The piece of information you should always leave out of your resume

What we all want, when building our resume, is to prove that we are valuable candidates, who should at least be called in for an interview. Therefore, some information, such as your marital status or how many kids you have may be completely irrelevant, because they add no value to it. You can mention your hobbies, but only if they’re at least broadly connected to the job you’re applying for or if they say something about certain qualities you have and want to emphasize. But don’t fill your resume with information that’s just noise to recruiters and that will distract their attention from what matters most. And, yes, even bore them.

You’re probably thinking right now that you’ve met numerous people who are masters at embellishing their resume and it worked just fine for them so far. But before jumping to any conclusion, ask yourself the following question: how much experience do these people have? Are they very well known in their field? Do they work in a creative/artistic field? Are they people who are truly talented and who have created truly interesting resumes? If you’ve answered all these questions and you feel like you’re these people’s equal, then you can bend these rules a little. But not the next one.

So what is the piece of information that you should never add to your resume? Your political preferences. Research has shown that recruiters tend to be suspicious of people who mention their political preferences in their resume. In a paper published by professor Shanto Ivengar, professor at Stanford University and Sear Westwood from Princeton University, quoted by career-services.monster.com the authors say that introducing your political preferences in your resume – directly or even in a more subtle manner – can be more powerful than introducing info about race.

1000 job applicants were included in the study and the results showed that even when the candidates had a superior professional background than the others, they were rejected on political considerations. More exactly, in 80% of the case the recruiters hired candidates with the same political affinities as themselves.

So, according to the authors of the study, if the job you’re applying for is not in politics, you should be be careful to never-ever mention your political preferences on your resume, that is, if you really want that job.

Sports that aren’t safe to do in pregnancy

There are very many articles out there praising the benefits of exercising in pregnancy for your health and your baby’s wellbeing. And that’s great! But you should also know that there are certain activities and types of exercise you are better off avoiding while pregnant. Here they are:

Cycling

If you’re a master at cycling and you know of an area where you can do that safely, maybe you can give it a go once in a while, provided that you are very careful. But in the park or on the street there are multiple distractions, obstacles can appear where you would least expect them and the chances of falling are too high.

If you’ve never learnt how to ride a bicycle, now it’s definitely not the time. Wait until after the baby is born or, if you’re patient enough, you can learn together when he/she gets old enough.

Jogging

If you love running and you used to do it constantly before getting pregnant, you don’t have to give up on it immediately unless, of course, your doctor recommends otherwise. Still, you’ll have to slow the pace, make sure you stay hydrated and always listen to your body. If you feel that something’s wrong, stop!

If you got pregnant and you think that this would be a good time to set up a healthy habit, think again! Instead of running, which can be dangerous for both you and your baby, try power walking. It is highly efficient and it does not constitute a danger for your pregnancy.

Contact sports

Volleyball, football, handball, basketball and team sports in general should be avoided during pregnancy because there is a high risk of getting hurt.

Skiing and snowboarding

We know, they’re so much fun and so hard to give up to. But the risk of hurting yourself and the baby is too high.

Horse riding

This one is forbidden during pregnancy not only because the chances of an accident are too high, but also because the shock waves that go through your body when horse riding are too strong for a pregnant women and especially for the baby.

Diving

Diving is dangerous because when you depressurize tiny air bubbles can form into your blood and these are dangerous for you even if you’re not pregnant, but they’re particularly dangerous for the baby.

The benefits of miswak, the tooth-cleaning stick

We’re always on the lookout for great natural health boosters. And Miswak is one of those rare finds – not only that it has a long and fascinating history of use, but its benefits have attracted the attention of both natural healers and practitioners of conventional medicine alike. It’s one of those unlikely products that somehow made its way into our lives and it is here to stay.

“Miswak” is a generic term basically meaning a tooth-cleaning stick. The fibers at the end of the stick get separated, creating a natural toothbrush that is used to clean the teeth, usually without any toothpaste or water. Most of the times, miswaks are made from the roots, twigs and even the bark of the Salvadora persica plant – a small tree or shrub, relatively thin and which can grow up to 3 meters in height -, also known as the Miswak tree or the Toothbrush tree.

Miswaks are highly popular in India, Pakistan, parts of Africa and most of the Arabian countries. Muslims are actually taught that they should clean their teeth with miswak before prayer, but also before travelling, before entering someone’s home, when they wake up and before going to sleep, and so on. The habit of using miswak for teeth-cleaning has also spread in the West, and even the World Health Organization has encouraged the use of miswak for oral hygiene, recognizing its benefits for strengthening gums, preventing and treating tooth decay and freshening the breath.

Here are some of the most important benefits of miswak for teeth care:

  • It has abrasive, antiseptic, astringent and antibacterian action;
  • It strengthens the gums and prevents and treats gum disease;
  • Prevents cavities;
  • Calms toothaches;
  • Kills a wide range or cariogenic bacteria;
  • Slows down tooth decay;
  • Naturally treats halitosis (bad breath);
  • Leaves behind a pleasant taste and smell;
  • Cleans teeth buildup;
  • Improves taste buds sensitivity;
  • Prevents tartar buildup;
  • Contains calcium and fluoride ions that remineralize and strengthen teeth;
  • Contains antiseptic essential oils;
  • The resins in its composition form a protective layer on the enamel;
  • Contains abrasive substances that clean the teeth and remove stains;
  • Prevents periodontitis;
  • One study compared the periodontal status of habitual miswak and toothbrush users and the results showed that the periodontal status of miswak users was better than that of toothbrush users, “suggesting that the efficacy of miswak use for oral hygene in this group is comparable or slightly better than a toothbrush.”
  • A similar study “concluded that the miswak is more effective than toothbrushing for reducing plaque and gingivitis, when preceded by professional instruction in its correct application. The miswak appeared to be more effective than toothbrushing for removing plaque from the embrasures, thus enhancing interproximal health.”
  • Another scientific study, investigating the active substances in Salvadora persica concluded that “The main antibacterial component of both S. persica root extracts and volatiles was benzyl isothiocyanate. Root extracts as well as commercial synthetic benzyl isothiocyanate exhibited rapid and strong bactericidal effect against oral pathogens involved in periodontal disease as well as against other Gram-negative bacteria, while Gram-positive bacteria mainly displayed growth inhibition or remained unaffected.”
  • A study published in 1999 showed that „Silica in Miswak acts as an abrasive material to remove stains giving the teeth whiteness. […] Resin forms a layer over the enamel and thus protects against caries. […] The tannins (tannic acid) exerts an astringent effect on the mucous membrane, thus reducing the clinically detectable gingivitis. Tannins also inhibit the action of glucosyl transferase thus reducing plaque and gingivitis. The alkaloid present in Salvadora Persica exerts a bacteriocidal effect and stimulatory action on the gingiva. […]Essential (volatile) oils possess characteristic aroma and exert carminative, antiseptic action. The mild bitter taste stimulates the flow of saliva, which is antiseptic. The sulfur compounds present in Miswak as shown by their pungent taste and smell have a bactericidal effect. Vitamin C helps in the healing and repair of tissues.

The lesser known plant: Lovage. What is it good for?

If you’ve travelled to Europe and ate a soup, a stew or a salad that tasted like nothing you’ve ever tried before, chances are that it contained lovage. The flavour of lovage (Levisticum officinale) is usually described as being somewhere between parsley and celery, also a bit minty and fresh, but the truth is that lovage has a completely unique taste and smell. And while in the U.S. it is rarely used, in the areas around the Danube Delta (Romania), for example, it is a sacrilege to make a fish soup without lovage, in the Netherlands it is an indispensable ingredient in a traditional asparagus dish, Hungarians add it to their traditional goulash and Britons prepare a lovage alcoholic cordial that is said to help with digestion.

But what is lovage?

The origins of the plant are still a matter of discussion for historians. While some place it in Europe and south-western Asia, others think it came solely from the south-eastern Europe, while others consider that it was native only to Asia and that it was later naturalised in Europe. Regardless of its origin, though, lovage is now a staple herb for the southern European cuisine.

Lovage is a perennial herbaceous plant that looks similar to parsley. It grows taller, though, the leaves are larger and have fewer leaflets. All the parts of the plant are edible: the stems, the leaves (either fresh or dried), the roots and the seeds. The stems and leaves are usually used in soups and stews, the roots can be grated in salads and the seeds are used as a spice.

How to grow lovage

Lovage can be grown from seeds, which have to be sown in autumn or in spring. The soil has to be wet and you’ll need to cover the seeds only superficially, so that they can germinate easier and faster. Lovage prefers moist, well-drained and humus-rich soils. Also, be careful not to plant it directly in the sun; it grows better in partial shade. It will germinate and start to grow in about 10 days, but it might take until next season for the plant to fully mature. After they’ve started to grow, only save that plants that look stronger and healthier keeping in mind that you need to maintain a distance of around two feet between plants, as they will grow bigger with each year. Grown in the garden, your lovage will live for up to 7-10 years.

Health benefits of Lovage

Lovage has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties, notes regarding its therapeutic benefits having been found in writings belonging to the ancient Roman and Greek civilizations.

Here are some of the most important medicinal properties of this highly underused plant:

External use

Skin diseases and rheumatism

Lovage can be used externally to treat certain dermatological diseases, such as psoriasis, skin ulcers or eruptions or acne, but also to relieve rheumatic pain. The crushed leaves are applied to the skin, on the affected areas. They have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and skin soothing properties. They also stimulate the blood circulation in the capillaries, thus supporting the natural healing processes and improve the tone and appearance of the skin.

Internal use

Detoxification

Lovage is considered to be an aquaretic, which is a type of diuretic that helps with the excretion of water without causing electrolyte loss. This is why lovage juice comes highly recommended in detoxification and weight-loss programs. In this case, at least 200ml of fresh lovage juice should be consumed daily.

Regulate digestion

For this purpose, lovage can be brewed or infused as herbal tea and consumed immediately after each meal. It has carminative properties (reduces gas formation) and it is effective in regulating digestion, stimulating the appetite, relieving abdominal discomfort, reducing bowel irritation and promoting normal bowel movements.

A natural remedy for menstrual cramps

Lovage tincture is effective in regulating the menstrual cycle. To prepare the tincture, use fresh lovage root (collect it either in early spring or late autumn), grate it and then put it in a glass bottle or jar. Pour over it 50% alcohol, leave it to macerate for two weeks, then strain it. Lovage tincture can help soothe severe cramps, prevent bloating and stimulate the menstrual flow.

Relieve gout symptoms

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, lovage is considered to be a natural remedy for joint pain caused by gout or rheumatism. For this purpose, it can be used both internally (in infusions, fresh juice or tincture) or externally, in herbal compresses.

Helps expectoration

Lovage contains eucalyptol, a natural active chemical compound that can help reduce lung irritation. Additionally, lovage can help loosen phlegm in the lungs, reduce lung inflammation and irritation and improve breathing.

Fights allergies

Lovage contains quercetin, a natural active compound that can help fight the symptoms of allergies by inhibiting histamine release and reducing the body’s allergic reactions such as runny nose, itchy eyes or skin irritation.

Antibacterial properties

Though further research is needed on this topic, Levage has shown encouraging results in destroying dangerous organisms such as E. coli, Salmonella, H. pylori or H. influenzae.

Helps prevent and eliminate kidney stones

Lovage helps reduce the inflammation and pain in the lower urinary tract associated with kidney stones and urinary tract infections. Also, because it is a diuretic, it can help eliminate kidney stones, but for this purpose it must be used with caution. If you suffer from renal lithiasis, ask your healthcare provider about the possibility of using lovage as a natural alternative to your conventional treatment or as a complementary therapeutic method.

Reduce fever

Lovage is considered to be a diaphoretic, which means that it can induce perspiration, and that can help the body cool. While lovage can be effective for a mild fever, if you experience high fever, you should immediately go to the emergency room to prevent any dangerous complications.

The Peanut Butter Test – A Way to Diagnose Alzheimer’s in Early Stages

According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, one person, somewhere in the world, develops dementia every three seconds. It is estimated that, at this moment, approximately 50 million people around the world live with Alzheimer’s or a related type of dementia. Unfortunately, research shows that dementia and Alzheimer’s have a poor diagnosis rate – with only approximately 20%-50% of the cases being diagnosed in high income countries and 10% or less being diagnosed in low and middle income countries.  And though there is no known cure, medication for Alzheimer’s can help with the symptoms and can delay the onset of the severe forms of the disease. Diagnosing Alzheimer’s in the early stages, therefore, is extremely important for the patients, but also for their caregivers.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s is an irreversible neurodegenerative disease and the most common cause of dementia in older adults (being responsible for approximately 70% of the cases of dementia). It progressively affects the brain and, eventually, the patient develops memory and cognitive problems, up to being unable to carry out the simplest everyday tasks.

There is currently no specific test which can confirm that a patient has Alzheimer’s. The disease can only be accurately diagnosed with the help of a microscopic examination of the brain that is performed after death. But doctors can still diagnose the patients based on the symptoms they or their family members describe and on the results of a series of cognitive tests.

Memory loss is one of the first sign of dementia caused by Alzheimer’s. But damage in the brain of the patients with Alzheimer’s is considered to begin years before the first symptoms start to appear. For most people, the first symptoms appear in their 60’s, while signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s can begin even when the patient is still in his/her 30’s.

According to the National Institute of Aging (NIH), there are three stages of the disease, according to the severity of the symptoms:

Mild Alzheimer’s Disease – in this stage, the patients usually still appears to be healthy, but begins to have certain concerning symptoms:

  • Memory loss
  • Poor judgment leading to bad decisions
  • Loss of spontaneity and sense of initiative
  • Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks
  • Repeating questions
  • Trouble handling money and paying bills
  • Wandering and getting lost
  • Losing things or misplacing them in odd places
  • Mood and personality changes
  • Increased anxiety and/or aggression

Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease – in this stage, supervision and care may become necessary, as the symptoms evolve:

  • Increased memory loss and confusion
  • Inability to learn new things
  • Difficulty with language and problems with reading, writing, and working with numbers
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts and thinking logically
  • Shortened attention span
  • Problems coping with new situations
  • Difficulty carrying out multistep tasks, such as getting dressed
  • Problems recognizing family and friends
  • Hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia
  • Impulsive behavior such as undressing at inappropriate times or places or using vulgar language
  • Inappropriate outbursts of anger
  • Restlessness, agitation, anxiety, tearfulness, wandering—especially in the late afternoon or evening
  • Repetitive statements or movement, occasional muscle twitches

Severe Alzheimer’s Disease – in this stage the patients can no longer communicate and are totally dependent on their caregivers. By now, the symptoms have significantly worsened:

  • Inability to communicate
  • Weight loss
  • Seizures
  • Skin infections
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Groaning, moaning, or grunting
  • Increased sleeping
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control

What is very important to know is that while dementia is more common in older people, it is definitely not a normal part of aging. Therefore, if you experience any of the above symptoms, you should get in touch right away with your healthcare provider for a complete evaluation.

The peanut butter test for detecting Alzheimer’s

This test was first described in the study titled “A Brief Olfactory Test for Alzheimer’s Disease”, which was published in 2014 in the Journal of the Neurological Sciences. Since then, the test has drawn a lot of media attention, but also quite a volume of criticism from other researchers. The study’s lead author, Jennifer Stamps, said that she based this study on the idea that the sense of smell is dependent upon the olfactory nerve, which is one of the first things to be affected by cognitive decline. The test consists in measuring the patient’s ability to smell peanut butter through each nostril and using the results to detect Alzheimer’s disease.

The assumption was that patients with Alzheimer’s would not be able to smell the peanut butter as well through their left nostril as they would through their right nostril; that is because, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the grey matter volume loss and temporal lobe atrophy are considerably more pronounced on the left side of the brain. And the results confirmed it: a left nostril impairment of odor detection was present in all the patients with probable Alzheimer’s disease. Stamps concluded, therefore, that “this non-invasive and inexpensive left-right nostril odor detection test appears to be a sensitive and specific test for probable AD (Alzheimer’s disease).”

Why peanut butter?

Stamps was administering peanut butter to patients as a part of a routine test for cranial nerve function, when the idea for the peanut butter Alzheimer’s test begun to take shape. Peanut butter is considered to be a “pure odorant”, meaning that it can only be detected by the olfactory nerve.

A word of caution

Though this study is interesting and really promising, by no means does it imply that this test is a tool patients can use at home to self-diagnose. Alzheimer’s disease is a very complex condition and only your healthcare provider can offer proper guidance for a correct diagnosis.

Boost your health: uses and benefits of maca root

Not that we’re looking for yet another “superfood”, but we might as well have found it! And you’ll fall in love with it just as fast as you can say maca root!

Rich in minerals, vitamins and nutrients that your body needs, an energy booster and great at balancing hormones, maca root is all that and more. Browse through the benefits of maca root for your health, read about how to use it and maybe start your day with a delicious maca smoothie.

It tastes nutty and rich, much like cacao. It grows at 10,000 feet above sea level in the Andes, and alongside with some almond or coconut milk and raw honey, agave or maple syrup, it makes quite the breakfast smoothie. Maca root, a cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli, kale and cauliflower is the go-to-superfood!

What is maca root and how to use it

First things first, what is maca root? This radish-like root is from Peru and is packed with an array of vitamins and minerals. Maca is a complete protein and provides the body with amino acids that it can’t produce on its own.

Maca powder (which is one way of buying maca, along with liquid, capsules, extracts) is an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamin C, E, B1 (thiamine) and B2 (riboflavin), copper, iron, phytonutrients and polyphenols, about 20 amino acids, calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, potassium and phosphorus. One ounce of maca powder is known to contain the nutrients below:

  • 91 calories
  • 4 grams protein
  • 1 gram fat
  • 2 grams dietary fiber
  • 20 grams carbohydrates
  • 79.8 milligrams vitamin C (133 percent DV)
  • 0.3 milligram vitamin B6 (16 percent DV)
  • 0.2 milligram manganese (11 percent DV)
  • 1.6 milligrams niacin (8 percent DV)
  • 70 milligrams calcium (7 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligram riboflavin (6 percent DV)
  • 1.7 milligrams copper (84 percent DV)
  • 4.1 milligrams iron (23 percent DV)
  • 560 milligrams potassium (16 percent DV)

The traditional way to cook and eat maca is boiling or roasting it. The locals in Peru eat this “superfood” root three times a day. They use maca powder in a porridge like dish and consume a maca fermented drink called “maca chichi”. You can add maca to your smoothies, snacks, desserts, to muffins, cereal bars, pancakes, hot cocoa, in granola mixes, in homemade bread and cookies.

12 maca root benefits

It has been called the Peruvian ginseng and it’s becoming more and more popular. A study revealed that maca root reduces blood pressure and depression and has neuroprotective benefits. You might want to buy a copious amount of maca root powder right about now, but it’s important you start using maca root in smaller amounts and never go over a tablespoon a day, since it exceeds some nutrients your body needs. Even more so, if you suffer from a thyroid problem, check with your doctor on whether you should use maca root. Just like any other cruciferous veggie that contains goitrogens, it may interfere with normal thyroid functions.

So, is maca root healthy? Although it may be too much of a “superfood” for its own good, still maca is a herbal adaptogen, just like licorice and ginseng, normalizing the body and keeping it in homeostasis. It helps the body respond better to internal and external environmental factors, it can balance anxiety and it can boost your endocrine system, helping the hypothalamus and pituitary to balance the hormones in your body.

And it can do so much more:

  1. Maca root contains vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, antioxidants and nutrients that promote sexual function, libido and fertility in both men and women.
  2. You’ll be getting quite the boost of physical and mental energy. It can help you concentrate, expand your memory and help you exercise for longer periods by increasing your stamina.
  3. Being a tonic and an adaptogen, maca supplies the nutrients your body needs in a number of ways. Iron restores red blood cells, eliminates anemia and promotes a healthy cardiovascular system. Maca is also known for skin, bone and teeth health benefits.
  4. Maca roots benefits for stress induced pathology are well-known. If you’re struggling with anxiety, stress, depression or mood swings, maca can help alleviate the symptoms. Maca root is known for reducing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin that cause fatigue and burnout, and reduce the alertness specific to anxiety disorders.
  5. Antioxidants in maca root fight against free radical damage.
  6. Maca root can decrease the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the liver. It also helps reduce blood sugar, according to some studies.
  7. There are also studies that credit maca root with benefits in preventing conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, by preventing oxidative stress and cell damage. It also enhances the immune system. However, it is vital that you talk to your doctor if you have or had a form of hormone induced type of cancer.
  8. That brings us to the next benefit – balancing the estrogen level – for which maca is very well known for. Regulating the hormone levels also means alleviating symptoms ranging from bloating to irregular menstrual periods and mood swings. Also, maca root can help women ovulate and become pregnant. At the other side of the spectrum, maca helps with the symptoms of menopause, including bone density. Maca can be used in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome as well. By balancing estrogen and progesterone levels, maca reduces migraines and headaches.
  9. Some studies showed that maca root can boost testosterone levels in men, leading to sexual health and fertility.
  10. Maca contains glucosinolates and sulfurs – just like onion and garlic – that help your liver functions and support the natural processes of detoxification.
  11. Maca is high in fibers, which improve gut health and are effective in fighting cravings. It reduces hunger between meals having a high protein percentage (up to 18%). Being a good source of vegetable protein, maca is a beneficial attribute to vegetarians and vegans.
  12. Because it’s rich in potassium, maca root can help decrease blood pressure. It also improves blood flow.

In conclusion, maca is a loaded “superfood”. It provides many health benefits to the mind and body as well, and is quite tasty. And who needs an extra reason to have another delicious and healthy smoothie?

Treating Depression with St. John’s Wort – Does it work?

We often say “I’m depressed” when we’re just barely sad. Or we say “he/she’s depressive” as if we’re talking about a personality trait. But depression is a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can lead to the worst of outcomes. So if you think you or a family member or friend might be depressed, contact your healthcare provider right away and he/she’ll recommend a specialist you can talk to.

Depression can have multiple causes. It can appear both in adults and children, it can be chronic or it can appear spontaneously, it can be easily detected or its causes can remain completely unknown. That’s why treating depression is an incredibly difficult task even for specialists and that’s why self-medication should never be taken into consideration, even if you’re opting for a natural treatment.

So even if there is a good chance that St. John’s wort could be effective for you and even if you’ve received the best reviews from any friend, relative or article such as this one, you should only take it after you’ve discussed with your doctor about it. Any chemical imbalance in your body (caused by an inappropriate treatment) can potentially worsen your symptoms.

Depression – some worrying stats

  • According to the World Health Organisation, globally more than 300 people of all ages suffer from depression. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide, which is the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year olds.
  • According to a WHO report from 2008, the rate of depression is 50% higher in women than in man.
  • According to the same report, depression is the leading cause for disease burden for women in both high-income and low- and middle-income countries.
  • In USA, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, in 2015 almost 7 percent of U.S. adults have reported having at least one episode of major depression in the past year.

St. John’s wort in treating depression – does it really work?

St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a flowering plant native to Europe and parts of Asia. The plant got its common name from the fact that it usually blooms around saint John the Baptist’s feast day, the 24’th of June.

St. John’s wort has been used for hundreds of years for its medicinal properties and it is mentioned in some of the oldest medicine books. Teas, oil extracts, liquids and topical preparations were made out of the flowers and leaves of the plant and used mainly to heal wounds and prevent infections.

Only relatively recently, though, studies have supported the efficacy of St. John’s Wort as a treatment for depression.

According to NCCIH, St. John’s wort is considered to have limited effectiveness on depression. And while we currently have a fair amount of data regarding its short-term effects, we still know little of its long-term effects. Even so, St. John’s wort is widely recommended as an antidepressant in Germany and though it can usually be bought over-the-counter, it also has a long history of use by German medical professionals as well.

Here are the conclusions of some of the most significant clinical trials about the effects of St. John’s wort in treating depression:

  • John’s extracts are significantly superior to placebo and similarly effective as standard antidepressants;
  • St John’s extracts seem to be effective in the treatment of mild to moderately severe depressive disorders.
  • Several studies have shown that St. John’s wort is not effective in for the treatment of major depression.
  • In one study, St. John’s worth extract tablets were compared with fluoxetine, a commonly used slow serotonin reuptake inhibitor regarding their efficacy in the treatment of mild-moderate depression. The conclusion was that both are equally potent with respect to all main parameters used to examine antidepressants, but St. John’s wort was superior to fluoxetine when it came to the incidence and types of side effects reported by the patients.
  • In another study, St. John’s wort was compared with imipramine, another common antidepressant. The conclusion was that while St. John’s wort is therapeutically equivalent to imipramine in treating mild to moderate depression, patients tolerate St. John’s wort better.
  • There are very few studies conducted in the USA focusing on the efficacy of St. John’s wort in treating depression. But even if we had more data, recommending its use to patients in the U.S. would be complicated, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not classify herbal medications such as St. John’s wort as drugs. Therefore, for this purpose we would need better regulation and standardization of herbal therapies.
  • The long-term safety of St. John’s wort, or its use in pregnant women, has not been studied.

A word of caution:

St. John’s wort interacts with many types of medication, usually making them less effective. For instance, it is known to interact with birth control pills, certain cancer medications and other antidepressants. Also, it is not recommended in bipolar disorder, as it is believed to increase the risk for mania. So always consult your healthcare provider before taking it and inform him/her of any other treatment you might be on at the moment.