St. John's Wort?

So, some people says this helps with depression. But it’s also a poison, right? What’s the deal? I don’t want to rely on hippie web pages for my information…



Well, if you’re dead from an overdose of St. John’s Wort, you’re not gonna be depressed any more, now are you?

In my personal experience St. John’s Wort works. I experimented with the pills a while ago. I wasn’t really depressed though, so that might make a difference, my feelings of upbeatness could have been a placebo effect.

I could be wrong, but I think there are quite a few herbs/foods/etc. that can be poisonous if taken in large enough doses, but are harmless or even palliative when eaten/taken in reason . That’s just another one of Mother Nature’s nasty little tricks.

Shame on you! Don’t you know we’re not allowed to talk about alternative medicine etc. on this site?

Everyone knows that any substance that is not government approved will promptly turn you into a quivering lump of green goo!

Now go take your govt. approved speed (oops, ritalin) like a good boy.

(Actually, St. Johns Wort works very well for me, and I’ve experienced no side effects. You have to take it for a few weeks before you’ll notice anything, and what you’ll notice is more the absence of bad moods rather than any overall good feeling. So I think it would be more effective for someone who has mood swings than someone who just feels blah all the time.)

Everything is a poison in a high enough dose, and everything is non-poisonous with a low enough dose. Thus the expression “the dose makes the poison.”

There are two kinds of medicine. One is based on science and evidence, and the other is not. Anything that has science and evidence on its side is called “mainstream,” and anything that doesn’t is called “alternative.”

I have no scientific evidence on this at all, but I can tell you that it appears to control my mood swings (which have trditionally been fairly fierce.) How much of this is the placebo effect, I can’t say - I don’t care either, as long as it works.

It’s worthless, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association:

It can also have some serious interactions with other medications:

Because it’s not effective in the treatment of major depression doesn’t mean it’s worthless. Anecdotal evidence has traditionally indicated that it can be useful in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.

Of course, that’s just anecdotal evidence.

I tried it for a while, and the only effect it seemed to have on me was to generate nuclear, volcanic heartburn, but then WTFDIK?

I switched to St. John’s Wort after Prozac made my sex drive non existant. (You can’t be a very good tramp if you don’t feel like getting it on) It gave me headaches for the first week or so and then they went away. I’d say it works pretty well and is a whole lot cheaper than Prozac.

My experience with prescription antidepressants has been uniformly negative. They don’t relieve my depression, & I become a medication zombie.

Saint John’s Wort is effective in treating my depression. I just spent several days without it, & had several very depressed periods. Resuming it today, my depression vanished.

I was very skeptical of this stuff when I tried it, & did so only at the insistance of Mom.

Mom knows best. :slight_smile:

I urge all of you to keep that in mind. Just because it’s an old piece of wisdom doesn’t mean it’s false. Paracelsus owns you.

I love the stuff. It not only picks me up from feeling gloomy, it enhances my naturally cheerful, chipper, sunny disposition.

I’m so happy I found it. :slight_smile: Happy, happy, happy!:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :smiley:

It’s also used as an antiviral, so I take it not only to elevate my mood but also to hopefully help my liver fight its HCV infection.

It isn’t poisonous as the OP feared. It can affect some people with phototoxicity, sensitivity of the skin to sunlight, which is not at all the same thing as being poisonous. It’s quite safe as long as you be careful about drug interactions.

tramp, your headaches may have resulted not directly from the Hypericum itself, but from its interactions with certain foods: chocolate, red wine, cured meats, aged cheese. Try it both with and without, and see if there’s any difference.

Another ‘me too’ - Yes, SJW considerably alleviated my depression. I used to take it for about 2 years, up until when I met my current girlfriend about a year ago. I did sometimes get a slight itching on my legs, but I don’t know for certain that SJW was the cause. The only bad effects I’ve read about are caused by using it whilst being exposed to excessive UV light. Although the active ingredient (we assume) hypericin is a polycyclic aromatic compound, I’ve never seen any paper that even hints at a cancer risk NB I have no medical training whatsoever.

I’m unable to provide a cite for this as the US Gov’t site ( ) I was going to use is currently down. It’s an ethnobotianical database which describes various plants that have medicincal uses. St. John’s Wort does work, in fact, it works so well that in Germany its a standard treatment for mild depression. American medicine is sometimes slow to catch up to what the rest of the world already knows.

I’ve used it and it did help with my depression, but I quit taking it because in the dosage levels I needed for it to work I was developing the phototoxicity mentioned earlier to such an extent that any more than an hour in sunlight caused me to become sun burned.

There have been a number of peer-reviewed studies that showed that St. Johns Wort was mildly effective for some forms of depression. But there is at least one or two studies now that claim no effect.

So, I’d have to say that the jury is still out, but St. Johns Wort is probably the most likely suspect for an herbal remedy that actually works.

I personaly think that it is a placebo(sp?). You take it, it works because you think it should work.

Whether it works or not (and there’s no reason why it should be any more or less effective than a synthetic chemical, it’s just a plant chemical after all) it does have side effects. Apart from photosensitivity, it’s contraindicated for various other treatments. So just be careful and read all the labels and if you’re having surgery tell your doctor, and stop taking it if appropriate.

It is also rumoured to have magical powers, and a very cool nickname.