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By Elora Gabriel

Beyond St. John’s Wort, this article offers some little known solutions, including a rare Peruvian herb which has helped many women to make the transition from prescription anti-depressants
by Elora Gabriel

One statistical survey shows that women suffer from depression eight times more often than men. Why is this so, and what can do we about supporting our emotional well-being? While anti-depressants such as Prozac are helpful for many people, others find the side effects intolerable, or express concern about the fact that they need to keep using larger doses over time to achieve the same results.

MANY CASES OF DEPRESSION ARE LINKED TO THYROID PROBLEMS. Undiagnosed and untreated hypothyroid conditions are epidemic in North America, with standard laboratory tests only detecting the most obvious cases. The thyroid is strongly linked to mood, and its positive attribute is joy, so we should not be surprised to learn that most hypothyroid conditions are also found in women.

Mercury poisoning is also rampant today, with a vast majority of the cases of mercury poisoning being found in females as well. And mercury happens to have a particular affinity for the thyroid gland as well as for the ovaries. There are several things we can do to help our thyroid function. It’s a good idea to have your mercury levels checked; one lab recommended by many doctors is the Great Smokies Medical Laboratory (888) 891-3061.

Mercury detoxification should be undertaken with the help of a knowledgeable holistic practitioner. A system called NAET (Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique) has been expanded in the hands of certain practitioners to include an extremely effective and deep detox process for heavy metals, chemicals, and even chronic pathogens.

Those who are interested in an upcoming book which can be used by NAET practitioners to learn these advanced methods, please write or phone to be put on a notification list (see the end of this article.) As well as depression, hypothyroid symptoms include fatigue, cold hands and feet, low basal body temperature, dry skin and hair, hair loss, constipation, weight gain, sluggish metabolism, fluid retention, and a yellowish tone to the skin, especially on the palms.

Many doctors now realize the shortcomings of laboratory tests for thyroid function, and are willing to prescribe thyroid medication on the basis of symptoms. In most cases, Armour thyroid is recommended over Synthroid as it is derived from natural sources. For those who cannot obtain a prescription, or who would like to support healthy thyroid function rather than simply taking thyroid hormone, I have recently discovered a product which is unusually effective. Called Thyodine or T-100, it actually produces better results than Armour Thyroid or Synthroid in many cases.

One client told me that she had less depression on Thyodine than on Synthroid. While both of these prescriptions are basically T-4, Thyodine supports both T-4 and T-3 function. (T-4 is the inactive or precursor form of thyroid hormone, while T-3 is the active form.)

THE SINGLE MOST EFFECTIVE NATURAL ANTIDOTE TO DEPRESSION I HAVE DISCOVERED OVER THE YEARS is a Peruvian herb known as Camu Camu. Camu is actually the dried, powdered pulp of a small fruit that grows in the Peruvian jungles; the powder has a tart, citrusy flavor. Camu has an unusually wide range of benefits. According to nationally-known researcher, Gary Null, it is the most potent anti-herpes substance available, and is used both to prevent and control attacks. Camu is very helpful for people who suffer from headaches and migraines, especially those headaches which result from toxicity of any kind (internal or external).

But perhaps its most interesting quality is its action as a natural anti-depressant, more effective than St. John’s Wort in most cases. And Camu is safer than St. John’s Wort.

The excerpt below is taken from The People’s Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies by Joe Graedon & Teresa Graedon, Ph.D.
“We are very concerned about another interaction with St. John’s Wort, with light rather than medication. Joan Roberts, Ph.D., of Ford-ham University, has been studying the effects of light and drugs on the eye for decades. She has discovered that hypericin, an ingredient in St. John’s Wort, reacts to ultraviolet and visible light. When activated, hypericin becomes toxic to the lens and retina of the eye, increasing the risk of cataracts or macular degeneration over time. Because sunglasses don’t screen out visible light, they can’t protect people from this danger. We suggest that people taking St. John’s Wort stay out of bright light completely.”

In contrast, Camu is actually an excellent preventative against cataracts and glaucoma, according to Gary Null. In addition, like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and most other pharmaceutical antidepressants, St. John’s Wort is an MAO inhibitor. Therefore, St. John’s Wort should not be taken along with any of these drugs. This makes it difficult for people who have severe depression to gradually wean themselves from their prescription onto a more natural alternative. In contrast, Camu is not an MAO inhibitor, and can be taken along with prescription anti-depressants during a transition period.

How effective is Camu at relieving depression?

While no one product works for everyone, I personally have a number of clients who swear by this herb, including several who have made a transition from Prozac and other anti-depressants. One woman told me her friends call Camu her “happy pills” because they are so dramatically uplifting to her mood. A 42-year-old psychologist, who says she was “born depressed”, tried Zo-loft, Prozac, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Serzone, and Luvox in addition to St. John’s Wort, 5-HTP, and a host of other natural treatments, all to no avail. She related that Camu worked for her “pretty much right away” and three weeks after starting, she was taking 2-3 capsules twice daily and felt “as if I’ve gone to heaven — it’s changed my life.”

Dr. Viana Muller, who has been instrumental in bringing Camu to North America, has interviewed a practitioner in New York City who was able to wean ten patients off of Zoloft and Prozac in a year’s time. These patients were able to remain depression-free even without their prescriptions, as long as they continued to take the Camu.

This full time, extremely busy medical kinesiologist states that an “overwhelming majority” of her patients who have tried Camu have found it to be “very helpful” for depression. And best of all, there are no side effects from using Camu, only health benefits. Camu also works very fast, so it is easy to monitor your dosage and your progress.

For more information on Camu or any of the subjects mentioned in this article, please contact Tides of Life (see ad on page 39). Elora Gabriel is a writer and health researcher who has published many articles on women’s health, both nationally and internationally. She can be reached at (828) 669-2515 or The information in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice.

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