St. John's Wort

Depression is not a sign of personal weakness. If you are depressed it doesn't mean that you have failed in life or that you don't have any control over your emotions. Many people are depressed today. Depression is a product of our culture. It is estimated that nine times more people are depressed today than they were at the turn of this century. Depression can have many causes, and many effective treatments are available. If you are interested in alternative treatments one answer could be St. John's Wort.

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) also known as Goatweed, has been used for thousands of years to enhance mood and temperament as well as heal many topical conditions such as bruises, muscle pain, burns, varicose veins, and to dress wounds. This aromatic perennial herb is found throughout Europe and the United States, producing golden yellow flowers that seem particularly abundant on June 24, the traditional birthday of John the Baptist. St. John is the patron saint of nurses and "wort" is the Old English word for plant. Thus the name "St. John's Wort" or "Nurses Plant."

St. John's Wort is commonly used as a treatment for mild to moderate depression and as a sedative. It is effective as an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agent. Research shows inhibition of gliomas (brain tumor), lung cancer and skin cancer in vitro. Other uses include dosages for children for bed-wetting and night terrors.

How safe is St. John's Wort?

Doctors in Germany prescribe it for depression and insurance pays for it! Some scientific studies published in the British Medical Journal suggest that St. John's Wort is as effective as any other conventional antidepressant and has very few side effects.

Recommended Dosages

German Commission E monograph recommends average daily dose of 0.2-1.0 mg of hypericin (between 300-450 mg of a standardized product of .2 % - .3% hypericin). To get mg of hypericin, multiply the dose of St. John's Wort in mg times the % of hypericin. For severe symptoms high doses of up to 2.7 mg daily can be prescribed. An average adult can take 450mg. of standardized extract twice daily. Be careful of non-standardized forms, because they are not soluble.

If the St. John's Wort is being taken to help with sleep problems, the last dose may be taken at dinner or bedtime. St. John's Wort can be used safe and effectively on children. Please contact a doctor for specific dosages.

St. John's Wort is most effective when continually in your system. Maximum effect can take from 4-8 weeks. If symptom do not subside consult a physician. Take with food to minimize possible gastrointestinal upset.

A Flower at the end of your tunnel

Depression remains severely under treated in our country because many depressed individuals either don't recognize that they have a depressive disorder or don't think there is a treatment for it. Patients, their primary care physicians, and their families fail to recognize the symptoms of depression. As many as half the people with depression either have never been treated or receive inadequate treatment. If this describes you, make sure you become a part of the other 50% that receive adequate treatment for it. The good news is that 85 % of people who receive adequate treatment for depression get better. Seek advice from your physician and consider St. John's Wort.


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