Six mood boosting herbs and where to find them

Herbs are so clever.  There is very little they can’t do including helping to balance the mind and increase feelings of happiness and contentment.  Leading medical herbalist Henriette Kresse discusses herbs you can find in hedgerows and pristine, wild countryside to boost feelings of happiness by making simple teas and oil-infused tinctures at home.

Herbs and plants are fantastic mood boosters. Here are six of my top favourite herbs, plants and flowers to uplift you, boost mood  and have you dancing around the house!

  1. Dandelion brings joy. A tea made from dandelion flowers makes you smile. To make, pick 5 dandelion flowers and cover them with 200 ml boiling water. Let steep for 10 minutes, strain and drink.

An oil infused with dandelion flowers even brings joy to muscles, if they’re tight from negative emotions like frustration, fear or anger. To make, cover fresh dandelion flowers with olive oil and leave them in the oven on 50 ºC for two hours. Strain and feel your muscles warm up and relax as you apply the oil. For longer keeping, let the oil stand for 7 days, then discard the dark green liquid at the bottom of your oil jar.

  1. St. John’s wort soothes and strengthens the nervous system, reduces nervousness and even helps nerves regrow. It’s great for mild to moderate depression, and it’s been shown to even help with severe depression (get qualified medical help with that, though!). Take it as a tea or tincture three times a day. You will notice its effects after a few weeks of use; those around you will notice a difference within a few days. (If you’re depressed, you need nutrients: vitamins B, C, D, E plus magnesium, chromium, zinc, protein, fat and fish oil, in large enough amounts.)
  1. Oat tops when they’re in the milky seed stage (“milky oats”) is another great herb for the nervous system. Take it as a tincture three times a day and both you and those around you will notice a difference within days. Both milky oats and St. John’s wort also help with insomnia, which contributes do both sadness and depression.
  1. Rose petals are sure to make you smile. I quite like an elixir made from rose petals: fill a glass jar with rose petals, fill it to one-third with liquid honey and fill it to the top with brandy. Close the jar and leave it in a dark cupboard for 2 weeks, then strain. Take 1 tsp when you need a smile, a hug, when the sky is falling down. A warning though: this is so tasty that the sky will fall down a lot.
    The best roses to use have scented flowers. Avoid sprayed roses.
  1. The scent of a scented geranium is a nice moodlifter as well. Grow lemon- or rose-scented geraniums in a sunny window and remember to brush by the leaves when you go past; you’ll smile when you inhale their scent.
  1. Elecampane is the best herb for those who grieve. Drink a tea twice a day or more: 1 tsp dried root, 200 ml boiling water, let steep for 5-10 minutes, strain, add a dash of lemon juice and drink. (The lemon juice masks elecampane’s bitterness). You’ll also benefit from the other herbs outlined above.

Practical Herbs 1 & 2 by Henriette Kress, are available April 2018, published by AEON Books, priced £19.99 each. For more information see:

Disclaimer –  This is a guest article by qualified medical herbalist Henriette Kress. It does not seek to treat or diagnose any medical condition.  Always see your doctor or a qualified medical herbalist or integrated doctor if you are suffering from anxiety, depression or low mood. 

Images Courtesy of Henriette Kress and Unsplash.