What The Science Says About The Safety And Side Effects Of St Johns Wort For Depression
- Combining St. Johnâs wort with certain antidepressants can lead to a potentially life-threatening increase of serotonin, a brain chemical targeted by antidepressants. Symptoms occur within minutes to hours, and may include agitation, diarrhea, fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, hallucinations, increased body temperature, and more.
- There are case reports of St. Johnâs wort having dangerous side effects, such as worsening of psychotic symptoms in people with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
- Taking St.â¯ Johnâs wort can weaken many prescription medicines, such as:
- Cyclosporine, used to prevent the body from rejecting transplanted â¯organs
- Digoxin, a heartâ¯ medication
What Is St Johns Wort
St. Johns wort or Hypericum perforatum is a wild-growing plant with yellow flowers. According to the National Institutes of Health, its one of the top-selling supplements in the United States. Questions and answers: A trial of St. Johns wort for the treatment of major depression. . People take the herbal supplement to help with depression, anxiety, or sleeping problems.
Supplement manufacturers make St. Johns wort in different forms, including capsules, tea, or liquid extract.
It May Be As Effective As Antidepressants
There is strong evidence to support the use of St. Johns wort in the treatment of depression.
In 2016, an in-depth review of 35 studies examined these effects.
It found that St. Johns wort (
- Reduced symptoms of mild and moderate depression more than a placebo
- Reduced symptoms to a similar extent as prescription antidepressants
- Appeared to have fewer side effects than prescription antidepressants
- Doesnt seem to reduce sex drive, a common side effect of antidepressants
However, there was a lack of research on its effects on severe depression.
Another recent analysis looked at 27 studies comparing the effects of St. Johns wort and antidepressant medication. It showed that St. Johns wort had effects similar to those of antidepressants on mild to moderate depression.
It also found fewer people stopped taking St. Johns wort during the studies, compared to antidepressants. This could be due to its fewer side effects .
Furthermore, in one controlled study, 251 people who took 9001,800 mg of St. Johns wort for six weeks experienced a 56.6% decrease in their depression score, compared to a 44.8% decrease in those on antidepressants .
Lastly, another controlled study in 241 people taking either St. Johns wort or an antidepressant found that 68.6% of people experienced a reduction in symptoms with St. Johns wort, compared to 70.4% of those on an antidepressant .
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St Johns Wort For Anxiety And Depression
The use of st. johns wort for anxiety and depression treatment has been widely studies in numerous scientific research studies. There are mixed studies that show its effectiveness for anxiety treatment.
- In 2009 a systematic review was done of 29 international scientific studies. The report suggested that the use of St. Johns wort may be as effective as placebo and may also be as effective as the standardly prescribed medication for mild to moderate depression.It also showed to have lesser side effects as compared to the standard antidepressants available in the market. The research studies were done in German-speaking countries showed more favorable outcomes than the studies done in non-German speaking countries.
- Another study conducted in 2011 did not show any positive results of the use of both St. Johns wort and antidepressant medicines for decreasing the symptoms of minor depression.
- A study conducted in 2002, the use of St. Johns wort was found to be no more effective than the placebo in the treatment of major depression having moderate severity.
- The preliminary research studies suggested that St Johns wort may help in preventing the nerve cells from re-absorption of certain chemical messengers in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin.
However, the research studies conducted to show effectiveness for these uses have not given any substantial evidence in its support, so far.
Licensed For Quality And Safety
HRI Good Mood tablets offer the highest dose of St Johns Wort available on the high street in the UK.
Like all HRI herbal medicines, it is licensed under the Traditional Herbal Registration scheme, which means that it has gone through a rigorous application process with the governments Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency , following the submission and approval of a wide range of evidence to indicate the safety and quality of the product.
The THR logo on the pack shows you that herbal medicines are of pharmaceutical quality and manufactured to European Good Manufacturing Practice Guidelines.
Join our and get more mood-boosting tips and natural ways to support your health.
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Uses For Social Anxiety Disorder
Given that no research evidence exists to support the use of St. John’s Wort in treating SAD, its usefulness for this purpose is questionable. However, if you suffer from depression in addition to social anxiety disorder, you may experience some benefit.
As a bottom line, if you have been diagnosed with SAD, be sure to consult with your healthcare professional about effective primary treatment methods, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors .
What Are Consumers Saying About St Johns Wort
Healths Harmony St. Johns Wort reviews by customers indicate that this supplement is very effective.
While most of the reviews for this product are positive, like all antidepressant medications and treatments, St. Johns Wort may not be for everyone. Discuss with your doctor before taking this supplement, and if you experience any severe side effects, discontinue use immediately.
Depression and anxiety are common disorders that can make daily tasks extremely challenging. Some estimates allege that approximately one in ten Americans suffer from some level of depression and/or anxiety. Symptoms of anxiety and depression include ongoing feelings of sadness accompanied by unease, irritability, tension, and nervousness. While some people require medication to deal with these occasionally crippling symptoms, others may find an all-natural product helpful. An all natural relaxation supplement should promote healthy neurological function. All ingredients should be clinically proven to reduce feelings of anxiousness, sadness, unease, irritability, tension, and nervousness.
Below you’ll find some of the most effective natural nervousness relief supplements on the market today, in our opinion.
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It Can Interact With Many Common Medications
St. Johns wort interacts with a large number of commonly prescribed medications.
In most cases, it decreases their effects, but it can also increase them, potentially resulting in more frequent and severe side effects.
Its known to interact with the following medications, among others:
- Antidepressants: It can increase side effects when taken with some antidepressants. This can lead to serotonin syndrome, a rare condition in which levels of serotonin become too high and, in extreme cases, can be fatal (
St. Johns wort has been found to interact with many common medications. It is important that you speak to your doctor before taking it if you are currently on any other medications.
St Johns Wort Serotonin And Depression
A friend of a friend committed suicide this past month, and I knew and liked him. Im sad about this, and so Im prompted to write this article today on the worlds most beloved plant-derived antidepressant.
As you can see, St. Johns wort is a beautiful plant with yellow flowers, and it grows wild in many parts of the world. Ironically, its name doesnt quite have the same beautiful effect who wants to touch something thats called a wort lol? Actually, its just the old English word for plant, so its not as bad as it sounds. Its botanical name is Hypericum perforatum.
Extracts from this little plant have been used for centuries as an herbal remedy for all sorts of medical problems. As a dietary supplement, St. Johns wort is probably best known for its positive impact on mild depression and overall mood.
How does St. Johns wort affect mood?
Although research is ongoing, a large part of the magic lies on its impact on those tiny chemicals which hold the keys to brain function and mood: Neurotransmitters! For a long time, hypericin was thought to help with the blues, however scientists are noting that another compound in the plant called hyperforin plays an even bigger role. There are thousands of biologically active components to the plant so Im sure time and research will reveal other compounds in addition to these.
Neurotransmitters are simply small molecules used by neurons to communicate with each other. Five of the major ones include:
Serotonin and mood
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St Johns Wort As An Anxiety Trigger
While several studies and personal reports have found that St. Johns wort can help those with anxiety, it may have the opposite effect in some people.
A case study published in the journal The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders reported that a patient who drank a glass of St. Johns wort extract experienced a panic attack shortly afterward. Yildirim O, et al. . A case of panic attack induced by St. Johns wort. DOI: 10.4088/PCC.12l01453 The study noted the report was one of the first to suggest that St. Johns wort could cause a panic attack.
St. Johns wort can cause side effects as well as interact with certain medications. Potential side effects can include:
- stomach upset
How Do I Take St Johns Wort
Preparations in the U.S. have different amounts of active ingredient, so be careful to note how much youâre getting in your tablets. Depending on the preparation, St. Johns wort can be taken in any of the following ways:
- 300 mg three times a day for up to six weeks
- 250 mg twice a day for six weeks
- 300 to 600 mg three times a day for six weeks
- 350 mg three times a day for eight weeks
- 300 to 600 mg three times a day for up to 26 weeks
- 400 mg twice a day for six weeks.
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Does St Johns Wort Work
Research has found that St John’s wort is useful in the treatment of mild to moderate depression, but not effective in severe depression.
In an analysis of studies comparing St Johns wort with a placebo and standard antidepressants , the authors found that compared with placebo, people taking St Johns wort were more likely to have an improvement in their symptoms. There were no significant differences in depression response rates between St Johns wort and standard antidepressants. The studies also found that patients taking St Johns wort were less likely to drop out of trials due to adverse effects than those taking standard antidepressants.
There are a number of products available on the market containing St John’s wort . When buying St John’s wort you should be careful about the potency and purity of the product. A standardised extract of 0.3% Hypericum is mostly used in clinical trials.
St John’s wort is possibly effective for menopausal symptoms, plaque psoriasis, wound healing and somatisation disorder. Read more about St John’s wort National Institute of Health.
Other Things To Consider
Im not sure where you live, but aside from St. Johns wort, you also may want to look into telehealth. These days, MANY providers are working with people online. There are services like Betterhelp, which can give you access to licensed professionals for lower cost than traditional therapy as well. Increasingly, telehealth platforms are starting to integrate psychiatry as well and there are a number of ways to get access to mental health medications like SSRIs online too. Before you rule anything out, make sure you do your due diligence and look into what options you might be able to access from the comfort of your own home.
Beyond treatment, there are also many other resources that you can start diving into as well. Books, podcasts, online courses, youtube videos, blogs, etc. You arent stuck or hopeless. Lots of things to consider and look into. In a vacuum, lets assume that you are in a remote area with no access to mental health care and you are not taking anything that would be contraindicated if your body allows for it, cardiovascular exercise is technically free and has been shown in the research to be about as effective as an SSRI for depression. You also may consider St. Johns wort, which is similarly about as effective as an SSRI for mild to moderate depression and is pretty damn cheap.
Thank you for the question!
You can listen to this on Episode 255 of the podcast!
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How To Use St Johns Wort
St. Johns wort supplements are safe to be used in doses from around 600 to 1,800 mg per serving. To relieve anxiety, experts suggest beginning their remedy with the lowest dose. You need to talk with your doctor before taking this supplement because St. Johns wort can interfere with other medications.
Makes Some Drugs Less Effective
St. Johns wort also induces the metabolization of certain medications. This means the body breaks them down faster than usual so they may not work as effectively. For this reason, doctors dont usually recommend taking St. Johns wort if a person takes medications such as:
- birth control pills
If you take St. Johns wort , make sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist. Your doctor can make sure St. Johns wort wont interfere with the medications you take currently.
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Doctor Warns Against St Johns Wort For Anxiety
- Saint Louis University
- In a broad-based review of studies focused on drugs that treat anxiety, a doctor found no evidence supporting the use of so-called ânaturalâ treatments in combating the effects of anxiety.
In a broad-based review of studies focused on drugs that treat anxiety, a Saint Louis University doctor found no evidence supporting the use of so-called ânaturalâ treatments in combating the effects of anxiety.
St. Johnâs wort, kava extract and valerian, herbal remedies touted on the Internet, have not been proven to be effective in treating anxiety wrote Kimberly Zoberi, M.D., associate professor of family and community medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Additionally, she raised concerns about the safety of valerian, particularly lacking any long-term studies of the herb.
âPatients should be extremely cautious about garnering medical advice from the Internet,â says Zoberi. âThere is no evidence that those medications are effective. If a patient wishes to avoid drug therapy, her doctor can suggest alternatives such as cognitive behavioral therapy.â
Zoberi found that medications from the anticonvulsant class of drugs are among the quickest and most effective ways to provide relief to patients in distress without the side effects of other first-line treatments. The downside is that these prescriptions are fairly expensive compared to other treatments.
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