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St Johns Wort Maff Hot

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Written by Maff     December 18, 2009    
 
6.8
 
9.2 (1)
1869   0   0   0   0
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St. John's wort is a plant with yellow flowers that today is used as a herbal supplement for the treatment of mild to moderate depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. Its first medicinal use is thought to have been in ancient Greece. The name St. John's wort apparently refers to John the Baptist, as the plant blooms around the time of the feast of the Saint in late June.

The Latin name for the plant is Hypericum perforatum while common names include St. John's wort, hypericum, Klamath weed and goat weed. Hypericum is thought to be the most active compound found in the plant and most St. John's wort supplements are standardized to 0.3% hypericum.

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medline Plus website reports that St. John's wort is at least as effective as tricyclic antidepressants (e.g. amitriptyline) in the treatment of mild to moderate depression and maybe even more effective. Compared to the newer selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft®) the NIH say there is less evidence but studies so far suggest St. John's wort may be equally as effective with fewer side-effects.

In conclusion the NIH says "Overall, the scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of St. John's wort in mild-to-moderate major depression. The evidence in severe major depression remains unclear."

 

The exact way(s) by which St. John's wort exerts its antidepressant effects are yet to be determined but studies have suggested it works by a variety of mechanisms. It is thought to be a mild monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (which is how older MAOI antidepressant drugs like Parnate worked), it blocks reuptake of serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline like newer drugs and it also reduces the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the stress response system of the body. To learn more see this research paper.

As with any medication, herbal remedy or nutritional supplement St. John's wort has side-effects. Some of these include increased sensitivity to sunlight, dizziness, gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, headache, or sexual dysfunction. The herb also interferes with the cytochrome P450 enzymes in the liver which metabolize certain drugs and can thus interfere with the action of certain medications. You should therefore talk to your doctor if you are using St. John's wort and are on other medications (See Medline Plus for more details).

 

Buy St Johns Wort supplements
(from iHerb.com - save $5 on your first order using promotional code: MAT856)

 

 

 

Editor reviews

It sounds like I used St. John's wort for very similar problems to the reviewer below but unfortunately I didn't experience any improvement after using it for 3 months at the same dose of 300mg/day. I do have many other underlying health problems stemming from chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) however which can certainly effect how medications and supplements work (or not).

I have found the only supplements that improve my mood are those that have an immediate stimulatory effect. These include vitamin D, ginseng and n-acetyl-tyrosine.

Having found St. John's wort was no help for me I have still given it an 8 in the 'Would you recommend?' category purely because the substantial body of medical research on this herb points to it being helpful for many people for mild to moderate depression. In fact the conclusions many review studies draw is that it is at least as effective as antidepressant drugs - Adam72's experience seems to support this!

I should add that I experienced no side-effects while taking St. John's wort but this may not be the case for everyone. Also this herb should be used as an alternative to antidepressant drugs NOT as well as them. Please discuss with your doctor.
Overall rating 
 
6.8
Perceived Effectiveness  
 
1.0
Lack of side effects (tolerability)  
 
10.0
Ease of use  
 
10.0
Value for money  
 
5.0
Would you recommend? 
 
8.0
Maff Reviewed by Maff December 18, 2009
Last updated: December 23, 2009
#1 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (107)

No help for me but still recommended

It sounds like I used St. John's wort for very similar problems to the reviewer below but unfortunately I didn't experience any improvement after using it for 3 months at the same dose of 300mg/day. I do have many other underlying health problems stemming from chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) however which can certainly effect how medications and supplements work (or not).

I have found the only supplements that improve my mood are those that have an immediate stimulatory effect. These include vitamin D, ginseng and n-acetyl-tyrosine.

Having found St. John's wort was no help for me I have still given it an 8 in the 'Would you recommend?' category purely because the substantial body of medical research on this herb points to it being helpful for many people for mild to moderate depression. In fact the conclusions many review studies draw is that it is at least as effective as antidepressant drugs - Adam72's experience seems to support this!

I should add that I experienced no side-effects while taking St. John's wort but this may not be the case for everyone. Also this herb should be used as an alternative to antidepressant drugs NOT as well as them. Please discuss with your doctor.

Was this review helpful to you? 
 

User reviews

Average user rating from: 1 user(s)

Overall rating 
 
9.2
Perceived Effectiveness  
 
8.0  (1)
Lack of side effects (tolerability)  
 
9.0  (1)
Ease of use  
 
10.0  (1)
Value for money  
 
9.0  (1)
Would you recommend? 
 
10.0  (1)
Ratings (the higher the better)
  • Perceived Effectiveness
  • Lack of side effects (tolerability)
  • Ease of use
  • Value for money
  • Would you recommend?
Comments
I now realise I have been suffering from depression for the past 4-5 years and things get worse in winter so I believe I have some form of SAD or winter depression.

My doctor has had me on an SSRI (Seroxat/paroxetine) and an SNRI (Venlafaxine) - neither of which helped in the slightest but did reduce my libido and cause some nausea!

After doing some reading and having a further appointment with my doctor who offered me yet another variation on these drugs I decided to take the alternative route and give St. John's wort a go. I'm very glad I did as in a week or so I was seeing noticeable improvements in my mood and motivation. My friends and family even noticed. After a few months of taking 300mg every day and continued improvement my long-term girlfriend said she was delighted to have the real me back!

After reading the description on this page of how this herb supposedly works I can only guess that it is the wide range of different ways in which it works that means it has helped where the drugs failed.

I have had none of the side-effects and couldn't be happier to have discovered St. John's wort. If you are having no luck with antidepressant drugs or if you just want to bypass all of that and prefer a natural approach I'd recommend you give this herb a try.
Overall rating 
 
9.2
Perceived Effectiveness  
 
8.0
Lack of side effects (tolerability)  
 
9.0
Ease of use  
 
10.0
Value for money  
 
9.0
Would you recommend? 
 
10.0
Reviewed by Adam72 December 23, 2009

Helped when antidepressant drugs didn't

I now realise I have been suffering from depression for the past 4-5 years and things get worse in winter so I believe I have some form of SAD or winter depression.

My doctor has had me on an SSRI (Seroxat/paroxetine) and an SNRI (Venlafaxine) - neither of which helped in the slightest but did reduce my libido and cause some nausea!

After doing some reading and having a further appointment with my doctor who offered me yet another variation on these drugs I decided to take the alternative route and give St. John's wort a go. I'm very glad I did as in a week or so I was seeing noticeable improvements in my mood and motivation. My friends and family even noticed. After a few months of taking 300mg every day and continued improvement my long-term girlfriend said she was delighted to have the real me back!

After reading the description on this page of how this herb supposedly works I can only guess that it is the wide range of different ways in which it works that means it has helped where the drugs failed.

I have had none of the side-effects and couldn't be happier to have discovered St. John's wort. If you are having no luck with antidepressant drugs or if you just want to bypass all of that and prefer a natural approach I'd recommend you give this herb a try.

Was this review helpful to you? 
 

 

 

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