Daffodils do NOT 'cure' depression
By Charlotte Fantelli
This week (Commencing 25th June) there have been many mainstream reports of the miraculous new 'cure' for depression - Daffodils. And while there is some very interesting science behind these headlines, the notion that a daffodil is going to 'cure' the condition is spreading false hope and ignorance.
'Daffodils may cure depression' was the headline in The Independent online, who may I add, had an article that followed, of just 108 words, not exactly explanatory? Other headlines read 'Daffodils could treat your blues!' and 'South African Daffodils Could Cure Depression'.
So what are the facts?
The fact is, scientists from the University of Copenhagen have discovered species of South African snow drops and daffodils, that have compounds found to be able to cross the blood brain barrier. This is the barrier or 'defense' that keeps the brain isolated. This 'barrier' is notoriously difficult to penetrate with nine out of ten compounds failing to do so. This has been one of the difficulties in finding and developing new and appropriate medication for mental health and brain conditions.
Professor Birgen Broden, from the University of Copenhagen states "The biggest challenge in medical treatment of diseases of the brain is that the drug cannot pass through the blood-brain barrier.
"The blood vessels of the brain are impenetrable for most compounds, one reason being the very active transporter proteins.
"More than 90 per cent of all potential drugs fail the test by not making it through the barrier, or being pumped out as soon as they do get in."
In real terms this means that the use of the compound found in Crinum and Crytanthus, could be studied and developed into a 'carrier' possibly one day helping to deliver drugs to the brain.
Even Professor Birgen Broden, is not proclaiming a 'cure' but simply stating that further testing could prove positive. He says, "Our results are promising, and several of the chemical compounds studied should therefore be tested further, as candidates for long-term drug development.
"This is the first stage of a lengthy process, so it will take some time before we can determine which of the plant compounds can be used in further drug development.
"Studies of natural therapies are a valuable source of inspiration, giving us knowledge that can also be used in other contexts."
So readers, I am sorry to say, despite any exciting headline you may have read, smelling, watching or even eating the humble daffodil will not cure any known medical condition. Although receiving a bunch does always lift my mood...