The interviewer was curious about Eastern Medicine based remedies because of their supposed homeopathic properties. Luckily for him, his grandma, G, knew a few tried-and-true methods to relieve everyday aches and pains. Over the years of seeing success in their implementation, Indian elders would much rather administer these folk remedies than to give out medication like Advil or Tylenol which they see as unnatural.
This particular remedy is for depression:
“Powder the seeds of cardamom and boil them in water along with tea. It gives a soothing aroma to the tea. Take this tea regularly for the treatment of depression.”
The interviewer understands the need for folk remedies. From the point of view of his grandma, these folk remedies provide effects that are similar to pharmaceutical medicine but at a fraction of the cost and are immediately available. Furthermore, they wouldn’t be so prevalent as they are in Indian societies if they were not at some level able to treat the malady.
My informant, as a teenager, suffered from depression. He tried a few different kinds of pills, but they didn’t really work for him. His mom suggested he take St. John’s Wort, a plant. He started taking at in pill form and after maybe four weeks of use, he noticed the weight of his depression felt a little bit lighter and he had more motivation. This could have been a consequence of the placebo effect or something else that had happened in his event, but the timing did coincide with when the plant was supposed to start taking effect. Eventually, he told me, the depression did return to a place similar to where it had been before starting St. John’s Wort and he stopped taking it.. For a few weeks, though, the plant did seem to make him feel better.
He said he was amazed something so unproven could do what prescribed pills had been unable to do for him, even if the effects only lasted a few weeks. In a way, it gave him hope there could be solutions to his issue rather than to simply give in to the depression. I looked it up myself and there have been many studies done on the effectiveness of the plant against depression and anxiety but nothing conclusive because different studies have been in favor or against it. Possible side effects are said to include fatigue and sensitivity to light.
The fact that the plant could work shows how little we know about the brain and the way it functions. Only in recent years have conditions like depression begun to be recognized as real. Hopefully, in time, we will gain a better understanding of such conditions and be more able to treat them.