These five supplements might seem alien to you, but they are popular holistic options, all recommended by Joyce Frye, D.O., an assistant professor of integrative medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine
What it is: An extract made from the roots of the ginseng plant—a type of medicinal foliage that dates back to prehistoric times.
What it does: Calms frayed nerves. Experts call ginseng an adaptogen, meaning it may help increase your body’s resistance to stress. “If I had to recommend just one supplement, ginseng would be it,” says Frye.
What it is: A concentrated powder made from the ginkgo tree’s leaves.
What it does: Many guys on antidepressants experience, um, unforeseen side effects? You know, in bed? Ginkgo can help by improving circulation, which could also mean better short-term memory thanks to increased blood flow to the brain.
St. John’s Wort
What it is: A yellow flowered plant first used medicinally in ancient Greece; buy it in capsules, teas, or liquid extract.
What it does: “St. John’s Wort is mostly used to treat mild to moderate depression,” says Frye. If you’re bummed because you just broke up with your girlfriend, feel free to give it a shot. It may pick you up.
Grape Seed Extract
What it is: Just what it says—an extract from the seeds needed to grow a grapevine.
What it does: Its antioxidant properties fight free radicals, compounds that pop up when you smoke or drink too much. “If people are exposed to a lot of toxins, an antioxidant may help counteract their damage,” says Frye.
What it is: A type of algae that comes packed with chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, and protein.
What it does: Think of spirulina as a produce replacement, giving you the nutrients from fresh greens without a salad bar. “If you’re not getting five servings of fruits and veggies,” says Frye, “spirulina could be a good substitute.”