St. John 's Wort Essay

11098 Words45 Pages
It 's hard for most of us to avoid a certain amount of stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue these days. The pace of modern life, and all its excessive stimulation, takes a toll on our bodies and minds. When we can 't escape from it, many of us resort to harmful addictions or medications to help us through. In the last couple of decades, though, certain natural (plant-derived) substances have begun to garner reputations for helping to give people an overall feeling of well being. St John 's Wort is one notable example of an herb used to treat depression. Another, which is more commonly associated with combating anxiety and easing stress, is Kava. Kava is a relatively recent arrival on the shelves of health stores. Requiring a warm and moist climate, the plant had previously been known only around the South Pacific islands - particularly, New Guinea, New Zealand, and Hawaii. There it was renowned for promoting, in those who imbibed it, feelings of relaxation and contentment - and, in large doses, of intoxication. Many old native practices for the preparation of Kava involved chewing bits of the root (where its active ingredients, known as kavalactones, chiefly reside) and spitting them out into a great bowl. Once enough was accumulated, this pretty unappetizing mead was mixed with water or coconut milk until desired strength was achieved. Probably few of us would be adventurous enough to sample that original version of the drink, and chewing the root itself numbs one 's
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