A Answers (6)
Stacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answeredSt. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a yellow flowering plant that is native to temperate and sub-tropical regions worldwide. The flowers and leaves are used to produce an herbal supplement often used to treat mild to moderate depression, as well as other conditions. Other names for St. John's Wort are goatweed, milleperituis, amber touch-and-heal, John's wort and rosin red.
Debra Fulghum Bruce PhD, Healthcare, answeredSt. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), the popular herbal remedy used to lift symptoms of depression, is taken by more than 20 million Germans on a daily basis and has become quite popular in the United States. This herbal supplement is taken internally to relieve depression without the side effects of prescription antidepressants. In a study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, researchers report that St. John’s wort may help women with PMS (premenstrual syndrome) by easing nervous tension, anxiety, and insomnia.
In a four-month study, 19 women with PMS kept track of their daily symptoms and took psychological tests to rate their emotions and physical state. During months three and four, women were given 300 milligrams of hypericin, the active ingredient in St. John’s wort, and continued to chart their symptoms. Treatment with St. John's wort for two menstrual cycles resulted in significant improvements in PMS symptoms, with greatly reduced symptoms, such as nervous tension, insomnia, crying and depression.
St. John’s Wort is available as capsules, tincture, extract, oil, and dried leaves and flowers. St. John’s Wort can cause sensitive skin in sunlight. Moreover, because this herb can interact with prescription medications, talk to your doctor before self-medicating. (Caution: Since the mechanism of action of St John wort is uncertain, using it with antidepressants such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors is not advised. Pregnant women are advised not to take St. Johns wort.)
Extracts of Hypericum perforatum L. (St. John's wort) have been recommended traditionally for a wide range of medical conditions. The most common modern-day use of St. John's wort is the treatment of depression. Numerous studies report St. John's wort to be more effective than placebo and equally effective as tricyclic antidepressant drugs in the short-term treatment of mild-to-moderate major depression (1-3 months). It is not clear if St. John's wort is as effective as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants such as sertraline (Zoloft®).
Recently, controversy has been raised by two high-quality trials of St. John's wort for major depression that did not show any benefits. However, due to problems with the designs of these studies, they cannot be considered definitive. 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.
St. John's wort can cause many serious interactions with prescription drugs, herbs, or supplements. Therefore, people using any medications should consult their healthcare providers including their pharmacist prior to starting therapy.
You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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RealAge answeredHypericum, which is the term used for herbal preparations and extracts of St. John's wort, contains a variety of substances that individually or in concert may be responsible for the actions of the herb. Hypericin, one of the compounds found both in the plant and in hypericum, is often used as a marker substance to describe the strength of extracts. Some other substances in hypericum include hyperforin, hyperforin-related compounds and many other classes of plant chemicals.
MediGuard answeredSt John's Wort is an herbal supplement that has the potential for many drug interactions. Discuss adding this medication to your regimen with your doctor before taking this drug especially given your history of seizure disorder.
St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a plant with yellow flowers that has been used to treat depression in European countries for centuries. It is sold in liquid and powder (pill) form and can be found at health food stores and pharmacies.
A person who wants to try St. John's wort should first talk to his or her doctor because it may interfere with treatment for other conditions. Also, herbal products are not regulated in the United States, so ingredients and quality can be inconsistent.
A person should not take St. John's wort while taking:
- Other antidepressants. Taking both can result in serious, negative side effects.
- Protease inhibitors (PIs) or nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) for the treatment of HIV infection.
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