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St. John's Wort

Heard about St. John's wort as a cure for depression and interested to give it a try?

St. John's wort is a herb that is commonly found growing in hedgerows, displaying a bright yellow flower. Studies have shown that St. John's wort has medicinal qualities which can help cure minor cases of depression. In capsule form, it is often prescribed to children and teenagers experiencing depression or anxiety disorders, and is available over the counter in most countries, except for Ireland where it requires a prescription.

But is St. John's wort as effective as other forms of antidepressant medication? Is it safe? And are there any side effects you should be aware of before beginning a course of the medication?

St. John's wort is safe when used in capsule or tea form, taking into account the directions and paying heed to the correct dosages. However, it has been recently discovered that this medicinal herb is not safe to use in conjunction with many other types of medication because one of the effects of the herb is that it will cause your body to metabolize other drugs very quickly. This is not good news for people who are on the birth control pill, as it may cause the pill to be metabolized more quickly, leaving them open to unwanted pregnancy. Similarly, people who are at risk of stroke and are taking blood thinning medication should give this herb a wide birth. Other medications that you should avoid mixing with this herb include heart medications, depression medications, asthma medications, epilepsy medications and drugs used in the treatment of HIV or AIDS.

Another side effect that has been noted is that some people who use the herb experience photosensitivity - or increased sensitivity to light. When used externally, patients should avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. When taken internally, there is some evidence that links the herb with cornea damage. It is therefore very important that people who suffer from Seasonal Adjustment Disorder and spend periods of time in front of a light box to avoid the herb.

If are thinking of taking this herb to treat depression, it is advised that you speak to your doctor.



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