New research suggests that South African daffodils may be a future cure for depression.
Scientists at the University of Copenhagen have previously documented that substances from the South African plant species Crinum and Cyrtanthus – akin to snowdrops and daffodils – have an effect on the mechanisms in the brain that are involved in depression.
This research has now yielded further results, since a team based at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences has recently shown how several South African daffodils contain plant compounds whose characteristics enable them to negotiate the defensive blood-brain barrier, which is the biggest challenge in medical treatment of diseases of the brain.
Scroll down to find out the symptoms of depression
"Several of our plant compounds can probably be smuggled past the brain's effective barrier proteins," said associate professor Birger Brodin in a statement.
"We examined various compounds for their influence on the transporter proteins in the brain. This study was made in a genetically-modified cell model of the blood-brain barrier that contains high levels of the transporter P-glycoprotein.
"Our results are promising, and several of the chemical compounds studied should therefore be tested further, as candidates for long-term drug development."
Defensive proteins pump drugs out of the cells just as quickly as they are pumped in, which makes the blood vessels of the brain impenetrable for most compounds.
However, compounds that manage to 'trick' this line of defence could be vital to drug development.
The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology.
It will nonetheless be a long time before any possible new drug reaches our pharmacy shelves.
"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," says Brodin.
A Change In Mood
Is your partner unusually gloomy or sad? Do they put a negative spin on everything? Perhaps they have frequent angry outbursts - and these are aimed at you?
For some, depression manifests as a massive loss of energy. If your partner is too tired and lethargic to do anything for a long period of time, consider whether something more serious is going on.
Loss Of interest
You might notice your partner cuts down on their activities, and loses interest in things they used to enjoy. In general, there's a sense of withdrawal.
Getting Things Done
You could find that your partner becomes overwhelmed by tasks and so avoids doing them. Even simple things such as putting the dirty dishes in the sink, can seem like a vast, vague 'problem'.
Sometimes as a person becomes depressed, they develop 'coping mechanisms', such as drinking more alcohol, using drugs, excess shopping, gambling, eating to excess, using pornography, or working extremely long hours - all ways to avoid dealing with negative feelings.
Your partner's sex drive may well be affected by depression, either by removing it or increasing their desire
It's likely that your partner may also develop stronger feelings of anxiety. For example, he or she may get really agitated about where the neighbours park their car. Or begin to dread doing something wrong, or doing work that's not good enough.
First thing in the morning can be a really tough time for someone who's depressed, and it can take ages to get going. Many people say that as the day wears on they feel better.
You may start to feel you're treading on eggshells, as it becomes more easy to trigger a negative reaction. And if they are angry, they may hurl unfair accusations at you.
Your Own Feelings
You may begin to feel, hurt, rejected, isolated and guilty within your relationship - and perhaps embarrassed by their behaviour when in public. Take these feelings seriously, as they are an indicator something is wrong.