Combat depression with botanicals

Chamomile, Green Tea, Valerian and Lavender are mood enhancers

There are at least four botanical extracts that have proper evidence as mood enhancers.

There are compounds in chamomile (Matricaria recutita) that bind to the same brain receptors as drugs like Valium. So a cup of chamomile tea can have a direct calming influence.

It can also be taken as a supplement, typically standardized to contain 1.2% apigenin (an active ingredient), along with dried chamomile flowers.

In a study at the University of Pennsylvania’s Medical Center, patients with generalized anxiety disorder who took chamomile supplements for eight weeks had a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms compared to patients taking placebo.

L-theanine (in Green Tea)
An amino acid in green tea called L-theanine may be responsible for the famed ability of Buddhist monks to be able to meditate for hours, in an alpha mind-state that is both alert yet relaxed.

Research indicates that L-theanine can help lower heart rate and blood pressure, and human studies have found that it reduces anxiety. An average dose is about 200 milligrams of L-theanine a day.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) contains sedative compounds and is a sleep aid. The German government has approved it as a treatment for sleep difficulties.

Most people take Valerian as a capsule as it doesn’t smell very nice! It is sometimes combined with other sedative herbs such as chamomile, or lemon balm.

The aroma of lavender (Lavandula hybrida) is known to be calming. In one study, Greek dental patients were less anxious if the waiting room was scented with lavender oil; and in a Florida University study, students who inhaled lavender oil scent before an exam had less anxiety — although some claimed it made their minds “fuzzy” during the test.

But be warned: lavender oil is poisonous to consume, use it only as a scent.