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Help: St. John's Wort

Bernard 01 Oct 00 - 09:44 AM
Kara 01 Oct 00 - 10:15 AM
Roger in Sheffield 01 Oct 00 - 10:51 AM
Bud Savoie 01 Oct 00 - 01:04 PM
JTT 01 Oct 00 - 04:17 PM
Amergin 01 Oct 00 - 05:31 PM
Shamrock 01 Oct 00 - 06:46 PM
Noreen 01 Oct 00 - 06:51 PM
campfire 01 Oct 00 - 06:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Oct 00 - 06:59 PM
bbelle 01 Oct 00 - 07:51 PM
kendall 01 Oct 00 - 07:57 PM
Jeri 01 Oct 00 - 08:58 PM
Noreen 01 Oct 00 - 09:25 PM
Jeri 01 Oct 00 - 09:43 PM
Jeri 01 Oct 00 - 09:49 PM
Hotspur 01 Oct 00 - 10:55 PM
Uncle Jaque 01 Oct 00 - 11:34 PM
celticblues5 01 Oct 00 - 11:54 PM
Noreen 02 Oct 00 - 04:48 AM
Lady McMoo 02 Oct 00 - 05:14 AM
Lady McMoo 02 Oct 00 - 05:14 AM
GUEST,Michael in Swansea 02 Oct 00 - 05:47 AM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Oct 00 - 05:56 AM
Pinetop Slim 02 Oct 00 - 07:10 AM
Penny S. 02 Oct 00 - 01:21 PM
DougR 02 Oct 00 - 01:41 PM
Jim Dixon 02 Oct 00 - 02:14 PM
kendall 02 Oct 00 - 02:20 PM
Peg 02 Oct 00 - 05:03 PM
Hotspur 02 Oct 00 - 08:33 PM
Uncle Jaque 02 Oct 00 - 09:12 PM
Amergin 02 Oct 00 - 09:30 PM
Bernard 03 Oct 00 - 05:08 AM
Bernard 07 Oct 00 - 07:23 AM
Ferrara 07 Oct 00 - 03:34 PM
Bernard 07 Oct 00 - 08:03 PM
Catrin 09 Oct 00 - 11:11 AM
Bernard 09 Oct 00 - 04:12 PM
okthen 10 Oct 00 - 07:34 AM
Bernard 10 Oct 00 - 07:52 AM
okthen 10 Oct 00 - 09:08 AM
Peg 10 Oct 00 - 10:46 AM
Noreen 10 Oct 00 - 11:25 AM
Jeri 10 Oct 00 - 12:01 PM
Noreen 10 Oct 00 - 12:31 PM
Bernard 10 Oct 00 - 02:19 PM
Noreen 10 Oct 00 - 06:54 PM
Bernard 10 Oct 00 - 06:58 PM
Noreen 10 Oct 00 - 07:12 PM
Jeri 10 Oct 00 - 09:50 PM
wysiwyg 10 Oct 00 - 09:51 PM
kimmers 11 Oct 00 - 01:31 PM
Catrin 12 Oct 00 - 12:03 PM
mousethief 12 Oct 00 - 12:07 PM
Geoff the Duck 06 Sep 01 - 08:37 PM
JudeL 07 Sep 01 - 05:28 AM
kendall 07 Sep 01 - 08:14 AM
Noreen 07 Sep 01 - 10:18 AM
kendall 07 Sep 01 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,'gargoyle 07 Sep 01 - 11:48 PM
John Kidder 08 Sep 01 - 12:42 AM
John Kidder 08 Sep 01 - 12:50 AM
Hawker 08 Sep 01 - 11:00 AM
Peg 08 Sep 01 - 11:20 AM
kendall 08 Sep 01 - 02:08 PM
JudeL 08 Sep 01 - 02:13 PM
Peg 08 Sep 01 - 03:04 PM
Bernard 09 Sep 01 - 11:23 AM
Bagpuss 10 Sep 01 - 11:24 AM
Bagpuss 10 Sep 01 - 11:38 AM
Jeri 10 Sep 01 - 02:01 PM
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Deda 10 Sep 01 - 03:08 PM
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Amergin 10 Sep 01 - 07:21 PM
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Subject: St. John's Wort
From: Bernard
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 09:44 AM

We musicians are a weird bunch! As performers, we are particularly susceptible to depression/anxiety problems.

My doctor originally prescribe Paroxetine a year or so ago to help me combat depression, and it made me worse - mainly due to the nasty side-effects.

Recently I started taking St. John's Wort extract (liquid form), having had the courage to ditch the Paroxetine a few months back.

SJW doesn't have the side-effects, and is giving me my life back.

I know of many people with the same tale; so far no-one has come back to me with bad reports about SJW.

Any of you fellow Mudcatters got any stories to share - yourself, someone you know? I've started putting a 'dossier' together on my Website

Either post here, or email me - any comments will be treated with the respect they deserve!


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Kara
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 10:15 AM

I made some st johns wort lip balm last year. (it grows all over around here) not only did it cheer me up, but it gives a red colour when put in oil which makes yoour lips look rosy and shinny.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 10:51 AM

just interested Kara in which St Johns Wort you use?
There are many different Hypericum species and I am not sure which one(s)can be used
Roger


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bud Savoie
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 01:04 PM

My youngest daughter was going through the phase common in early adolescence, and St. John's Wort performed a near-miracle.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: JTT
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 04:17 PM

Yeah, but be careful to make sure it doesn't clash with other stuff you're taking. For example, I don't think it's that happy with asthma inhalers.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Amergin
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 05:31 PM

I used to take Paxil (paroxetine), then I thought I didn't need it anymore and dropped it, then I started on SJW and it didn't do nothing for me....am on Zoloft now.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Shamrock
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 06:46 PM

I've taken SJW on and off. It definitely hasn't done me any harm and somedays I feel that it helps me get into gear. The taste is AWFUL and therfore if taken in the morning the rest of the day is an improvement. You gotta mix 20 drops on a soup spoon with water and then leave it in yer mouth for 2 or 3 mins till the taste goes and then drink it. Seriously, I drive 150 miles to Northern Ireland to get my supply. It is a prescription item in the Rep of Ireland. General Practitioners dont like it cause it is not made by multinationals with big entertainment budgets.

I'm goimg thru a rough patch right now and coping extremely well. It is good stuff and not habit forming / addictive.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Noreen
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 06:51 PM

Thanks for this, Bernard. As you know, I've been taking SJW for about three weeks now rather than go back on Paroxetine when the depression came back (after a good seven months thinking that I'd cracked it- HA!)

Worst symptoms seem to be under control, and no side effects detected. The SJW page on your website looks interesting, I'll give it a more detailed look later.

Very interested to hear of other people's experiences in this area.

I'll also post here the recent 'Guardian' article on SJW when I find it!

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: campfire
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 06:56 PM

For all the females here - check with your doctors regarding reactions with birth control pills before taking it. I've heard it can do some weird things.

campfire


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 06:59 PM

Just curious - is "wort" another of those words Americans pronounce the way they are spelt? Instead of it being pronounced the same way as "wert", as in Hail to thee , blithe spirit, bird thou never wert..."

And JTT - could you give a link or whatever for that warning about the asthma inhalers?


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: bbelle
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 07:51 PM

Be very careful ... St. John's Wort is a MAO (monoamine oxidase) Inhibitor and eating certain foods can cause one's blood pressure to go through the roof, thereby causing stroke.

An example of foods would be: anything containing tyramine, i.e., bananas; processed and/or smoked meats and cheeses; fava beans; and the list goes on.

If you are currently taking an anti-depressant and you decide to stop and take St. John's Wort instead, you are playing with dynamite and I suggest you consult your physician.

There are many alternative medicines that will do one no harm to take them, however, this is not one.

moonjen


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: kendall
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 07:57 PM

I've been on sjw for 2 years now, got off Prozac because of side effects. It has not elevated my blood pressure, 125/59, but, It doesnt seem to do much good. What I need is a similar product that works, yet doesnt make me feel like a eunuch. No wise comments please.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Jeri
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 08:58 PM

St John's Wort = Hypericum perforatum L.
I've never heard it was a MAO inhibitor, however it does seem to cause problems for patients taking certain drugs. See this page. It might be mildly amusing to note that I found a reference to a study done of antidepressent effects in rodents.

My only advice is be as skeptical about herbal treatments as you are about the stuff the doctor wants to give you. Not many, if any, studies have been done on the herbs, and if you have questions or problems, most doctors don't have a clue. Recent experience with a [colorful descriptive phrase deleted] neurologist regarding a different herb: "Well, I dunno. I don't prescribe it, so I don't need to research it. Sorry. (grin)"


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Noreen
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 09:25 PM

Thanks for that link, Jeri. An interesting thing about SJW is that quite a lot of controlled trials have been done. A recent trial reported in the BMJ concluded that SJW is as effective as other anti-depressants which are prescribed. So I am taking SJW with my GP's open-minded encouragement, as he is keen to know more too.

Kendall, perhaps the SJW you are on is not the best dose for you, bearing in mind the widely differing products available under the name of SJW?

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Jeri
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 09:43 PM

Noreen, my discussion with my [censored] neurologist was about Feverfew, another herb studies have been done on. He obviously volunteered for a lot of experiments involving electrodes stuck to his face and stuff in syringes to put himself through medical college. Your GP, on the other hand, has a brain.

Actually, the rodent study (I know it's serious, but I keep wondering how they tell if the rats and mice are sad or happy, and there was something in there about "tail elevation," and...never mind.) What was I saying? Oh yeah - the rodent study talked about how the little guys were still depressed after the first trial. They upped the dosage, and the patients perked up. Or at least their tails did. Of course if the dosage is too high, you wind up with very severe sun sensitivity.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Jeri
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 09:49 PM

Kendall, talk to your doc, and have him/her refer you to someone else if they've tried everything they can think of that's acceptable to you. You can search for drugs, conditions, etc, at the link I posted above.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Hotspur
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 10:55 PM

The species of SJW that is used as an anti-depressant is Hypericum perforatum. It should not be taken with any other anti-depressant medication; if you are taking one you probably ought to ask your Dr. how long to wait between stopping that and starting another medication. Also, people interested in SJW should be aware that it cause photo-sensitivity, that is, if you take it you will become extra sensitive to sunlight. So please be careful.

As for the Wort/wert question, it's not an American thing at all! Actually wort is from Old English wyrt, meaning a plant or herb. There are lots of colloquial plant names that refer to worts, such as stitchwort, ragwort, figwort, etc. etc.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Uncle Jaque
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 11:34 PM

It's always a little risky to share this sort of thing, but I see a lot of intimate sharing / vunerability going on in here, and to date no exploitation. That is impressive, in this society and culture! You reenforce my sense that us "creative, sensitive" types have a tendancy to be somewhat predisposed to afflictions of the psyche and tormentations of the soul... kind of the downside of "the gift", it seems. There have probably been all sorts of studies on this phenomenon, of which you may well know more than I. Chronic, Clinical depression is something I've dealt with pretty much all my life; there is considerable evidence for a genetic predisposition; an Uncle and my Father took themselves out, and I've come way too close for comfort on a number of occasions. Once diagnosed (at about age 45) it took years to arrive at a satisfactory medication and dosage - that being Imipramine HCL, a heavy-duty tricyclic antidepressant. The side effects wern't all that bad once I got used to 'em, and the aforementioned "eunich" thing, given my relational circumstances, was actually a good thing! Added to the mix was the later diagnosis of Adult Attention Deficiet Disorder ("ADD") again a probable lifetime issue that took way too long to get diagnosed and treated, but now I'm significantly more functional on regular medication (Ritalan). I wonder how many Musicians are ADD, too? Some time ago, my Pharmacy litteraly ran out of Tofranil (time-release Imipramine) and couldn't get any more. I "tapered off" with remaining supplies, but still went through some fairly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms including insomnia, muscle spasms and hallucinations (fun!). Having heard of a "natural" nutritional suppliment being used with some success in Europe for the past 20 years, currently over-the-counter in the US called "Sam-E", I decided that this was as good a time as any to check it out. I had tried St. John's Wort previously, and just didn't like it (aside from it's total lack of impact on symptoms). My "Shrink" was pretty open minded about it, but didn't think that Sam-E OR St.JsW were anything more than a "fad". The downside of Sam-E is that it ain't cheap; it goes for around $1 a pill, depending where you get it (I get "Nature-Made" @ Wal-Mart or SAM's Club) and the average dose is 2 or 3 tabs a day. I've been getting by with 1 or 2 a day for the past 8 months or so, and doing as well as I ever did on the RX stuff. I find that Sam-E is somewhat energizing; I seem to get more done and need less naps. Don't take it after noon, or you might be awake all night. There are several websites and articles available, and a couple of books are out - although the one I read reads more like an info-mercial than a clinical report. They also use it for arthritis, fibromyalgia, and some other things; almost too good to be true... but hey; it works for me! I opine that we are all unique and infinitely complex critters, and that what helps you might poison me, and vis-versa. To assume that any potion, therapy, or discipline is going to work consistantly or predictably with every Homo Sapiens it is applied to, is to controvert thousands of years of experience in the healing arts and probably expose at least one poor sap to some significant risk.
Depression is an "invisable affliction"; sometimes I wish that I were bleeding someplace, or that my brokenness would show up on an X-ray so that people would believe the gawdawful pain that wracks my body, mind, and soul. As it is, all appearances indicate that our suffering is "made up", "all in our heads", or fabricated as an "excuse" for dysfunctional behavior, as an attempt to cover up some essential flaw of carachter or personality. Most folks seem to subscribe to the theory that "If you can't see it, it ain't real", and that certainly applies to the invisable crosses many of us are called upon to bear. I hear many here note that "Music is a lifeline"; it has been and continues to be one of my more crucial therapies as well. My little dogs have meant a lot too; I can be a complete jerk and loser all day, but when I come home... the dogs still love me, God bless 'em! Lets keep up the dialouge, Amigos. "We're all in this together" ("Red" GREENE)


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: celticblues5
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 11:54 PM

When I started reading about SJW, I would read conflicting reports on which type of anti-depressant it is similar to, so I've asked several pharmacists about it, and what they've been telling me is that SJW is odd because it has some of the same characteristics as MAO inhibitors (and, thus, as others have said, you need to follow dietary guidelines as for them), but it also has characteristics like the newer SSRI's (e.g. Prozac) - and thus you need to be careful with other meds that work in a similar manner. (e.g., 5HTP, which has been promoted as a weight-loss drug) You wouldn't want to take both at the same time.

You also need to stay with the same brand & not switch around according to whatever's on sale! Different brands have different actual strengths (look for one that is standardized).

For the last couple of years, the folks who put out the PDR) Physician's Desk Reference have put out an Herbal PDR. If your doc doesn't have a copy in his office, s/he should!

The most recent Herbal PDR says that "recent literature suggests" that SJW does not have MAO effects, but on the next page it lists current use of MAO-inhibitors as a contraindication for SJW's use - so I guess I'd be inclined to be careful & consider it MAO-like until definitely proven otherwise. It also says don't take it with other SSRI's.

Other drugs to avoid while on it -

Other photosensitizers (eg, tetracyclines, sulfas, thiazides, quinolones, piroxicam),

Reserpine, cyclosporine, indinavir, combination-type oral contraceptives, barbiturates, theophylline, digoxin, sertraline, nefazadine.

Also, it has some tannin content, which can inhibit the absorption of iron.

I'm not listing all of this to say that I'm against SJW! I know a lot of people it's worked well for. Just use the precautions.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Noreen
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 04:48 AM

Uncle Jacque, I'm sitting here hugging myself while reading your post- here's a hug for you too
{{Uncle Jacque}}. Your last paragraph is too true, and we sensitive types are already too aware of other people's opinions of us. I wish I could 'care less' about the opinions of certain other people!

Thank you.

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 05:14 AM

The active ingredient of SJW, hypericin, is considered by many researchers to have MAO-inhibiting characteristics. So it is essential to be careful and to follow any advice or precautions given in the labelling. Some pharmaceutical companies, e.g. Merck, are selling their own formulations of SJW and these are OTC, at least in many countries.

It is particularly important not to take SJW with any other prescribed antidepressant.

SJW works with many people but, as with prescription antidepressants, the effects may vary widely from person to person. SJW was ineffective for me and Prozac caused me unacceptable side effects. I was since prescribed venlafaxinum (Effexor) which is effective for me with less severe side effects.

Playing with your brain chemistry without specialist knowledge is dangerous. Please always consult a doctor!

mcmoo


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 05:14 AM

The active ingredient of SJW, hypericin, is considered by many researchers to have MAO-inhibiting characteristics. So it is essential to be careful and to follow any advice or precautions given in the labelling. Some pharmaceutical companies, e.g. Merck, are selling their own formulations of SJW and these are OTC, at least in many countries.

It is particularly important not to take SJW with any other prescribed antidepressant.

SJW works with many people but, as with prescription antidepressants, the effects may vary widely from person to person. SJW was ineffective for me and Prozac caused me unacceptable side effects. I was since prescribed venlafaxinum (Efexor) which is effective for me with less severe side effects.

Playing with your brain chemistry without specialist knowledge is dangerous. Please always consult a doctor!

mcmoo


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: GUEST,Michael in Swansea
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 05:47 AM

I suffered side effects from SJW, 'flu like symptoms. Stopped taking it 'flu stopped. Tried it again later, just in case I had had a dose of 'flu, same thing happened.
SJW not for me.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 05:56 AM

Yeah, hotspur, I know "wort" isn't a particularly American word.

It's just that Americans have a tendency sometimes to pronounce things the way they look like they are pronounced - either because they've changed the pronunciation, as with Wagner, or kept to an older one, as with Derby. So I wondered how "wort" fared. Or "wart" for that matter. (Since that kind of thing affects rhymes, consider this a folkish drift in a BS/Help thread.)


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Pinetop Slim
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 07:10 AM

Word/work/wort. If that's how it werks, fine by me. Draw the line at Sin Jin's, though.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Penny S.
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 01:21 PM

I've heard British newsreaders pronouncing it with "or" not "er". I tried it for a week at the beginning of term, and had intestinal process changes. Then I started forgetting to take it and found that the initial depression had cleared up. Which is not what I expected as the blurb and reports suggested that it was a long term thing like the pharmacologists medicaments. I had felt very like an imminent depression, though, and I would have gone to the doctor if there hadn't been a news item about sjw at the time, and would now probably have been on the longterm stuff again.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: DougR
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 01:41 PM

Sure, McGrath of Harlow, everybody knows Derby is pronounced Doiby. :>) DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 02:14 PM

I have been taking Zoloft (Sertraline HCl) for depression for a couple of years now, and it has done me a world of good. In fact, I am so happy with the outcome, I have no interest in switching to Hypericum.

I did have some side effects at first, but I found that either they diminished with time or else I learned to cope with them. I don't consider them a problem now.

I only wish I had started sooner, and hadn't wasted so much time on counseling, support groups, and self-help books.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: kendall
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 02:20 PM

But, what did it do to your libido?


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Peg
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 05:03 PM

Anyone who wants to try SJW for MILD depression, do give it a chance. It can take up to 3 or 4 weeks to build up to the level where it does anything...so be patient. This can be difficult if you have gone off your other medication but the results may surprise you and the wait will be worth it.

I was taking the capsule form for a while. (I don't like extracts) Not anymore, but I was thinking of trying it again...though I feel pretty happy these days...I also put the dried herb in teas in winter, along with the echinacea or chamomile or rose hips or lavender...

For severe depression it is not really recomended, but, for those who need something milder, it sure beats taking drugs with horrible side effects! And it does not affect one's health adversely.

I have read all about it (including one very good book called The Prozac Alternative)and have never read it was an MAO inhibitor. Nor that it was incompatible with certain foods. Sensitivity to it in that regard varies from person to person but most studies have shown only very mild responses with normal dosage...


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Hotspur
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 08:33 PM

Sorry, McGrath, I didn't understand what you were asking. As far as i've ever heard, all worts on this side of the Atlantic are pronounced like warts.


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Subject: RE: Furthur Info on "Sam-E"
From: Uncle Jaque
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 09:12 PM

Here are a few links for furthur information on the nutritional suppliment "Sam-E" for those interested. (Let's see if I can get this HTML thing right, here...):

Click here

Click here

Click here

Click here

Click here

http://www.naturemade.com/inside/index.html

Uncle J.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Amergin
Date: 02 Oct 00 - 09:30 PM

Here's a previous thread about depression and the drugs used to treat it....Minddrugs and Creativity


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bernard
Date: 03 Oct 00 - 05:08 AM

Thanks, everyone, for your input!

Everyone is different, and that goes double for mental problems. What works for one is totally wrong for another.

What has clearly come through on this thread is the need to consult - not just with doctors, who tend to reach for the prescrition pad before you tell them what's wrong! :) - but, more importantly, with fellow sufferers to try to establish a pattern.

I tend to treat with caution the more emotional accounts of bad experiences - a matter-of-fact account means it isn't a knee-jerk reaction which may appear different in the cold light of day.

My biggest problem, however, seems to be that I ring my doctor for an appointment when I need one, but the appointment is so long coming around (often a week!) that the moment has passed, and I can no longer explain my problem because I have forgotten it!

One of the worst side-effects of Paroxetine (Seroxat/Paxil, etc.) for me was that it seriously affected my short term memory.

Although I have not used it since early June this year, my short term memory is not recovering very quickly, though there is an improvement.

Back to SJW.

I'm using the 'extract' of Hypericum Perforatum, which is 100% - nothing else added.

Noreen (postings above) tried pills, which weren't effective. She got the same stuff I'm using (from the same shop?), and had good results. This particular preparation originates from Switzerland, brand name 'Bioforce'.

On the package it explains:

'100g of Fresh Plant Tincture (extracted in alcohol 66% by volume)'

It also explains that the plants are organic - no pesticides. This could well be a crucial factor...

I put 20 drops in a tumbler, add as much water as I want, and drink it. I don't 'hold it in my mouth', and there is no noticeable taste. It works for me, and that's what matters!

I take a dose just before breakfast, and another before my evening meal.

I won't claim that it has made my problems go away. However, it has put me in a better frame of mind to cope with them. Conversely, Paroxetine increased my suicidal feelings, and I would start crying for no apparent reason. In that sense, SJW is a 'life saver'.

ALL medication has the potential for clashing with other medications. Some people are more susceptible than others. Penicillin is a good example here. How many people go off on a wild, emotional tirade about the nasty things that can do? Education backed up by reliable reasearch is needed - facts with scientific evidence.

We all know that scientists are renowned for U-turns - cigarettes were once considered to be beneficial!

I'm grateful for all your reports, particularly the ones with adverse reactions. It helps to gain perspective on what, for me, is now part of my life.

Don't stop posting!


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bernard
Date: 07 Oct 00 - 07:23 AM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Ferrara
Date: 07 Oct 00 - 03:34 PM

I just want to reinforce what has been said several times above: St John's Wort *may* be very dangerous *in certain circumstances.* Jeri's link is excellent. I would urge anyone who's interested in SJW to read every word, and then go on and read the sites that are referenced there.

This isn't a blanket argument against taking it; but you should be well informed.

I've had bronchitis for two weeks. Because of my own hypersensitivity to medications, I don't take much for it, but I took something to help me sleep on two occasions. The first time it was a combination "cold" pill. One pill. Half the recommended dose. I felt horrible, and had heart palpitations. So the next night I just took one sudafed. Still heart reactions. My doctor said, yes, there have been fatal heart attacks from sudafed. Whoa.

I mention this to demonstrate that a medication that seems pretty harmless and is very commonly used, can cause real problems in certain circumstances. One has to be educated about any drug whatever, and maybe more with the herbal ones because there isn't wide spread knowledge of them.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bernard
Date: 07 Oct 00 - 08:03 PM

Fair comment.

However, I must point out that St. John's Wort has been extensively tested, and German doctors now prescribe it as the preferred antidepressant.

At seminars held by a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer where I am the Audio Engineer, the German doctors frequently ask the Brits when they are going to 'catch on' to SJW.

The side effects are few, well documented, and significantly less traumatic than the 'non-herbal' medications.

People with a natural sensitivity to light, and those prone to high blood pressure, should avoid its use.

As SJW is a Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, you should never mix its use with another SRI such as Prozac, or you may well induce Serotonin Syndrome - but this is a sensible precaution with any such medication.

No sensible person accepts any medication without proper advice - however, the quality of the advice is sometimes questionable.

Mental health is a very experimental area - it's difficult for doctors or herbalists to be right all the time. If you find you are having a bad reaction, find out why - but don't try to put others off in an emotional way. Stick to the facts - your opinions will be more credible.

It is NOT true to say that there is a lack of widespread knowledge of herbal remedies - if you make your purchases at a reputable Health Food shop, you will find they are very well informed, and even reluctant to make a sale unless you can convince them you really understand what you are buying.

Such shops also will put you in touch with experts who have all the necessary research information at their fingertips, should you require a second opinion.

When I bought my first bottle of SJW, I was also given a three page printout detailing the latest research.

Every medication has its supporters, and also the people who've had bad experiences. Almost invariably those who've had a bad experience have been given bad advice.

That was my experience with Paroxetine (Seroxat/Paxil). When it wasn't working, I was given a stronger dose, which resulted in a rapid regression until I had the courage to ease myself off it.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Catrin
Date: 09 Oct 00 - 11:11 AM

This is a really interesting thread. I hadn't 'clicked' on it before, not sure why - I think because I find it such a scary topic.

My father, my cousin and one of my best friends all died because of depression. It can be a fatal illness. I was nine when my father died and my cousin and friend died last year, within a week of each other.

My brother also suffers from a serious mental illness. It doesn't matter to me what 'diagnosis' the medical profession have given him. All I know is that he has serious difficulty functioning in the world. He's become an alcoholic and not many of us, including me, really know how to cope with it.

I don't have much to say about SJW - I know little about it. I just wanted to share this, partly becasue its such taboo (I don't talk about it very much) and partly because I know that many people, especially uncle jaque, and bernard for starting this thread, have contributed stuff that must have made them feel pretty vulnerable.

My thoughts are with every one of you.

Catrin


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bernard
Date: 09 Oct 00 - 04:12 PM

Thanks, CATrin!

One of these days I may get to the Jolly Angler again, but when Monday night comes around...

I've now been using SJW for two months, and I seem to be on the mend. I've had some downers, but none as serious as when I was taking Paroxetine, and I'm learning what causes them. That way I can minimise the problem.

Sadly, if I enjoy myself one day, I pay for it with a 'back to reality' downer the following day...


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: okthen
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 07:34 AM

i've stopped telling my doctor i'm depressed, one of them said "i'm not surprised, your in a depressing situation" counselling helped, even if it's just having someone to talk to.

i tried alcohol but the problems are still there in the morning, only worse, so i quit that. i was prescribed various pills but they made my "reality" look like t.v.

i now make sure i have a good nights sleep (sleeping pill) which means i am as fresh as i'm ever going to be in the morning and as able to deal with "things" as well as i'm ever going to be able to.

my "down" times seem to be cyclical and am o.k. at the moment. when this changes i will deal with it as best i can. my sympathie to those less fortunate than i am

cheers

bill


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bernard
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 07:52 AM

It seems everyone has their own way of dealing with depression, Bill, and I'm glad you've found one which works reasonably well for you. :-)

I'm getting there myself, now, but I needed the equilibrium that St. John's Wort was able to give me in order to make any sort of positive progress.

I had two sessions with a useless counsellor, who made me feel worse - she was judgemental, and claimed not to be able to help me if I wasn't prepared to help myself.

At that stage I was unable to help myself - such 'help' was far too negative. The good thing was her attitude DID make me think about the medication I was on - the only real help she gave me was suggesting that, if the medication wasn't helping, it was probably the wrong medication.

Silly woman ALSO told me that I wasn't suffering from depression! I just couldn't handle rejection! Then the stupid woman rejected me - she couldn't do anything more for me!

I accept that counsellors are not necessarily able to help - in this country, at least, a short course entitles anyone to call themselves a counsellor. Now that IS worrying!

This is all a bit garbled, 'cos I've just nipped home for lunch and haven't much time!!

Anyone got an opinion?

Ta!


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: okthen
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 09:08 AM

Bernard i mean't to say earlier that i can't take SJW 'cos i use an inhaler,

as far as counseling goes, try someone else, when i came to the end of my course iwas asked if i required further help, i felt it would be useful, but psychotherapy is either A) not cheap or B)situated in a town too far away as for it to be practicable (given my circumstances)

when i get low i give myself an image from the "I Ching" of "biting through". this might not be much help to you but good luck.

i've been thinking of srarting a thread on "tibetan snow lotus" just haven't got 'round to it yet, you might find it of interest if i do.

cheers for now

bill


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Peg
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 10:46 AM

I am confused.

One poster to this thread said St. John's wort was an MAOI.

Another said it was a serotonin-reuptake inhibitor.

Well, which is it?

I was not aware it was either one, BTW....


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Noreen
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 11:25 AM

Hi all, and thanks for everyone's contributions. I'm finding this thread very interesting, and find it touching that others, like me, see this forum as a safe place to talk about such deep stuff.

I'm on a more even keel now, thanks to SJW, and feel able to do something about the major stress factors in my life... I am seeing a counsellor, arranged through my GP, and these talking sessions are helping me to sort things out. I've likened it to throwing all my congested thoughts up in the air and having them settle softly like feathers- if not in any better order, at least less densely packed and easier to root through!

I do realise, Bernard, that the relationship between counsellor and patient/client(?) has to be right- if there isn't respect and a certain amount of 'liking' on both sides then it's unlikely to do much good. Is it possible for you to be referred to a different counsellor?

I suppose the way I see it at the moment is that SJW (or whatever works for you) can take aware the worst of the symptoms, to allow you to get on with your life, but the only 'cure' or improvement is going to come from self-knowledge, helped perhaps by counselling, sympathetic friends...

(For you above read me!)

Hope this doesn't sound like utter drivel when it's gone through cyber-space; it made sense to me when it came out! :0%

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Jeri
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 12:01 PM

No amount of counselling will cure depression caused by physiological factors, although it will help. I still say it's best to work with a professional to determine the cause, and try to do something about that. The cause may be mental, or it may be physical. There is no "silver bullet," "one-size-fits-all" treatment - not drugs nor counselling.

From the FDA Public Health Advisory (Feb 10, 2000) on this page"

"Based on this study and reports in the medical literature, St. John's wort appears to be an inducer of an important metabolic pathway, cytochrome P450. As many prescription drugs used to treat conditions such as heart disease, depression, seizures, certain cancers or to prevent conditions such as transplant rejection or pregnancy (oral contraceptives) are metabolized via this pathway, health care providers should alert patients about these potential drug interactions to prevent loss of therapeutic effect of any drug metabolized via the cytochrome P450 pathway."

FromSt John's wort for depression--an overview and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials published in the British Medical Journal - BMJ 1996;313:253-258 (3 August):

"The mechanism of action of the postulated antidepressant effects is unclear."

This one's got some great information, not just on St John's Wort, but other things (ginkgo, garlic, ginsing, valerian, kava-kava, yohimbine, echinacea, feverfew, as well.):

"Crude plant extract xanthenones have demonstrated MAO inhibition in rat brain studies, but it is unclear if hypericin itself inhibits MAO-A or -B in the human nervous system."

"Supporting the biogenic amine antidepressant effect of SJW, Perovic and Müller demonstrated hypericum extract inhibition of serotonin (5-HT) uptake in rat synaptosomes."

So it appears St John's Wort may be both MAO inhibitor and serotonin uptake inhibitor.

Also, important to note for those who've tried it and given up early:

"Onset of its mood-elevating effect usually occurs after several weeks."


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Noreen
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 12:31 PM

Peg, the primary mode of action of SJW is as a SRI, and in this way it acts like Prozac, Paroxetine and various other anti-depressants. I hadn't heard of it having MAOI properties, prior to reading it in a reference from this thread. If SJW does have MAO activity, it seems to be a side effect at higher dosage levels.

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bernard
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 02:19 PM

Thanks, folks!

My GP put me on a waiting list, and I'm still waiting...
S'pose that's why they call 'em 'waiting lists'!!

As far as I was concerned, SJW had a discernible effect in only three days or so - shook me, I can tell you!
However, after two months I'm now feeling so much more stable (ooh, neigh!) - more importantly, the people around me have seen a marked improvement.

Sorry, once again, very little time! Late in from work and due out to Morris practice! Maybe later!


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Noreen
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 06:54 PM

Jeri, thanks for that concise summation. I totally agree with your first paragraph, that each case is different, and sorry if I seemed to suggest otherwise. I'm still going through it, so it's hard to take a detached view.

And Bernard, the waiting list for first referral to a counsellor here is four months.

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bernard
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 06:58 PM

Here in Bolton it's 12 months...


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Noreen
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 07:12 PM

Come 'n' stop in Bury, chuck!

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Jeri
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 09:50 PM

It's understandable, Noreen, it's hard for me to comprehend what it's like it at all. It seems I misunderstood what you were saying, and I apologise. May you find yourself in the sun more and more often, until you forget what the darkness was like.

I try to learn by reading up on things and listening to people, and I'm learning a lot from this thread. Thanks to everyone who has shared, and will share their own experiences.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 09:51 PM

Nothing on St. John's, but much on exhausted adrenals as a factor in recovery from depression, if not a cause in itself, which it also may be. See the recent thread PRAISE'S GOOD NEWS ON HEALTH for links. PM me for more info.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: kimmers
Date: 11 Oct 00 - 01:31 PM

Yes, the warning about birth control pills and SJW is a real one... I have a good friend who is eight months pregnant because of it. And she thought she was depressed *before*!

This has been a very intelligent and fair discussion with reasoned replies. I have only one thing to add, something I tell my patients all of the time: Natural does not necessarily equal safe. There are many herbal meds out there that are quite pharmacologically active and may vary in their strength and purity. Buy from a reputable store, and look on the label to see where the products were grown or produced. Here in the US, we've had problems with imported herbal meds being contaminated by things such as lead and prednisone. This has mainly been noted in products from China.

And... remember, there's no free ride. Anything that plays around with the way your body works has the potential for side effects. What we should hope to accomplish is the achievement of the fewest side effects for the greatest benefit. I think that SJW is probably a reasonably good medication provided that the patient follows the directions, and it is certainly cheap. Most of my patients, though, want something that is covered by their insurance so they won't have to pay anything.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Catrin
Date: 12 Oct 00 - 12:03 PM

Re: Counselling.

I have just finshed studying for a diploma in counselling. One thing that is reinforced again and again is the need to be 'non-judgemental'. If you are being judgemental you send subtle (yet powerful) messages to the 'client' which will can anly do harm.

Also, the importance of the relationship is emphasized. Without feeling able to trust each other it's nigh on impossible to get any work done.

Noreen just gave the best definition of what counselling 'should' be. I can't better that.

I have had counselling myself in the past and I went through two 'naff' ones before I found somebody I could trust. Then it was like a breath of fresh air.

BTW it will soon be illegal (in the UK) for people to describe themselves as 'counsellors' without the necessary training.

Just my tuppenceworth.

Catrin


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: mousethief
Date: 12 Oct 00 - 12:07 PM

I never knew St. John had a wart. He did spend a lot of time on Patmos, writing (or rather dictating), and supposedly could have gotten warts while he was there.

What?

Oh. Never mind.

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 08:37 PM

Any other opinions on how effective/not St. Jon's Wort might be?
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: JudeL
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 05:28 AM

We are all individuals who react differently to things. At the end of the day find something that suits you. I find taking SJW short term works for me to help me regain balance. I don't take it all the time, but I find that if I'm over-reacting and getting upset at trivia and can't seem to deal with stuff, within a day of going back on SJW I'm starting to regain perspective and feel myself again. I would not expect SJW to work for everyone and it may well have unwanted side effects for some - all I can really say is that for me it does what I need it to and I haven't noticed any adverse affects. I don't know that I'd notice an increase in photosensitivity since I have always burnt so easily that I tend to stay in the shade anyway. Also I have been on iron tablets for years as I tend to become anaemic without them.

Jude


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: kendall
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 08:14 AM

Wellbutrin works for me.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Noreen
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 10:18 AM

Gee, Geoff... this is a blast from the past. I'm finding it very interesting re-reading this thread from my current position, and remembering how I felt when I posted the contributions above... a very moving experience.

I have nothing but good words to say about SJW. It helped me through the worst year of my life. It's not a cure, but helped me cope with the worst symptoms of the depression (without any of the side effects which came with prescribed medication) while I worked my way out of it, with counselling, and the support of good friends; many of them mudcatters.

Last October, Jeri said:
"May you find yourself in the sun more and more often, until you forget what the darkness was like." I don't think I'll ever forget what it was like, as it's a part of me, but I am certainly in the sun now nearly all the time, and I do appreciate it. I'd like to wish Jeri's wish, for those who are still going through it: it can get better! I'm very happy to talk further about this with anyone- feel free to PM me, or discuss it further here.

Thanks again, my friends.

Noreen
xxx


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: kendall
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 11:44 AM

Temporary depression from a loss. a death, or a divorce, is one thing, but, clinical depression is forever. Therapy is useless because it is caused by a chemical imbalance. (Not enough seratonin) Some sort of pill to correct that imbalance is required, probably forever.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: GUEST,'gargoyle
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 11:48 PM

Returned to the M.C.
Began the S.G's
My depressions..... hopin' to cure.
Oh, Mr. Joe Offer,
Please, don't kick me off here
Saint John's and M.C's.
the the best cure...I ever did see.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: John Kidder
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 12:42 AM

Fine supportive helpful thread.

My four siblings and I all are affected by various degrees of bipolarity. We use acupunture (now actually recognized by the mechanics and chemists at the FDA as an effective treatment for depression) and various herbs, SJW among them.

My sister Margot had a widely publicized breakdown a couple of years ago - acupuncture and herbs got her back on track. Margie now uses a system called "orthomolecular medicine", and she is, mirabile dictu, no longer troubled by raving mania or the black deeps. I repeat - she is no longer troubled. She has been spending a lot of her time speaking to all sorts of mental health groups, including those dominated by psychiatriac/drug company interests, about the use of natural substances to right biochemical imbalances.

First try at Mudcat links. I hope this is a link to a Google page with numerous references: Click here and this one to "Orthomolecular Medicine Online" Click here.

It shouldn't be a surprise, gicen that we are products of the earth and all, that the substances required to fill our biochemical needs are all available in nature.

John Kidder


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: John Kidder
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 12:50 AM

Should have added the following, from Orthomolecular Medicine Online.

"Diseases such as atherosclerosis, cancer, schizophrenia or depression are associated with specific biochemical abnormalities which are either causal or aggravating factors of the illness. In the orthomolecular view, it is possible that the provision of vitamins, amino acids, trace elements, electrolytes or fatty acids in amounts sufficient to correct biochemical abnormalities will be therapeutic in preventing or treating such diseases."


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Hawker
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 11:00 AM

I'm rushoing and admit I have not read all the replies, but I took St John's Wort for a short while, it is good for depression, but I stopped as it is NOT good if you have high blood pressure, I would suggest that if you take any regular medication it is always a good idea to check it our with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any herbal remedy, the effects of your prescribed drug therapy may react with the other medication and cause more or worse problems!
Keep well and Happy:0}
Lucy


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Peg
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 11:20 AM

Jude; It was surprising to see that you feel a change after only ONE DAY of taking SJW? All the literature I have read, and my own experience, tell me that it takes several weeks for it to build up in your system to the point wheer an effect is felt...how much time do you allow to elapse between stopping taking it and starting again? I have noted I can go up to a week after taking it for several months and start again and all is well; but if I let it go for two weeks or longer I need those three weeks for it to build up sufficiently...in fact am abiut to do so now because I have been off it for soem timne and will have a very stressful autumn semester coming up!


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: kendall
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:08 PM

Thanks to Togus Vets center, I have run out of Wellbutrin. I ordered it by mail two weeks ago, and when it didn't arrive, I called and some robot said it had been discontinued! No notice at all! Finally, I reached a real human being, and she promised to take care of it. Guess what? So far, she hasn't.

Tell you what, I wouldn't want to be the punk who jumps me right now!


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: JudeL
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:13 PM

As I said things seem to affect different people differently - my problem I know has been partly physical a hormone imbalance (of known cause) and partly a stress reaction to a concentration of extreemly traumatic events. I had also been taking oil of evening primrose, which on it's own seemed to go some way to help stabilise the mood swings which had upset me (all the more because it didn't feel like me to be so volatile) but sometimes I seem to need just that little bit more which SJW appears to supply. I don't know how it affects others or how long it takes I can only say how it affects me - and so far it seems to help. I notice some difference in a day or two but it's probably about a week before the full effect kicks in. I suppose it's not so much a conscious decision to stop taking it, more that after a while (a few weeks) I begin to forget to take it and until and unless I start feeling down again don't even think about it. In the last couple of years I have had a series of events to deal with that I found overwhelming. Each time SJW seemed to help me through the worst until I could cope again without it. I know I'm over the worst when I start forgetting to take it.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Peg
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 03:04 PM

interesting to hear your experiences, Jude. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bernard
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 11:23 AM

Jude... good luck!

SJW is exactly that for me, too. I can confidently say that it has, so far, prevented me from 'ending it all'.

I have found that, when I need it, I don't need to take the full recommended dose; somehow my metabolism seems to 'know' how much I need. Instead of two doses per day, I seem to need three doses over four days.

After a couple of weeks I can manage without, but I don't seem to make the decision consciously - I just forget to take any.

My main problem still hasn't been solved - I need to find a different job. My present job is too physical, which was okay when I was younger... but that's another story.

SJW doesn't suit everyone, but adverse reports are significantly fewer than for any of the 'commercial' drugs.

Peg - the interesting thing about SJW is the way it seems to be more 'instant (in many cases) than any 'commercial' drug, nor is a 'withdrawal period' needed - where a gradually reducing dose is required.

I'm only guessing, and I'm by no means an expert (ex = has-been, spurt = drip under pressure) but it would seem to me that the issue of side-effects associated with the drugs is the key factor... SJW has very few side-effects, and very few people are adversely affected by the known side-effects, such as increased photosensitivity.

Comments, anyone?


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bagpuss
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 11:24 AM

I have seasonal affective disoder and have take SJW over 2 winters. The first winter, I didn't get a depression; but the second one, I did. With any other anti depressant I would have increased the dosage at that point, but I was unsure of the maximum dosage for SJW, so I came off it and onto a more conventional anti depressant which I have been on (once I got the right combination and dose) for over a year now. I think once I come off these pills I will try SJW again. Does anyone have any info about dosage above the standard dose.

One note of caution is that SJW seems to make your liver work more efficiently, so if you are taking any other medication you may need a higher dose whilst on SJW.

Kendall wrote: "Temporary depression from a loss. a death, or a divorce, is one thing, but, clinical depression is forever. Therapy is useless because it is caused by a chemical imbalance. (Not enough seratonin) Some sort of pill to correct that imbalance is required, probably forever. "

I disagree with this. For one thing, clinical depression can often be triggered by one of the stressful events you mentioned above. There is no real seperation between reactive and biological depression. Most people with depression will have some form of biological tendency towards it as well as circumstances which both trigger and maintain the illness. There is little evidence that having a strong inherited component makes you unsuitable for therapy (cognitive behaviour therapy being the most successful). Therapy can change the way you think about things, and can therefore change your brain chemistry. Likewise, someone whose depression is mainly a reaction to the situation they are in can also respond well to anti-depressants - which may enable them to deal better with the situation and change it (and themselves) for the better.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bagpuss
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 11:38 AM

Then again, I might not go back to SJW. From what I have read in this thread it seems to mainly act on serotonin. I have never responded to an SSRI, only to tricyclics (eg lofepramine) and atypical newer antidepressants (mirtazepine and venlafaxine). Maybe the one winter on SJW that I didnt get a depression was just chance (I don't get it every winter, more like 2/3 of them).

Oh and I also use a lightbox for SAD which works wonders in conjunction with antidepressants.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Jeri
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 02:01 PM

I thought I posted this, but if I did, it was in another thread.

From this article in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry:

The plant's antidepressant mechanism of action initially was stated to be monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibition, based on studies by Suzuki et al.;32 however, this finding was later attributed to a test product of only 80% purity. Crude plant extract xanthenones have demonstrated MAO inhibition in rat brain studies, but it is unclear if hypericin itself inhibits MAO-A or -B in the human nervous system. Plant fractions containing xanthones and flavonoids demonstrate marked MAO-A inhibition.33 Other unidentified components of the herb inhibit catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) and suppress interleukin release.34 Supporting the biogenic amine antidepressant effect of SJW, Perovic and Müller demonstrated hypericum extract inhibition of serotonin (5-HT) uptake in rat synaptosomes.35 It is not known whether the active components of hypericum are able to cross the blood–brain barrier.36

(The numbers are to references in the article and on the website.)
What I believe it says is, they're not sure how it works. I suspect that, due to the unregulated nature of herbal products, concentrations of certain constituents can vary widely. It's up to you whether you want to try a different brand or give up on SJW.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bernard
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 03:01 PM

I use the pure extract, which comes in liquid form, on the advice of my local Health Food shop.

The causes and effects of depression are so wildly various that even specialists admit that treatment is a hit-and-miss affair. No two cases are ever alike,

Once you find something that works for you, stick with it no matter what anyone else tells you!!


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Deda
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 03:08 PM

I find that low doses of SJW helps me sleep. I was prone to depression all my life until I went onto Hormome replacement therapy (HRT), years ago, and earlier than most women. That has stabilized me emotionally to an amazing degree. Now I only lose my equilibrium in response to clear stresses in real life -- which has been a really astonishing change in my life, and has demonstrated to me beyond any doubt how much depression can be simply physiological. So I only take SJW when I'm having trouble sleeping because of real life worries. It may be that I am very suggestible, but I generally find that it helps almost immediately, not after weeks of building up in the system. From my years of experience before HRT I have enormous respect, bordering on awe, for how real and serious and intense depression can be, and how debilitating, and how useless, even damaging, it can be to say things like "You need a hobby!" or "Why don't you take up tennis", or any other well-meaning but completely irrelevant suggestions.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bearheart
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 05:28 PM

Hi All,

Surprised no one has mentioned the Blood Type Diet stuff. The latest info out-- in Live Right For Your Type-- has helped me alot. Based on over 1200 blood type reseach projects, culled from research that is world wide, it specifically goes into the brain chemistry and stress-hormone profiles of the 4 Blood Types. Interestly each has a propensity toward certain mental difficulties when nutritionally challenged. Not only does he include research info, but information from real live people who were able to combat their depression, ADD, other mental difficulties,as well physical illnesses such as diabetes, and weight problems, primarily through changing their diets and excercise patterns. Type Os are particularly prone to depression when they eat wheat and certain other grain products, especially if they don't eat meat. This was interesting to me since all the members of my immediate-- and many in the extended-- family (including myself) who are Os suffer severe depression, (several also are alcoholics-- another tendency of Os who are metabolically unbalanced); it is much rarer and much less severe among the Bs. (Interestingly, thyroid problems--which often mimic depression- are more common in Os, and can often also be addressed through the O diet) TWO WEEKS after I began the diet my depression lifted and instead of dragging myself out of bed in the morning and walking around in a fog for two hours, I woke up with a clear head and lots of energy to do things. Other side effects of the diet i experienced was the complete disapearance of incipient severe arthritic pain in my left elbow and "crunching" in my knees. I'm 47 and an avid gardener and musician-- this alone made me a believer. Then also my caloric intake increased but my weight dropped-- 15 # in 3 months. While I'm not excessively heavy I needed to lose it.

As to St. John's Wort: The author of the Blood Type books, who is a naturapathic doctor, advocates it for Bs,As and ABs, but Os are already low in MAO platelet activity, and that's one of the reasons that they are prone to depression (they process dopamine differently than the other blood types--he explains it all on pages 31-37 of the Live Right book). So the last thing that works for them is to use Mao inhibitors. The issue is especially profound if you are dealing with a long-term stressor, such as grief, a yucky job, or other, because the stress hormones that Os produce in abundance (adrenaline and noradrenaline) require physical activity to clear them out of your system. That's why some physical activity-- excercise, walking, singing, drumming--- is so theraputic for Os. As and Bs on the other hand produce cortisol, which is cleared from the body in a different way. It's also why St.John's wort, though it's not as high powered as drugs, may not be the best choice. The good news is that there are other herbs and natural supplements out there that are really good for Os because they work in a different way-- like the orthomolecular stuff already mentioned. I am personally very attracted by the concept found in other healing paradigms that food-- including herbs-- is our medicine. Even our culinary herbs are medicines for our digestive tracts and were discovered to destroy microbes if ingested. If you want to explore another non-invasive way to get well, this might be a direction to go.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Puflet
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 07:10 PM

I found sjw very helpful for depression; however, I was also being prescribed mefenamic acid for menstrual cramps - this also carries a photosensitivity warning. I'm one of those people who tans very easily without burning, and,to my horror,last year on the days when I did venture forth into the sunlight, I burnt like a fair skinned person - despite putting on masses of sunblock and all that.

Now the days are getting shorter and darker I'm going to start taking it again. I found not being able to sleep because of the sunburn utterly depressing.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Amergin
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 07:21 PM

I found God....and his name is Paxil....


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