Here is How St. John's Wort Can Help Ease Depression

Anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status, can suffer from depression. It is estimated that 19 million Americans suffer from depression every year. Depression is not a weakness or a character flaw; it is a true medical illness. People who have depression are not just moody or having "the blues" for a few days. They have long periods of feeling very sad and lose interest in social and daily activities. Fortunately, there are remedies that can help ease these symptoms.

St. John’s Wort is a plant native to North America, Europe, and Asia, and is probably best known as the most common herbal treatment for depression. St. John’s Wort is most effective against minor depression, also called dysthymia, and has a much lower incidence of side effects than standard drugs, especially when compared to the older tricyclic antidepressants. The exact mechanism is unclear, but St. John’s Wort seems to inhibit the reuptake of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, similar to the effects of the newer SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) antidepressants.

St. John’s Wort is readily available in capsule form. Take as directed on the package.

Side effects are uncommon, but may include gastrointestinal discomfort, sensitivity to light, dizziness, and fatigue. St. John’s Wort can reduce the effectiveness of certain prescription medications; tell your doctor about any supplements you are taking. Depression can be a serious medical condition – please see your doctor if you think you may have a depressive disorder. St. John’s Wort is not meant to replace proper medical care.

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