A calmer, gentler you, thanks to St. John’s wort | AspenTimes.com

A calmer, gentler you, thanks to St. John’s wort

Gaylord Guenin

I’ll be damned if I don’t believe that the St. John’s wort I have been taking for several months is finally kicking in.I have come to that conclusion because I have been able to watch George W., our compassionate-warrior president, without going into a violent rage, without the blood vessels enlarging on my forehead, without my screaming vile obscenities at the TV and scaring the hell out of my dog, Buckwheat. Don’t get me wrong, I still cannot trust the man or believe most of the spin he puts on the war in Iraq or his professed love of the environment. It’s just that I don’t seem to get as worked up about his lies the way I used to.The only explanation I can come up with is the fact that I have been taking a St. John’s wort compound since late spring. As most of you may know, St. John’s wort (the Latin name is “hypericum perforatum”) is an herb that is believed to be beneficial in speeding the healing process when it comes to wounds, burns, bruises and neuralgia, and it also is touted as an anti-depressive. In addition, it is believed to enhance support for your emotional health and mental well-being. In other words, it supports mood maintenance – it is supposed to make you a happier and mellower fellow. I can be a bit on the cranky side and Jen, a caring young lady who tends bar at the Woody Creek Tavern, somehow picked up on that. She suggested that a dietary supplement called “Mood” might alter my rather negative view of others, especially George W., so she gave me a couple of bottles this past spring. The compound she gave me contains St. John’s wort, Velvet bean, Griffonia, Gotu Kola, Eleuthero, Butternut and kelp. Aside from kelp, I don’t have a clue what any of that stuff is. Each item has a Latin name following it, so I assume it is not just voodoo medicine. Then again, who knows?St. John’s wort was named in honor of John the Baptist. If the plant is rubbed between your fingers, a purple oil that sort of resembles blood will ooze out. Early Christians believed the plant grew from John the Baptist’s blood after he was beheaded. That’s kind of spooky thinking, but all religions have spooky thoughts. As I don’t know diddly about herbs, I obtained the information you just received from a book called “The Humorous Herbalist,” written by Laurel Dewey. She was or is a resident of Glenwood Springs.Now here is an interesting note: Dewey writes that for hundreds of years, St. John’s wort has been used to help kids who suffer from chronic bed-wetting. I find that comforting as I am approaching an age when bed-wetting might once again become a problem. With St. John’s wort, perhaps I can kill two birds with a single stone?The word “wort,” by the by, has nothing to do with the “warts” that many of us are inflicted with. According to Dewey, it is Old English for “plant.” That is just a bit of trivia you will probably never be able to use, but also one you may never be able to disregard. It may be a piece of useless information that will forever ricochet around your brain, just getting in the way of more productive thoughts.For the record, I am not trying to promote the use of herbal supplements. That’s something you should discuss with your doctor or a trusted herbalist. I believe in herbal medicine; however, I also believe in a lot of other stuff that might seem highly questionable to my friends and neighbors.All I know is that since beginning to take my mood compound, my attitude regarding George W. has been altered. No, that is not quite correct. My attitude toward George W. remains firm, it is my reaction to him that seems to have softened. It is something of a different story with our semi-invisible vice president. When he appears on TV, all I ever see is that arrogant smirk of his, and it still ignites a negative mood swing in me.Even if I am not promoting St. John’s wort, I would suggest that the residents of the Woody Creek Trailer Park might want to investigate that herb. The park has been something of a war zone all summer, and the residents are getting restless and cranky. The adage about “measuring twice and cutting once” seems not to apply to construction in the park. It seems as if that proverb has been turned around. As a casual observer, it seems as if the streets in the park have been dug up, pipe has been laid and buried; then a week or so later the same streets are dug up, and more pipe is laid and buried, ad infinitum.The engineers on that job may have a perfectly logical explanation for the digging, burying and digging again, but logical or not, it has created problems for the residents of the park. Access to individual trailers becomes difficult, mud and dust create increasing problems, and the continuous beeping of heavy equipment is enough to create a mood swing in the most stoic of residents. Before anyone goes ballistic in the park, I sincerely suggest looking into St. John’s wort as a possible means of avoiding any serious incidents. If George W. no longer sends me into a blithering rage, my guess is that John the Baptist didn’t die in vain.