13 July 2011

Herbal Blessings

A cup of herbal tea can bring health and vitality. Herbs can calm us when we are anxious, soothe our soul when we are grieving, and lift our spirits. Herbs heal our bodies, minds and emotions. They can also heal our spirits.

When disease is looked at through a wholistic viewpoint, we see that the physical state often follows the thoughts and emotions. Physical disorder comes when the whole being is out of harmony. If we refuse to look at an issue in our life or develop negative views and thought patterns, illness often follows. In wholistic medicine, the cause of a disease is always a starting place to look when treating a person, and it is when these thought patterns and issues are faced that healing begins on a deeper level.

Herbal medicines have been used since the dawn of time and are very effective in treating physical ailments. The success of a well-prepared herbal prescription can also come down to the spiritual properties of the herbs. When taking any herb, or any other substance, it has a spiritual effect on us. The vibration of the plant will effect your own vibration. The herb will not only heal your body, but will work towards healing the mind and the spirit. Often when someone is on an herbal preparation for a long time, due to illness, the effect on them can be profound. The healing experience goes beyond the physical experience, and shifts can be made in their thoughts, emotions and spiritual journey.

Each herb has it's different qualities and can be used in various ways to help us to find our spiritual path and remove blockages we may have that prevent us from reaching our full potential. Spending time contemplating and meditating on the herbs can help to open your intuition and lead you to what ones to use. The herb use should be based on the activities you are about to undertake. Using an herb that will bring you into awareness and help you focus would be great in the morning when you are starting your day. At night something that brings you into a quieter mood is more appropriate.

Using herbs on a spiritual level can be done as simply as using herbs for any physically ailment. Having an awareness of the herbs you use in your life can help enhance their spiritual use. Using an herb in its most readily available form is usually the best way to use it. When you look at a herb or think about it, try to get an image of what it will do for you. Look at the colours of the plant and the flowers, are you using roots, leaves, seeds, stems or flowers? What shape is the plant or parts of, what do they remind you of? These things can help lead you to what it is useful for, both physically and spiritually.

The simplest way to use herbs is as an infusion, made with boiling water. Use the purist water you have available for this purpose. Using the sun to infuse your herbs is a slow but effective way to draw out spiritual properties. You may need to leave your herbs in water in natural sunlight for most of the day. It is best to use clear glass and cover it will glass also and leave in a warm sunny spot. While fresh herbs are always the best for this, you can also use dried, visual the fresh whole plant as you prepare your tea.

The herbs you use in cooking can also reflect the spiritual properties. Think about which herbs you are using and what spiritual properties you wish to enhance. The food will take on the spiritualty properties of the herbs. If you are cooking for your family or a group you may want to consider which herbs will promote unity and peace among those enjoying your cooking.

Burning herbs had been used for centuries in rituals. This is also another way of getting in touch with the herb. The smell of the burning herb generates the fire element within a person, which brings greater insight. You can create your own "tea ceremony", with the drinking of tea, followed by the burning of the herb as you meditate. Bathing in an herbal infusion can also be beneficial

As you more regularly use herbs with reflection on their spiritual properties and influence in your life you will become more in tune on their effect in you. Herbs can help you to come to know yourself and move forward on your own spiritual journey.

Red Clover imparts calm and steady behaviour and helps you to become more self-aware and self-contained. Red Clover has a unique ability to be grounding without causing you to 'come down' psychically or emotionally. Emotions can be made more conscious, allowing for greater expansion. A deep feeling of letting go can be experienced.

Sarsaparilla, clears mind of negative emotions, eases communication of intimate thoughts and feelings with clarity and courage

Plantain can be useful for someone to work with when they are depressed because they cannot accept something they cannot change. It encourages stability and allows opportunities for growth. It helps to release negativity and blockages we created in our selves that prevent us from moving forward. It is a cleanser, not just for the body, but also for the mind. It encourages us to become grounded and enjoy life once again.

Echinacea has qualities of swiftness, protection and purification. Spiritually it welcomes change, it makes it easier to accept new changes, new abilities and new ways of seeing things.

Liquorice allows greater release of emotional blockages. (Physically one of its properties is a laxative!) It can help when there is difficulty in understanding the purpose of a relationship, or why one is in the relationship, or understanding each other. Liquorice can be useful when emotional blocks are preventing psychic abilities. It activates enthusiasm, urgency, and many other emotions.

Lavender has the spiritual property of creating greater states of relaxation in higher states, so is very beneficial when meditating. Lavender can be used to increase clarity in viewing the world, and to assist the evolution of one's spirit through life. The ultimate spiritual benefit of Lavender is to bring everyday actions into more association with God. Men will discover more gentleness and women will develop a great strength.

St Mary's Thistle stimulates forgiveness. It has a great cleansing effect on both the physical and emotional body. (This herb is known as a great liver cleanser - according to many traditions, the liver is where we hold all our emotions) A sense of loneliness can be eased and replaced with a feeling of oneness with others.

Lemon Balm brings peace to an individual, helps them to relax, release tensions and learn and understand lessons from the past.

Basil develops enthusiasm, which can be directed into spiritual awakening and deeper meditation. It enables one to know their emotions better and to make better choices. The emotions are brought into a greater sense of clarity and the greater purpose of life is sensed. Basil is known for protecting a seeker from fears one encounters when moving along a spiritual path.

Chamomile, while relaxing, helps one to find greater clarity in their life. Chamomile can be useful in relationships, being it business or personal, as it helps to create a closer understanding and empathy between people.

Fennel is for when you need grounding. And need to feel connected to the earth. The ability to open the heart will be enhanced, with an understanding that all people deserve love.

Nasturtium brings joy to the soul. It has a deep uplifting and lightening quality. It has a peaceful action, helping the individual find joy within themselves, enhancing the possibilities for peace on the planet.

Neither the spiritual nor the physical properties of herbs is to be undervalues. They go hand in hand. Healing with herbs, as with all types of medicined needs to take in consideration the whole person that is why there is such benefit to be gained. When the physical person is considered and their emotions and spirituality are taken into account, a great healing experience can occur.

12 June 2011

The Healing Kitchen

When an emergency has come up, how many times haven’t you had just the right treatment in your medicine cupboard? Well, forget the quick trip to the all night chemist. Look in your fridge. It’s full of medicine and first aid treatments. Foods have been used as medicines for thousands of years. They are safe to use and readily available. 

Honey has a long history of healing.  It relieves coughs and helps fight off colds and fevers.  Take it with lemon as a cough reliever or as a hot lemon drink for colds.  Its antiseptic properties make it perfect for external healing as well.  Placed on wounds and ulcers it can help speed up the healing process, while fighting off any infection.  Pus and poisons can be drawn out with honey, making it idea for pimples, boils and infected wounds.  Just dab on some honey.

Cucumbers are great in summer not just for salads, but also for sunburn relief.  Their cooling and soothing properties make them ideal for use on all sorts of minor burns.  Burning inflamed skin conditions, such as hives, eczema and insects' bites, can all so find relief with a slice of cucumber skin.  Tired puffy eyes will be cooled and refreshed with a slice of cucumber.  Cucumber is a great internal cleanser used for fluid retention and removal of toxins, making it ideal for conditions such as arthritis and gout.  

Potatoes are a traditional heart and circulation remedy, but can be used to soothe inflammations and encourage the healing of skin infections, dermatitis, wounds and ulcers.  They can be used as a juice, grated or sliced.  As a juice it can be used to relief indigestion, and constipation.  Grated potatoes mixed with olive oil, is useful for sunburn, cracked skin and swollen eyelids.  Slices of potatoes are great for sores, chilblains, headaches and migraines.

Cabbages are highly nutritious, having many healing properties and can be used for many different conditions.  Cabbage juice is great for relief of all sorts of ulcers, from peptic ulcers to skin ulcers.  The juice can also be used on burns, bites, cold sores and acne.  The cabbage leaf is both soothing and antiseptic, also having the ability to draw out toxins from the skin.  A poultice can be made from cabbage leafs and used on such conditions as: wounds, burns, boils, bruises, ulcers, blisters, stings, cold sores, shingles, and headaches. Cabbage leaves have a good reputation for relieving sore and inflamed breast during breastfeeding.  Its anti-inflammatory properties make it idea for relief of swollen joints.  The poultice can also be used to help soothe harsh coughs.  To make a cabbage poultice: remove the ribs from the greenest leaves, Soak in warm to hot water to soften the leaves.  Crush with a rolling pin, then wrap the area using a bandage or cling wrap to hold the cabbage in place. This can be left for a few hours. 

Egg whites can also be used to soothe the skin.  Beaten egg whites can be spread on minor burns, sunburn or nappy rash.  It is an old remedy used not just for burn relieve but also sprains and whitlows.  Egg whites can also be used to soothe the mucous membranes of the stomach or bowel, for heartburn, indigestion, constipation or diarrhoea. 

Carrots are a highly nutritious vegetable with great restorative properties.  Carrots can bring relieve to both constipation and diarrhoea.  It can be used to expel mucus from the chest.  A raw carrot poultice can be used to help the speed healing of wounds, varicose ulcers, burns, whitlows, boils,  and abscesses.  A broth made with half a kilogram of carrots to a litre of water, blended is good for chilblains, chapped skin, cold-sores and soothing itching from eczema. 

Olive oil has long been considered the healthy oil.  But its use can go further than salad dressing.  Olive oil has a soothing effect so it can be used for wind, indigestion, heartburn, gastritis, peptic ulcers and constipation.  It can help relieve harsh dry coughs, laryngitis and croup.  Skin irritations can also be soothed with olive oil, being useful for conditions such as eczema, chapped skin, cold sores and cradle-cap.  A few drops of warmed oil dropped into the ear can help soften wax of a blocked ear.  A liniment can be made with garlic and olive oil by putting crushed garlic cloves in some oil.  The liniment then can be used for joint pains, neuralgia and sprains. 

Garlic, which has antibiotic properties, has always been considered a great cold and flu remedy.  Crushing 4-6 cloves and mixing into a jar of honey can make up a cough mixture.  The garlic can later be filtered off.  This can be used to help ward of colds, when you feel one coming on.  The mixture can then be used to sooth sore throats and other respiratory infections.  Crushed garlic in oil  can also be used for cuts, inflamed joints, rheumatism, sprains, ringworm, stings and bites.  Also, the garlic oil can be rubbed into the chest to relieve coughs and chest infections.   Garlic helps to purify the body and improves the general immune system.   Parsley will help rid your breath of garlic! 

Onions have been used for centuries for their healing properties, and were considered by the ancient Egyptians to be a “cure-all”.  Onion was used as an antiseptic for wounds during the war. Onions have a powerful ability to fight many bacteria, making it ideal for use in colds, flues and other respiratory problems.   A mixture can be made using a chopped raw onion drizzled with honey and left over night, and then a dessertspoon can be taken every 2 hours.  This mixture can be used for sore throats, colds, sinusitis, and catarrh, breaking up of mucous and as a cough mixture for coughs.    Onions are a great tonic for those suffering from tiredness, exhaustion and anaemia.  For those with water retention, arthritis, gout, urinary gravel, and diabetes, onions are a great addition to the diet. 

Not only are these foods great to have on hand for first aid treatment, they’re even better to eat.  A regular diet of fresh fruit and vegetable will help maintain a healthy life and speed up recovery when illness and accidents occur.  While the foods listed here will bring relief and treat minor conditions, it is important to seek professional advice for more serious complaints or where no relief is found.

11 May 2011

Using Herbs

From the earliest of times, herbs have been used as medicines, flavourings, colourings.  Herbal medicine has developed by intuition and experimentation.  Following the doctrine of signatures, wise medicine women and men over the centuries, have been able to develop the knowledge we now have which allows as to use herbs safely.  The doctrine of signatures is simple and is helped along with intuition.

 An herb may look a certain way, have a certain colour or taste.  This leads to the knowledge of what the herb can be used for.  For example, ginseng can look like a man, it is found to be an all over tonic for men.  Pennywort looks like an ear, and is excellent for soothing ear aches.  Herbs with a yellow colouring, eg Dandelion, are perfect for the liver, as are bitter tasting herbs.

Modern medicine has followed the wisdom and knowledge of ancient ways and extracted the healing properties from herbs.  The use of herbs in our modern society is just as popular as it has always been. 

Herbs can be used in a variety of ways.  We use them just for the enjoyment of their taste in cooking and in herbal teas.  It is interesting to note that the herbs we use in cooking, generally, have a role in helping digestion.  Herbs such as basil, oregano and thyme can all ease the digestive process.  Garlic and ginger, used often in our cooking are very beneficial to our health.  Both these herbs have a many different medicinal qualities about them. 

Garlic boosts our immune system, helps to keep the arteries clear and is good for any heart condition.  Ginger warms us, by improving the circulation, eases nausea and is great for those suffering with arthritic aches and pains. 

Peppermint is another great one we are all familiar with.  There is a reason for those after dinner mints!  It helps to ease the digestion and relieve after dinner indigestion.

Herbal teas are really popular.  Whether you drink them just for the taste or for medicinal purposes, there is one or a combination of herbs that will suit everyone. 

Making an herbal infusion (tea)) is simple, even in you don't have teabags.

To make herbal infusions or teas, place the desired amount of dried herb (usually 1-2 teaspoons) in a warmed teapot and cover with boiling water.  Allow the tea to infuse for about 10 minutes.  A tea infuser can be used in place of a teapot or bag, to make just a cup, or for the convenience of taking it with you when you are out.   You may like to mix your herbs to make your own special brew.

An herbal infusion can also be used externally, allow them to cool before using.  Herbs such as Sage, Thyme and Calendula are great for using on wounds to clean out any germs.  We use sage and/or thyme with great success on our cat after he's been in a fight.  This stops the infection that often leads to abscesses in cats.  Eyebright is great to use on tired sore and/or itchy eyes. Herbs such as Rosemary, chamomile and sage can be used in the hair.  Rosemary is used to fight dandruff and Chamomile and Sage can add shine, chamomile to lighten fair hair and sage for dark hair.

The role of herbs in our lives is endless.  From cooking to beauty and health.

Following are some common herbs and their medicinal qualities.  You can make some up in teas, mix them together to find your own personal blend or simply use a teabag.

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita): Well known for it's calming effects, it can be used to ease insomnia and anxiety. Also a calmative for digestive complaints.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Best known for its use as a liver tonic, making it ideal for a variety of digestive complaints and skin problems. A complimentary herb for all liver cleansing diets and de-toxifying.

Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): A delicious tea which is a soothing digestive remedy, for the relieve of colic, gastric ulcerations,  inflammations and diarrhoea. Useful for bronchial problems, such as catarrh, bronchitis and dry, asthmatic like coughs

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) For anxiety and nervous states, great for mild cases of insomnia, especially for those who wake during the night and can't get back to sleep.  Great for children or adults. Useful for indigestion and diarrhoea that is anxiety or nerve related. Mild nerve pain such as neuralgia or sciatica may be relieved.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita): A relaxing and refreshing drink. Stimulates digestive juices, calms stomach and digestive tract. Relieves nausea and vomiting, great for morning sickness. Valuable in the treatment of fevers especially with a cold or flu. Can relieve headaches, painful periods and eases anxiety and tension.

Raspberry Leaf (Rubus ideaus) Known as a pregnancy herb. Raspberry leaf tea helps to tone and prepare the womb for labour and helps relieve heavy periods. Also useful as a mouth gargle for sore throats, mouth ulcers, bleeding gums and inflammations

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) One of the most useful herbs for children with skin problems, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and allergy type rashes.  An expectorant for temporary relief of dry spasmodic coughs and bronchitis. Red Clover is also used for menopausal conditions, such as hot flushes.

St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) The number one anti-depression herb. Used in depression and anxiety, in many circumstances. Has a sedative and pain reducing effect, especially where nerves are involved.  Can also be useful during some viral infections, such as cold sores, chicken pox and shingles, both internally and externally.

14 February 2011

A Time For Love

 Valentine's Day is just around the corner.  It's time to start planning a Romantic Evening with that special someone.  But where to start?

Well, how about a little TLC for yourself.  A nice relaxing bubble bath should do the trick.  Take your time.  Prepare yourself for a night of romance.

Something special to wear?  Choose your colours carefully.  Of course choose something that suits you, but remember that the colour you wear can give out messages too.

Y             Purple is magical, mystical and mysterious

Y             Pink is for love

Y             Blue is conservative and safe

Y             Turquoise is good if it's communication you are after

Y             Green is peaceful and content

Y             Yellow is happiness, warmth and laughter

Y             Orange is about pleasure and harmony

Y             Red is sexy and passionate

Y             Black while it is sexy, it presents an emotional blockage, so if it's love you want then add a bit of colour

Y             White is innocent and pure

Now, let's set the scene.

Start with some essential oils.  A nice blend of aphrodisiac oils could include
Ylang, Ylang, Bergamot, Patchouli, Rose or Geranium.  The aroma will help set
the mood.

Candlelight is very romantic.  A colour to suit the occasion.... Red?  Perfect.

Don't forget the flowers. The flowers of love.  Roses.  They don't have to be in vase.  You could sprinkle rose petals around - on the table, on the bed. 
Rose petals are often used in love spells.  Tonight create some magick of your own.  Other love flowers include lavender, violets and orchids.

Now for the food.

Start out with some Vitamin C laden fruit juice.  This will boost your energy for the night ahead. 

Oysters are one of the best-known aphrodisiacs.  They owe their reputation to their high source of Zinc.  Essential for your sexual vitality.

Let's spice things up with some spices.  Curries and chillies really warm things up.  Herbs and spices that are said to have the magickal quality of being an aphrodisiacs, that you can use in your cooking are:  Ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, bay leaves, rosemary, turmeric and basil.  (Use basil to help any strife between you and your lover.)

Maybe you could mix some of the herbs together to make into a tea.  Have your own tea ceremony later in the evening.  Some other herbs to consider should be liquorice, gotu kola, damiana, saw palmetto and of course the king of aphrodisiacs - Ginseng.

Would you believe seaweed as an aphrodisiac?  Well, it's packed full of antioxidants such as Vitamin A, C, E and Zinc.  These help you keep your youthful vitality and are great assets to the sexual organs.  So maybe Sushi could be in the menu.

Enjoying fresh fruit with your lover can be very sensual.  Enjoy the succulent juiciness of mangoes or the luscious sweetness of strawberries.  Share with each other your favourite fruits.  Red-orange fruits are particularly passionate.

Ah Chocolate.  'The food of the Gods.'  A special gift for all, especially on Valentine's Day.  Chocolate has a wonderful little chemical in it called phenylethylamin.  The love chemical.  It's what your brain produces when you are in love and feeling that everything is right with the world.  No wonder we all love the stuff so much.

Let's continue the evening with a nice sensuous massage.  Add a few drops of essential oil into the massage oil and your are ready........the rest is up to you.


21 October 2010

Healing Herbs

Herbs and Spices live in our kitchen cupboards, waiting to spice up our cooking and our lives. Adding flavour to food is just a small part of the potential use of herbs. A good quality herb used in medicinal quantities can have great benefits. The well-stocked spice rack could also become the medicine cabinet.

Most culinary herbs, in general, have a medicinal quality that helps with digestion. Many of them are calming to the system. They help ease the process. Herbs such as  Caraway, Cardamom. Cayenne, Ginger, Peppermint and Thyme can help relax the stomach muscles, supporting movement of food through the system. This helps to reduce bloating and gas. Using these herbs in cooking can help decrease the occurrence of indigestion problems. Making teas from one (or a combination) of these herbs can help relieve these symptoms. Also many of them are digestive stimulants, helping g to improve the process.

Sage has been traditionally associated with longevity and is a great medicine. The properties of Sage make it ideal for mouth problems. For ulcers a tea can be made up, using a teaspoon of dried herb to a cup of boiling water. The tea, when cooled, can then be used as a mouthwash. This is ideal for any mouth inflammation, including gum, throat and tonsils infections. The antiseptic qualities of Sage also make it suitable as a skin wash and for the healing of wounds. Sage can also be used to dry up breast milk, so should not be taken internally if pregnant or breast-feeding. Hot flushes of menopause can be eased greatly by drinking of sage tea, up to five times a day, or when needed.

Thyme and Sage are really good together, not just for taste, but also medicinally. Thyme has anti-microbial properties, so mixed with Sage or on it's own, is ideal for mouth and throat infections. It can ease sore throats and can also help sooth irritable coughs. Thyme has a use as an external wash for infected wounds, or to prevent an infection from forming.

Rosemary is well known for its use as an anti-depressant. It may also be helpful in calming headaches, especially where nervous tension is the cause. The herb can relieve indigestion caused by nervous tension. Rosemary is a memory herb, so it is great around exam time, or any time the memory needs a boost. a mouthwash can also be made out of Rosemary, being particular good to freshen the breath. Rinsing the hair with Rosemary can be beneficial for those suffering from scalp irritations such as dandruff or psoriasis.

Parsley is a great breathe freshener, known for being able to even kill the smell of garlic. If you have fresh parsley, take a couple of sprigs and dip them in vinegar, then chew them thoroughly before swallowing. Parsley can be used to ease fluid retention and urinary problems. Make a strong tea out of the leaves and allow to steep for 40 minutes. Drink this 4 times a day.

Cinnamon is popular on toast in winter because of its warming properties. Any condition where coldness is a problem can be assisted by Cinnamon. Along with Ginger, Cardamom and Cloves, cinnamon can make a great warming drink when mixed with a hot wineglass of red grape juice. (Mix crushed dried herbs to taste) Not only is the delicious, but also it is an iron and digestive tonic as well as helping to get the circulation going. Fantastic drink to come home to on cold days.

Ginger is a very well known spice, not only for culinary uses, but also medicinally. It is famous for its use to ease nausea, from morning sickness to travel sickness. Digestion can be helped with Ginger, easing and calming the process. Ginger helps to boost the circulation and brings warmth to the whole body, so is ideal for bad circulation, chilblains and cramps. Arthritis sufferers can find relief in using Ginger. Placing a couple of slices of the root in boiling water can make a simple Ginger tea.

Peppermint is a very relaxing herb. It can relieve digestive problems, such as colic and dyspepsia. It can help relieve nausea and vomiting, especially helpful in pregnancy and travel sickness. Anxiety and tension can be relieved with a cup of Peppermint tea. It can be useful to use for migraines and headaches that are related to digestive problems. Period pain and tension can be lessened with the help of Peppermint. This tea can also be used to alleviate diarrhoea.

Caraway helps to stimulate the appetite and ease digestive problems. It is helpful in the treatment of diarrhoea. It can be used as a gargle for laryngitis. Period pain can be relieved and it also has a use in increasing milk flow in mothers.

Cayenne is known as a general tonic especially for the circulation and digestive systems. It is particularly good when there is a problem with cold hands and feet.

Cloves have an antiseptic quality so can be used when there is toothache. Take a whole clove, place on the tooth in question and bite down on this.

Marjoram is useful in the treatment of colds and flu. It has antiseptic properties giving it a use in fighting against mouth and throat inflammations and also for coughs. It can be used externally as a wash for infected cuts and wounds, also to sooth stings and bites.

As you can see we already have such a great medicine cabinet in our kitchen. Some of these herbs have similar uses, so mixing two or three together to make the taste more pleasant could be the way to go.

Herbs used in cooking are not usually at a medicinal dose, so are quite safe. When choosing herbs to use, always look for the best quality and preferably organic. These suggestions are for the relief minor symptoms and first aid treatments. If symptoms persist or are more serious, please ask for advice. Pregnant women should always seek advice before taking any herbs internally.

20 April 2009

Dealing with Depression


Depression hits many of us at different times during our lives.  The symptoms are commonly known: being tired all the time, low self-esteem, no self-confidence, disturbed sleep, concentration impaired and no interest in life.

Depression is not just a dark mood; it is an illness.  Low levels of the hormone serotonin are a known contributing factor.   The lower the Serotonin levels the deeper the depression.  To increase the Serotonin all the building blocks need to be present.  One of the vital missing links is often the amino acid Tryptophan. 
So increasing Tryptophan in our diets can help ease depression.  Foods that are high in Tryptophan are fish, turkey, meat and chicken, Parmesan cheese, almonds, barley, lentils and bananas.  Tryptophanes first priority in the body is to make Niacin (vitamin B3), not to make Serotonin.  In other words, it is vital to ensure that you are getting adequate amounts of Niacin in your diet, if you are going to increase the Serotonin levels.  Other B Vitamins are also essential.  A good balance diet, which includes a variety of fish, pulses and fresh raw vegetables, is always the key. 

Some foods that help lift moods are:

Carbohydrates in winter, if you crave these in winter, they may help lift the winter blues.  Look towards eating the more complex carbohydrates such as dried beans, pasta, vegetables, cereal, whole grain bread and crackers.

Spinach is high in folic acid.  It has been shown that people with depression have lower levels of folic acid than normal.  Low folic acid can cause the levels of Serotonin to shrink.  The amount need to fight off depression is only 200mg-500mg a day.  This amount can easily be found in foods such as green leafy vegetables.  200mg is can be obtained from about three quarters of a cup of spinach.

Fish is brain food.  Eating seafood can improve your mood.  Seafood is extra high in the trace mineral Selenium.  Those with low Selenium levels are more likely to be anxious, depressed and tired.  (Australian soils are deficient in Selenium)  It has been found that when those with low Selenium levels increase them, their moods improve.  Most Selenium comes from grains, seafood and cereals.  Brazil nuts are one of the richest sources of them all. Eating just one a day will guarantee you are never deficient in Selenium.

Garlic.  Studies on garlic have shown that not only do they have other health benefits, but also the garlic eaters, generally had a greater sense of well-being.  They experienced less fatigue, anxiety, sensitivity, agitation and irritability.

Many lifestyle considerations need to be looked in to.  Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol can decrease the tryptophan levels, as can caffeine and sugar.  When suffering from depression it is easy to use these as a crutch and instead of decreasing your usage, it is increased.  Of course this just exacerbates the situation.

Exercise is a great mood lifting. Mood elevating endorphins are released during exercise.  A brisk walk or jog is great way to clear the air.  Other great exercises for this are cycling, racquet sports, aerobic exercise, weight lifting, etc. 

As always, it is important to look at things holistically.  Emotional aspect must consider.  Often depression comes with an overload of energy, so releasing that energy is important.  So apart from exercise already mentioned, massage is a great energy mover.  Doing things that help spark your creativity can help release pent up emotional energy too.  Consider writing in a journal, or stories, poetry, whatever.  Drawing pictures, they don't have to be a master pieces, just let yourself go, draw squiggles, doodle, paint picture, splurge with colour. Take a class in something like pottery, anything creative. Play a musical instrument.   Sing.  It doesn't have to be in tune, just let it out; this is a great way to release emotions.  Enjoy other people's creativity; go to museums, art galleries, craft show, or concerts.

A great way to deal with depression is to get involved in something worthwhile.  Leave your troubles behind and help someone else.  In our lives today, it is so easy to become isolated from other people.  This is just a breeding ground for depression.  Join a group and make some friends. 
Find someone to talk to about your problems.  In severe cases counselling may help.

If you need more than this you may want to consider supplements.  Hypericum (St John's Wort) is the number 1 herb for depression.  (If you are on other medication, check first that it won't interact)  Tryptophan is available but on a limited basis.  A multivitamin, which is high in the B vitamins, is essential.  Flower Essences are a good stand by to help you through.  Essential oils can also lift the mood. 

Above all, changing your outlook helps.  Work on replacing your negative thoughts with positive empowering thoughts. Take charge and live the life you want to live.