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St Johns Wort and Depression
The bright yellow flower of the St Johns Wort (hypericum perforatum) with it's ray-like petals, represents the power of the sun that forces away the darkness. This already points to the anti-depressant effects of the St Johns Wort which are highly respected, even in conventional medicine.
St. John's Wort, a perennial plant, has been used for hundreds of years to treat depression, unrest and anxiety disorders as well as nerve pain. For a long time, doctors and herbalists alike have known about its use as a sedative, but also as treatment for wounds, burns, insect bites, stomach ulcers and more. It is still used widely today and it's effectiveness has been proven to a point where some insurance companies are now covering the treatment.
It is not a powerful drug -- when used to treat depression -- in the sense of bringing a quick recovery, but shows excellent long term results in many patients. The herb assists body and soul in the healing process and helps to build a solid foundation for a complete recovery.
St John's Wort was tested in a double-blind study of 105 male and female patients in the 20 to 64 year age group, suffering from mild to moderate depression. They were divided into two groups and monitored over a period of four weeks. One group were given 300mg of St Johns Wort extract three times daily, and the other received a placebo. All of the patients had psychiatric evaluations before the start of the study and after four weeks of treatment. The results revealed that, 67% of the St Johns Wort group had responded positively to the treatment without any adverse side effects whereas only 28% of the placebo group showed any signs of improvement.
St Johns Wort is available as tea (flowers and leaves), liquid extracts and pills or capsules. It is normally taken thrice daily and it will take one week or more to notice any improvement in the condition. Treatment can be continued for long periods of time as the herb does not normally produce any side effects. But St Johns Wort can interact strongly with other medication e.g. cancer and HIV drugs, contraceptive pills and others. So it is vitally important to consult a medical specialist first before starting a course of treatment.
One effect of St Johns Wort is, that it makes the skin more sensitive to light. It is therefore important to keep out of the sun as much as possible while using the herb.
There is growing evidence to suggest that St. Johns Wort is a safe and effective, natural remedy for the treatment of mild to medium depression.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is presented for information purposes only. The material is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. It cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment.
Mireille Gautschi is a qualified Flower Essence Therapist and Herbalist who has many years experience with the developement of natural herbal remedies. Her products can be found on the Hillside Herbal Products website that also offers a very informative newsletter.
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