The Good-Mood Garden: Crops That Fight Depression Part II

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By Ariana Marisol

How you feel is very much dependent on what you eat. These 5 crops can fight depression and keep you happy and healthy.

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SUNFLOWERS

Nutrition
Sunflower seeds are a wonderful source of phenylalanine, an amino acid that turns into norepinephrine and can act as an antidepressant.

Grow
Sunflowers flourish in the sun, but it is important to plant them in a sunny spot on the north edge of your garden so they do not cast too much shade on other sun-loving crops. Plant seeds after the last frost. Towards the end of summer, the flowers will begin to wilt and the seed heads ripen and droop. When the seeds in the seed heads begin to turn brown, cut them along with 2 feet of stem and hang them upside down in a dry, well-ventilated area. To wet, soak them overnight in water, or strong salt water if you want them to be salty. Then drain, and spread the seeds on a shallow baking sheet. Roast the seeds for 3 hours at 200 F or until they are crisp.

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CHAMOMILE

Nutrition
There is a reason a cup of chamomile tea is just the right remedy for sleeplessness. Just like oregano, it is rich in stress-reducing caffeic acid and quercitin. You can make tea with chamomile grown in your garden by steeping the flowers in boiling water for about 10 minutes.

Grow
German chamomile is the best for teas. Since it is able to grow wild and take over some gardens, it is best suited for containers where it can do no harm to your surrounding garden. A small container that is about 6 inches wide by 6 inches deep will suffice, yet a larger pot will yield a larger harvest. Chamomile prefers full sun and should be planted in late spring, or when there is no more risk of frost.

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EVENING PRIMROSE

Nutrition
The seeds of evening primrose have the highest levels of tryptophan of any plant. Tryptophan is used by the body to make mood-boosting serotonin. In the fall, when the flowers mature, the flowers’ seed pods begin to fill up. Harvest a few and grind them as you would flaxseed into your favorite dishes.

Grow
Evening primrose is drought-tolerant and easy to grow either in containers or in the ground. Sow seeds in groups of four. They will being to appear in 14 to 28 days after they are planted.

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LAVENDER

Scent
Not every plant in your garden has to be edible. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, aromatherapy treatments involving lavender are often used to supplement depression treatments. This is because the scent of lavender has a relaxing affect on people who smell it.

Grow
You can plant lavender seedlings in a container that is made out of breathable material like terra-cotta. Choose a pot that is about 12 inches wide by 12 inches deep. Place your pot in an area that gets a lot of sunlight. Lavender loves dry, sunny climates. English lavender is both fragrant and edible.

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ST. JOHN’S WORT

Nutrition
St. John’s wort is quite possibly one of the most famous herbal antidepressant because it contains compounds similar to those found in Prozac. The flowers and leaves are the most valuable part of the plant and can be brewed into a tea that will calm your nerves and boost your mood. It is important to note that St. John’s wort has many adverse drug interactions, so it is important to check with a pharmacist before you begin to consume this plant.

Grow
This herb is often viewed as a weed and therefore should be grown in containers. It is very easy to grow. Plant seeds or seedlings in small containers that are placed in a partially sunny/partially shady area. Plant the herb in spring and you will soon begin to see leaves, yet the flowers will not bloom until the plants’ second year. This herb is a perennial so it will grow back on its own each season.

CHECK OUT PART I OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

Ariana Marisol is a contributing staff writer for REALfarmacy.com, where this article first appeared. She is an avid nature enthusiast, gardener, photographer, writer, hiker, dreamer, and lover of all things sustainable, wild, and free. Ariana strives to bring people closer to their true source, Mother Nature. She is currently finishing her last year at The Evergreen State College getting her undergraduate degree in Sustainable Design and Environmental Science. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

Photo Credits: Pixabay

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