(Pictured above are fresh St. John’s Wort flowers I helped harvest in herbalist Margi Flints’ garden)

If you’re anything like me, you feel the effects of diminished sun exposure in the wintertime. Winter blues would creep in slowly around October long before I left Indiana and moved to Seattle- but it wasn’t until I was immersed in such darkness that I realized the impact the sun has on me. I believe that we all can use a little extra support through this season, so here are my tips to brighten your days.

Herbal mood up-lifters:

St. John’s Wort, holy basil, licorice, albizia, lemon balm, rose and damiana.

While there are so many more herbs that support mood, these have proven to be my favorite for myself and in my practice.  This would actually make a nice tea blend, but you may choose any to work with after becoming well acquainted. Herbs are like friends, we love them all but some we have more in common with. Some key differentiating descriptions are below.

  • St. John’s Wort
    • Effective anti-depressant, anxiolytic, anti-viral (notably with herpes-family viruses), nerve restorative & pain relief
    • Look for the fresh plant tincture, as this is the most active form. Please note that St. John’s Wort does interact with many drugs. If in doubt, ask your doctor.
  • Holy Basil
    • Supports resiliency in the face of stress. Diminishes effects of stress on the body. Chronic stress recovery. Situational depression. Blood sugar balance.
  • Licorice
    • For those of you who cannot wake up in the morning to save your life, try a dose of licorice tea or tincture upon waking and watch those energy levels rise & stabilize.
  • Albizia
    • The tree of collective happiness lifts grief and heartache. Helpful in insomnia. By far the most enchanting of the anti-depressant herbs.
  • Lemon balm
    • Bright and full of sunshine with a mild citrus taste, lemon balm is said to ‘gladden the heart’. Anxiety, nervous palpitations, nervous stomach. 
  • Rose
    • Another herb that tends to the emotional heart, rose softens our hearts during grief. It is also supportive for self-love and why I include it in nearly all self-care rituals.
  • Damiana
    • Traditionally noted for its aphrodisiac qualities, it does this by affecting our mood. For those of us that need to be grounded and reminded of the pleasures in life. Oxytocic.


A happy accident lead me to this energetic combo- grapefruit & rosemary essential oils. I place a few drops of each on the ledges of my tub while showering to inhale the steam in the morning. Grapefruit’s citrusy-sunshine will undoubtedly make you smile. Rosemary is great at getting the blood moving, particularly to the brain and extremities. A real pep in your step.

Happy Lamps:

I have recently invested in a Happy Lamp from Verilux and have noticed a significant shift in my mood & energy in just a week of use. If I use it while I am working, I seem to work longer without tiring out so easily. These are great to turn on when you wake up to soak up the benefits while you get ready for your day. The light stimulates your gland the same way the rising sun would and subsequently resets your circadian rhythm. This triggers appropriately timed release of melatonin and boosts serotonin.

If you need support beyond this or still don’t know where to start, please reach out for a consultation. I love to work closely with an individuals unique needs and lifestyle to create a plan that works best for you. If you have questions about where to get high-quality herbs, please send me an e-mail: taylorsherbals@gmail.com.

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