Saturday, 30 October 2010

Why Should I Not Take Saint John's Wort?

Saint John's Wort:
One of the most popular natural supplements effective in treating depression is St. John’s Wort. This herb is proven effective for anxiety, insomnia and depression as well as in strengthening the immune system and relieving muscle pains. Clinical tests prove that St. John’s Wort can cure mild to severe depression and has the same effects with Zoloft and Paxil. St. John’s Wort has natural properties that have lesser side effects compared to prescription medications. Antidepressant medications usually cause various side effects such as fatigue, dizziness weight gain and lack of sex drive. Therefore, if you want a more natural treatment, St. John’s Wort is the best choice.

Researches in Europe and the United States regarding the benefits of St. John’s Wort have suggested that it is more useful than sugar pill or placebo and it is as effective as TCAs or tricyclic antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression.

Besides benefits for depression, St. John’s Worts also can also reduce symptoms of anxiety. However, this study is in combination of St. John’s Wort with valerian so the positive effects may be caused by valerian and not entirely because of St. John’s Wort. With this fact, further researches are still needed to know the benefits of St. John’s Wort for anxiety disorders. In addition, there is no clear evidence regarding the effects of St. John’s Wort for severe depression.

Some cases report that St. John’s Wort has positive effects in patients who are experiencing obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD. However, there is no sufficient proof to recommend the drug due to lack of extensive research.

Benefits of St. John’s Wort in conditions such as pre-menopausal symptoms and premenstrual syndrome or PMS are still needed to be studied. It is the same with Seasonal Affective disorder or SAD, Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV and social phobia.

Health benefits that are based on scientific theories and traditions regarding St. John’s Wort still require advance studies. Most of the conditions are serious and must be examined by a doctor. Some of these conditions include alcoholism, abdominal discomfort, antiviral, allergies and anti-inflammatory as well as bacterial skin infections, athletic performance enhancement, bruises, bedwetting and burns. Others also include cancer, dental pain, chronic ear infections, diuretic, diarrhea, virus infection and fatigue.

Though St. John’s Wort has various health benefits, you have to be aware that it still has side effects including nausea, decreased sex drive and dizziness. Remember that St. John’s Wort is not recommended for everybody. People who have bipolar disorder must not take the medication. It is necessary to consult a doctor before taking St. John’s Wort or other supplements, which can be dangerous for patients with bipolar disorder due to lack of mood stabilizer that may cause dysphoric mania.

Some people believe that this supplement has low hyperforin content, making it ineffective for depression treatment. Therefore, in choosing a St. John’s supplement, make sure that it contains at least three to five percent of hyperforin. In addition, the effects of this supplement can be felt after six weeks of usage so you need to be a bit patient.
Be careful in taking St. John’s Worts because over dosage may cause photosensitivity for some people and interfere with iron and other mineral absorption.