St. John’s Wort – Can It Really Help Fight Depression?
Millions of people suffer from depression, and a lot of those choose not to treat their depression with traditional medicine, instead reaching for a natural alternative. Dietary supplements are becoming more and more popular instead of using drugs to treat numerous medical problems, and depression, anxiety, and panic attacks are no different. When a supplement can treat depression as well as help with other medical concerns, it can quickly become popular. If you suffer from any of these problems and want to try to treat yourself without turning to a medical doctor for traditional medication, read on to find out more about St. John’s wort and how millions of people are using it to naturally treat themselves.
Signs of Depression
Depression is complicated and can manifest in a variety of physical and behavioral symptoms. The way that one person’s depression manifests may be quite different from how other person’s does. It’s important to remember that if you think you may be depressed you need to visit your doctor. People who are depressed may experience sadness, mood swings, a loss of interest in activities, and general discontent. They may have problems sleeping and may lose or gain a lot of weight in a short period of time. Behavior may change as well, with isolation, crying, and agitation common in people who are suffering from depression. These changes are scary and can make the person feel alone. The usual course of action is to go to a doctor and get a prescription for medicine, although more and more people are trying a different course of action and are using St. John’s wort to treat themselves.
What an Anxiety Attack Looks Like
When stress from a situation balloons out of control and the person can’t rationalize a worry and set it aside, they may experience an anxiety attack. This attacks can take over the whole body, resulting in fatigue, sweating, and an abnormal heartbeat. Mentally, the person suffering from the anxiety attack will have racing thoughts, a fear of doom, poor concentration, and excessive worry. Add to that the possibility of nausea and the inability to calm down, and it’s understandable why a lot of people are using St. John’s wort to calm themselves and to treat this medical condition.
Panic attacks differ from anxiety attacks in that there is no stressor. They can come on suddenly, engulfing the sufferer and are intense. A pounding heart, palpitations, and accelerated heart rate are all common, and the attack itself usually lasts around ten minutes. Luckily for sufferers, St. John’s wort can be used to reduce this symptoms and possibly eliminate panic attacks all together.
St. John’s Wort
Often considered a weed, St. John’s wort grows prolifically throughout the United States, easily identified by its yellow flowers. Many countries consider it to be a weed as it is so invasive. Consumption of large doses by livestock can cause nervous system depression, abortion, and even photosensitization and death, however people all over the world have used it in medicine for thousands of years. Studies are being performed on its ability to treat depression and other medical problems, and, amazingly, some have shown it to be just as effective in treating depression as medical antidepressants. It has few side effects for humans, but can react with certain drugs.
Benefits of St. John’s Wort
Most commonly, St. John’s wort is known for the benefit of being an antidepressant, and this is the most common reason that people use this supplement. It contains antidepressant chemicals that will decrease symptoms of depression. But it does more than simply treat depression – taking this supplement will level out mood swings, regulate the bodies’ hormones, and help with fatigue, irritability, and sleeplessness. By regulating hormones it has a positive effect on the thyroid and can actually make the thyroid produce correct levels of hormones. More benefits include lowering inflammation in the body, speeding up the healing of skin wounds, decreasing menopausal mood swings, and reducing cravings for people going through addiction withdrawals. A chemical present in St. John’s wort, hyperforin, is currently being studied for its use in treating alcoholism. This chemical has also proven antibacterial properties against certain bacteria. Tests on rodents have shown that this supplement improves long-term memory.
While you can harvest and dry this plant yourself, most people choose to buy it ready to take in a health food store. Be careful to pay attention to how much is in each capsule or how concentrated the liquid is – supplements aren’t required to have the same amount of active ingredient in them and can vary from one to another. Studies performed on St. John’s wort have used 300 mg, three times a day. This seems to be considered the standard dosage for most people.
Things to Consider
When choosing a brand of supplement keep an eye out for one that includes pertinent information, such as the batch and lot number, name and address of the manufacturer, and expiration date. Always be aware of any side effects that you may experience, such as skin rashes, vomiting, increased anxiety, nausea, rapid heartbeat, or diarrhea. Any of these side effects mean you should stop taking the supplement immediately and contact your doctor. Before taking this supplement regularly it’s best to talk to your doctor to make sure that it won’t interact with any medication that you’re currently on. Never stop taking medicine without first checking with your doctor.
With amazing health benefits that go far beyond treating depression, St. John’s wort has a lot of uses. It should earn a place in your medicine cabinet to help with minor injuries and reset your hormone levels as you deal with changes in your life. Even if you have never used supplements before to help treat yourself and be as healthy as possible, this is one that’s worth picking up at the store. Get some the next time you’re at your local health food store and prepare to love the way you feel when you start taking this wonderful supplement!