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HERBS DISCUSSED HERE


ST. JOHN'S WORT

CHASTE TREE BERRY

KAVA KAVA

Visit The Vitamin Shoppe for a huge selection of Name Brand herbs, vitamins, minerals, etc. at discount prices with great sales, specials, and bonus points with one low price for shipping and handling. Based in New Jersey, this is one supplier I buy my herbs, vitamins, and homeopathic remedies from.             

Visit Vitacost.com another supplier with a huge selection of Name Brand herbs, vitamins, minerals, etc. at discount prices with great sales and specials also with one low price for shipping and handling. This is where I buy Nature's Way Perika St. John's Wort in tablet form.             

Concerned about drug and herb interaction? Visit DrugFacts.com for 'quick and easy access to the scientific/common names, patient information, botany, history, pharmacology, and toxicology of 125 of the most popular natural products'.         

Another source for fresh grown herbs, flowering perennials, dried flowers and herbalware and books is:

WELL-SWEEP HERB FARM
205 Mt. Bethel Rd.,
Port Murray, New Jersey, 07865.
Phone # (908)852-5390 and Fax # (908)852-1649. They do mail order year-round. It's a lovely little rustic country store and these people put on good classes, too. Get their catalog - it has an informative Q&A column.


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HERBAL NOTES

A few herbs that I have found helpful:



An herb for alleviation of depression and anxiety

An herb for regulation of the female hormonal cycle

An herb that promotes restful sleep

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor nor am I pretending to be one. I am not prescribing anything nor suggesting that YOU take any of the following herbs. This information is educational only. If it sounds like any herb described might be helpful, use your intuition and seek the guidance of your health care practitioner. Check out the drug/herb interaction guide at the DrugFacts.com web site link to the left of this section.


 

ST. JOHN'S WORT


In December 1997 I started taking St. John's wort three times a day. 'Wort' is an old English word meaning herb or plant. This herb has been studied extensively in Europe, most notably Germany, and has been found to be nature's remedy for mild depression and anxiety. Within a couple of days, (as opposed to the several weeks that many articles say it may take to feel any noticeable effects) my mood was improved, elevated, and my chronic anxiety was mostly alleviated. When I take it, I feel more relaxed, little things that I worry about aren't bothering me (as much), I sleep better, and I don't wake up with a headache and aching jaw from clenching my teeth all night.

This herb is reputed to reduce pain and inflammation as in menstrual cramps, sciatica, and arthritis. It is well known for repairing nerve damage and treating diseases of the nervous system including neuralgia and coccygeal pains. It is a potent antiviral and antibacterial. St. John's wort counters herpes simplex and flu viruses and possibly even the AIDS virus. As an oil it is applied to inflammations, sprains, bruises, and varicose veins. It also treats circulation problems, bronchitis, gout, and incontinence, especially bed-wetting.

Hypericum perforatum is the latin name for St. John's wort; the active ingredient in this herb is hypericin (amongst other constituents). The dosage studies in depression have used is based on a standardized extract with a content of 0.3% hypericin at a dosage of 300mg three times daily. Some people who have previously been on Prozac have successfully switched to St. John's Wort without the serious side effects.

Tablets are a compressed form with binders to hold the shape. Capsules are a powdered form of the dried herbal extract in gel capsules. It also comes as a liquid extract with or without alcohol. My personal preference is either the tablet (best taken with food as it doesn't seem to 'repeat' on me like the capsules do) or the non-alcohol liquid extract with a glass of water as a chaser (the taste isn't exactly pleasant). One study found extracts more effective than tea (hypericin dissolves in alkaline water)

There is a product called 'Phyto Phoz Supreme' that combines St. Johns' Wort with Kava Kava and a variety of other plant extracts that has been used with good results in eliminating depression and anxiety.

I'm having good results with Nature's Way Perika St. John's Wort in tablet form from Vitacost.com. It's always on sale and reportedly a more potent formulation. I feel better within a couple of days of taking it twice a day.

   Want some reading sources to study up on this herb? My information came from a few articles and books below.

Newsweek article of May 5, 1997 by Sue Miller called, "A Natural Mood Booster".

"Ask the Doctor" by naturopathic physician, Dr. Michael T. Murray on St. John's Wort Extract - a reprinted article published by Vital Communications Inc. Good article in 'Q & A' format that should satisfy even the scientific minded amongst you. This doctor has successfully treated depression, insomnia, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and Fibromyalgia with St. John's wort.

I came across both of the above articles in my local health food store - free for the taking.

"Herbs - An Illustrated Encyclopedia" A Complete Culinary, Cosmetic, Medicinal, and Ornamental Guide by Kathi Keville. A nice colorful book! Large format, very informative.

"Hypericum & Depression" co-authored by Dr. Harold Bloomfield, the psychiatrist and co-author of "Making Peace With Your Parents" and "Making Peace With Yourself". While researching his earlier book on depression, Dr. Bloomfield read the research on St. John's wort and started giving it to his patients with excellent results.

St. John's wort is getting to be mainstream - you can find it in health food stores, regular food stores, large variety stores, catalogs, etc. I even heard a TV commercial advertising it on a major network!

 


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CHASTE TREE BERRY

Do you suffer from PMS? I did for years. It seemed that at least half the month or more was spent feeling lousy! Then a friend handed me a bottle of Chaste Tree Berry extract (a liquid form) which I took about 1/2 a dropperful two to three times a day - and miracles of miracles - PMS is almost a thing of the past. I also had to cut out sugar and white flour and most overly processed foods which helped a lot. The Chaste Tree Berries (or Vitex agnus) have been been shown to have a normalizing effect on the female hormones associated with the menstrual cycle and are beneficial for the treatment of painful menstruation, the emotional swings of PMS and problems related to menopause. It also benefits in helping the body regain natural balance after the use of the birth control pill.


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KAVA KAVA

What I am trying now is KAVA KAVA, the Polynesian herb 'discovered' by Captain James Cook which the natives shared with him in 1768. His notes say that a drink was prepared by people chewing the root, spitting out the pulp, and adding coconut milk. Sounds delicious, doesn't it? NOT! I will be taking a standardized extract in the form of capsules, liquid extract or tea for insomnia and nervousness. Reportedly, taken at night, it invokes a deep, restful sleep with epic-length, clear dreams. It is also a potent analgesic that can be taken internally or applied directly to a painful wound. It is also antiseptic and can be used as a douche for vaginitis or as a diuretic for treating urinary tract infections. It also demonstrates anticonvulsant activities. All this information has been gleaned from various articles and books. See my suggested reading list for two very good herbal authors. I will keep you posted on the effects of KAVA KAVA on me. There is a product called Phyto Phoz Supreme that you can get at health food stores which combines ST. JOHN'S WORT with KAVA KAVA and a variety of other plant extracts. One should not overdo the KAVA KAVA, however, since regular usage of High Doses can cause the accumulation of toxic substances in the liver, or brief side effects similar to intoxication, or dry, scaly skin after many years of many daily bowls of the Polynesian version. But no one taking a standardized Kava supplement or an occasional cup of tea has ever suffered skin problems according to the sources I read.

Update: GOOD NEWS!! This one works - it is calming, relaxing and taken as a tea works to help me gently fall asleep within 10-15 minutes.

 



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