St. Johnís Wort
St. Johnís Wort is a shrubby plant that has been used for centuries for a variety of conditions. It was used in old legends to ward off evil spirits. The yellow flowers of this plant look like they bleed when pinched because they turn red. In European legend, it was used to measure oneís life expectancy. Welsh families would use sprigs of the plant to represent each family member and would then hang them overnight from a rafter. How much each sprig shriveled by morning was supposed to be an indicator of how soon each person would die.
Today, the herb is working magic for many people with modern ailments. Documented research supports St. Johnís Wortís usage for depression and slowing the growth of the AIDS virus.
One of the most commonly diagnosed conditions today is depression. The most popularly prescribed answer to this is Prozac, an anti-depressant drug which doctors pass out like M&Mís as soon as a patient shows any signs of the condition. The major downside of this is the side effects that may include anxiety and digestive disturbances. However, St. Johns Wort has been found in numerous studies to improve mild to moderate depression up to 40% better than placebosówith NO side effects! The active ingredient in St. Johns Wort is called hypericin, which researchers believe to naturally change the levels of neurotransmitters found in the brain, especially serotonin, which is responsible for depression. Herbalists recommend taking 300mg three times a day for at least a month before results will be noticed. This dosage has yielded excellent results with no side effects.
Another promising avenue of research for St. Johns Wort is its ability to ward off viruses. Researchers from New York University Medical Center and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel discovered that there are two constituents from the plant that inhibit various retroviruses including HIV. Although many questions regarding St. Johns Wort and its efficacy in humans against viruses still need to be answered, it still is a very promising field of research that will hopefully provide as promising results as it has thus far.