It’s no secret that cooler temps and fewer daylight hours bring on a slew of health problems that just don’t seem to happen very often during summer. According to NIH experts, moods and energy levels plummet after September, as soon as days start getting shorter. Light therapy is one thing that could relieve symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, but sipping on these herbal teas can help too.
Here are five of our favorites for common winter woes, from crankiness to colds and flus.
Try: Traditional Medicinals Roasted Dandelion Root
Why it works: Blame it on the primitive impulse to bulk up when it’s cold or poor holiday eating habits, but the winter munchies are real. If you’ve been hibernating and overindulging, treat your tummy with Dandelion. The mildly bitter, roasted root helps the body’s natural detoxification process by breaking down fats during digestion and flushing out waste.
For: Bad moods and stress
Try: Organic India Tulsi Original Tea
Why it works: Tulsi—also known as Holy Basil—has been revered in India for thousands of years for its many health benefits including stress relief. It functions as an adaptogen, meaning it enhances the body’s natural response to physical and emotional stress by balancing levels of the hormone cortisol. Because it helps relax and calm the mind, Tulsi has also been linked to elevating mood, the number one symptom of seasonal affective disorder.
For: Colds and flus
Try: Yogi Green Tea Pure Green Tea
Why it works: Jam-packed with polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins, green tea has strong antioxidant, antimicrobial, and immune-stimulating qualities that are especially necessary this time of year. Not only does green tea help protect against infections—it can even kill certain bacteria, viruses, and fungi. In particular, it’s full of the powerful catechin epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been said to fight influenza virus particles and stop them from entering your system.
For: Lethargy and lack of focus
Try: Choice Organic Tea Oolong Tea
Why it works: Made from the same Camellia sinesis plant found in black and green teas, oolong tea perks you up like coffee, but with a lot less caffeine—between 50 and 75 mg per eight-ounce cup to coffee’s 150 to 200 mg. That means you get the energy boost with fewer jitters. This slightly fermented, semi-oxidized blend also contains theophylline and theobromine, two energizing compounds to help keep you awake no matter how unmotivating those gloomy skies are.
For: Anxiety and sleep problems
Try: Gaia Herbs Sleep & Relax Tea
Why it works: If, on the other hand, relaxation or a good night’s sleep is what your body’s craving, turn to Gaia Herbs’ bedtime blend. Organic lemon balm works as a mild sedative, while chamomile calms and soothes nerves. Added bonus: The tropical notes of passionfruit complement the citrusy-orange flavor for a sweet and satisfying just-before-bed treat.
Photo credit: Alicia Cho