effects associated with their abuse. Therefore, it’s important to exercise caution and also consult your physician before taking them. This is particularly essential if you have a medical condition or are under some kind of medication.