Happy Herbs: Plants with Mood-Boosting Properties

Happy Herbs: Plants with Mood-Boosting Properties

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Did you know that planted snugly in the calendar each March is International Day of Happiness? It’s a day when everyone is officially encouraged to “find positive ways to look after ourselves and each other.”

That got us thinking about all the times we’ve turned to fresh herbs and plants to help us relax, smile, and spread a little joy in our lives.

We don’t just mean using herbs in cooking – though our produce is definitely great for that! Instead, we’ll be looking here at the best plants to boost your mood and how you can use them to do just that.

Herbs with mood-boosting properties

The International Day of Happiness website gives three positive steps we can all take when facing difficult times: keep calm, stay wise, and be kind.

With that in mind, we’ve sorted the plant suggestions below to help you do all three!

bottle of lemongrass oil and fresh lemongrass

Keep calm

There are many things in life we can’t control, but the way we respond to stressful situations is something we can.

One thing you might like to try in high-stress circumstances is brewing a cup of thyme tea. Thyme contains a compound called carvacrol which naturally calms and supports your nervous system. That makes sipping a thyme tea in the office, or at bedtime after a long day, both equally good ideas. You can find a great recipe here.

Another of the best plants to boost your mood is lemongrass. You can use it to make lemongrass oil, which has a fresh, citrusy scent that’s both clean and calming, helping to relieve irritability, prevent drowsiness, and even relax muscles when rubbed onto the skin. Best of all, it’s also really simple to make your own lemongrass oil. There are lots of recipes out there, but we found this one from Times of India simple to follow and highly effective.

Fresh Thyme on a plate

Stay wise

There’s a famous quote by Shakespeare that says “Rosemary is for remembrance.” That’s backed up by a study by the Department of Psychology at Northumbria University, which found that rosemary can boost memory in people aged 65 and over by up to 15%.

Whether you opt for a live rosemary plant or a fresh rosemary diffuser, there are many wonderful ways to disseminate this memory-boosting plant’s woody, evergreen scent. You can even mix it with other herbs to create your own special blend of diffuser oils!

Fresh mint tea in glass

Be kind

That same study from Northumbria University also found that mint tea enhances both mood and cognition. That means you’ll be both happier and more alert after a cup or two, and better able to remember things like birthdays and anniversaries thanks to mint’s proven boost to long-term memory.

There are nearly endless numbers of mint tea recipes out there, but we like this rather simple one from BBC Good Food. We’re sure you’ll like it too.

The last of our plants with mood-boosting properties meanwhile is fresh root ginger. It’s packed with vitamin B6, which boosts energy levels, and magnesium, which can help to ward off depression. Ginger has even been known to settle an upset stomach! All of which makes it one of the best things for someone who’s feeling fatigued, a little down in the dumps, or simply somewhat under the weather.

Ginger is an incredibly versatile plant and lends itself surprisingly well to a calming herbal tea. We especially enjoy this recipe from Taste of Home, which you’ll need to brew in a slow cooker over two to three hours.

Which herbs help your mood?

So that’s our blog inspired by this month’s International Day of Happiness: five herbs and other plants with mood-boosting properties. Are there any we might have mentioned? And how do you prefer to use them? Let us know in the comments below.

To find out more about using our herbs and ingredients in all sorts of creative ways, visit our fresh produce page or take a look at our blog, The Chopping Board.


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