Herbs to Lift Your Mood This Winter
The winter blues is something that we all experience at least once in our lives. I have been there, feeling the tug of the outdoors late into the season of bitter cold days and mornings spent scraping ice and snow off of my windshield. While I have never suffered from chronic depression, I have been in situations that would call for the word “mood swing” and have often witnessed other family members or friends that needed a pick-me-up after a tough day or week.
I’ve listed a few of my favorite herbs to help lift your mood, especially during this darker and colder time of the year. There’s nothing like a little sunny reminder of the herbs you dried in the summer time!
ROSE. Rose is said to soften your heart, among other things, like opening up yourself to romance. Roses calm and inspire love, though calm feelings of love. If your mood stems from bitterness or anger, then rose is a wonderful plant to use as tea. You may want to be careful which part of the rose that you use for uplifting your mood. For tea, it’s best to use crushed rose hips rather than petals. Petals are a diuretic, but they can still be brewed for tea if you wish!
LAVENDAR. Perhaps the most common herb used for healing depression, lavender is easy and safe to use. Brew into a healing tea or fill up a small sachet to keep nearby and inhale the aromatherapy. Just a whiff can relieve headaches, insomnia, and stress!
CALENDULA. I have seen this herb mentioned as “liquid sun” to help cure winter blues! It can help relax your muscles externally and internally. A stimulant, calendula serves to invigorate the many organs of the body including the stomach, skin, lymphatic and nervous systems, and the liver. It literally cleanses you from the inside out, opening your pours and allowing heat to be released.
LEMON VERBENA. One of the most well known herbs to use for healing emotions and mood swings, lemon verbena or vervain is deeply penetrating to soothe and sedate the nervous system. This herb will stimulate neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. This helps to enhance your mood and create a sense of well being. You may use this herb to help you fall asleep as well; it will not leave you feeling groggy in the morning!
LEMON BALM. Lemon balm can cleanse you emotionally. While rose, listed above, is a sedative lemon balm is better at rejuvenating you! It has properties that help with anxiety and stress. An enzyme found in lemon balm called “rosmarinic acid” triggers the brain to prevent over-excitement and attain balance of emotions. This herb can play a role in regulating stress and sleep cycles.
LICORICE ROOT. Licorice is known to have 8 different compounds used as anti-depressants. It is nourishing and, while it is mostly used to cure a sore throat, can help you deal with stress and winter blues. It is best used during times of fatigue and exhaustion.
All of the herbs listed above can be brewed easily into a tea to sip on snuggled up in your favorite jammies and warm blanket. You could also infuse them into oils to apply topically to places on your skin like your wrists, temples, or feet. Infusing oil can take up to six weeks, so if you are looking for a fast solution, you can cook them over the stove in carrier oil or simply drink a tea!
Please note, I am not a medical professional nor am I a professional herbalist. This is simply a hobby for me! While none of these herbs are dangerous, err on the side of caution and do your research before taking internally. Consult with your doctor first or take at your own risk!