Health & Beauty

Rooibos and Chamomile Can Help Depression

Let tea cheer you up on rainy days
Let tea cheer you up on rainy days

Depression affects millions of people in the United States alone. The Center for Disease Control estimates that one in ten adults suffer from depression.

Even mild depression can be debilitating and while anti-depressants work for many they don't work for everyone. Many studies show that herbal teas like rooibos and chamomile and traditional black and green teas can help relieve not only depression but its related symptoms as well.

Best of all, tea is accessible, economical, delicious and nearly immediately effective in making you feel a whole lot better.

Rooibos is made from the leaves and bark of the aspalathus linearis, a tree native to South Africa. Rooibos (red bush) is unique among plants in that its antioxidants are similar to those of Camellia sinensis (tea) but contains a trace of caffeine per cup, about 1 mg, mild enough not to interfere with sleep nor increase anxiety. What it does have is a sweet, delicious flavor and very high amounts of magnesium which is nature's way of helping the body react well to stress.

Adagio offers selections of the world's finest organic, red and green rooibos in plain and flavored varieties to please every palate. It's the perfect nightcap any day of the week.

The sweet, silky taste and delicate fragrance of the chamomile flower have made this herbal tea a sought-after night-time beverage. It contains chrysin, a naturally-occurring flavonoid known to ease anxiety. By relaxing the body, chamomile tea increases the ability to relax, fall asleep easily and quickly, thus avoiding one of the most exhausting symptoms of depression, insomnia. Adagio offers chamomile from the Nile River Valley in Egypt, considered the finest in the world. Brew with boiling water for a golden cup. Yummy plain or with honey which also contains chrysin.

Camellia sinensis: Black or Green
This timeless prescription for feeling better has scientific backing from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which points to the L-theanine in green and black teas as effectively increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonins deeply impact sleep, memory, appetite and mood, all of which are impacted by depression. (Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, one of many chemical substances in our bodies that transmit nerve impulses across synapses, spaces in between nerve cells aka neurons.)

Study participants consumed four or more cups of green tea daily and nearly half, 44%, were less likely to have symptoms of depression than those who drank one cup or who did not drink tea at all, and the study clearly points to the L-theanine as the reason for this dramatic result. An amino acid, L-theanine is responsible for the calming affect we feel when we drink tea. It also stimulates alpha waves which the brain demonstrates when we are relaxed. By altering the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, our mood can be improved within minutes.

L-theanine also reduces anxiety by counteracting the effects of the caffeine also present in tea. It increases blood circulation to the brain which results in increased brain function to include more alertness, more ability to solve complex problems and sustain clarity while, at the same time, experiencing calmness and tranquility.

Only found naturally in true teas, L-theanine works with neurotransmitters to cross the blood-brain barrier enabling the brain to produce more of these transmitters, particularly serotonin which it cannot do by itself. A Princeton University study describes serotonin as the "happiness hormone" because it contributes to our feelings of well being. And, perhaps we should call tea the perfect happiness enhancer because it helps increase serotonin.

Help your happiness hormone by trying something unusual and fantastic, Black Dragon Pearls from Yunnan. Sweet, earthy, delicious, this tea is guaranteed to lift your spirits and your mood as you watch the pearls unfurl and blossom into an extraordinary cup of pure bliss.

Other reasons to drink green or black teas to fight mild depression include its ability to help the brain maintain a steady flow of glucose, the fuel that keeps the brain running and its dynamic antioxidants which boost metabolism for an increase in serotonin for an over-all feel-good feeling and they also elevate another neurotransmitter, dopamine, to the brain as a mood enhancer. According to Psychology Today, dopamine helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers, helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them. Therefore, maintaining healthful levels of dopamine are essential to decreasing or managing depression.

Both serotonin and dopamine can be depleted by prescription drugs, particularly those commonly taken by the elderly, so your daily cups of tea have powerful impact to elevate your "feel good" mood at every age.

Other natural, and effective ways, to fight mild depression are:

Exercise Exercise. Go take a walk, do some yoga, hit the weights or play ball, anything to get the body moving and amp up those endorphins that make you physically feel better. Better yet, exercise outdoors; the sun is a powerful resource for mood-lifting vitamin D and serotonin.

Meditation Meditation helps because it steers our mind and body into deep breathing which brings the energy of oxygen surging through our bodies and that elevates mood.

Socialize Do something fun: socialize, try a new restaurant, go to a funny movie, any activity you enjoy .

Goals Set goals but don't try to complete everything at once. Go easy and try to take just one or two steps toward them every day.

Volunteer Do a good deed for someone else; volunteer in your community; be generous.

NOTE: Depression can affect anyone and make us feel blue or sad. These mild depression symptoms occur to nearly everyone at some time in our lives. Clinical depression however, is feeling such a deep sense of sadness that it interferes with our daily life. Symptoms range from intense frustration and anger, chronic insomnia or hopelessness, among others. Anyone who suspects that they, or someone they care about, experience clinical depression should seek medical counsel immediately for valuable, and effective, therapy or medication which can greatly help alleviate the symptoms.