Member Medication Review: St. John's Wort

Community Member

Hi everybody

We are going to go off the beaten path in our medications reviews and begin to take a look at all the supplements and alternative therapies for treating depression.

I wanted to start off with one of the most popular and well known supplement used for treating depression and that is:   St. John's Wort .

This is a supplement that I do have personal experience taking.   For me, St. John's wort was a bit sedating.   It made me want to nap.   But other than providing me with a more calm mood, it didn't help so much with my depression.   However, some of my friends swear by it and say they are not able to function well without it.

There are some precautions and interactions that you should be aware of when taking St. John's Wort and these are discussed in detail on the National Institutes of Health:   National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine web site.

In a Q and A on the Dr. Oz web site, Dr. Oz answers the question, "What are some risks of taking St. John's Wort"?

Dr. Oz answers:

"Although many studies have focused on St. John's wort as an antidepressant, the supplement interacts with many other medications. For example, it metabolizes the substances in birth-control pills, essentially making them useless for 25 percent of the women who take both birth-control pills and St. John's wort. Taking SAMe can be a better option because it lacks these drug interactions."

When I was on the Dr. Oz show to discuss my personal experience with depression back in December,   I did talk about taking SAM-e. During the live show Dr. Oz also talked about SAM-e   but that piece of the show was cut, much to my disappointment.

Okay but back to St. John's Wort.   The NCAM or National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that St. John's Wort may help treat major depression:   "According to this literature review, St. John's wort extracts appeared to be superior to placebo, were as effective as standard antidepressants, and had fewer side effects than antidepressants."

Now it is your turn.   If you have ever taken St. John's Wort, please do share your experiences here.** 1.   How long did it take for St. John's Wort to work for you?   What dosage did you take?**** 2.   What changes in mood did you notice when you took St. John's Wort?**** 3.   Did you experience any side effects from taking this supplement?**** 4.   If you stopped taking St. John's Wort, what was the reason?**

Your insights and experiences are invaluable.   Sharing your story can help someone else so please take the time to let us know your thoughts.