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Does St John’s Wort Help With Depression

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What Products Does St Johns Wort Contain And What Are The Effects Of These Substances

St Johns Wort for Depression & Anxiety

The entire plant is used therapeutically, particularly for its mood and brain benefits. St. Johns Wort contains red substances, naphthodianthrones, hypericin, and pseudo hypericin.

In addition, the plant contains phloroglucinol derivatives, in particular hyperforin, as well as flavonoids. These derivatives have been the subject of several studies which have confirmed the intuitions of traditional pharmacopeia.

Drugs That Suppress The Immune System

St. John’s wort can reduce the effectiveness of these medications, which are taken after organ transplant, or to control autoimmune diseases. 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.

  • Adalimumab
  • Tacrolimus

St Johns Wort And Food Reactions

Some people experience reactions with St. Johns wort when eating foods high in the amino acid tyramine.

Foods that have been pickled, aged, smoked, or fermented are highest in tyramine.

This includes beer and wine, many kinds of cheese, aged or cured meat, sauerkraut, fermented soy products, and chocolate.


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The combination of tyramine-rich foods and St. Johns wort is especially dangerous for anyone with high blood pressure.

Its also advised that you avoid alcohol and minimize caffeine intake when supplementing with St. Johns wort.

Unless you are willing to forgo tyramine-rich foods, caffeine, and alcohol, you should steer clear of St. Johns wort supplements.

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Research Into St John’s Wort

Several studies have looked at St Johns wort as a treatment for depression and compared it to other anti depressant drugs. This includes several large randomised clinical trials. Much of that research shows that certain extracts from St Johns wort can help treat mild to moderate depression.

These studies suggest that it is:

  • more effective than a dummy drug
  • as effective as standard anti depressant drugs

The Cochrane Collaboration pulls all the results of related trials together. It looked at all the trials that have used St Johns wort as a treatment for depression. It says that extracts of St. John’s wort are prescribed widely to treat depression. They seem to work as well as standard anti depressants for treating mild to moderate depressive symptoms. Side effects are mild and not common. But it does not seem so helpful for treating major depression.

Scientists are also looking at using St Johns wort for other mental health conditions such as anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. There is also research into the safety of St Johns wort, and how it interacts with other drugs.

A few laboratory studies are testing some substances from St. Johns wort to see whether they could work as cancer treatments. But this is very early research and these substances have not yet been tested in humans.

St Johns Wort Serotonin And Depression

St. John

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: Depression Treatment Options

Natural remedies and alternative medicine are tricky subjects to address. Many of these substances have not been researched adequately, and they are not recognized as a form of prescription medication by the Food and Drug Administration. On the other hand, many people are suspicious about “modern medicine,” as we call it. This is because pharmaceutical giants have a less-than-optimal reputation for being more interested in your money than your well-being.

If you are a member of the latter school of thought and suffer from depression, you might consider some of these alternatives. One of the most popular supplements people turn to is St. John’s Wort. You can easily find it in the supplement aisle of your nearest grocer.

St. John’s Wort is a wild plant that grows in parts of Europe and Asia for those who are not familiar. The plant is cultivated, the flowers are dried, and they are packaged into capsules or processed into oils and sold. The active ingredients are said to relieve symptoms of depression. Today, we are going to weigh the pros and cons of using St. John’s Wort.

Before you use this information to aid in your decision to consider using St. John’s Wort, it is always a good idea to consult with your doctor and mental health specialist as it relates to your depression treatment plan, as they know your personal medical history best and can advise you properly.

St. John’s Wort: The Good

St. John’s Wort: The Bad

St. John’s Wort: The Ugly

What Should I Do?

Natural Or Alternative Depression Medications May Not Be For Everyone But Some Have Had Success Using Natural Remedies Such As St John’s Wort To Treat Mild Depression

The herb St. John’s Wort “is believed to be helpful in relieving mild to moderate depression, but should only be taken under a physician’s supervision,” according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. “St. John’s Wort may clash with other medications or foods a patient is taking, and the efficacy of the supplement is not regulated or assured.”

Some people dont like to take drugs. While its definitely not advisable to self-treat for depression without the guidance of your doctor, and you should never, ever stop taking medication for depression against medical advice, there are instances when so-called natural depression remedies may be in order. St. Johns wort, possibly the most well-known natural depression medication, is a flower extract available in pharmacies and health food stores in the form of pills, tinctures, and teas. While it is relatively well-studied for use in depression, results have been mixed.

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Safer More Effective Alternatives To St Johns Wort

Understandably, you may now be leery of taking a St. Johns wort supplement.

If you are currently taking it with success, then stick with it.

But if you are one of the millions of people for whom St. Johns wort is not a viable option, rest assured that there are many alternatives.

You can also use proven antidepressant activities such as yoga, breathing exercises, neurofeedback, or mindfulness meditation.

Well Supported Natural Therapies For Depression St Johns Wort

Benefit and Side Effects of St Johns Wort for Depression & Anxiety

There are many active chemical constituents in St. John’s Wort. These chemicals, called hypericin, pseudohypericin, and hyperforin, have all been investigated for their anti-depressant properties. However, the reason why St. John’s Wort successfully treats depression is not entirely clear. The first studies found that St. John’s Wort was a weak inhibitor of monoamine oxidase . One group of antidepressants work by this same mechanism. MAO is a substance that breaks down various neurotransmitters . Inhibiting MAO, or keeping it from breaking down the neurotransmitters which control mood , allows these chemicals to stay working in the brain for longer periods of time and thus subsequently improving mood.

More recent studies showed that St. John’s Wort may activate adenosine, gamma-aminobutyric acid , and glutamate receptors . Activation of adenosine receptors is thought to produce a feeling of calm and contentment. Malfunctioning GABA receptors can cause depression and anxiety therefore, activation of these receptors regulates mood. Disturbances in glutamate activity at receptors can lead to depression and suicidality activating these receptors can decrease these feelings.

Safety and Dosing

A typical dose of St. John’s Wort is between 500 and 1,100 mg a day of a standardized herbal extract containing at least 0.3% hypericin.

Side Effects of St. John’s Wort:

  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems
  • Skin rash

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How Does St Johns Wort Work

The plant is known to have active chemical component hypericin while others include hyperforin and flavonoids.

How St. Johns work for the treatment of anxiety and depression is not precisely known, but it most likely works as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor like fluoxetine, or Prozac which helps to increase the secretion of the chemical in the brain such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.

These are neurotransmitters that help to elevate mood. Previously it was believed that hypericin is only responsible for it, but now studies suggest that other chemicals may also play a role in decreasing depression and improve mood.

Not all the research studies, however, agree with the effectiveness of St. Johns wort for anxiety and depression.

But these studies have also been weighed against the studies that show its efficacy similar to that of drugs like Prozac, Celexa, paroxetine , and Zoloft.

How To Take St Johns Wort

St. Johns wort comes in many forms, including tablets, capsules, teas, extracts and oils for the skin.

The standard strength is 0.3% hypericin .

But given that the FDA does not recognize it as a drug, it is not regulated as such and products can vary greatly in strength.

This makes accurate dosing difficult to determine, but most studies on St. Johns wort and depression have used a dose of 300 mg three times a day (

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Talking With Your Pediatrician

If your child is depressed and you would like to try complementary treatments, discuss the possibility with your child’s pediatrician or psychiatrist. Your child’s doctor can discuss the risks and benefits of St. John’s wort with you and help determine the best treatment options for your child’s specific circumstances.

With a few exceptions, most general practitioners may be unfamiliar with both the potential benefits and risks of St. John’s wort and may only prescribe it infrequently.

If you are unsure if your child’s symptoms are part of a depressive disorder, ask your pediatrician about having an evaluation. It’s best to have your child seen by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional before trying any natural remedies for depression.

If you have started using St. John’s wort or any herbal supplement with your child, you must tell your child’s doctor due to the potential for serious interactions with other medications that may be prescribed.

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Using For Depression And Anxiety

Isnt all St. Johns wort the same?No, recently published clinical research has shown that Hyperforin is the main active ingredient in St. Johns wort thought responsible for treating the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

What should I look for when buying St. Johns wort?Look for products standardized to contain at least 3% hyperforin. This ensures you are taking the proven concentration demonstrated in scientific studies. A standard daily dose of 900mg of St. Johns wort extract should contain at least 27mg of hyperforin. Also check to see that the color of the bottle is dark. Since hyperforin is sensitive to heat and light, the St. Johns wort may degrade sooner in a white or clear bottle.

What is the recommended daily dose for St. Johns wort?The daily recommended dose for St. Johns wort is 900 mg per day. For 300mg capsules, take one capsule 3x daily. For 450mg capsules, take one capsule twice daily.

How long should I be taking St. Johns wort before expecting results?St. Johns wort usually takes about a month to start working, and research shows that it doesnt reach maximum effect for 6-8 weeks. So generally, you should take St. Johns wort for about two months before expecting results.

People who are taking MAO inhibitors should absolutely not take St. Johns wort for at least 14 days after they have stopped taking MAO inhibitors. Please consult with your prescribing doctor for more information.

Possible contraindications or precautions to using St. Johns wort

Best St John’s Wort Supplements For Mild Depression

St. Johns Wort is an herbal remedy that has been used for years as an alternative natural treatment for depression. There is scientific evidence to support that St. Johns Wort may help treat mild depression as it has benefits similar to that of antidepressants. In particular, St. Johns Wort contains a natural active chemical called Hypericin which has been shown to boost levels of serotonin in the brain and balance brain chemistry. For mild depression, here are 7 of the best St. Johns Wort supplements for you:

NusaPures St. Johns Wort Capsules contains Hypericin which helps to balance brain chemistry, resulting in a gentle uplifting feeling. This herbal mental health aid helps with depression as well but is not a substitute for antidepressant medicine. Its formula is also 100% vegetarian-safe.

Healths Harmonys St. John’s Wort Capsules are currently 65% off. These capsules are formulated with St Johns Wort which contains a natural active chemical called Hypericin which helps balance brain chemistry. This herbal mental health aid also helps with mild depression and managing anxiety caused by stressful situations.

NOW Supplements St. Johns Wort Capsules is formulated with St. Johns Wort which contains Hypericin, a natural active chemical known for balancing brain chemistry. This supplement helps boost levels of serotonin in the brain to relieve mild depression and anxiety.

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Benefits Of St Johns Wort For Depression

Last updated September 30, 2021.Edited and medically reviewed by Patrick Alban, DC. Written by Deane Alban.

St. Johns wort is a popular remedy for depression however, it has many side effects and interactions. Get the latest facts and learn about alternatives.

St. Johns wort is one of the most popular natural treatments for depression.

Worldwide, billions of dollars of St. Johns wort supplements are sold every year, making it relatively mainstream for an alternative remedy.

But this popular herb is not without controversy.

In some parts of the world, its thought to be so potent that its available only by prescription.

But in others, its banned or restricted due to the number of unwanted side effects and interactions.

Before you take St. Johns wort, you need to know two things: Is it safe? And is it effective?

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Should You Use St. John’s Wort for Depression?

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Andreescu, C., Mulsant, B. H., and Emanuel, J. E. Complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of bipolar disorder–a review of the evidence. J.Affect.Disord. 2008 110:16-26. View abstract.

Bancirova, M. and Lasovsky, J. The photodynamic effect: the comparison of chemiexcitation by luminol and phthalhydrazide. Luminescence. 2011 26:410-415. View abstract.

Barbenel, D. M., Yusufi, B., O’Shea, D., and Bench, C. J. Mania in a patient receiving testosterone replacement postorchidectomy taking St John’s wort and sertraline. J Psychopharmacol 2000 14:84-86. View abstract.

Berlanda, J., Kiesslich, T., Engelhardt, V., Krammer, B., and Plaetzer, K. Comparative in vitro study on the characteristics of different photosensitizers employed in PDT. J.Photochem.Photobiol.B 9-2-2010 100:173-180. View abstract.

Bernd A, Ramirez-Bosca A, Kippenberger S, and et al. Phototoxic effects of Hypericum extract in cultures of human keratinocytes compared with those of psoralen. Photochem Photobiol 1999 2:218-221.

Bhattacharya, S. K., Chakrabarti, A., and Chatterjee, S. S. Activity profiles of two hyperforin-containing hypericum extracts in behavioral models. Pharmacopsychiatry 1998 31 Suppl 1:22-29. View abstract.

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The Beneficial Effects Of St Johns Wort

St. Johns wort is a plant that has two main indications: the treatment of depression and the improvement of certain skin problems.

St. Johns Wort And Depression.

St. Johns Wort is an herbal antidepressant commonly used in the traditional pharmacopeia. The plant relieves nervous agitation and depression. The substances that contain are probably responsible. However, it is not yet known precisely how these products influence the psyche.

The question of whether St. Johns wort really helps to combat a depressed mood or not remains controversial, and studies on the subject have come to contradictory conclusions.

Nevertheless, without necessarily being based on a precise study, this treatment is commonly recommended for seasonal depression or temporary mood disorders of mild to moderate intensity. Because of the specificities of its spectrum of action, it is best to consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking St. Johns Wort.

St. Johns Wort And Skin Problems.

St. Johns wort oil or herb oil macerate, also called red oil because of its color, has mild anti-inflammatory properties. It is said to help small wounds heal more quickly and to help heal sprains, bruises, and minor burns.

When massaged into the skin, it is also said to relieve mild muscle pain. These traditional uses are based on experience, not scientific findings.

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