winter

Outsmart the winter blues with these five herbs

Tuesday, December 04, 2012 by: PF Louis
Tags: winter blues, medicinal herbs, seasonal affective disorder

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(NaturalNews) The winter blues, blahs, or SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is from confinement under constantly overcast winter skies or long, arctic nights. Then there is a condition known as "cabin fever" or agitation and anxiety from confinement while snowed in.

Long, overcast periods and wearing lots of warm clothing outdoors invites a lack of sunshine induced vitamin D3 deficiency. Vitamin D3 deficiency can lead to depression. So it seems wise to increase D3 supplementation during those wintery periods.

It's also wise to maintain a high level of quality omega-3 in your daily diet during those darker days. Omega-3 helps stabilize moods and emotions. A highly assimilable form of magnesium serves to calm nerves and help relieve depression as well. Even soaking in a tub with Epsom salts will help your body absorb more magnesium.

Many experience less SAD by using full spectrum light bulbs, supposedly developed for residents of arctic regions who have extremely long winter nights. They are expensive bulbs that emit white light emulating the sun's spectrum of wavelengths.

Tanning beds that create ultraviolet B (UVB) rays can duplicate the sun's ability for getting your skin's cholesterol to begin the body's conversion of solar energy to vitamin D3 in your body, with the side effect of a tan.

But SAD symptoms are not necessarily seasonal. They can occur with night shift workers who endure mostly darkness in their day to day existence. In addition to the solutions mentioned, stocking up on herbs that relieve depression and anxiety is a good move.

Five herbs to relieve SAD symptoms

(1) St. John's wort is a highly regarded and clinically tested herb for relieving mild to moderate depression. It can be purchased as a tincture, in capsules, or dried leaves for making teas.

As with most herbs, it takes a little time for its effect to take place. So it's a good idea to begin taking St. John's wort in mid to late autumn as a preparation for winter.

(2) Lemon balm is another traditional herb for tension, headaches, and depression. It has many other medicinal uses. But it's known as a sedative or tranquilizer that can even alleviate spasms, internal or external. It's usually made into a tea or mixed with other oils and tinctures.

(3) Chamomile tea can take the edge off "cabin fever." It smooths out tension and anxiety that externally enforced confinement tends to promote. It's best to use the flowers for making the tea. You'll enjoy its mild taste and soothing quality. Perfect for relaxing before bedtime or anytime.

(4) Valerian root has relaxing qualities that can also be used in conjunction with the previously mentioned herbs. As a tincture or oil, it's often mixed with lemon balm or other similar herbs to mask the root's odor.

It's tranquilizing effects help one relax and get a good night's sleep without side effects. It's effectiveness peaks within two or three weeks of use. But its extended use is not recommended. Occasionally, there's a reverse effect of hyperactivity.

(5) Kratom is an Indonesian herb you shouldn't use if you want to get sleep. It's a stimulant that lifts you out of any funk from SAD or other depression. It manifests its effects quickly. So take it in the morning. Jonathan Benson's article covers Kratom's interesting history and properties. (http://www.naturalnews.com/035480_kratom_pain_relief_herb.html)

The fact that it also makes you feel good and overcomes depression has caused some in the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) to become a bit curious. The state of Indiana has banned kratom.

But it is available online in all other states and in most other countries. You can find out more about it here: http://www.kratomassociation.org/

Sources for this article include:

http://frugallysustainable.com

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/st-johns-000276.htm

http://www.drpodell.org/alternative_treatments_for_depression.shtml

http://www.wisegeek.org

http://www.herballegacy.com/Lemon_Balm.html

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/valerian-000279.htm

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