This “drug” — St John’s Wort — is an odd-ball in the realm of antidepressant drugs. For one thing — its totally natural, not synthesized. This is in contrast to drugs like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft — all of them Frankenstein-like creations of chemistry genius.
For another thing, it has an infamous reputation in traditional agriculture. Unlike herbs such as chamomile and kava — each revered through the ages for their therapeutic effect — St John’s Wort has long been the bane of cattlemen and farmers alike, due to its toxicity to both grazing animals and regular planted crops. Not only is it a “super-weed” that can crowd out staple crops in a matter of weeks, it can effect cattle in some darn right scary ways — including destroying the central nervous system, causing spontaneous abortion and even death.
St John’s Wort is native to Europe, the Mediterranean, Russia, India and China. It was introduced to North America and grows wild in many meadows — probably in your area if you look closely enough.
The gold chemical inside of St John’s Wort is called Hypericum — an extract that has proven successful treating depression as well as various anxiety disorders. It acts similar to the synthesized antidepressants in that it is a so-called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. However, where cost is a concern Hypericum wins out against these other drugs because of the natural overabundance of St John’s Wort. When one man’s weed is another man’s wonder drug, you’ve got a good symbiosis happening .
Hypericum is available over the counter, without a prescription in most western countries. Its also marketed in herbal tea and tincture form.
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