|Botanical illustration of saffron.|
Another of these is rosemary, a common staple of kitchen gardens. While we know the herb as an ancient memory aid, one much more recent study tested its effects with lavender on nursing students about to sit an exam. Use of these two oils together resulted in improved anxiety scores, which were backed up by personal statements and pulse measurements. Research on mice has also found anti-anxiety effects of rosemary, possibly by reducing cholinesterase enzymes, some of the enzymes that break down neurotransmitters.
On the more expensive side is saffron, a spice that is essentially part of a flower's tiny reproductive area. A meta-analysis of 2 placebo-controlled trials and 3 antidepressant-controlled trials studied what effects it may have on major depressive disorder, a condition where the expense is likely worth it for a safe, effective natural therapy. It was found that saffron performed significantly better than placebos, and had similar efficacy to antidepressant pharmaceuticals. The average Jadad score was 5, meaning that these were high-quality trials. Overall, there are effective natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals for depression and anxiety, we just have to keep our minds open, and enlist the help of qualified practitioners.