With Valentine’s Day only a couple of weeks away, why not show yourself some love this Valentine’s Day with these heart-warming, mood-boosting and gut-loving herbs and spices?

Below, practising Medical Herbalist and Master Herbsmith at Pukka Herbs, Sebastian Pole, recommends his favourite herbs for self-love.

Boost your mood

There are a number of herbs and spices that support digestion, including turmeric, aniseed, fennel and cardamom.


Cacao is often referred to as ‘the love drug’, well-known for enhancing feelings of wellbeing and pleasure. Unlike milk chocolate, cacao helps to boost levels of serotonin (the ‘happy hormone’), helping to improve mood, libido and phenethylamine, the stimulant that is released in the brain when people fall in love.

Cacao also contains theobromine which means ‘food of the gods’ in Greek. This helps to lower blood pressure, improve cognitive function and boost mood. Interestingly, women are more receptive to theobromine than men, which may explain why women crave chocolate more than men do.


Maca is packed full of vital nutrients and health-enhancing antioxidants. It is also used to enhance mood, energy, endurance and stamina, making it a popular herb amongst athletes.

What’s more, it is a well-known aphrodisiac tonic, proven to increase libido. Research has shown that maca helps to stimulate sex drive in both men and women.


Ashwagandha is a popular adaptogenic herb – helping us to adapt to emotional and physical stressors by moderating the release of stress hormones (such as cortisol) within the body.

Ashwagandha can help to calm a racing mind, encourage a healthy sleep pattern and relieve stress or anxiety to help restore energy and vitality when you need it most. It can even help to improve libido in women and testosterone and stamina in men4, as well as helping women to achieve ‘the big O’.


Shatavari is the perfect tonic for nourishing women’s health throughout every life stage. By helping to relieve stress, boost energy levels and regulate the release of hormones, shatavari can help to reduce both premenstrual and menopausal symptoms. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory – naturally cooling and moistening the reproductive tract.

Pukka Herbs’ new Cacao Maca Magic organic herbal latte is a new healthy hot chocolate. Beneath the velvety chocolate flavour lie mood-boosting and hormone-balancing organic herbs – cacao, maca, ashwagandha and shatavari.

Nourishing Herbs and Spices

Pukka’s Cacao Maca Magic is available from Tesco stores nationwide for an RRP of £4.99

Nourishing Herbs and Spices

Love your gut

Eating foods that support your gut (or the digestive system) could also have positive effects on mood – improving health and emotional wellbeing through the gut-brain axis (the symbiotic relationship between the brain and the gut).

There are a number of herbs and spices that support digestion, including turmeric, aniseed, fennel and cardamom.


A well-known tonic for the digestive system. As well as helping to reduce inflammation in the digestive system, turmeric is anti-spasmodic, helping to prevent the gut from cramping. It is also a wonderful anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce bloating.

Aniseed & Fennel

Deliciously sweet and fragrant, these spices help to stimulate and clear digestion, relieving abdominal pain, flatulence and bloating. In addition, fennel is a strong anti-inflammatory, helping to soothe the gut.


This aromatic, rich spice helps to naturally boost metabolism and increase circulation. It is also an effective decongestant and helps to relieve indigestion and bloating.

Coriander seeds

Coriander seeds help the body to flush out any toxins that may influence a skin ‘breakout’. These seeds also help to regulate and support digestion and soothe the gut, easing issues such as IBS and cramping.

For an easy way to incorporate these digestive herbs and spices, try Pukka Herbs NEW Feel New tea.

Nourishing Herbs and Spices

Feel New has been expertly blended with the finest medicinal-grade organic herbs and spices. These super-herbs are used to stimulate and support the processes within the liver and digestive system to leave you looking and feeling renewed, refreshed and at your best.

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