babbis asked in HealthAlternative Medicine · 1 decade ago

tell me about St John's Wort?

st john's wort for depression

16 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    Here are the facts:

    St. John's wort

    Also listed as: Hypericum perforatum; Klamathweed


    Plant Description

    What's It Made Of?

    Available Forms

    How to Take It


    Possible Interactions

    Supporting Research


    St. John's wort ( Hypericum perforatum ), once thought to rid the body of evil spirits, has a history of medicinal use dating back to ancient Greece, where it was used to treat a range of illnesses, including various 'nervous conditions.' St. John's wort also has antibacterial and antiviral properties and, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, has been used to help heal wounds and burns.

    In recent years, there has been renewed interest in St. John's wort as a treatment for depression and there has been a great deal of scientific research on this topic. St. John's wort is one of the most commonly purchased herbal products in the United States. Because St. John's wort interacts with a wide variety of medications, it is important to take it only under the guidance of a healthcare provider who is knowledgeable about herbal medicines.


    In numerous studies, St. John's wort has been effective in reducing depressive symptoms in those with mild to moderate but not severe (called major) depression. When compared with tricyclic anti-depressants (medication frequently prescribed for this condition) such as imipramine, amitriptyline, doxepin, desipramine, and nortriptyline, St. John's wort is equally effective, and has fewer side effects. This also appears to be true for another well known class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) including fluoxetine and sertraline.


    St. John's wort has also shown promise in treating the following conditions, a few of which are related to depression.

    Alcoholism : In animal studies, St. John's wort substantially reduced the craving for and intake of alcohol. It is hypothesized that alcohol abuse may be a form of self-medication and that, by relieving depressive symptoms, St. John's wort may reduce the perceived need for alcohol.

    Bacterial infections : In laboratory studies, St. John's wort has demonstrated the ability to fight certain infections, including some bacteria that are resistant to the effects of antibiotics. More research is needed in this area to understand if these test tube findings will prove useful for people.

    HIV infection and AIDS : While laboratory research suggests that St. John's wort may kill or inhibit the growth of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV; the virus that causes AIDS), St. John's wort has serious interactions with medications used to treat people with the virus. In the case of the protease inhibitor indinavir, for example, concurrent use of St. John's wort may cause the medication to lose its effectiveness. In addition, participants in a study of St. John's wort for people with HIV dropped out of the study prematurely because of intolerable side effects from the herb.

    Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) : An early study suggests that St. John's wort may be useful in relieving both physical and emotional symptoms of PMS including cramps, irritability, food cravings, and breast tenderness.

    Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) : Used alone, St. John's wort has improved mood in those suffering from SAD (a form of depression that occurs during the winter months because of lack of sunlight). This condition is often treated with photo (light) therapy. Effects may prove to be even greater when the herb is used in combination with light therapy.

    Viral encephalitis : Herbal specialists may recommend use of a tincture containing a combination of ginkgo, St. John's wort, and rosemary to relieve symptoms associated with recovery from brain inflammation (viral encephalitis) such as cognitive impairment, visual and speech disturbances, and difficulty performing routine functions.

    Wounds, minor burns, hemorrhoids : Topical St. John's wort is, at times, recommended by herbal specialists to reduce pain and inflammation and to promote healing by applying the agent directly to the skin. Preliminary laboratory tests are suggesting that this traditional use may have scientific merit.

    Ear pain from an ear infection : In a study of over 100 children between ages 6 and 18 with ear pain from an ear infection (called otitis media), a combination herbal ear drop, including St. John's wort, garlic, calendula, and mullein flower, alleviated pain as much as a standard pain killing ear drop.

    Plant Description

    St. John's wort is a shrubby plant with clusters of yellow flowers that have oval, elongate petals. The plant gets its name because it is often in full bloom around June 24, the day traditionally celebrated as the birthday of John the Baptist. Both the flowers and leaves are used for medicinal purposes.

    What's It Made Of?

    The best-studied active components are hypericin and pseudohypericin, found in both the leaves and flowers. There has been recent research to suggest, though, that these best-studied components may not be the most active in the plant, which also contains essential oils and flavonoids.

    Available Forms

    St. John's wort can be obtained in many forms: capsules, tablets, tinctures, teas, and oil-based skin lotions. Chopped or powdered forms of the dried herb are also available. St. John's wort products should be standardized to contain 0.3% hypericin.

    How to Take It


    The bulk of scientific research on St. John's wort has been conducted in adults. However, one large study (over 100 children under age 12) found St. John's wort to be a safe and effective way of treating mild to moderate symptoms of depression in children. Dosage should be directed by a qualified practitioner and will likely be adjusted according to the weight of the child. Children being treated with St. John's wort should be carefully monitored for side effects such as allergic reactions or digestive upset.


    Dry herb (in capsules or tablets): The usual dose for mild depression and mood disorders is 300 to 500 mg (standardized to 0.3% hypericin extract), three times per day, with meals.

    Liquid extract (1:1): 40 to 60 drops, two times per day.

    Tea: Pour one cup of boiling water over 1 to 2 tsp of dried St. John's wort and steep for 10 minutes. Drink up to 2 cups per day for four to six weeks.

    Oil or cream: To treat inflammation, as in wounds, burns or hemorrhoids, an oil-based preparation of St. John's wort can be applied topically.

    Internal dosages generally require at least eight weeks to get the full therapeutic effect.


    The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain active substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a practitioner knowledgeable in the field of botanical medicine.

    Many people take St. John's wort for depression. It is important to bear in mind that depression can be a serious condition and may be accompanied by thoughts of suicide or homicide, both of which warrant immediate medical attention. Evaluation by a healthcare professional should always be sought before using St. John's wort.

    Potential side effects from St. John's wort are generally mild. They include stomach upset, hives or other skin rash, fatigue, restlessness, headache, dry mouth, and feelings of dizziness or mental confusion. Although not common, St. John's wort can also make the skin overly sensitive to sunlight (called photodermatitis). Those with light skin who are taking St. John's wort in large doses or over a long period of time should be particularly careful about sun exposure. The use of sunscreen with a skin protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and the avoidance of sunlamps, tanning booths, or tanning beds is recommended while taking St. John's wort.

    Because of the potential for serious interaction with medications used during surgery, patients should discontinue the use of St. John's wort at least 5 days prior to surgery and should avoid taking it post surgery. See Possible Interactions for more information about mixing St. John's wort and medications.

    St. John's wort should not be taken by women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

    Possible Interactions

    St. John's wort interacts with a range of medications. In most cases, this interactions leads to reduced the effectiveness of the medication in question; in other cases, however, St. John's wort may increase the effects of a medication.

    If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use St. John's wort without first talking to your healthcare provider:


    St. John's wort may interact with antidepressant medications that are used to treat depression or other mood disorders, including tricyclics, SSRIs (see earlier discussion), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as phenelzine. How St. John's wort works is not entirely clear, but is believed to be similar to how SSRIs work. Therefore, using St. John's wort with this class of antidepressants in particular can lead to exacerbation of side effects including headache, dizziness, nausea, agitation, anxiety, lethargy, and lack of coherence.


    St. John's wort should not be taken by those on digoxin because the herb may decrease levels of the medication and reduce its effectiveness.

    Immunosuppressive medications

    St. John's wort should not be taken by those on immunosuppressive medications such as cyclosporine because it may reduce the effectiveness of these medications. In fact, 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.

    Indinavir and other protease inhibitors

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory in February 2000 concerning the probable interaction between indinavir and St. John's wort that resulted in significantly decreased blood levels of this protease inhibitor, a class of medications used to treat HIV or AIDS. The FDA recommends that St. John's wort not be used with any type of antiretroviral medication used to treat HIV or AIDS.


    There has been a report of a possible interaction between St. John's wort and the antidiarrheal medication, loperamide leading to delirium in an otherwise healthy woman.

    Oral contraceptives

    There have been reports of breakthough bleeding in women on birth control pills who were also taking St. John's wort.


    Based on animal studies, St. John's wort may interfere with the intended action of this medication used to treat high blood pressure.


    St. John's wort can reduce levels of this medication in the blood leading. Theophylline is used to open the airways in those suffering from asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis.


    St. John's wort interferes with the anticoagulant medication, warfarin, by reducing blood levels as well as the effectiveness. This leads to the need to for adjustments in doses of this medication.

  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    Hemorrhoids can result in a huge amount of discomfort, throb, irritation and scratching. In case you are suffering of hemorroids and you need discard them, this is surely the best approach to discard hemorrhoids : I always had stoppage or hard stools. At times i would even have torment when im resting and it would simply come on all the sudden. I figure it was a result of the nerves in that area or the body. I am normally very doubtful yet the ache was path worst than the cash it would cost to see whether it worked or not. So i tried it and it says it cure most individuals withing 48 hours session it didn't cure me that quick. In case its straining that is the problem then you need to get some more fiber in your consuming technique, notwithstanding no short of what 8 glasses of water of the day. In case its irritation then use simply sensitive tissue and add aloe to calm the area down. There are furthermore certain nourishments that can offer support. Trust me take after this technique: It unquestionably tackled my hemorrhoids problem .If you take after this procedure for a couple of days you will see that your problem will vanish.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It increases seratonin levels. In Germany, since 1978 new physicians must pass a test on herbs in order to be licensed, St. John's wort is prescribed for depression about 50% of the time.

    For years, it was advised to use it only for mild to medium depression. But a recent study indicates it is effective for severe depression, too.


  • 1 decade ago

    I agree with John P but St Johns Wort needs to be taken for a few weeks for it to kick in and don't take if you are on HRT or the Pill.

  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    st john wort acts as an anti depressant it has been banned in some countries i know its banned here in ireland not sure why but your best bet is to have a chat to your doctor before taking anything they'll be able to give you more info on it also if it is banned where you live they'll be able to offer an alternitive if you want to go down the route of herbal medicine most doc's are all for this now i know mine is

    good luck

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Hi fun i think this is a fantastic question. And a fantastic product..Don't listen to all the people saying negative things about this product it helped me so it can help you.

    Its great by making your realize everything isn't as bad as you thought it was. And your really to face the world and do what your have to do with No hesitations

    Its a natural product and has NO!! side effects what more could you ask for.

    It works instantly and also can be taken only for a time of 2 weeks then after the body naturally goes back to how you felt before.

    brilliant choice.

    Source(s): Alternative therapist/personal thoughts/personal use.
  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    This is the best method to get rid of hemorrhoids :

    I discovered it after years of pain...I was too shy for asking help to a doctor for my hemorrhoids problem...and surely I wanted to avoid surgery!

    This method helped me a lot! Now I don't have hemorroids anymore and I fell definitely more irritation no more pain no more bleeding hemorrhoids. I suggest you to try it if you are suffering of hemorrhoids. This method is very fast and quickly you can get rid of hemorrhoids once for all and solve this problem for ever. I know how you feel...I was feeling very bad becouse i didn't what to do, but trust me with that method you can quickly get relief and start feeling good. In the end hemorrhoids are just engorged venis and there is a solution fo this problem.

    This is based on years of medical researches and allows you to solve your hemorrhoid problem in just days! I really hope it helps :)

  • 5 years ago

    The most common causes of hemorrhoids are straining during bowel movements and obesity. Follow these essential hemorrhoid prevention tips and you may not even have to delve into any hemorrhoid treatments

    If you’re straining during bowel movements, there is no doubt that you are suffering from constipation, and obesity only heightens your chance of experiencing these digestive issues. The best solution for hemorrhoids is to not have them at all!

  • 4 years ago

    Check out a store instead of shopping on-line.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Host a party—the cleaning and prep work could keep you off the couch.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    it is an anti-depressant for mild to moderate depression,atho if you are allergic to sunlight it has been advised not to use it.I would recommend its use as i used it to treat PND 6 years ago..while i made efforts ot get out took the edge off those dark cloady days..everyone is different.

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.