The Dark Season

Since the beginning of time, winter has been hard on humans. Through our social and technological advances, we have eliminated many of the threats that winter once put upon us. 

In most cases, we no longer have to worry about where to get our food or our root cellars being ransacked by hungry animals. We drink teas and coffees imported from around the world to keep our insides warm. If you live in the cold, rainy Pacific Northwest as I do, many people save a weeks worth of pay to purchase a Patagonia or similar outdoor brand jacket to ensure they stay dry, warm and healthy throughout the winter months. 

Despite our modern luxuries, heated blankets and warm liquids, the winter is still dark. The darkness of the outside can sometimes creep in. Waking in the morning becomes more difficult and thinking of doing anything past 7pm takes effort being that the sun has left hours ago and the pitch black has replaced it.

Emotionally, we still feel the stress and blues that our ancestors did. 

There are plenty of 'sun lamps', bath salts and 'cure-all your winter blues' products on the market but what I find to be the most affective is a collection of herbs & supplements that I will list below. Read them, use them, share them. Mother nature always has the cure for our ailments.

*I want to make a note about Mental Health here. Having a sad day or feeling down are very different things from actual depression. I am a huge advocate for mental health and encourage therapy (I myself go once a week). If you or someone you know is having a serious challenge with mental health, please encourage them to seek a professional. We all need someone to talk to and although plants are great, sometimes we need another human with 8 years of education under their belt to give us some clarity.*

St Johns Wort
Hypericum perforatum
Has been found to treat mild and moderate depression just as well as synthetic depression medications.  The active component is hypericin, which comes from the flowers.
This can be taken as a tincture internally. It can also be used for soothing the body in the form of an oil.

Saffron
Crocus sativus
is a perennial herb, which earned its popularity as both medicine and spice. Research shows that taking saffron or saffron extract or tincture by mouth for 6-12 weeks improves symptoms of major depression. Some studies show that saffron might be as effective as taking a prescription antidepressant, such as fluoxetine, imipramine, or citalopram. Early research in patients already taking an antidepressant shows that taking crocin, a chemical found in saffron, for 4 weeks reduces symptoms of depression more than taking the antidepressant alone.

5-HTP (I take this one daily)
Also known as 5-hydroxytryptophan, this supplement regulates and improves levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that affects a person's mood.