Monday, April 30, 2007

Dirt 'boosts happiness'

Exposure to dirt may be a way to lift mood as well as boost the immune system, UK scientists say.

Lung cancer patients treated with "friendly" bacteria normally found in the soil have anecdotally reported improvements in their quality of life.

Mice exposed to the same bacteria made more of the brain's "happy" chemical serotonin, the Bristol University authors told the journal Neuroscience.

Common antidepressants work by boosting this brain chemical.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Salsa is an answer to the blues

An epidemic is sweeping the Western world. One in five of us is already suffering the symptoms and the numbers are set to grow. And what is this rampant disease? Bird flu? Obesity? No. Depression. Russell Jones, a mental health nurse writing in Nursing Times (Sept 26), says that dire warnings from the World Health Organisation about the growing prevalence of depression mean that nurses must be extra vigilant about screening patients.

But he questions whether we are right to be so alarmed. Pharmaceutical companies make huge profits from anti-depressants, he says, while research creates ever more complex types of depression.

“Surely the key should be to look at the whole person over time and accept the vital roles that friends, family, faith, music, art and exercise can play in recovery.”

Acknowledging the distressing nature of depression, he points out that in a society obsessed with quick fixes, “the pressure to diagnose and prescribe often prevails”.

But a study at the University of Derby recenlty showed that Salsa dancing may help tackle depression. After nine weeks of dance classes participants recorded lower depression scores. Matt Birks, senior lecturer in mental health said salso could be an alternative therapy.

Source - Times

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Spoonful of the sorcerer's art

Some ridicule the naturopath's remedies, others say she turns their lives around. Rory Ross plays the patient

Had Elizabeth Peyton-Jones lived 500 years ago, she would have been burnt at the stake or tied to weights and hurled into a river to see if she floated. These days, her ilk goes by the name of "naturopath" and "herbalist". Even so, a scientist might struggle to understand some of her mystical powers.

Peyton-Jones, whose sister, Julia, is the director of the Serpentine Gallery, infuses natural therapies with uncanny herbal wisdom in order to cure everything from ME and gout to irritable bowel syndrome and depression.

She practises something called Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET), a procedure for spotting and removing allergies, also used for testing organs and clearing emotional "blockages".

"Everyone can achieve good health, but I teach people how," she says, when we meet at her London flat. "I pick up where Jamie Oliver signs off. Using parsley as a garnish is a short step from using the herb as a diuretic or to prevent bruising. The knowledge is there. What's missing is our willingness to identify problems and take the time to help ourselves."

Natural help-yourself therapies are back in fashion. The zeitgeist is telling us that, when healing ourselves, the less we fiddle with Nature's bounty, the better for us all and the NHS.

Source - Telegraph

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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Spiritual Interventions Do Not Help Recovery, But May Relax Heart Patients

Stress and depression can increase the risk of heart disease and impair recovery from heart attacks. And although not as soundly proven, optimistic and relaxed patients seem to weather illness better than the gloomy and anxious. Can spiritual interventions make tests and treatments easier for patients? Like many areas of alternative medicine, this has not been fully investigated, reports the December 2006 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch. But two studies serve as models for further research.

In the first study, researchers looked at whether prayer on behalf of a patient could assist recovery from bypass surgery. A third of the patients were prayed for after being told that this might or might not be done; a third did not receive prayer; and a third received prayer after being told this would occur. The researchers concluded that prayer had no effect on complication-free recovery from bypass.

In the second study, researchers randomly assigned patients to one of four groups before elective cardiac catheterization and angiography. One group received standard care. The others, in addition to standard care, received either prayer; music, imagery, and touch (MIT) therapy; or both prayer and MIT therapy. MIT therapy included instruction in meditation and deep breathing, and the application of "healing touch" hand positions by trained practitioners. The investigators found that neither prayer nor MIT therapy was beneficial in preventing subsequent heart problems.

However, patients who received MIT therapy experienced a clear decrease in anxiety and distress before the catheterization-and were less likely to die during the subsequent six months. But it's not clear whether it was the music, imagery, or touch that might have helped, reports the Harvard Men's Health Watch.

Source - Medical News Today

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Depression: the great happy pill betrayal

The Christmas holiday period is the toughest time of year for many. More people commit suicide during the festive season, and the Samaritans helpline expects to receive a call every six seconds as people confront their loneliness or mounting debts.

At this time of celebration, it is a sobering thought that, as a nation, we are becoming less successful at beating misery - and that's a year-round problem.

• Depressed or stressed?

The statistics make pretty grim reading. Across the UK, more people than ever are suffering from depression. One in ten people is depressed at any one time, affecting one in three families. Every 14 minutes, someone in the UK kills themselves, and depression is one of the main causes.
At the same time, depression and chronic anxiety cost the taxpayer £7 billion a year. Add to that the £12billion in lost productivity - or 1 per cent of our total national income - and it's clear depression is not a problem merely for the individual.

So what are we doing to tackle this problem? Not enough, say the experts. Doctors have agreed a step-by-step approach to tackling depression which recommends all patients should be offered a short course (ten to 12 weeks) of psychological treatment or 'talking therapy'.

The guidelines, drawn up in 2004 by the Government's treatment advisory body NICE, recommend cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) - a form of therapy that helps people recognise unhappiness triggers and develop coping strategies.

Research has shown that talking therapies work just as well as antidepressant drugs in the short term, but in the long term they are more effective at preventing relapse.

However, a Mail investigation has found these guidelines are being consistently ignored, because talking therapies are not funded across the NHS.

Source - Daily Mail


Nutrition the key to beating the bottle

Ever more doctors believe that a diet of fish, high-cholesterol food and vitamins is the best cure for alcoholism

The news earlier this year that Britons are the heaviest drinkers and the most obese in Europe is no coincidence to Dr James Braly, the author of Nutrition Revolution and Dangerous Grains. Braly, though still a lonely voice, belongs to a growing band of alternative practitioners who believe that nutrition and alcoholism are intrinsically linked. In Braly’s addiction recovery centre, Bridging the Gaps, based in Winchester, Virginia, the emphasis is placed squarely on diet rather than drugs.
“Patients are first hooked up to an IV [intravenous drip] for ten days and fed high levels of fish oils (3 and 6), vitamins B and C, calcium, magnesium and zinc because their gastrointestinal systems have been grossly compromised by their habit,” he says. “This is followed with a wholefood diet (including four to six servings of fish a day, as well as high-cholesterol foods such as eggs), exercise and therapy. The combination has meant that 85 per cent of my patients do not succumb to a relapse. Coffee is also forbidden because it raises cortisol levels, reduces dopamine and leads to cravings of carbohydrates and sugar.”

Braly’s theory is that most alcoholics are depressed, and that depression and low cholestoral are linked. Ergo, by attacking depression with high-cholesterol foods such as eggs and foods high in mood-boosting amino acids, such as fish, patients are more open to the therapy needed to beat their addiction. The severity of “abstinence symptoms” (cravings, anxiety, fuzzy thinking, restlessness) are radically reduced within the first few days of his treatment, he says, allowing patients to be receptive to counselling and exercise programmes.

Source - Times

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

The English patient

Film director Anthony Minghella is never in one place for too long and the hectic pace takes a toll on his health. Here he explains why traditional Chinese medicine plays such a key role in his life

There’s a good deal of irony in my heralding a terrific book about traditional Chinese medicine. First, because it’s almost exclusively aimed at women and, secondly, because I am far from an example of good health and fitness. But I’m convinced that the alternative treatments I pursue, from Pilates to Thai yoga massage and, in particular, the visits to a couple of great practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, have enabled me to manage a hectic transatlantic career that makes unreasonable demands on my stamina and focus.
As a film director, it’s not unusual for me to get off a plane in another country and start work as if no journey had occurred. The toll of these schedules is hard to quantify but, without maintenance, the body soon complains and fails. Typically, Western medicine is called on at the failure stage. Other forms of healthcare can start earlier, at the complaint stage.

Xiaolan Zhao lives in Toronto. Her book, Traditional Chinese Medicine for Women: Reflections of the Moon on Water, is constructed in chapters that take women through the stages of their lives. She writes about how traditional Chinese medicine began more than 5,000 years ago, 4,500 years before the scientific traditions of the West, in a culture that forbade human dissection. Practitioners relied on their powers of observation, developing a different understanding of the body and disease compared with the West. Dr Xiaolan worked as a surgeon in China, but also trained as a doctor of herbal medicine and acupuncture. She champions an integrated approach to health that is balanced between the traditions of the East and West.

I suffer from a chronically underactive thyroid gland, a condition shared by several members of my family. This results in a lack of the hormone thyroxine which, among other functions, regulates the pace of our metabolism. Thyroid deficiency affects many sites in the body, such as the skin, joints and hair. It also contributes to weight gain, tiredness and depression. None of these things is serious in itself; collectively they can be disabling. I can monitor my condition by how much my hands claw in the mornings, my joints ache, my waistline thickens or I am suddenly poleaxed with exhaustion at almost exactly four o’clock in the afternoon.

Since my condition was diagnosed by my GP in the early Nineties, I’ve been taking thyroxine in increasing dosages. Five or six years ago, on a visit to Toronto, I heard about Dr Xiaolan from my friend Michael Ondaatje, the author of The English Patient (Minghella directed the film). He spoke of her as a great spirit, suggesting that she had saved many of his friends from invasive surgery by using traditional Chinese medicine. I went to see her. And I found her to be remarkable.

Source - Times

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It's hot to be cold

Cold spells can boost your immunity and help muscle pain and depression. But is plunging into an ice bath or a freezing chamber going too far? A sceptical Ellie Levenson examines the evidence
I'm not good at being cold: a fondness for moaning and a tendency to be pathetic rather put me off the winter months. When I was in Berlin one December and temperatures plunged below -12°C, the only way I could cope was by eating fried food on the hour and drinking hot wine on the half hour. I own more fleeces than I've had hot dinners and I've had quite a lot of those. My hot water bottle is currently one of my most treasured possessions.

Article continues


But snuggling up, it seems, is no longer the way to get through winter. Not only has recent research from the Scripps Research Institute in California shown that reducing the core body temperature of mice makes them live for longer, but cryotherapy, where people are exposed for short bursts of time to extremely cold temperatures, is the latest treatment fad. Right now being cold is very hot indeed.
Cryotherapy - which is popular in Poland, where it is available in many conventional hospitals - involves standing in chambers filled with cold, dry air at temperatures as low as -135°C. The London Kriotherapy Centre (which uses the Polish spelling) claims this treatment can help a range of ailments from muscular injuries to depression. Cryotherapy is also used by sports teams to decrease the amount of time needed for muscles to recover between training sessions.

The exposure to extreme cold is supposed to stimulate the temperature receptors in the skin to tell the brain to withdraw blood to the body's core. Once this is over, blood is pumped vigorously back around the body, stimulating oxygen and nutrient supply to areas that need revitalising. "Our motto is that you don't have to feel bad to feel better." says Charlie Brooks, director of the centre, who recommends taking 10 two-minute treatments (at £30 a time) over a two-week period.

Tony Wilson, a physiotherapist at the University of Southampton, says that in theory these claims for cold are true but that such extreme temperatures are not necessary. "What they say about the treatment is correct but you might as well just get in a cold bath and save your money," he says. This is what the marathon runner Paula Radcliffe does before a race, describing on her website her pre-race routine: "... five hours before the start of the race, I eat my last meal. Another big bowl of porridge, some banana, some biscuits, a yoghurt and a little chocolate: fuel for later in the day. After eating, I relax again, take a shower and then go for my pre-race ice bath. Athletes mix the ice and water depending on their appetite for discomfort. Some like it colder than others. I like it very cold."

Source - Guardian

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Depressive Realism

Here's a depressing thought: what if being depressed, at least a little bit, is actually a good thing? And if it is - if being generally pessimistic is a useful personality trait to have - then isn't that a cause for optimism? In which case, is it really a depressing thought after all? Shouldn't it make you happy about being depressed, in fact, and therefore not depressed? Recently, I have been attempting to resolve this paradox, but my brain just locks up, rendering all further thought or action impossible, like whenever I try to use those self-service checkouts at Sainsbury's.

Article continues


The cause of all this trauma was discovering "depressive realism" - the theory that people suffering from depression might have a less distorted picture of the world than the non-depressed. This has been controversial ever since it was first proposed in the 1970s, when two psychologists, Lyn Abramson and Lauren Alloy, recruited groups of non-depressed and mildly depressed people and sat them in front of a light bulb and a button. The subject pressed the button, and the bulb either came on or it didn't. In fact, the button didn't control the bulb at all, but the non-depressed people were much more likely to believe they were in charge of events. The non-depressed people, it seemed, were too caught up in protecting their self-esteem to make accurate judgments.
Recent research has thrown doubt on some aspects of this downbeat conclusion, but not on the general point that happiness may be largely a matter of delusion. We're rubbish, for example, at predicting what will make us happy in the future, as Daniel Gilbert points out in Stumbling On Happiness, which became a bestseller this year, presumably because people thought reading it would make them happy. (Presumably it didn't.) We treat our future selves like beloved children, Gilbert writes, dedicating our lives to making them happy - and they respond like rebellious teenagers, throwing it back in our faces.

Source - Guardian


I was frozen to improve my health

The latest alternative health fad is ‘whole body cryotherapy’.

This rather bizarre sounding treatment involves exposing yourself to extremely cold, dry air in a sealed room for up to three minutes at a time.

In Poland cryotherapy has become a popular treatment for rejuvenating and revitalising the body. It is also widely used by eastern European athletes as an alternative to the ‘ice bath’ to aid post-training recovery.

But it seems there could be also serious medical uses for the treatment. Some experts claim it can alleviate the painful symptoms of everything from rheumatism and osteoporosis to multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome and depression, and even suggest it as an anti-cellulite and skin-firming treatment.

Cryotherapy apparently shrinks the molecules in the body and then, when you emerge from the cold, the molecules then expand, increasing the blood flow which then helps ease pain and swelling, as well as fighting inflammation.

Source - Daily Mail

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Health shops give bad advice on depression

Only one in 13 drugs recommended by health shops to treat depression is proven to work, according to a survey published today based on health food shops in a city centre. Staff were more likely to prescribe multivitamins than St John's Wort, the only alternative medicine scientifically proved to have an effect.
Ginseng, liquid tonic, cat's claw, ginkgo biloba and royal jelly were also suggested as treatments, despite some having "potentially serious drug interactions".

The findings, published today in Psychiatric Bulletin, the journal from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, emerged after Joyce Reed, a junior doctor at St James's university hospital in Leeds, surveyed staff at 10 health food shops within three miles of Leeds city centre. Dr Reed turned up or rang as a customer with a range of symptoms typical of moderate depression, including lethargy, poor concentration, weight loss and weepiness.
Most of the staff asked extra questions but only two asked if a GP had been consulted, and only three asked about depression. Only one pointed out she was not medically trained. They made no response when Dr Reed claimed to be taking oral contraceptives, despite evidence that St John's wort can affect the pill.

Dr Reed, and her co-author Peter Trigwell, a consultant psychiatrist at Leeds general infirmary, admit that the "public nature" of health food shops may lead staff to avoid asking personal questions. But they were concerned that "staff are unlikely to warn customers about potential interactions and adverse side effects".

Last month the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists warned that alternative remedies used to treat menopausal symptoms could cause problems. Difficulties include interacting with the blood-thinning agent warfarin and anti-depressants.

Source - Guardian

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Catch of the day - Should we be giving our children fish oil supplements? Lucy Atkins examines the evidence

When 12-year-old Thomas Wood was given fish oil supplements last year, the transformation seemed dramatic. "The change in him was amazing," says his father, Frank, a postman. "He became very organised. He started waking up early and was keen to learn. His teacher couldn't believe how well he did in his Sats - he managed to get all fours, which was incredible for him. Seeing him in his last class assembly, we were amazed. Usually you could pick him out because he'd be jumping around, but he was sitting still, calm. Everyone noticed the difference."

Thomas was given the supplements as part of an initiative by Middlesbrough LEA to see whether they could improve the academic performance and concentration of children aged eight to 11. Others have followed. This academic year, education chiefs at Durham county council offered £1m worth of donated Eye Q fish oil supplements to 5,000 GCSE students. Parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, dyslexia or dyspraxia may already be aware of promising research into the role of fish oils. But now fish oil supplements are hitting the mainstream as the newest dietary must-have for diligent parents everywhere. Bung your child a brainy pill with his muesli, the hype goes, and he will become serene, reasonable and perform brilliantly in spelling tests. It is a tempting proposition.
Omega-3 fatty acids, found naturally in oily fish such as mackerel, sardines or salmon, have long been known to be important for brain function (not to mention heart health). The problem is that our modern diet - even post-Jamie Oliver - contains paltry amounts of oily fish (only fresh, not tinned, tuna counts). Most children are therefore officially deficient in omega-3. Brands such as St Ivel, Flora, Müller or Kingsmill have already cottoned on to this deficit's market potential and are bunging omega-3s in everything from yogurt to sliced bread. But the real revolution is happening in the supplements aisle where vitamin manufacturers from Sanatogen to Bassets are offering chewy, strawberry-flavoured fish oil supplements aimed at kids and their doting parents.

This all sounds quite useful - after all, who wants to force a kipper down their six-year-old's throat twice a week? The only problem is a lack of evidence that fish oils help to develop mentally normal kids.

Here is what we know: scientists have established pretty convincingly that healthy adults who have relatively low levels of omega-3 in their bloodstream are more likely to be mildly depressed, pessimistic and impulsive than those who have high levels of omega-3. There is good evidence to show that omega-3 supplements can reduce the symptoms of depression in adults. Preliminary studies also show that omega-3 could help adults with conditions such as schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder. When it comes to children's behaviour and academic performance, however, the evidence is more mixed.

Source - Guardian

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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Doctors prescribe self-help books

SELF-HELP books are being made available on prescription in an attempt to tackle depression, eating disorders and other mental-health issues.

The scheme allows patients to borrow the books anonymously from local libraries for up to six weeks. The initiative has been introduced in Fife and Glasgow, and if successful it is likely to be extended to other health authorities across Scotland.

Depression is the most common condition recorded by family doctors in Scotland.

Statistics show that more than 300,000 Scots visit their doctor each year because of stress or depression.

But it is estimated that 75 per cent of people with depression do not seek treatment.

Experts believe part of the problem is that many people - especially young men - are too embarrassed to ask for help.

They hope prescribing the books will allow many people with mental-health problems to treat themselves in privacy, without the need for attending therapy sessions.

Source - Scotsman

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Oats as a medicine

YOU hear so much about the Scots having a poor diet that I thought it would be good to talk about oats - a traditional Scottish food that is still very popular as a healthy breakfast.

Oats are a powerful food and medicine and are known to be a great tonic for the nervous system. They help us deal with depression, anxiety and stress, and can be useful when trying to break an addiction or increase stamina when recovering from an illness.

Oats are also good for the skin and are particularly good in treating eczema. They nourish, moisturise, soften and cleanse and work well when combined with calendula, another great skin healer.

Source - Scotsman

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Can Naturopathic Remedies Fight Cancer, Hot Flushes?

FRIDAY, Aug 18 (HealthDay News) -- Advocates for naturopathic remedies say their treatments may help fight menopausal symptoms, depression and even cancer.

For example, "bio-identical hormone therapy" looks promising for relieving the symptoms of menopause, one study found, while an age-old herbal remedy for cancer is proving effective -- at least in the laboratory and in animals.

That's according to naturopathic physicians presenting their research at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians annual meeting, held earlier this month in Portland. Ore.

Naturopathic physicians are trained in "natural" health care at accredited medical colleges, according to the AANP. Their approach is based on the belief that it is the nature of all things to return to balance. Treatments include dietary changes, counseling for lifestyle modification, herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and homeopathy.

"Bio-identical hormones," a natural alternative to synthetic hormone replacement therapy, were effective in reducing the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, said lead researcher Dr. Jan M. Siebert, a naturopathic physician in Pleasant Prairie, Wis.

Source: Health Day News

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Music 'can reduce chronic pain'

Research has confirmed listening to music can have a significant positive impact on perception of chronic pain.

US researchers tested the effect of music on 60 patients who had endured years of chronic pain.

Those who listened to music reported a cut in pain levels of up to 21%, and in associated depression of up to 25%, compared to those who did not listen.

The Journal of Advanced Nursing study also found music helped people feel less disabled by their condition.


Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Mental health link to diet change

Changes to diets over the last 50 years may be playing a key role in the rise of mental illness, a study says.

Food campaigners Sustain and the Mental Health Foundation say the way food is now produced has altered the balance of key nutrients people consume.

The period has also seen the UK population eating less fresh food and more saturated fats and sugars.

They say this is leading to depression and memory problems, but food experts say the research is not conclusive.

Source BBC News


Protein may regulate depression

Scientists say they have pinpointed a protein which they believe may play a pivotal role in depression.

A team from Rockefeller University in New York found mice deficient in the protein - p11 - showed signs of depression-like behaviour.

In contrast, raising levels was shown to have an anti-depressant effect on the animals.

Writing in the journal Science, they say p11 appears to help regulate a brain chemical linked to mood.

However, a UK expert said the biochemical regulation of depression was likely to be complex.


Monday, October 31, 2005

'Cannabis' acts as antidepressant

A chemical found in cannabis can act like an antidepressant, researchers have found.

A team from Canada's University of Saskatchewan suggest the compound causes nerve cells to regenerate.

The Journal of Clinical Investigation study showed rats given a cannabinoid were less anxious and less depressed.

But UK experts warned other conflicting research had linked cannabis, and other cannabinoids, to an increased risk of depression and anxiety.

Source - BBC News


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Herb 'as good as depression drug'

A German study has added weight to the argument that a herbal remedy is an effective treatment for depression.

Researchers compared the effectiveness of St John's wort to anti-depressant drug paroxetine in treating moderate and severe depression.

The team found half of those with the condition improved when given the herb, compared with a third using the drug, the BBC News

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Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Vitamins 'help treat depression'

Vitamin B supplements may help people to fight depression, research suggests.

Scientists found that people with depression responded better to treatment if they had high levels of vitamin B12 in their blood.

They suggest taking vitamin B supplements may be a way to boost the effectiveness of anti-depressants.

The research, by Kuopio University in Finland, is published in the journal BMC Psychiatry.

Source BBC News


Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Herb ineffective as anti-depressant

The popular herbal supplement, St John's wort, is an ineffective treatment for depression, a major study has found.

The use of herbs has grown massively in recent years as more people opt for so-called natural medicines.

Researchers have conducted the largest ever clinical trial into the impact of the herb on major depression - a moderately severe form of the condition.

The researchers, from Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, found it had no more impact than a dummy medicine.

Source BBC News

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Thursday, August 31, 2000

Herb 'as effective as antidepressants'

The herb St John's wort is as effective as standard antidepressant therapy, according to a major research trial.

They found that an extract of the herb, known technically as Hypericum perforatum, was as effective at easing the symptoms of depression as the commonly used drug imipramine.

Scientists from the University of Giessen in Germany, are recommending that the herb should be considered as a first line treatment for patients with mild to moderate depression.
Britons spend around £5m a year on St John's wort and an estimated two million people have tried it.

However, the use of the herb to treat depression has been controversial.

The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) in the UK issued a warning earlier this year advising that the herb should not be used by women taking the contraceptive pill and patients on HIV, depression and migraine treatments.

Source BBC News

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Friday, December 31, 1999

Herb 'helps ease depression'

An extract from the herb St John's Wort is just as effective as a drug commonly used to treat depression, according to medical researchers.

A German study compared the effect of hypericum extract and the drug imipramine on 263 moderately depressed patients.

The researchers, led by Professor Michael Philipp from Landshut district hospital, found that hypericum was as effective as the drug and had fewer side effects.

Quality of life, both physical and mental, was significantly improved after the patients had been taking hypericum for eight weeks.

Source BBC News

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Saturday, July 31, 1999

Anti-depressant herb may harm sight

St John's wort, hailed as a natural remedy for depression, could cause cataracts in some patients, says US research.

It is just the latest report of side effects associated with the herb and its active ingredient hypericin.

Joan Roberts, of Fordham University, New York, showed in laboratory experiments that the drug reacts with light, both visible and ultraviolet, to produce free radicals, molecules that can damage the cells of the body.

These, the scientists found, can react with vital proteins in the eye.

Roberts said: "If the proteins are damaged, they precipitate out of solution and make the lens cloudy. That's what a cataract is."

Source BBC News

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