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A Sprinkle Of Saffron May Help Your Brain

Illustration for article titled A Sprinkle Of Saffron May Help Your Brain

I'm in no hurry to abandon my proven Lexapro-and-Abilifi diet, but nevertheless am always interested to see if any of the purported "depression supplements" actually work, and have popped a lot of St. John's Wort in my time. So was I wasting my time?

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CNN put to the test 8 of the most popular natural supplements. Short answer: for the bulk of them, the results were "limited and inconclusive." In a few cases — St. John's Wort, Saffron — there were noticeable benefits. However, these applied only to mild cases of depression and in no way should be considered a substitute for a doctor's care. And while saffron proved mildly effective in some cases, it's hardly cost-effective. Unless, you know, you have some line to bulk spices.

Bottom line: don't do anything without a professional's consultation. Because something is "natural" doesn't mean it isn't powerful (think about how many pharmaceuticals are derived from natural sources!) , and if a substance can effect your mental state, chances are it's relatively potent. As with all things homeopathic and otherwise, get second —and third — opinions and take anything you read "on the Internet" with the proverbial grain of sea salt. Indeed, the thing I found most alarming about this otherwise sober CNN report was that, between cautiously-worded reviews of tryptophan supplements and Omega-3s were ads for herbal antidepressants promising "90% success rate" and a "Natural Bipolar Treatment" offering a free 15-minute consultation. Well-being, sadly, is rarely that easy.

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Supplements For Depression: What Works, What Doesn't [CNN]

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DISCUSSION

theroo
Rooo sez BISH PLZ

If you are particularly sunburn prone (regardless of actual skin shade, and we're ... just not going to debate that today), please be careful with the St. John's Wort.

It can more than double your skin's photosensitivity if taken for extended periods of time.