Do you know a misery merchant ? Just like your bank manager, a misery merchant always knows just how to bring you down. They're the sort of person that no matter what happens, always feels down, unhappy or blue?

While it is natural to have days when you're feeling a little out of sorts, regular problems with moods can really make life, well miserable … pardon the pun!

The long term solution for mood disorders and anxiety is to correct underlying nutritional deficiencies. Unfortunately, this is not always a quick process. This is where herbal medicine can help you obtain short-term relief.

Sage – More Than Just Sore Throats

Sage is probably not the first herb that springs to mind for mood disorders; even most folk herbal remedies use sage more as a natural antiseptic in the treatment of sore throats and coughs. Sage though, has far more to offer than just this. Research is only now unaware of what the Chinese have known for centuries and sage is taking its rightful place as a powerful herb to support mood and nervous system function.

What really makes sage stand out from the crowd is its rapid action. Studies have shown reductions in stress and improvements in mood as quickly as one hour after taking the powdered form of the herb. Other mood boosting herbs require several days of consistent use and even then, only make their effects known gradually.

If you've ever tried sage tea, you will know it does not make the nicest brew. This taste though can easily be masked by the addition of other strong flavors such as peppermint or liquorice. Alternately, some health food stores stock powdered sage in capsules that can make this herb a little easier on the stomach.

The use of sage oil internally and strong sage preparations should be avoided during pregnancy. It may also exacerbate some gastric disorders and complaints.

Passion flower – Beautiful & Effective

Passion flower has a long history of use in traditional medicine, and not just in the treatment of mood disorders and anxiety. It has been suggested that the early North Americans used passion flower in the treatment of epilepsy; and like a lot of other herbs in human history, it did not take long for us to figure out it could be smoked.

Research has shown passion flower's effectiveness on mood is not just folklore. Studies comparing passion flower extract with common pharmaceutical drugs used in mood disorders, have found it to offer similar results without the risk of addiction found in pharmaceutical remedies. Anxiety, insomnia, and stress symptoms all responded normally well and results can be obtained in as little as two weeks of use.

Passion flower is available available in most health food stores as either capsule or a loose leaf tea. Capsule and tablet forms are most effective for stress and anxiety, while the tea, particularly when prepared with valerian, is a great way to prepare for bed.

Guarana – Not Just a Quick Hit

Not just in energy drinks any more, guarana is increasingly found in herbal mood and anxiety formulas.

Most people are probably familiar with guarana as the healthy form of an energy drink. Did you know that in addition to giving a quick energy boost, guarana can also be beneficial for mood? It's not just a caffeine boost either, as lower doses have been shown to be more affective than higher doses.

The use of guarana in the treatment of mood can be controversial due to its stimulatory effect which can worsen symptoms for those that are already highly strung. It can however be useful where mood disorders are accompanied by high levels of fatigue or low energy and lethargy.

Make Sure to Consult a Naturopath

If you're influenced by mood disorders or anxiety, it's important to consult with your Naturopath. While herbal remedies can provide short-term relief, lasting mood improvements will only come from addressing underlying nutritional deficiencies.

It is also important to ensure that your mood disorder, is not related to a more complex condition requiring treatment from a qualified psychiatrist or counselor.