By Mel Borins, Bernie Siegel
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Extra resources for A Doctor's Guide to Alternative Medicine: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why
Ancient cultures across the world independently adopted the belief that the shape of plants or shape of their parts determined what part of the body they could cure. It was as if nature had assigned the plant’s shape as a hint to man of its healing properties. People believed that if a plant’s use was revealed by its physical attributes, surely God had placed his signature upon the plant, a philosophy often referred to as the Doctrine of Signatures. This doctrine was well established by the time the Greek physician Dioscorides (surgeon for Nero’s army 50–70 AD) was practicing in Rome.
Indd 10 7/15/14 1:44 PM St. John’s Wort for Depression Medicinal Notes on St. John’s Wort When taking St. John’s wort for depression, it is best to use a standardized extract of Hypericum perforatum at a dose of 300 mg, taken three times a day. The therapeutic effect may depend on the hyperforin content—the greater the amount, the more effective it seems to be. Be aware that, just as in treatment with antidepressant drugs, when using St. John’s wort, there is a delayed effect. It may take two to four weeks before there is a clinical improvement in the mood disorder.
Depression can often be hereditary. When Jane was a teenager she visited her mother in the hospital and remembers seeing her “all doped up” and in bad shape. Jane vowed never to end up like her mother and refused the medication I prescribed. She was very interested in natural forms of healing, however, and was willing to take St. John’s wort. Over the next few weeks Jane improved; soon all her symptoms of depression disappeared, and she was in remission. When prescribing a drug for depression, many physicians advise patients to stay on the medication for nine to twelve months in order to prevent a relapse of depression.