St Johns Wort side effects?

hey all, i heard that if adolescents take st johns wort, they are likely to wind up with conception and infertility problems. can anyone clarify this for me? i would like to know any other possible effects, short or long term, of taking this drug. thanks a lot!

Hey, I don’t have a clue if there are side effects to it. Your zero responses looked lonely, (yeah, I read that somewhere). I take it daily, but since I’m sterile (by choice) in the first place I really don’t have anything to contribute about that kind of side effects. So, never mind.

As requested in the “Men’s colored nails” thread. An answer…

I checked several websites, and they all seem to be in agreement. Reported side effects include: increased sensitivity to light, gastrointestinal discomfort, allergic reactions, fatigue, restlessness, dry mouth, confusion, and dizziness.

Of these, light sensitivity seems to be the biggest concern. “Go Ask Alice” does mention that there does not seem to be any sexual side effects. OTOH, several other sites warn against taking it when pregnant or lactating. Nothing about infertility, at least not yet.

Mr. K’s Link of the Month:

Punch Bill Gates

Whoops. Just re-read the Go Ask Alice site, and there it was:

So, though it’s not certain yet, it is possible.

St. Johns Wort is NOT A CURE-ALL! If you suffer from very mild depression, it might help, but if you have any of the more serious forms of the problem, then you will more than likely need the higher powered anti-depressants and therapy.

There are dozens of antidepressants out and if you suffer side effects from on, you can request to switch to another. Sometimes, it takes two or three types to find the one which works best for you with the least side effects.

It is not wise to combine St. Johns Wort with prescription medication of any form unless cleared by your doctor. It can be antagonistic with some types.

The Night Watch always knows things.

do NOT take it with any MAO inhibitors! you need to be off one or the other for at least 2 weeks before you take the other. ask your doctor. Me… I take it everyday… I think it works well, especially for the first six months (may take a couple of weeks to see an effect). It is definatly not a strong anti-depresent, but it is a mildly effective mood elivator.

I read a news report several months back stating that it would cause infertility in women while taking it, but didn’t say anything about long term effects.

And thanks for the info about the MAO inhibitors - I’m taking Meridia & I might not have realized that.

The “active ingeriedents” in St. John’s wart are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI’s) - the same group of chemicals as Prozac and some newer antidepressants. (Of course, since they come from a plant, you never know for sure how much you’re taking in, but if it didn’t come from a plant, it would require a prescription) (Note: It is not a natural monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor as some folks first thought.)

Yes, there are some well-known and possibly undersiable sexual side effects associated with SSRI’s. I don’t recall infertility, but “kinkiness” and promiscuity are documented. Generally, anything you can say about both Prozac and Zoloft probably applies to almost all SSRI’s.

Is it just me or why would adolescents want to get pregnant?

thanks all, for your responses. and though i am a teenager who does not want to get pregnant right now, i want to be able to have children some day, and infertility would interfere with that. before someone tells me abt adoption, IV fertilization, or, i’m just making sure all my options are open. anyway thanks again for replying! =)

I mentioned this question to a more knowledgeable friend of mine, who pointed out something interesting I didn’t know:

The FDA approved SSRI’s after only 4-week clinical trials. Although some folks had a bad “outcome” right away, much more serious problems develop with longer use - loss of balance etc. That’s why you’re supposed to take SSRI’s to get over a depression (2-4 months) and not longer.

Ann Blake Tracy’s web site:

My advice is to stay away from this stuff.

I tried St. John’s Wort, and all I experienced was hellacious heartburn. It didn’t seem to have any other effect, though. Go figure.

St. John’s Wort is actually about to become a prescription drug in Ireland due to side effects particularly when taken following or before the comsumption of red wine or cheese (apparently)!

Someone had posted earlier in another thread that St. John’s Wort was similar to older MAO inhibitors, and that that use of alcohol was contraindicated with this drug. Anyone know?

Wort is one of those unregulated products & so you dont really know what you are getting in that bottle.

I think like enchinea, might be better to grow your own.

Enchinea [sp] is the purple cornflower. Matter of fact, you can easlily buy it as a plant at the plant store, its a very common
flower. Wonder what part to eat?

i think it’s “echinacea.” so they serve the same purpose? guess i’ll check that one out then. thanks a bunch.

[[Someone had posted earlier in another thread that St. John’s Wort was similar to older MAO inhibitors, and that that use of alcohol was contraindicated with this drug. Anyone know?]] JillGat

That is what I had been led to believe about the wort and MAO inhibitors, Jill, but perhaps my info is now outdated. IIRC, it’s not alcohol per se that is contrindicated with MAO inhibitors, but definitely beer (and aged cheeses, and a lot of stuff many people eat without a second’s thought).

BTW, the main sexual side effect of SSRIs, in men anyway, is difficulty (or a longer time, at least) reaching oregasm. Depending on the guy, women may not see this as a detrimental side effect, of course.

Though I haven’t seen the evidence of the efficacy of either (not to say it’s not there… I just haven’t seen it), St. John’s Wort and echinacea are not similar, and are indicated for different health conditions.

right, echinacea is for bronchial problems or something of that sort. oh well. maybe i’ll just tickle myself or something.

“I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe.”

St. John’s Wort(Hypericum Perforatum) has a long medicinal use, over 2000 years. It has been the main treatment(over prescription drugs) for mild to moderate depression in Germany for a decade. Like SSRIs and MAOIs, it takes 6-8 weeks to see best results. If you’re taking prescription anti-depressants, don’t take SJW with them. Your physician can supervise a weaning period/switch from one to the other.If they aren’t familiar with the herb, there is a PDR for Herbal Medicines available. Many people have found SJW to be as effective, without the undesirable side effects, as prescription anti-depressants, and much more economical.The cost of hypericum extract is about 50 cents a daily dose, as opposed to $2.25 for Prozac or Zoloft.

There has been a lot of European research on Hypericum, and now, driven by market demand, research is being done in the US. The main side effects are: photosensitivity(mostly from doses far higher than recommended for depression- several instances of livestock poisoning from excessive grazing on the plant), and stomach upset in some people.The food interaction is with tyramine (an amino acid) rich foods, such as aged cheese, herring, and red wine. This can cause a reaction in which the blood pressure skyrockets, accompanied by headache, palpitations, and nausea. The older class of anti-depressants can have this interaction as well.

Hypericum does not have a single recorded human death in it’s long history of use. It’s being explored for potential benefit in AIDS treatment, as, in higher doses, it has significant anti-retroviral activity.

The warning about infertility is new to me, and I can’t find any information on it yet. Given it’s long history, and extensive modern use in Europe, if this were a serious concern, red flags would be up by now. The contraindication in pregnancy is because SJW can act as an emmenagogue( bringing on menstruation).

More information on Hypericum for depression can be found at Ask Dr.Weil. This site includes a link to The Hypericum Page, which includes the entire text of the book that started the St. John’s Wort media craze in the US:" Hypericum and Depression", by Harold Bloomfield.

If you are wanting treatment for depression, that’s an issue best explored with professional guidance. St. John’s Wort is not a quick pick-me-up, but can be a useful addition to therapy. There are herbs that can be helpful with anxiety, namely Kava root, Passionflower, and Valerian. The problem with herbal medicines is in finding good quality products. Especially with boom-market herbs like St. John’s Wort and Echinacea. In general, tinctures(alcohol extracts of plants) are the most assured quality and shelf-stable. There are many reputable companies. If your physician is not quite up to steam on this, and you don’t know of a good alternative practitioner, health food stores usually have knowledgable staff(Do not substitute this for medical treatment!). Stay away from the cheap stuff, it’s usually not optimum quality.
Echinacea( echinacea angustifolium & other sp.) and St.John’s Wort are not similar in usage. (Although both possess anti-viral capacities) Echinacea-purple coneflower-has no usage for depression. It is a very effective antibiotic and immune system stimulant. There has been reams of research done in Germany. If taken at the onset of cold and flu symptoms, it can greatly shorten the duration of illness. Again, getting a good quality product is the key to it’s effectiveness.