photo by dogtooth77 (Flickr CC)

I’ve heard that bananas lighten your mood because they contain B6, which stimulates serotonin production. I’ve even read that coffee can fight depression.

Now daffodils can join the list of potential resources for battling the blues.

A certain species of South African daffodils (as well as a species of snowdrops) anyway. The daffodils and snowdrops (Crinum and Cyrtanthus) don’t actually treat the depression, but they do contain compounds which “trick the blood brain-barrier”, allowing drugs to be absorbed by the brain, according to scientists at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. The blood-brain barrier makes it very difficult for most chemicals to enter the brain.

One of the Copenhagen University researchers is quoted in the International Business Times:

In my research group, we have had a long-term focus on the body’s barrier tissue – and in recent years particularly the transport of drug compounds across the blood-brain barrier. More than 90 per cent of all potential drugs fail the test by not making it through the barrier, or being pumped out as soon as they do get in. Studies of natural therapies are a valuable source of inspiration, giving us knowledge that can also be used in other contexts,”

–Professor Birgen Broden

It’s early days yet and could be some time before the chemicals in the South African flowers are incorporated into any pharmacological treatment for depression or other mental disorders.

Read more on the story on PsychCentral.