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St Johns Wort Maff Hot

http://www.ei-resource.org/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/250x250s/83/da/7e/3440_stjohnswort_126116202430.jpg
Written by Maff     December 18, 2009    
 
6.8
2305   0   0   0   0

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.

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