According to Nikodemas McNulty, ND, a first-year resident at Bastyr University Clinic, it is possible to boost your mood and beat the blues using herbs. In his practice, he often prescribes the following herbal remedies for patients with minor depression, nervousness and stress:

  • St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum), is one of the most extensively studied herbs for mental health. It is thought to be the most effective for mild to moderate depression, anxiety and seasonal affective disorder. Hypericum may take upward of four weeks for you to feel its effects.
  • Milky Oat (Avena sativa), is thought to feed and strengthen the nervous system. It is especially good for people who are emotionally and physically rundown due to fatigue, anxiety and depression.
  • Lavender (Lavendula officinalis), has been used throughout the ages to calm and soothe the nervous system. Its essential oils are believed to reduce stress headaches when inhaled and it is often used to relax the nervous system and reduce insomnia.
  • Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), is thought to lift the spirits and work as a mild anti-depressant by reducing restlessness, palpitations, anxiety and headaches. It is often used to treat these condition in hyperthyroidism patients but should be used with caution in individuals living with hypothryoidism.
  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), often enjoyed as a nighttime tea has been used throughout time as a mild nervous system sedative.
  • Wu Wei Zi (Schisandra chinensis), also known as the Chinese five flavors herb, works as an adaptogen to allow the nervous system and the adrenal glands to adapt and deal with physiologic stress in the body.
  • Passionflower (Passiflora incarnate), is very soothing and has a sedative effect. This herb is good for anxious people and those living with insomnia as it has a depressant effect on central nervous system activity.
  • Kava Kava (Piper methyisticum), works as a sedative to calm the nervous system and reduce nervousness and stress. This herb should be used with caution in high doses if you have liver issues.


Before taking any herbs, please discuss them with a licensed naturopathic doctor who can recommend appropriate dosages, preparations and contraindications. Also consider using herbal remedies in conjunction with counseling or mind-body medicine. To learn more about herbs, mind-body medicine or to schedule an appointment at Bastyr University Clinic, fill out our quick contact form or call (858) 246-9730.