jhg123 asked in HealthMental Health · 1 decade ago

St John's Wort?

Does anyone have any experience with St. John's Wort? Has it helped with depression or anxiety?

13 Answers

Relevance
  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    St. John's wort ( Hypericum perforatum ), once thought to rid the body of evil spirits, has a history of medicinal use dating back to ancient Greece, where it was used to treat a range of illnesses, including various 'nervous conditions.' St. John's wort also has antibacterial and antiviral properties and, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, has been used to help heal wounds and burns.

    In recent years, there has been renewed interest in St. John's wort as a treatment for depression and there has been a great deal of scientific research on this topic. St. John's wort is one of the most commonly purchased herbal products in the United States. Because St. John's wort interacts with a wide variety of medications, it is important to take it only under the guidance of a healthcare provider who is knowledgeable about herbal medicines.

    Depression

    In numerous studies, St. John's wort has been effective in reducing depressive symptoms in those with mild to moderate but not severe (called major) depression. When compared with tricyclic anti-depressants (medication frequently prescribed for this condition) such as imipramine, amitriptyline, doxepin, desipramine, and nortriptyline, St. John's wort is equally effective, and has fewer side effects. This also appears to be true for another well known class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) including fluoxetine and sertraline.

    Other

    St. John's wort has also shown promise in treating the following conditions, a few of which are related to depression.

    Alcoholism : In animal studies, St. John's wort substantially reduced the craving for and intake of alcohol. It is hypothesized that alcohol abuse may be a form of self-medication and that, by relieving depressive symptoms, St. John's wort may reduce the perceived need for alcohol.

    Bacterial infections : In laboratory studies, St. John's wort has demonstrated the ability to fight certain infections, including some bacteria that are resistant to the effects of antibiotics. More research is needed in this area to understand if these test tube findings will prove useful for people.

    HIV infection and AIDS : While laboratory research suggests that St. John's wort may kill or inhibit the growth of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV; the virus that causes AIDS), St. John's wort has serious interactions with medications used to treat people with the virus. In the case of the protease inhibitor indinavir, for example, concurrent use of St. John's wort may cause the medication to lose its effectiveness. In addition, participants in a study of St. John's wort for people with HIV dropped out of the study prematurely because of intolerable side effects from the herb.

    Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) : An early study suggests that St. John's wort may be useful in relieving both physical and emotional symptoms of PMS including cramps, irritability, food cravings, and breast tenderness.

    Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) : Used alone, St. John's wort has improved mood in those suffering from SAD (a form of depression that occurs during the winter months because of lack of sunlight). This condition is often treated with photo (light) therapy. Effects may prove to be even greater when the herb is used in combination with light therapy.

    Viral encephalitis : Herbal specialists may recommend use of a tincture containing a combination of ginkgo, St. John's wort, and rosemary to relieve symptoms associated with recovery from brain inflammation (viral encephalitis) such as cognitive impairment, visual and speech disturbances, and difficulty performing routine functions.

    Wounds, minor burns, hemorrhoids : Topical St. John's wort is, at times, recommended by herbal specialists to reduce pain and inflammation and to promote healing by applying the agent directly to the skin. Preliminary laboratory tests are suggesting that this traditional use may have scientific merit.

    Ear pain from an ear infection : In a study of over 100 children between ages 6 and 18 with ear pain from an ear infection (called otitis media), a combination herbal ear drop, including St. John's wort, garlic, calendula, and mullein flower, alleviated pain as much as a standard pain killing ear drop.

    Plant Description

    St. John's wort is a shrubby plant with clusters of yellow flowers that have oval, elongate petals. The plant gets its name because it is often in full bloom around June 24, the day traditionally celebrated as the birthday of John the Baptist. Both the flowers and leaves are used for medicinal purposes.

    What's It Made Of?

    The best-studied active components are hypericin and pseudohypericin, found in both the leaves and flowers. There has been recent research to suggest, though, that these best-studied components may not be the most active in the plant, which also contains essential oils and flavonoids.

    Available Forms

    St. John's wort can be obtained in many forms: capsules, tablets, tinctures, teas, and oil-based skin lotions. Chopped or powdered forms of the dried herb are also available. St. John's wort products should be standardized to contain 0.3% hypericin.

    How to Take It

    Pediatric

    The bulk of scientific research on St. John's wort has been conducted in adults. However, one large study (over 100 children under age 12) found St. John's wort to be a safe and effective way of treating mild to moderate symptoms of depression in children. Dosage should be directed by a qualified practitioner and will likely be adjusted according to the weight of the child. Children being treated with St. John's wort should be carefully monitored for side effects such as allergic reactions or digestive upset.

    Adult

    Dry herb (in capsules or tablets): The usual dose for mild depression and mood disorders is 300 to 500 mg (standardized to 0.3% hypericin extract), three times per day, with meals.

    Liquid extract (1:1): 40 to 60 drops, two times per day.

    Tea: Pour one cup of boiling water over 1 to 2 tsp of dried St. John's wort and steep for 10 minutes. Drink up to 2 cups per day for four to six weeks.

    Oil or cream: To treat inflammation, as in wounds, burns or hemorrhoids, an oil-based preparation of St. John's wort can be applied topically.

    Internal dosages generally require at least eight weeks to get the full therapeutic effect.

    Precautions

    The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain active substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a practitioner knowledgeable in the field of botanical medicine.

    Many people take St. John's wort for depression. It is important to bear in mind that depression can be a serious condition and may be accompanied by thoughts of suicide or homicide, both of which warrant immediate medical attention. Evaluation by a healthcare professional should always be sought before using St. John's wort.

    Potential side effects from St. John's wort are generally mild. They include stomach upset, hives or other skin rash, fatigue, restlessness, headache, dry mouth, and feelings of dizziness or mental confusion. Although not common, St. John's wort can also make the skin overly sensitive to sunlight (called photodermatitis). Those with light skin who are taking St. John's wort in large doses or over a long period of time should be particularly careful about sun exposure. The use of sunscreen with a skin protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and the avoidance of sunlamps, tanning booths, or tanning beds is recommended while taking St. John's wort.

    Because of the potential for serious interaction with medications used during surgery, patients should discontinue the use of St. John's wort at least 5 days prior to surgery and should avoid taking it post surgery. See Possible Interactions for more information about mixing St. John's wort and medications.

    St. John's wort should not be taken by women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

    Possible Interactions

    St. John's wort interacts with a range of medications. In most cases, this interactions leads to reduced the effectiveness of the medication in question; in other cases, however, St. John's wort may increase the effects of a medication.

    If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use St. John's wort without first talking to your healthcare provider:

    Antidepressants

    St. John's wort may interact with antidepressant medications that are used to treat depression or other mood disorders, including tricyclics, SSRIs (see earlier discussion), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as phenelzine. How St. John's wort works is not entirely clear, but is believed to be similar to how SSRIs work. Therefore, using St. John's wort with this class of antidepressants in particular can lead to exacerbation of side effects including headache, dizziness, nausea, agitation, anxiety, lethargy, and lack of coherence.

    Digoxin

    St. John's wort should not be taken by those on digoxin because the herb may decrease levels of the medication and reduce its effectiveness.

    Immunosuppressive medications

    St. John's wort should not be taken by those on immunosuppressive medications such as cyclosporine because it may reduce the effectiveness of these medications. In fact, there have been many reports of cyclosporin blood levels dropping in those with a heart or kidney transplant, even leading to rejection of the transplanted organ.

    Indinavir and other protease inhibitors

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory in February 2000 concerning the probable interaction between indinavir and St. John's wort that resulted in significantly decreased blood levels of this protease inhibitor, a class of medications used to treat HIV or AIDS. The FDA recommends that St. John's wort not be used with any type of antiretroviral medication used to treat HIV or AIDS.

    Loperamide

    There has been a report of a possible interaction between St. John's wort and the antidiarrheal medication, loperamide leading to delirium in an otherwise healthy woman.

    Oral contraceptives

    There have been reports of breakthough bleeding in women on birth control pills who were also taking St. John's wort.

    Reserpine

    Based on animal studies, St. John's wort may interfere with the intended action of this medication used to treat high blood pressure.

    Theophylline

    St. John's wort can reduce levels of this medication in the blood leading. Theophylline is used to open the airways in those suffering from asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis.

    Warfarin

    St. John's wort interferes with the anticoagulant medication, warfarin, by reducing blood levels as well as the effectiveness. This leads to the need to for adjustments in doses of this medication.

  • 1 decade ago

    Coco Puff has produced a fine copy of a book answer and may well be the best answer. From personal experience I can tell you that it is a relatively mild antidepressant, but is the best you can do from a homeopathic standpoint. It is widely used as a supplement in Europe and the US, but has been shown to be less effective than many of the prescription antidepressants in head-to-head studies. There is a risk of interation with other medications, so if you are taking any medications ask your chemist or GP prior to starting a St. John's Wort thearpy.

    Also as depression and anxiety can be serious issues, and it is difficult for a person to evaluate themselves adequately, if you are taking this supplement, seek help at the A&E if you notice or your mates notice any significant increase in your symptoms.

    When I tried this medication, it had no effect on me, but everyone is an individual and it may work very well for you. You must allow 1 month for the supplement to reach an optimum level.

    Source(s): FP
  • 6 years ago

    You can find out more about natural hemorrhoids cure here http://curehemorrhoid.info/

    Diarrhea can contribute to hemorrhoid formation because the bowel undergoes pressure strains due to the condition. Undue pressure on the veins that make up internal hemorrhoidal structures can worsen existing damage. Internal hemorrhoids are not visible, unless they proplapse (protrude) from the anus, either constantly or during a bowel movement. If this is the case, then you have a grade III or IV internal hemorrhoid. If the protrusion is on the anal verge or the area surrounding the anus, then its likely an external hemorrhoid. Reducing pressure from issues of diarrhea and constipation will help. Not straining during a bowel movement, not lifting heavy objects, not sitting for extended periods, all will help.

    An external hemorrhoid is simply a vein located at the anal verge, the wall of which as weakened and protruded. Don't push on it, this will only increase pressure and worsen it. The body has to repair the vein wall and rebuild the integrity. This takes time, perhaps weeks, if all goes well. Use sitz baths and over-the-counter medications such as pads or creams to provide symptom relief in the interim. These won't solve the issue long term, but will give the tissue a better chance at self-healing.

    Internal hemorrhoids are a different matter and require more intervention. Your best bet is to educate yourself about the condition, its causes and what options there are to treat it both short and long term. Don't ignore it though, hemorrhoids tend to become chronic in nature, lasting years or decades in some cases.

  • ?
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    St. John Wort is over thousands of yrs old. Has mainly been used over in Europe. Yes it will help you. It's named after John the Baptist. Give it time because it is natural, think of it as food. It will start helping you in about 3 weeks.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 6 years ago

    I had the same problem. I'm not a physician but I can recommend a good ebook I read to solve my problems with hemorrhoids. It teaches how to naturally get rid of Hemorrhoids without drugs, surgery or any kind of gimmicks. Link here http://curehemorrhoids.toptips.org/

    Check it out

  • 1 decade ago

    I AGREE 100% WITH "COCO PUFF" ON HIS ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION!

    I HAVE TAKEN ST. JOHN'S WORT MYSELF FOR MANY YEARS (AND) HAVE ALSO TAKEN IT WHILE TAKING OTHER MEDICATIONS AS PRESCRIBED.

    IT HAS DONE WONDERS FOR ME AND OTHERS THAT I KNOW AND HAVE KNOWN WHO TAKE IT.

    MY DOCTOR WAS WHO FIRST TOLD ME ABOUT IT. HE HAD ME ON XANAX AND KLONOPIN AT THE TIME AND TOLD ME TO GO GET THE ST. JOHN'S WORT AND TAKE IT. I DID AND BOY COULD I TELL A BIG (((GOOD))) DIFFERENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    UNLESS YOU ARE REALLY ALLERGIC TO IT- WHICH YOU WILL BE ABLE TO TELL WHEN YOU FIRST TAKE IT AS WITH ANY OTHER MEDS.- THIS WILL BE VERY GOOD FOR YOU.

    "CoCo Puff" HAS GIVEN YOU LOTS OF GREAT INFORMATION THAT IS TRUE!

    Source(s): P.M., PhD
  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins in the anal canal. They can be itchy, bleeding and/or painful protrusions just under the skin. To get rid of hemorrhoids you can use this natural method that already have thousands of positive reviews https://tr.im/5LKDY

    There are two types internal and external. Internal are inside the anal canal in the lower rectum and external are at the anus. They result from increased pressure in the veins often due to straining during bowel movements and during pregnancy. Scratching in an attempt to relieve the itching symptoms further weakens the area and compounds the problem.

  • 5 years ago

    Hemorrhoids are associated with constipation and straining at bowel movements. How to get rid of hemorrhoids https://tr.im/Vc32P

    Pregnancy is also associated with hemorrhoids. These conditions lead to increased pressure within the hemorrhoidal veins that causes them to swell. Other conditions, for example chronic liver disease, may also cause increased venous pressure and may be associated with hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are very common and are estimated to occur in up to one-half of the population by age 50.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    yeah im taking a very strong dose of it because i refuse to take actual medication from fear of nausea side effects (im emetaphobic) It works a tiny bit for the physical symptoms of anxiety...let the racing heart, mirgraines, oncoming of panic attacks (thought i do tend to gets these anywho but not so often) Doesnt do anything for depression i dont think, and the mental side of things i still have obsessive thoughts irrationality and the anxiousness is still completely there. ttry it out though it works well for some....i dont have as many mirgraines anymore:)

  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    This resource http://treathemorrhoid.kyma.info/ is a must for anyone suffering from hemorrhoids and digestive disorders. I was surfing the internet with trying to find answers to my recurring and debilitating hemorrhoid disorders and I accidently stumbled across it. It has saved my self-esteem and independence after years of crippling hemorrhoids and fissures and their painful symptoms!

  • 1 decade ago

    It is well known to be a milder form of anti depressant than prescription meds.

    It is the most popular supplement sold in Germany today.

    I personally have used it to stave off SAD periods in my life with much success.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.