Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Worry-Wort

In addition to its uses in folk medicine (e.g., to treat depression), Saint John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) has long been hung in houses to ward off evil spirits.  Now, this plant itself is being portrayed as bad, at least for one's health.  Pharmacists Planning Service, Inc. has filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") to switch the Wort's regulated status "from herbal Dietary Supplement to behind pharmacy counter status (BPCS)."  This pharmacists' group suggest that Saint John's Wort "can cause trouble sleeping, vivid dreams, restlessness, anxiety, irritability, stomach upset, fatigue, dry mouth, dizziness, headache, skin rash, diarrhea, and tingling."  Inconveniently, from the perspective of mnemonics alone, what this plant apparently fails to cause is warts.

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