Loose the blues with Herbs!

We all have times  where we feel caught in that never ending feeling of depression or sadness.  It can feel like you are on a merry go round that just won’t stop.  Anxiety, tension, panic attacks, these are no fun and going to the doctor ends up with you and a prescription for pharmaceuticals.

Now I am not saying that pharmaceuticals are unsuitable, it is just that they all seem to have a huge long list of side effects with some that actually kill you.

Did you know that pharmaceuticals are synthetic reproductions of some herbs that grow readily in our environment? For instance Valium is synthetically reproduced Valerian. So why pick a long list of possible side effects when we have mother nature taking care of us?  

If this is you and you are looking for an all natural solution, take a look no further than mother nature herself. She is a wonderful resource for many things that ail you! Let’s take a quick peek at some of the herbs that can boost your mood and make your spirit soar once again!

Skullcap –  aids in nervousness.  If you feel agitated or are experiencing butterflies or even feel generally nervous, then this is the herb to keep in your medicine cabinet. It is native to North America, but it is also grown now in other areas of the world as well. Skullcap has been used for many years as a relaxant and as a treatment for anxiety, nervousness and even convulsions. Studies have even shown that skullcap has antioxidant effects, and could help protect against disorders, like  Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. There is even been studies to suggest that skullcap may reduce the allergic response to food. Definitely, some food for thought!

Lavender – This lovely herb can help when you just feel stuck in your sadness.  Taking  lavender over a few weeks initially can help lift your spirits and relieve your sadness. It is a mood stabilizer, as well as a sedative, it can also induce relaxation. It is used to soothe your nervous system, just a whiff of lavender is known to relieve depression,insomnia, headaches and stress. Keep a lavender pouch under your pillow, for a wonderful night’s sleep and a spritzer for around the house to lift your spirits anytime it is needed.

Rhodiola Rosea: This herb is still used today in Siberia to help deal with the harsh climate. This herb increases cognitive function, while reducing mental and physical fatigue. It is also known to relieve depression. Rhodiola rosea, is also known as roseroot, has been used for numerous years to promote endurance, to increase longevity and to promote resistance to several health conditions including fatigue and depression.

St. John’s Wort:Well-known as a mood enhancer,You can take this herb as a tea or a tincture.It has been proven to relieve sadness and SADD (seasonal affectiveness disorder depression). St. John’s Wort can help you sleep better too, which dramatically affects mood. St. John’s Wort is not without some side effects, but it’s safe for most people. As with almost all herbs, it will take some time for its effect to take place. So begin taking St. John’s wort in mid to late autumn as a preparation for  SADD in the winter months.

Valerian: Do you suffer from insomnia and/or anxiety? Valerian’s sedative qualities can help you out.. We all need to sleep well if we want to be lively and functional. You can take this herb as a tea, but it does have quite a strong scent, so mixing the tea with other herbs such as lavender, lemon balm or chamomile may help mask the odor. Valerian root has relaxing qualities that can also be used in conjunction with the previously mentioned herbs. Valerian gives a tranquilizing effect that can help you to relax you so you can have a great night’s sleep without the side effects of over the counter drugs. This herb can take up to two or three weeks to take effect. Extended use is not recommended. Some people that take this herb find that there’s a reverse effect of hyperactivity.

There you have it, five herbs that can boost your mood and help your mood! As with any kind of therapy you should consult your doctor and do your research. Herbs although they are natural can interact with other drugs so caution should always be used.  As a wise woman once told me, “ You read your learn.”  So get out there and find out what makes you feel better!

Dandelions are part of summer too!

IMAG1076The dandelions are up and not only does it mean that we can start planting some vegetables in our gardens (according the phenology,

the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life),  but we can also start harvesting the dandelions to eat!

My daughter and I were out harvesting dandelions over the weekend, she is learning about all the wonderful medicines that are available through foraging, like how dandelions are good in aiding digestion and can helpful with detoxing the liver and in creating prebiotics for our tum tums.

Dandelions are one of the many wonderful sources of food and medicine that our mother earth generously provides for us. Mother really does know best.

Some people think that dandelion is nothing but a pesky weed, but we know better! Dandelion is medicine! A forageable food source for us in the springtime. One chocked full of vitamins such as  A, B, C, D, E and K, as well as minerals, like iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

Dandelion leaves act as a diuretic, which increases the excretion of water from our bodies. In other words it makes you pee a lot. The leaves can be used to spice up your salad or soup, the blooms made into jelly and the root into a coffee like substance or all parts dried and made into tea.

Dandelion is great for detoxing the liver and it aids in digestion due to the high amount of dietary fibre called inulin. Inulin is a soluble dietary fibre. It belongs to a group of carbohydrates known as fructans. Unlike most carbohydrates, inulin is  not digestible. When eaten it passes through the small intestine and then it  ferments in the large intestine. This fermentation process becomes healthy intestinal microflora or prebiotic.

Dandelion flower also has antioxidant properties. Dandelion may also help improve the immune system.

Fresh or dried dandelion herb is a wonderful addition to soups, salads or breads. Please check out our recipes page for more ways to use this beautiful flower and nutritious herb.

After all dandelions are a part of summer too!

 

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