Herbal Supplements
St. John's Wort : Back to The Taste of Life

One day you wake up and for some reasons the sunlight in your window doesn’t make you happy as it used to. You don’t feel like going out and seeing people or interacting with anyone at all. Or you feel uncomfortable and anticipate something bad without any particular reason. For centuries people didn’t know how to describe this state of mind, and even in time of Hippocrates were looking for different ways to cure worry, ”nervous unrest”and sleep disturbances. And only many years later the traditional western medicine isolated depression as a separate illness.

Today the whole arsenal of antidepressants is produced for the treatment of so widespread phenomenon of modern life. Depression is caused by the imbalance of brain chemicals and affects body, mood, and thoughts of the person, and there is no need to mention how much it distorts the life of an individual. If not treated, this illness can last for years and get rather complicated forms.

The reasons of depression are different and vary from inherited with biological vulnerability, to stressful life circumstances and the consequences of the other illnesses (such as a heart attack, cancer, stroke, Parkinson's disease, and hormonal disorders). A depression in women is often caused by the hormonal changes and occurs twice as often as in men. Men are less likely to suffer from depression than women, but the illness affects them more severely – statistics proves the higher percentage of coronary heart disease caused by depression in men.

As a cheap, available and mild alternative to the commonly used antidepressants, European scientists introduced St. John's Wort. It is widely used in herbal medicine to treat mild and moderate depression. One of the main active components of this herb is Hypericin – also the body chemical associated with depression. Together with the other St. John's Wort’s active components it acts as an antidepressant remedy.

The average dosing of the remedy is 300 mg – it is advised to take one on raising, the next one in 3 hours and finalize with another one in 3 hours again. As a rule a capsule or a tablet of St. John's Wort contains the needed 300 mg dose. Maximum daily doses are not restricted - hypericum is well tolerated by the body, but it is advised that children should not take more than 300 mg of hypericum per day (this dose can increase to 600 mg for the older children), adolescents can take the full adult dose. To achieve an effective result the course of treatment should last not less than six weeks (with the 900 mg daily antidepressant dose).

But for the fact that the action of St. John's Wort has been studied for centuries, there’re still some issues which were not well investigated. It is not known whether it can treat severe depressions or anxiety symptoms. The duration of St. John's Wort’s action is also not studied enough – its six-month effect is still in the process of testing. It is as well not approved as the food additive.

The herb should be carefully taken while the person is on the other remedies, especially migraine medicines called triptans, oral contraceptives and some medicines used to treat HIV. Check with your doctor about other possible interactions with the other pills you are taking.

Well, let this grey cloud called depression never gets you – but if it attempts, you know now the way to bring the sun back to your life.

Prepared by Diana Lyakhovetskaya

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