Autumn blues? Three herbs to brighten up your day!

As days are getting shorter, darker and colder, and rain is beating against the windows, it may be difficult to keep up your good spirits. Have you found yourself feeling a bit tired or drowsy lately? Nature’s here to help! We selected three of our magical herbs that will help combat any signs of autumn depression.

Galangal (Alpinia officinarum)

Sneezing and coughing all the time? You may know a classic ginger-lemon tea (with lots of honey!) can alleviate your problems. Galangal, which is family of the ginger plant, can be used as a very nice addition or alternative.

The roots, indigenous to China and Java, work equally well on the throat and have an uplifting effect. Galangal benefits the blood circulation and central nervous system and as such improves mental focus and memory. As it increases vitality it’s sometimes used as a sexual stimulant. In higher doses (or when chewing on it for a while) galangal has a mild psychoactive effect. Because of its nice flavour, galangal is used a lot in Asian cooking.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Gloomy thoughts? St. John’s Wort is one of the oldest herbal remedies known to treat depression. It's been used to treat mental disorders, nerve pain, anxiety and sleeping problems. A tea made of 1 - 2 teaspoons of the herb can be drunk 3 times a day. You will notice an immediate effect on your mood: even behind the heaviest rain clouds the sun will start shining again!

If you suffer from severe depression, consult a doctor before you start self-medicating. Always consult a doctor when you want to combine St. John’s Wort with other medicines. This herb should never be combined with antidepressants or with certain birth control pills. Read more on St. John’s Wort.

Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata)

Immersed yourself in work now that the outdoor life seems less appealing? Don’t let stress take you over! Mix some passion flower with yoghurt, juice or water or make a tea for an overall calming effect. Passion flower will exchange stress for a nice mellow state of mind. The herb also works very well against sleeping problems. In larger quantities it has a mild hallucinogenic effect.

Passion flower is often mixed with other herbs like valerian, chamomile, damiana, skullcap and hops. Beware that passion flower is a mild MAO-inhibitor and shouldn’t be combined with antidepressants, other SSRI’s like kanna or amphetamine-type substances. Also don’t use when pregnant.