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Healing Depression & Anxiety with Natural Herbs

Updated on April 24, 2013

What is Depression and Anxiety?

Depression and/or Anxiety is in almost every ones life at one point or the other and it may or may not be severe. Some mild case we all know as the blues and they go away by them self or with a little exercise.

Dietary habits also have a big influence on the severity of depression spells. And for most of us it is a circle we can not win!

We get the blues and we grave sugar or chocolate that in turn has sugar in it. Sugar is known to be an exaggerator for depression. We eat sugar, feel better for a few minutes and then we go back, most times deeper in to being depressed- we eat more sugar and we go further down that Hill, so we eat more sugar. Hence weight gain and more reason to be depressed. A vicious circle that absolutely must be broken as soon as the symptoms become obvious !

Healthy eating is the key to help a person that is prone to depression. The color green is soothing to the soul, the food green is healthy to the body. Therefor eat lots of green vegetables and fruits and spend lot's of time outdoors.

Fresh fruit, especially citrus fruit, even though most citrus is not green, will help the body to gain control over the mind again and we find a smile in an Orange! Most Citrus fruit is loaded with Vitamin C and very important to our health.

And then there is MUSIC!

Music and listening to music will certainly set the mood in a person. If you feel you getting down a little, play some upbeat music for yourself and you will find that you come right back up and out of the slum you think you stuck in.

People that are prone to depression should not be listening to so called elevator music. I know from experience that it gets me down and out when I have to listen to it. Mozart, Mendelson and all that sort of jazz is not for me. Maybe it is an uplifting sort of thing for someone else, but I found I can not listen to it without bringing on the melancholy. Springstein is more my up-lifter.

Everyone has his or her own way of listening and understanding music, but I found that a faster tempo will make me smile. Something that brings back happy memories. You along know what makes you smile, use it!

And most of all: do not seclude yourself.

Even though it may be hard to put up with company, having people around you that love you and care is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Children are always worth a smile or two, someone with a sunny disposition may just be the ticket to get you pointing in the right direction again.

If you have a loved one that is prone to depression, be cheerful when you feel he or she is going to a dark place. Sit and watch a funny movie, take that person for a walk or just be there for company. It is very important that a depressed person has that and the distraction from the dark thoughts and ideas.

DEPRESSION

A major case of depression however is that place where you feel sad, hopeless, middle-of-the-winter blues or the dark night-of-the-soul place where one feels despair and pain. Yes Pain! Pain can be very much a symptom of depression. With most cases of deep depression the body becomes unbalanced and physical functions may stop working in a normal way. Feeling weak, cold or sluggish is always a warning signal most of us tend to put off as exhaustion. Those symptoms may be a brief event or it may be a lifelong struggle.

A period of grief and sadness is normal in cases of life events such as the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship or the loss of a job. Treatment for those depression spells is in most cases not needed, unless it is unusually prolonged and severe enough to make a person non-functional or suicidal.

Recurring and lifelong symptoms with some people may not be related to those events. An imbalance in neurotransmitters may be the cause. Neurotransmitters are the compound that transmits information to and from nerve cells. Serotonin - a mood controlling brain chemical, melatonin, dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline are some of the brains chemicals that are involved in a persons feelings and thought processes. These compounds can be controlled to some extent by drugs, herbs, exercise and nutrients.

Persons with depression however should always seek a medical evaluation, whatever the cause of the illness, there a various types of treatments available and with the help of a therapist who has experience in that field maybe controlled without harsh chemicals.

ANXIETY

Anxiety is that crippling feeling of unexplained fear that hit you for no reason anytime or anywhere.

You heart starting to race, you get sick to your stomach, your hand and sometimes you whole body is starting to shake and sweat pours out of you.

This is known as the Fight-Or-Flight reaction, a profound physiological change that occurs in reaction to a perceived threat. In a fraction of a second your body will change and this will affect every organ in you body. A large amount of stress hormones, including epinephrine (adrenaline),are pushed into your bloodstream and will cause all the above mentioned symptoms.

This may or may not be provoked by everyday events and in case of chronic attacks can cause adrenal exhaustion. Fatigue, decreased ability to handle stress and increased susceptibility to disease of all kind can be the result of this debilitating disease.

Recent or unexplained chronic anxiety attacks should be brought to the attention of a medical specialist in the field and a medical evaluation is necessary.

By no means am I an expert in this field and I can not stress enough that a trained physician/psychiatrist is need to diagnose these illnesses.

There are some great books on the market that deal with this, Amazon has a variety to offer. Below is a link that will bring you to that section and again I want to stress the importance of a good home library in all facts of life. The more books you have to look things up the better you will be informed and make decisions accordingly.

Healing the Natural Way with Herbs

My Credentials:

Hello

My name is Jenaka and I am a Native American Practitioner with extensive knowledge of healing herbs, both native to my people and old Europe.

Serving several terms in Vietnam in the late 60s and early 70s, I suffer from depression and anxiety. I, personally found just about all the side effects of Rx Drugs and modern medical treatments, sometime they seem to be worse then the original symptoms. I just about had them all. So, with the help of of my Native relatives, I went to natural healing and here are the remedies that worked for me and some others I did extensive research on. I still suffer with Anxiety and have occasional spells of Depression, but with the help of some tea or tinctures I am able to control it pretty much on my own. Since I know from personal experience what it means to be depressed or have an anxiety attack, I decided to share my knowledge with the ones that could benefit from it.

To let you know a little about my background about herbal healing and upbringing, here it is:

My grandmother was a American Indian Herbal Healer and gave most of her knowledge to me. I lived most of my pre-teenage and teenage years with my grandmother. My mother was raised by German Missionaries in Germany before, during and after WW II, in a small town in Germany and I grown up with German home-remedies the first ten years of my life. That was also given on to me. In the area where I grown there are many settled down Gypsies and I had a close friendship with several of the families there. Being me and interested in the natural healing arts even as a child, I learned a lot from the practices of my friends also. I combined it with old, secret European recipe's, learned as much as I could from Asian friends and colleges and now I want to share my knowledge with the world.

I am starting here with an article of some Natural Remedies for Depression and Anxiety.

I am also available on Skype for personal advise. You can find me by searching for jenaka_c.

Natural Remedies for Depression and Anxiety

You can heal with Natural Remedies

Chemicals do not always have to be the answer, fact is most times they are not the answer. "But", if you are taking already anti-depressant drugs, it is important and mandatory to work with your physician in developing a schedule to change that to Natural Healing remedies.

Some cases however are so severe that chemicals are needed, the trick is to find the line between severe and a doctors perception of healing. You may be surprised if you bring up Herbs to your Doctor and he tells you to go ahead and try it first. Herbal Medicine is getting more and more well deserved recognition.

"DO NOT" and I mean, "DO NOT" try this on your own!

Work with your Doctor, some commonly prescribed anti- depressants can have harmful interactions with certain herbs. Do not stop your prescribed drugs with out a doctor being in control of that, it could mean your life to you!

If your Doctor is not willing to help you with the transition (some doctors do not believe in herbal medicine), find yourself a doctor that will help you.

Depression and Anxiety in a persons life can just about bring that life to a complete stop.

Almost everyone has some sort of depression in there life at one time. There are some guidelines that will show you if you suffer from depression. The American Psychiatric Association defines depression as follows:

Diminishing ability to think and concentrate

Loss of energy and tiredness

Decreasing sexual interests or loss of pleasure in your usual fun activities

Inactivity or hyperactivity

Hypersomnia (too much sleep) or insomnia

Weight gain or loss of appetite

Thoughts of death or suicide

Feeling guilty over inappropriate things, self-reproach, loss of self-esteem

If you have four of those symptoms for at least one month it defines depression. Five, you are definitely depressed.

Many people do not see or want to acknowledge depression at first. It is a symptom of depression to tell oneself that we are not depressed and that things will pass as soon as we over this hurdle or have our live back on a straight and narrow. But life is as life is and very seldom do we have a straight and narrow road to follow.

Many physical functions of the body will become unbalanced as well. Feeling weak, sluggish and worn out, having unexplained pain or suffering from constipation is a common sign also. Most times we tell our self we are just working too much and we need a break. After we get a break and should be recovered and find our inner energy, if you still have the symptoms described above, yes you are suffering from depression.

Considering suicide is deep depression and requires the help of a medical professional, please do not try to treat that with Herbs.

If you are already on anti depressant and want to change to Herbals, please work with you doctor to make that change. Do not try it along, it could be very dangerous for you.

Rx drugs and Doctors visits can get expansive, side effects to the chemicals ask for more medication and there is no end to spending money. Someone once told me that Doctors are not in the healing business, they are in the money making business. To completely heal you, they lose money.

A good Herbalist can help you find the right herb for you. Here are some choices you may want to talk over with a Herbalist and have him or her help you to the right one. I can not stress enough for you to consult a herbalist or a person that has knowledge of herbal healing before you start any sort of treatment. Self-medication could possibly lead to damages you do not want. And only please start this with a case of mild depression, deep depression needs the care of a Physician.

As with all herbs, please do not self-diagnose and treat. If you are already diagnosed by a physician, you can go with this list to your local Herbalist and have him help you decide what herb would be best for you.

This is not a complete list of herbs that help you with this affliction, there are many, many more and it would be advisable that you get an expert opinion to your unique situation.

The sweet results of Bitters

Bitters make things better

Remember the song: With a Teaspoon of sugar? Well, the old song is right: Bitter medicine is effective and an irony in itself:

Something bitter and nasty tasting will help you recover the sweetness of life.

A preparation called Bitters, often made from herbs like Gentian, Wormwood and Mugwort will stimulate and your body and the enlivening effects of Bitters will enliven your digestive system and help to ease the effects of depression and anxiety.

Remember that these diseases are not just a state of mind, they affect the entire body and its physiology.

Bitters improve endocrine and digestive process, improve energy and help treat constipation, a common symptom in depression.

Bitters are readily available in Herbal Stores in a variety of liquid extract forms.

Taken with meals, at a dose of one dropper (1/2 tsp) in water or with sugar, three times a day will make a world of difference.

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

The most known Remedy for Depression

St. John's Worth is one of the most known herbal remedy for Depression. However, studies have shown that it can take to two to four weeks for the herb to take effect.

It is readily available in every store where supplements are sold and it works for mild to moderate depression. Be careful what you buy, only buy known and tried brands. Over 40 scientific studies have shown the worth of this herb and in 70% of the cases studied, the Herb lived up to it's reputation. It works as well as any Rx Drug and has no side effects. Taking St. Johns Worth,and since it will take up to two weeks (sometimes up to a month) in some cases to take full effect, please do not expect an over-night miracle out of it.

The typical dosage is 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of tincture, three times a day, with food, or one time a day 900 milligram capsules, also with food. If you suffer from insomnia, you can take another capsule before bedtime.

A simple tea made from the dried herb will not help since the herb loses potency when it dries. However, you can steep it in alcohol and make a tincture out of fresh herbs.

If you collect the Herb in the wild, harvest time is in June and Legend has it that the herb is most potent on St. Johns Day (June 24th), hence the name!

Caution:

St. Johns Wort may cause mild stomach upsets, rashes, restlessness, insomnia or sensitivity to sun exposure. This however has been noticed in less the 2% of cases studied.

Black Root (Leptandra virginica)

also known as Culvers Physics, Tall Speedwell, Culver's Root,Leptendra,Veronica,Bowman's Root

The botanical name for Black Root is Veronicastrum virginicum; veronica virginica; leptandra virginica

Black Root is indigenous to North America and belongs to the family of the Scrophulariceae.

It grows in swamps, new soil, moist woods, etc. The plant you can find growing in Limestone rich soil is the one you want. It improves the quality of the the medical values greatly. The taste of the plant is bitter and acidic. The root is what you need and is best gathered in the second year of growth and dried. Fresh root must be used with caution. It is a strong laxative and can potentially lead to disaster.

The plant itself is a 4-5 foot high smooth and straight leave plant with numerous small white flowers.

It is a long know and used Native American Remedy and used for Depression, chronic constipation, chronic indigestion and fevers. Today's medicine is making use of it in hepatic diseases, pleurisy and some forms of dyspepsia. Black Root is also regarded as a Tonic and combine with the laxative action it will clean out a sluggish system. This herb will stimulate the live to produce more bile and therefore will be of aid in digestive problems.

The root should be dried and pulverized and used as a tea. ! Teaspoon to one gallon of hot water. Black Root is one of the Herbs that should NOT be taken without the supervision of a Herbalist or a Doctor.

Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium)

also knalso known as Five Finger Root, American Ginseng, Sang, Ninsin, Panax, Pannag, Red Berry

The botanical name for Ginseng is Panax quinquefolia and it is from the Araliacea Family.

Ginseng grows in North America, China and East Asia.

American Ginseng grows in shady places, between hardwoods, on slopes, ravines and other well-drained spots.. You can find it from Eastern Canada to Minnesota and in the Mountains of Georgia and the Carolinas. American Ginseng is hard to find in the wild anymore because it is a much coveted herb and herb hunters will take it regardless if the age of the plant.

It grows between 8 and 20 inches high and has yellowish green clusters of flowers that bloom about mid-summer. Bright red berries follow. The berries are eatable and taste much like the root.

Medicinally, it is the root with it's very distinct shape of a human, that is much wanted. Roots of 6 year and older plants should be dug in fall when they are not so full of sap, then sliced into thin slices and dried.

They can be dried in sugar and then eaten like candy, but it is the powder or the dried slices you really want for healing.

Ginseng has been known to mankind as a healing herb for a long time. The bible makes reference to it in Ezekiel 27:14, name it it Pannag or the All-Healing Ginseng. Ginseng stimulates perspiration and normalizes the nutritive system. It also regulates the nervous system in the human body and therefor very valuable to the treatment of depression and anxiety.

Native Americans have used it for as long as the stories go back and then some. In 1697, the catholic priests started to export it to England as a wonder medicine. Then the East India Company send it around the world on their ships.

Ginseng is used to treat indigestion, failure of the lymphatic glands, it is a powerful anti-spasmodic, also it is used to treat whooping cough and asthma, it strengthens the appetite and is well know to relieve eructations from the stomach, treating neuralgia, rheumatism, gout, irritation of the lungs, gastroenteritis indigestion, a weak heart and spinal and nervous affections. Ginseng has been reported to be of great help to eye-sight difficulties where objects appear to double, where there is difficulty to open the eye lids and to remove Grey spots before the eyes that are accompanied by dizziness. Ginseng has been recommended for headaches in the lower part of the head as well as for semi-lateral headaches, partly to the side of the head. These symptoms can be a side effect of depression and/or anxiety and therefor it is very important to get rid of them in order to treat the original disease. All in all, Ginseng is an all-around herb that helps with healing for a great many things.

For treatment of Depression and Anxiety, it is known as a mild sedative to the Nerve Centers and as a method to increase the capillary circulation of the brain..

Ginseng is known to regenerate and rebuild the vitality. In China it is heralded to be the most energy giving Herb.

To make a tea you need 3 oz of powdered root to a cup of hot water. You can also use the leaves for indigestion, make a tea out of them like you would any other tea.

With Ginseng, age counts. The older roots are always better. So try to get as old as a root you can find. There are plants in the far east that have reached the ripe old age of 400 years and roots get heavier with age. So you will know if you buy Ginseng by the root, just by the weight if it is young root or good old root. A young root (6-8 year) will weigh only a few ounces, on older root will weigh up to a pound.

Old roots are to be used very sparingly because they get stronger with age, you only need to used a small amount. With younger roots you need to use more to get the benefit out of them.

Old roots have been known to sell for $400-$500 a pound.

Please do get some more information on the Herb if you consider taking it.

Ladies Slipper (Cypripedium pubecens, Orchidaceae)

Also known as Nerve Root, Noah's Ark, Yellow Ladies Slipper, American Valarien, Yellow Moccasin Flower

Ladies Slipper is one of the better known wild Orchids that grow in North America, Asia and Europe. There are eleven species found in North America and it grows in rich wooded areas and meadows.

It has a very showy flower and looks like an inflated lip. Native Americans have made use of this plant for a long time.

For medicinal purposes the root should be collected in August or September and dried.

An tea is made by boiling the root for about 20 seconds then let it steep.

It is used as a Nervine and a Tonic for its calming properties.

It will improve an exhausted nervous system by feeding nutrients to the nerve centers and it will relieve nerve pain. It also will put a body and mind in a tranquil condition and therefore is beneficial for depression or anxiety disorders.

Reflex functional disorders of chorea, hysteria, nervous headaches, insomnia, low fevers, nervous unrest (anxiety), hypochondria, and nervous depression accompanied by stomach disorders benefiting from this herb.

Used five tablespoon of rough ground root to one pint of boiling water, steep for one hour and take one tablespoon every hour for fast relieve.

Oats- Avena Sativa

Oats as a tonic, not only for itch relieve or morning meal

The same plant that goes into your bowl for your morning meal, is also a wonderful tonic for your nervous system. Oats have generalized nourishing and soothing qualities and is traditionally used for depression, anxiety, stress, fatigue and debility.

Our Grandparents known why they insisted on a bowl of oatmeal in the mornings, specially in winter. It helped with nutrition and the Winter Blues.

The seeds have the strongest medicinal qualities when harvested in the milk stage. Squeeze the fresh green seed between your fingers and if you can get a drop of a milky substance out of it, that is when you need to harvest!

If you buy dried oats at the herbal store for tea, look for pale green to yellow seeds, rather then something that looks like chopped straw.

3 cups of tea per day (steep 1 tablsp. of dried seeds in 1 c. of water, 10-15 min.), or 1/2 to 1 tspl. of tinctures 3 times a day, should be the guideline to follow.

And Eat Your Oatmeal In The Morning!

Other Ways to ease your symptoms

Try this before going to chemicals or herbals:

AVOID STIMULANTS

Some common stimulants increase anxiety and depression by activating the adrenal glands. Caffeine, chocolate, Flavored Sodas such as Cola or pepsi, herbs such as Guarana and Kola Nut, Ephedra (Ma Huang).

These contribute to adrenal exhaustion by activating the adrenal gland too much.

IMPROVE YOUR DIET AND NUTRITION

Certain Vitamins and minerals play a big part in your well being and deficiencies of B Vitamins, C and E, Calcium,Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium and Omega-3 & omega-6 essential fatty acids, will have the above symptoms. The stress of chronic anxiety and/or depression may lead to an increased need of these nutrition. Have your doctor check for deficiencies and consider a supplement.

WORK IT OUT

Exercise is one of the best and most needed depression and anxiety remedies, right alongside the Herbal treatments or even medical drug treatment.

Exercise stimulates the blood flow to your brain and produce it own calming effect. It also gives the mind something to focus on other then the gloom and doom that has been going through your daily life thinking.

Exercise may help dissipate those harmful stress hormones in a healthy way.

Any physical activity such as walking, running, bicycling or other exercises that get your heart rate up, will have additional benefits.

Try it, you may like it!

The ultimate Mood-Lifter is always fresh air and a connection to nature.

Try hiking with a friend, get lots of fresh air and sunshine and you soon will feel the difference.

It is hard for someone depressed or with anxiety attacks to start an exercise program, so grab a friend, your spouse or kids and go for a walk. The first steps are always the hardest and you will find it a lot easier when you have company to that encourages you to get going and helps you reduce the isolation you already experience.

You really do not need to do anything that is elaborate, expensive or strenuous; just going for a walk will be a good start and in a lot of cases do the trick.

Please,come in, let me know you been here

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thanks Jenaka for this infromation--wish i would have know a few weeks back....

    • totosmom profile image

      totosmom 7 years ago

      Great Lens - also great information. I love the picture of you - a fabulous face! Check out my Lens on St. John's Wort: http://www.squidoo.com/SaintJohnsWort.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I live in the Philippines a tropical area...can you give me some herbal name grown here in the Philippines?Because I also suffer an anxiety 4 months ago..What should I do? I am a plain housewife with 2 kids..God Bless

    • jenaka lm profile image
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      jenaka lm 6 years ago

      @anonymous: You can get Ginseng in the Philippines. I do not know much about tropical healing plants, but you should have Herbal people there.

      Try lot of music, fresh air and games with your kids. Laughter will do wonders. Please let me know how you doing, I will try to talk to some of my oriental friends and see what I can come up with.

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      candidaabrahamson 5 years ago

      Fascinating lens. I have a new duel lens on whether it's best to treat depression with meds or naturally, and you seem to have a strong, well-supported opinion. St. John's Wort was all the rage for a while, but I've heard less about it recently--any sense of why? Come visit and duel if you've time and desire.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi Jenaka, I have just found your lens and it is a blessing. Thankyou for sharing so much knowledge that He has given you and that you are passing it on. I have major depression and l am a heavy dose of antidepressants that l hate taking and l am going to ask my doctor if l could change to more natural remedys that you have written about.

      I have read in one of your posts that you were not feeling well and my prayers to you and your family as l have not seen any recent post since March l am hoping that all is well with you. God bless you and your Family.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am going to try some of the these alternatives....I know they can be beneficial..I suffer from major depression, anxiety, ptsd, and recent grief.....The Dr.'s have changed meds so much with so many severe side effects...I feel worse than better.

    • jenaka lm profile image
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      jenaka lm 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Felicia, you already made the first step to getting better, you informing yourself and you are well on the way of helping yourself.

      Your biggest key to the road of being better will be the help and understanding of friends and family. They supposed to be a comforting blanket around you and support you in all you are doing. You also need to talk with them, get involved in their life and get your mind on to different things.

      If there is anything else I can be of help with, please do not hesitate and ask. I know from experience that a stranger sometimes maybe of bigger help then a spouse.

    My other pages about Herbal Medicine - Herbals to the rescue

    If you found that this article had good and valuable information for you, go and visit my other pages about Home Remedies and the How-To's of them.

    I will show you how to use your Kitchen as your medicine cabinet and how to prepare the herbs and spices so they will be beneficial to your health!

    Welcome to my Feedback Spot.

    Anything you like to add or tell, please feel free to do this here. I will try to answer questions and find solutions for anyone that is asking.

    So, come on in, write and let me know what you think.

    Feedback

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        anonymous 7 years ago

        Thanks for including one of my pictures on your lens. A while ago, I included a hotlink to this page to try and increase traffic. The hotlink is found at http://www.cafepress.com/gilwarzecha/6765654. (My webpage is gilwarzecha.com) I hope it helps bring more people to your site! Thanks again!

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        anonymous 7 years ago

        You are most welcome! And Thank You for adding the hotlink, I really appreciate it.

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        richybird 7 years ago

        natural herbs for depression is much better than antidepressants because of less side effects.

      • Teddi14 LM profile image

        Teddi14 LM 7 years ago

        Great job on this lens. Extremely informative. 5*'s

      • jenaka lm profile image
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        jenaka lm 7 years ago

        @Teddi14 LM: Thank you soo much! Comment's like this keep me going

      • delia-delia profile image

        Delia 6 years ago

        What a Great lens...amazingly helpful...thoroughly informative! I learned something new! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

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        DavidJ 2 years ago

        Music really did help a lot! I'm on to Blues(the music) right now I'm listening to "Escape-Pina colada" by Rupert Holmes, smooth and imagining the beach :). Surrounding yourself with love ones to keep you occupied and try to see the happiness others can share is a huge help also.

        Thanks for these list of Natural remedies, I'm on anti depressant right now and the only supplement that was allowed was the fish oil(http://visiongroupcorp.com/omega3.html) that I'm taking to help lower my triglyceride. I'll see if I can discuss these list of alternative natural remedies with my doctor.. We have abundance of St. John's wort in the neighborhood. Thanks for this post.

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