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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
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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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