Some Herb Basics: Most herbs work better on an empty stomach. A few exceptions are garlic, goldenseal and cayenne due to stomach upset. Herbs work in a cumulative fashion meaning they are not a “one dose wonder.” They need to build up in the system a little, usually within 2-3 doses, before any real affect can be noticed. Fresh herbs always work better than old herbs and science is always proving the fact that a whole herb usually is more effective than one isolated compound of that herb.
Medicinal Properties: St. John’s Wort was coined “the natural Prozac” a few years ago and marketed for mild to moderate depression and psychological disorders. Then the FDA labeled it an “unsafe” herb because it can cause photosensitivity in large doses. Europe continues to use St. John’s Wort extensively for the treatment of HIV and as an anti-depressant, so consumers should take caution in using it, but it is not necessarily to be avoided. There are far more dangerous herbs on the market.
Researchers have discovered that Hypericin, an active compound in St. John’s Wort, can reduce the spread of HIV. There are also preliminary reports that hypericin extract works with AZT against HIV. Some individuals that have decided to take hypericin extract have had dramatic improvements in certain cases.
How to Use: The dosage of St. John’s Wort that would be considered beneficial in the case of HIV treatment has not been determined as of yet. (Maybe someone in Europe has the answer for this one.) So, using it for this purpose would be experimental for anyone who tries it. For depression, the regular 1 tsp dried herb to 1 C. water formula for tea is effective.
Warning: Causes photosensitivity with prolonged or excessive use. Avoid direct sunlight while taking St. John’s Wort.
How to use herbs for maximum benefit. Short and sweet descriptions and uses written by our on-staff Nutritional Herbalist. Always remember that herbs should be treated as a medicine. Almost all of our modern-day medicines are derived from compounds found in herbs and plants. If you have not used a particular herb before, try a half dose at first to make sure you do not have an unfavorable reaction to it.