Herb For Depression

For years Europeans have treated depression with a pill made from a wild plant called St. John’s Wort. In Germany, it’s as popular as Prozac. Now, for the first time, a major study is about to test the effectiveness of this alternative medicine.

Karen has a sunny disposition now, but just a few months ago… life felt bleak. “I just was going through a period when I realized that I would come home and sit at my kitchen table and feel like crying, and I wasn’t sure why,” says Karen.

For help, Karen turned to this flowering plant. It’s called St. John’s Wort. In Europe, it’s widely used to treat depression in pill and liquid form, and health stores here have trouble keeping it on the shelves.

Dr. Jonathan is heading up the first major American study of the herb’s effect on depression.

“Even though it has come from, as we say, from alternative medicine, there’s no doubt that many of my colleagues are as interested as I am in finding out whether or not it’s effective.”

A British study showed 55 percent of patients taking the herb felt less depressed. Doctors believe the sense of well being is triggered by a substance called hypericin.

Dr. Beverly believes in the herb’s effectiveness, but she still doubts it will test well since many issues can cause depression.

Beverly, holistic practitioner, “If you don’t address those other issues and simply say, ‘Here’s this one pill that’s going to fix it,’ it doesn’t give it as good a chance to work.”

It seems to work for Karen. “I got my sense of humor back. I found myself laughing a lot more,” she says.

And for that… she thanks this little flower.

Results from the study will be ready in two years. St. John’s Wort has few side effects; however, it’s recommended you see your doctor before trying to treat depression yourself.

Angry Young Hearts

We all know that stress and anger can cause health problems in adults. A new study suggests kids who are hostile can develop health problems, too.

Seven-year-old Jamal has a problem controlling his temper. However, there may be more trouble than meets the eye. A new study by the University of Pittsburgh Medical School finds kids and teens that seem angry often have high blood pressure and strain on their hearts.

A psychologist says, “The mind really does affect the body as well as the body affecting the mind.”

Dr. says children need help dealing with anger early on. When you have anger that becomes rageful and out of control and you don’t intervene early on with certain limits and other ways of handling it, children then become reinforced.

Experts say parents should never dismiss their kids angry outbursts as “just a phase.” Dr. says this pattern can begin as early as infancy. Matthew, a holistic health coordinator, helps kids release anger just by making a fist.

Matthew says, “The squeezing and releasing is a child’s version of a relaxing response exercise, and that’s a great way of getting a lot of the anger out very, very quickly.”

The National Network for Child Care suggests kids do something physical such as punch a pillow, stomp their feet or play with play dough. Parents can also help them make up words to a song to express their feelings.

For Jamal and others like him, learning to channel his anger while he’s young will likely make him a happier and healthier adult.

Experts say angry children seldom develop in isolation. Your child’s anger maybe a warning sign that family counseling is needed.

Hellerwork: An Alternative Wellness Program

Add Hellerwork to your list of alternative wellness programs. It is a series of one-hour sessions of deep tissue body-work and movement education designed to realign the body and release chronic tension and stress. Verbal dialogue is used to assist the client in becoming aware of emotional stress that may be related to physical tension.

Hellerwork (named after Joseph Heller, an engineer with a Rolfing background) is not a remedy for illness. Rather, it is a process in which people “are moved from their current, average state to an optimal state of health and well being.” Hellerwork doesn’t address symptoms. Instead, it focuses on rebalancing the body, returning it to a more aligned, relaxed and youthful state.

Hellerwork is different because it is a total body-mind approach, it is a holistic process to restructure the body and to bring it into proper alignment, all in the context of the forces of gravity.

It is a way for people to improve their daily lives, we see people from all walks of life. Some of them have no physical complaints, but want to improve their well-being. Others are simply stuck in their bodies, while a third group is experiencing some kind of dysfunction.

Although there are thousands of people who believe in the benefits of Hellerwork, there has been little scientific data to support the practice. In that sense, Hellerwork takes its place beside scores of other wellness, fitness and massage therapies. Even Heller would agree that there is a need for more research. Most of the evidence is anecdotal. I can demonstrate increased range of motion and ability to move, but we need to know more about how and why this works.

Emphasis on Connective Tissue

Hellerwork practitioners place an emphasis on the body’s connective tissues, particularly the fascia. Visualize the fascia as a kind of body stocking. When one part of it is stressed, pulled down by gravity, or contracted, the rest of the body is also affected.

As long as the fascia stays loose and mobile, movement among the parts of the body is smooth. When the fascia becomes rigid, we begin to feel those knots in our back or neck. Tension and stiffness, according to Hellerwork, is not just in the muscles but in the connective tissue that envelops them.

What Happens In a Session?

So what does Hellerwork do to get us beyond normal and toward an optimal state of well-being? Three things. The first is deep connective tissue massage that is designed to release the tension in the connective tissue. The practitioner uses his or her hands, knuckles and elbows to stretch the fascia back to its normal position.

The second is movement education, in which the person is made aware of body actions that include sitting, walking, standing, exercising and job-related posture.

The third phase, verbal dialogue, allows you to become aware of the relationship between emotions and the body. Each session has a theme, and each theme is related to an area of the body. “Inspiration,” for example, deals with the rib cage and breathing. The purpose of the “Reaching Out” session is to release tension in the arms and shoulders. “Holding Back” is focused on the spine and pelvis.

Hellerwork practitioners are trained in anatomy, psychology and movement education. Training sessions are conducted throughout the country.

Benefits of Water

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “getting back to nature,” but have you ever considered there might be a healthy reason behind the phrase?

Artist Clayton makes water fountains and finds the therapeutic effects of moving water go beyond what you hear and see. “The first time I ever did a show, a psychotherapist walks up to me, and she says, ‘Do you know what you’re doing?’ I said, ‘Yeah. I’m making fountains,’ and she said, ‘No. Do you know what you’re doing for people?'” recalls Clayton.

Therapist Carol practices a holistic system of medicine from India called Ayurveda, which says people are made up of five elements, one of which is water. Carol says water fountains create a calming and soothing effect for most people.

“It’s like a mantra in meditation,” says Carol. “It’s kind of a gentle focal point that helps calm people down.” Clayton agrees, “It seems like a lot of times I’m helping people.”

Listening to the soothing sounds of one of his fountains, Clayton says, “The sound that I’m hearing right now is alive.”

If you don’t have the time to build a fountain, they’re becoming more available on the market and can be found in many nature stores. The Ayurvedic Institute says that often the presence of moving water can be just as beneficial as the sound, but the results vary from person to person.

Ovarian Cysts

Not to be confused with the unruptured follicles that occur in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form in or one your ovaries and may be benign or malignant.

For many women, ovarian cysts are simply a by-product of their monthly cycle – and indeed doctors believe that such cysts are common. Often, the cysts are small, so show no symptoms and present no problems. They can eve disappear of their own accord over time. You may never know that you had them, or you may discover them only when you have a scan for something else. Occasionally, however, the cysts are large and can rupture. This may cause abdominal pain and bloating, or you may experience spots of blood between your periods. Very occasionally, the cysts may be cancerous. Although rare, the possibility makes it vital that you visit your doctor if you experience any symptoms that concern you.

Natural medicine can provide wonderful, long-lasting relief from ovarian cysts, primarily by giving you the tools with which to balance your hormones. However, as ovarian cysts can be cancerous, it’s important that you follow any natural healthcare program in conjunction with advice from your medical doctor.

Types of Ovarian Cyst

There are two categories of ovarian cyst. They are functional cysts and abnormal cysts.

Functional Cysts

As the name implies, functional cysts are caused by the abnormal functioning of the ovaries and are the most common kind of ovarian cyst. Cysts may form at any time in your cycle but are given different names according to when in the cycle your ovaries malfunction to cause them. As the first half of your cycle is called the follicular phase, cysts occurring at this state are called follicular cysts. The second half is called the luteal phase and so may produce luteal cysts (sometimes called corpus luteum cysts).

The follicular phase is characterized by the gradual maturation of follicles on your ovary, one of which will usually release an egg. If the follicles fail to release an egg, and instead keep growing, filling up with fluid, you’ll develop follicular cysts. If an egg is released, you enter the luteal phase. A luteal cyst forms when, instead of withering away, the follicular sac that once held the egg, seals up again and becomes engorged with blood and fluid. Sometimes a luteal cyst can twist the ovary and cause pain. If the cyst ruptures, you’ll experience a sharp pain and have internal bleeding. You may need emergency surgery.

Abnormal cysts

These kinds of cyst come in three types: cystadenoma cysts (which develop from cells on the outer surface of the ovaries), endometrial cysts, and dermoid cysts. Dermoid cysts are classed as tumors because they are solid structures, filled with pieces of teeth, skin, hair and bone, rather than being filled with fluid. It’s though that dermoid cysts occur because an unfertilized egg starts to produce various body tissues.

Although they’re caused by abnormal cell growth, abnormal cysts are not necessarily cancerous and in some cases they will not cause you any problems at all. However, if abnormal cysts rupture, or if the stem on which they have grown twists, you may be forced to have emergency surgery to remove the cyst. The symptoms of a burst cyst are pain in the lower abdomen, bleeding, or abdominal infection. A twisted cyst stem will cause severe pain and sometimes vomiting.


Research has yet to uncover why women develop abnormal ovarian cysts, but there are several risk factors we know about when it comes to the functional kind. Cysts are a natural by-product of ovulation every month, and every woman has the potential to get them. If you delay childbearing, you have more periods and so there is more chance that your ovaries will develop functional cysts. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and even being on the pill mean that your body has a “rest” from ovulation, which reduces your likelihood of functional cysts occurring. You’re also more at risk if you’re a smoker.

Coup Detox?

From the Master Cleanse to the Fruit Flush, advertised options for removing your body’s residue are endless. But are they legit… and what are the health concerns?

The premise of detoxification advocates is that your body accumulates waste over time — painting a picture of sludge-plastered colons and contaminated cells that must be flushed by infusions and dietary fasting. Sounds good, but consider these points:

Pros: While starvation causes metabolic meltdown, avoiding additives and chemicals prompts good health. And since many plans forbid alcohol and caffeine, while prescribing large doses of water, you’re more apt to hydrate properly — which naturally expels impurities. Some of the fruit-and-veggie options jumpstart irregular digestion by default because they’re high in fiber and low in sugar, artificial ingredients, and fats… all of which can burden bowels. Consequently you may feel marked improvement because you’re not overstuffing on the classic American diet.

Cons: Unfortunately, only a balanced diet and regular exercise can truly fortify health. Any so-called “miracle&lrdquo; fad that promises to filter and flatten will not only fail, it could be dangerous. While they may rightly require elimination of unhealthy foods from your diet, other restrictions deprive you of important nutrients your body’s natural purification system (liver, intestines, skin, and lungs) needs for optimum performance.

The Bottom Line: While temporary detoxification programs can stimulate a cleaner lifestyle, avoid extreme regimens that promote long-term food evasion, laxatives, or diuretics. Always speak to your doctor before trying any plan, especially if you have health problems.