Herbs for Happiness: Plants to boost your mood
Managing stress, maintaining a sense of calm and clarity and looking after our physical wellbeing are all factors we can control. Along with some simple daily practices, we can look to plants for help. Here are five of the best herbs to help boost your mood, all of which you can enjoy either as herbal teas or supplements.
To calm a busy mind: holy basil (tulsi)
Holy basil, also known as tulsi, is a herb with a particular affinity for the brain and mood. It’s said to stimulate circulation to the brain to improve concentration and help clear brain fog. It also has a calming effect on the nerves and acts as an adaptogen – a herb that helps us cope with and adapt to stress.
These different actions can combine well to help lift our mood, particularly when stress or anxiety are involved.
Pukka teas and supplements to try:
For motivation: matcha green tea
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, turning to coffee for a boost may do more harm than good. High doses of caffeine and other stimulating substances in your ‘cuppa joe’ can cause your body to make more stress hormones, increasing the draining effects of stress on your mind and body. Instead, try matcha green tea.
Green tea contains a small amount of caffeine to give you a sustained energy lift, but also contains theanine, which can have a relaxing effect on the mind, reduce anxiety and help with focus and concentration. Matcha green tea, in particular, is said to contain a high percentage of calming theanine.
Pukka teas to try:
For relaxation: chamomile
If your priority is to get more ‘calm time' in your life, soothe frayed nerves and sleep better, then chamomile could be a great choice for you. Drink it as a herbal tea before bed, but also throughout the day to help calm you down – it shouldn’t make you feel tired.
Pukka teas to try:
For adrenal support: ashwagandha
Like holy basil, ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen, helping to balance the effects of stress on our body and mind. As the name suggests, adaptogens help the body adapt to daily stressors. They help reduce negative changes during times of emotional and physical stress by strengthening the endocrine and nervous systems.
So, if you’re feeling tired or run down, ashwagandha could be the herb for you. It can be good for libido, too, which often suffers when we’re feeling low.
For brain health: Turmeric
This golden super-spice is associated with a multitude of health benefits. These include helping to protect the brain and memory, via antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. But turmeric may also have a direct benefit for mood: because depression is thought to involve excessive inflammation, the anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric may help bring things back to normal.
Author: Jo Webber
Head of Herbal Education
As a BSc qualified Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher, Jo is passionate about bringing these two ancient sciences together to help people feel empowered about their health. Jo has put her post-graduate certificate in education to good use, co-founding the Ayurveda academy to help others learn of the wonders of Ayurveda. Jo has also earned a Masters degree in human sciences from Oxford University and has taught in several schools
BSc qualified Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher
Years of experience:
20 years as a Hatha yoga teacher/ayurvedic practitioner
Member of the Ayurvedic Practitioners Association