ST. JOHN'S WORT
St. John's Wort
Common Name: Klamath weed
Botanical name: Hypericum perforatum
St. John's Wort grows in both the United States and Europe. In America, it is most abundant in Northern California and Southern Oregon.
St. John's Wort is alternative medicine's success and its failure - it's a symbol of why alternative medicines can help people, but also why it is dangerous to people's health and lives. St. John's Wort is a "food supplement" which is used to treat depression. It is not regulated by the FDA or any government agency. St. John's Wort works - it does indeed seem to help with mild forms of depression, but only with the very mild forms. Studies performed at Duke University have demonstrated that with moderate to severe depression, St. John's Wort does no good at all.
St. John's Wort can also kill you, if you aren't careful - it is a drug, and drugs can be dangerous. It's common for ads for "natural remedies" to give the impression that, being "natural," they are inherently safe, perhaps safer than laboratory-created medicines.