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7. Scientific Support for St. John’s Wort

Vukovic M.S.W., Laurel Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 7

SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT FOR ST. JOHN’S WORT

The benefits of St. John’s wort compared to pharmaceutical prescription drugs have been clearly demonstrated in a number of well-designed clinical studies. A handful of these studies are outlined here to give you an idea of the scientific support for St. John’s wort.

Not only has the herb been found to be as effective as prescription drugs such as Prozac and Zoloft, but it also has far less incidence of side effects, and the side effects that do occur, such as dry mouth, tend to be minor. Other studies that you will find mentioned in this chapter include the usefulness of St. John’s wort for treating depression in children, and the beneficial effects of St. John’s wort on premenstrual depression and menopause in women.

Why Doctors Prescribe Drugs

Unfortunately, even with the numerous studies that demonstrate the effectiveness and safety of St. John’s wort for treating mild to moderate depression, many physicians continue instead to prescribe drugs. There are several possible reasons for this. Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars advertising their antidepressant drugs, including ads in the popular media, which influence not only what physicians prescribe, but also what patients request from their doctors. In addition, pharmaceutical companies are generally not interested in researching botanical medicines because they would have difficulties obtaining a patented formula. And the fact that herbal remedies are widely available over the counter in natural food stores and pharmacies significantly limits marketing potential, sales, and income for pharmaceutical manufacturers.

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14. Evaluating Claims and Products

Clouatre PhD, Dallas Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 14

Before we try to evaluate the claims made by various weight-loss products, we need to first get clearly in mind the major factors that determine weight. Weight management for those who are overweight usually requires three components: diet, exercise, and supplements. Of these, the normal diet is undoubtedly the most important. As we found in Chapter 2, the current epidemic of excessive weight gain, above all else, is the outcome of changes over the last forty or fifty years in the quantity, the quality, and the types of food eaten in this country.

At best, only 20 percent of Americans consume the five a day fruits and vegetables recommended by virtually all medical authorities as the minimum required for maintaining good health. This means that 80 percent of Americans consume too little vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Of course, 60 percent of us are already overweight and another 20 percent appear to be playing catch-up. Many experts conclude that correcting the diet and dietary habits, such as eating breakfast and not eating late in the day, accounts for two-thirds to three-quarters of success in taking off and keeping off excess weight.

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5. Considering the Second Mood: The Degrees of Despair

McCabe, Vinton Basic Health Publications ePub

5

                          

Considering the Second Mood: The Degrees of Despair

Henry David Thoreau wrote that most “men live lives of quiet desperation,” and, in writing it, revealed his knowledge of the human condition. How many of us have let go of joy in our day-to-day lives and replaced it with the dull sensation of depression or the ache of despair?

Simple depression may well control the lives and actions of more people than any other emotional state. The remedies in this group relate to the many millions who have lost touch with excitement and joy in life, whose lives are largely defined by a daily to-do list of responsibilities and chores that have long since ceased to challenge or interest them. In the same way, life’s relationships, which once caused the greatest excitement possible, now seem to involve only thoughtless gestures and evenings lit by the light of the television screen.

Therefore, the remedies listed in this section can be very helpful for a wide range of emotional states. They can help us rediscover who we are and our natural passions when we find ourselves in a rut. Or they can help us through times of deep despair, when the weight of the world is on our shoulders. As with the other Bach remedies, those gathered together around the range of emotions in Bach’s category of despair fall into two camps—acute and constitutional. Two remedies in this group—Sweet Chestnut and Star of Bethlehem—are often thought of as “mood” remedies, best used in acute situations and rather fleeting in their actions. The other six are typically considered to be “type” remedies, and are given for a longer period of time to help the patient change an ingrained emotional pattern. As always, however, it is best to remember that all Bach remedies can be used in acute situations. All are equally valuable in the short-term and even remedies, like Sweet Chestnut, that are most often only needed to help a patient cope with a moment of crisis, may be of value over a longer period of time. Therefore, it is best to understand the nature of a remedy and the issues to which it speaks without trying to lock in the specific uses of a given remedy. Once we come to understand the remedies to the point that we can see them acted out in actual human behavior, we can be free to use them as they are really needed.1

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6. Using Supplements and Conventional Medicines

Toews M.P.H., Victoria Dolby Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 6

USING SUPPLEMENTS AND CONVENTIONAL MEDICINES

The arthritis-drug market is the source of big bucks for the pharmaceutical industry. These drugs bring in $6.6 billion per year, and this astounding number doesn’t even include such standards in arthritis relief such as acetaminophen.

With all that money pouring into the pharmaceutical coffers, one would expect osteoarthritis patients to feel great. But the sad fact is that even though they’re spending all that money on arthritis drugs, many patients do not get satisfactory relief from their pain and disability. Adding insult to injury, conventional arthritis drugs tend to come with an additional steep price: that of undesirable side effects.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are great, side-effect-free options to explore in place of conventional drugs. But you don’t necessarily have to choose one over the other. There’s no reason you can’t maximize your osteoarthritis relief by taking a combination of both glucosamine/chondroitin and conventional arthritis drugs such as NSAIDs.

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6 - Habit Number Three: Don’t Take Drugs

Tutino D.C., Andrew Basic Health Publications ePub

CHAPTER 6

Habit Number Three: Don’t Take Drugs

BY DEFINITION, ALL DRUGS ARE CONSIDERED A POISON. Why? Because they alter normal human physiology.

Conventional medicine, including the use of pharmaceuticals, often does more harm than good. A recent report from the Nutrition Institute of America, called “Death by Medicine,” provided some startling statistics:

 Over 2 million people per year have adverse reactions to properly prescribed drugs while in the hospital.

 Over 7 million medical and surgical procedures are performed annually.

 Almost 9 million people are unnecessarily hospitalized every year.

 Conventional medical treatment causes over 750,000 deaths per year.1

In spite of this, more people are taking drugs today than ever before. This is why it is so important to Stop and Think, to do everything you can to stay healthy and avoid the conventional medical system as much as possible.

DRUG SAFETY AND EFFECTIVENESS

The truth is we don’t know if the drugs we take are safe, even if they’re out in the marketplace. Here’s what the New York Times said on its front page on December 6, 2004: “Drug companies test their products in people before they are approved, but sometimes potentially serious problems arise only when they are being used by millions of people…. [A]lmost everyone, including critics, outside drug safety experts, medical journal editors, some industry executives and even top agency officials, now agrees that [the FDA’s] mechanisms for uncovering the dangers of drugs after they have been approved is woefully inadequate….”2

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