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Feeling depressed, anxious or irritable? Beat the blues with St John's Wort

St John's Wort has traditionally been used for its effect on the nervous system, in particular as a treatment for depression. It is an ideal herb for use in anxiety, irritability, neuralgia, nerve damage, nervous tension & general nervous system debility.

Who could use St John's Wort - Hypericum?

The official German Commission Monograph states that people suffering from mild to moderate depressive states, fear, nervous disturbances and somatoform disturbances may benefit from taking Hypericum.

Numerous case reports and drug monitoring studies (involving more than 5000 patients) have been conducted on the efficiency and safety of standardised St John's Wort preparations. In addition to this, 25 controlled double-blind studies (with more than 2,000 patients) have been conducted. The major indication of the people involved in the studies was mild to moderate depressive disorders.

Sixteen of the studies compared Hypericum with a placebo (sugar pill) and nine commonly prescribed antidepressants (ie Imipramine, Amitriptyline and Diazepam). In most of the studies, both depressive symptoms, ie depressed mood, anxiety, loss of interest, feelings of worthlessness and decreased activity and secondary symptoms, ie sleep disturbances, lack of concentration and somatic complaints, improved significantly.

What problems can Hypericum help with?

Externally this herb has long been used to help heal wounds and alleviate physical pain. However, its use is age old in Europe as an internal treatment for the emotional pain of depression. It has a genuine mild anti-depressant medicinal action, but it also has a sedative effect.

Its action is gentle, yet very effective. It has been traditionally used for its effect on the nervous system. The combination of sedative activity and nervous system restorative properties make it an ideal herb for use in:

Nerve damage or injury
Nervous tension
General nervous system debility

Without doubt, one of the most exciting developments in herbal medicine in recent years is the discovery that Hypericum and its main active component have significant antiviral activity, making it of great importance in the treatment of HIV.

What is the recommended dosage of Hypericum?

The optimum dosage of Hypericum, based on the majority of medical studies, is 300 mg of Hypericum extract, 3 times a day. For example, you might take the first 300 mg on arising, the 2nd 300 mg three hours later and the final 300 mg three hours after that. Some find that taking two 300 mg doses at breakfast and a third at lunch works best.

For those who find Hypericum is an aid to a restful sleep, the doses can be spread throughout the day, saving the final dose for dinner or bedtime.

The effectiveness in treating depression with this herb should not be evaluated until at least six weeks of a 900 mg daily dosage.

It is important to give Hypericum a chance. To decide after one or two weeks, "This isn't working for me" and discontinue treatment is ill advised.

The side effects of Hypericum

St John's Wort has an excellent safety record. Recent medical studies confirm this. The extensive use of Hypericum in Germany (66 million daily doses in 1994) has not resulted in medical reports of serious drug interactions or even toxicity, even after accidental overdose. However, do not take more than is recommended to you, without seeking advice from Leanne James.

Do not take Hypericum if you.....

Have severe depression
Bipolar (Manic-Depressive) illness
While taking mono-amino-oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, such as Nardil or Parnate

If taking a Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SRIs), such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Effexoris, you must seek advice before taking Hypericum.

Ideal Health stocks 4 different St John's Wort products. These include St John's Wort in a liquid extract, as a standardised extract in a capsule, which is combined with Spirulina & rosemary and as a single herb.

Ask Leanne James which one would suit you best.

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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

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