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Help: St. John's Wort

Amergin 10 Sep 01 - 07:21 PM
Puflet 10 Sep 01 - 07:10 PM
Bearheart 10 Sep 01 - 05:28 PM
Deda 10 Sep 01 - 03:08 PM
Bernard 10 Sep 01 - 03:01 PM
Jeri 10 Sep 01 - 02:01 PM
Bagpuss 10 Sep 01 - 11:38 AM
Bagpuss 10 Sep 01 - 11:24 AM
Bernard 09 Sep 01 - 11:23 AM
Peg 08 Sep 01 - 03:04 PM
JudeL 08 Sep 01 - 02:13 PM
kendall 08 Sep 01 - 02:08 PM
Peg 08 Sep 01 - 11:20 AM
Hawker 08 Sep 01 - 11:00 AM
John Kidder 08 Sep 01 - 12:50 AM
John Kidder 08 Sep 01 - 12:42 AM
GUEST,'gargoyle 07 Sep 01 - 11:48 PM
kendall 07 Sep 01 - 11:44 AM
Noreen 07 Sep 01 - 10:18 AM
kendall 07 Sep 01 - 08:14 AM
JudeL 07 Sep 01 - 05:28 AM
Geoff the Duck 06 Sep 01 - 08:37 PM
mousethief 12 Oct 00 - 12:07 PM
Catrin 12 Oct 00 - 12:03 PM
kimmers 11 Oct 00 - 01:31 PM
wysiwyg 10 Oct 00 - 09:51 PM
Jeri 10 Oct 00 - 09:50 PM
Noreen 10 Oct 00 - 07:12 PM
Bernard 10 Oct 00 - 06:58 PM
Noreen 10 Oct 00 - 06:54 PM
Bernard 10 Oct 00 - 02:19 PM
Noreen 10 Oct 00 - 12:31 PM
Jeri 10 Oct 00 - 12:01 PM
Noreen 10 Oct 00 - 11:25 AM
Peg 10 Oct 00 - 10:46 AM
okthen 10 Oct 00 - 09:08 AM
Bernard 10 Oct 00 - 07:52 AM
okthen 10 Oct 00 - 07:34 AM
Bernard 09 Oct 00 - 04:12 PM
Catrin 09 Oct 00 - 11:11 AM
Bernard 07 Oct 00 - 08:03 PM
Ferrara 07 Oct 00 - 03:34 PM
Bernard 07 Oct 00 - 07:23 AM
Bernard 03 Oct 00 - 05:08 AM
Amergin 02 Oct 00 - 09:30 PM
Uncle Jaque 02 Oct 00 - 09:12 PM
Hotspur 02 Oct 00 - 08:33 PM
Peg 02 Oct 00 - 05:03 PM
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Jim Dixon 02 Oct 00 - 02:14 PM
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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Amergin
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 07:21 PM

I found God....and his name is Paxil....


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Puflet
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 07:10 PM

I found sjw very helpful for depression; however, I was also being prescribed mefenamic acid for menstrual cramps - this also carries a photosensitivity warning. I'm one of those people who tans very easily without burning, and,to my horror,last year on the days when I did venture forth into the sunlight, I burnt like a fair skinned person - despite putting on masses of sunblock and all that.

Now the days are getting shorter and darker I'm going to start taking it again. I found not being able to sleep because of the sunburn utterly depressing.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bearheart
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 05:28 PM

Hi All,

Surprised no one has mentioned the Blood Type Diet stuff. The latest info out-- in Live Right For Your Type-- has helped me alot. Based on over 1200 blood type reseach projects, culled from research that is world wide, it specifically goes into the brain chemistry and stress-hormone profiles of the 4 Blood Types. Interestly each has a propensity toward certain mental difficulties when nutritionally challenged. Not only does he include research info, but information from real live people who were able to combat their depression, ADD, other mental difficulties,as well physical illnesses such as diabetes, and weight problems, primarily through changing their diets and excercise patterns. Type Os are particularly prone to depression when they eat wheat and certain other grain products, especially if they don't eat meat. This was interesting to me since all the members of my immediate-- and many in the extended-- family (including myself) who are Os suffer severe depression, (several also are alcoholics-- another tendency of Os who are metabolically unbalanced); it is much rarer and much less severe among the Bs. (Interestingly, thyroid problems--which often mimic depression- are more common in Os, and can often also be addressed through the O diet) TWO WEEKS after I began the diet my depression lifted and instead of dragging myself out of bed in the morning and walking around in a fog for two hours, I woke up with a clear head and lots of energy to do things. Other side effects of the diet i experienced was the complete disapearance of incipient severe arthritic pain in my left elbow and "crunching" in my knees. I'm 47 and an avid gardener and musician-- this alone made me a believer. Then also my caloric intake increased but my weight dropped-- 15 # in 3 months. While I'm not excessively heavy I needed to lose it.

As to St. John's Wort: The author of the Blood Type books, who is a naturapathic doctor, advocates it for Bs,As and ABs, but Os are already low in MAO platelet activity, and that's one of the reasons that they are prone to depression (they process dopamine differently than the other blood types--he explains it all on pages 31-37 of the Live Right book). So the last thing that works for them is to use Mao inhibitors. The issue is especially profound if you are dealing with a long-term stressor, such as grief, a yucky job, or other, because the stress hormones that Os produce in abundance (adrenaline and noradrenaline) require physical activity to clear them out of your system. That's why some physical activity-- excercise, walking, singing, drumming--- is so theraputic for Os. As and Bs on the other hand produce cortisol, which is cleared from the body in a different way. It's also why St.John's wort, though it's not as high powered as drugs, may not be the best choice. The good news is that there are other herbs and natural supplements out there that are really good for Os because they work in a different way-- like the orthomolecular stuff already mentioned. I am personally very attracted by the concept found in other healing paradigms that food-- including herbs-- is our medicine. Even our culinary herbs are medicines for our digestive tracts and were discovered to destroy microbes if ingested. If you want to explore another non-invasive way to get well, this might be a direction to go.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Deda
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 03:08 PM

I find that low doses of SJW helps me sleep. I was prone to depression all my life until I went onto Hormome replacement therapy (HRT), years ago, and earlier than most women. That has stabilized me emotionally to an amazing degree. Now I only lose my equilibrium in response to clear stresses in real life -- which has been a really astonishing change in my life, and has demonstrated to me beyond any doubt how much depression can be simply physiological. So I only take SJW when I'm having trouble sleeping because of real life worries. It may be that I am very suggestible, but I generally find that it helps almost immediately, not after weeks of building up in the system. From my years of experience before HRT I have enormous respect, bordering on awe, for how real and serious and intense depression can be, and how debilitating, and how useless, even damaging, it can be to say things like "You need a hobby!" or "Why don't you take up tennis", or any other well-meaning but completely irrelevant suggestions.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bernard
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 03:01 PM

I use the pure extract, which comes in liquid form, on the advice of my local Health Food shop.

The causes and effects of depression are so wildly various that even specialists admit that treatment is a hit-and-miss affair. No two cases are ever alike,

Once you find something that works for you, stick with it no matter what anyone else tells you!!


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Jeri
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 02:01 PM

I thought I posted this, but if I did, it was in another thread.

From this article in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry:

The plant's antidepressant mechanism of action initially was stated to be monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibition, based on studies by Suzuki et al.;32 however, this finding was later attributed to a test product of only 80% purity. 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. Plant fractions containing xanthones and flavonoids demonstrate marked MAO-A inhibition.33 Other unidentified components of the herb inhibit catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) and suppress interleukin release.34 Supporting the biogenic amine antidepressant effect of SJW, Perovic and Müller demonstrated hypericum extract inhibition of serotonin (5-HT) uptake in rat synaptosomes.35 It is not known whether the active components of hypericum are able to cross the blood–brain barrier.36

(The numbers are to references in the article and on the website.)
What I believe it says is, they're not sure how it works. I suspect that, due to the unregulated nature of herbal products, concentrations of certain constituents can vary widely. It's up to you whether you want to try a different brand or give up on SJW.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bagpuss
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 11:38 AM

Then again, I might not go back to SJW. From what I have read in this thread it seems to mainly act on serotonin. I have never responded to an SSRI, only to tricyclics (eg lofepramine) and atypical newer antidepressants (mirtazepine and venlafaxine). Maybe the one winter on SJW that I didnt get a depression was just chance (I don't get it every winter, more like 2/3 of them).

Oh and I also use a lightbox for SAD which works wonders in conjunction with antidepressants.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bagpuss
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 11:24 AM

I have seasonal affective disoder and have take SJW over 2 winters. The first winter, I didn't get a depression; but the second one, I did. With any other anti depressant I would have increased the dosage at that point, but I was unsure of the maximum dosage for SJW, so I came off it and onto a more conventional anti depressant which I have been on (once I got the right combination and dose) for over a year now. I think once I come off these pills I will try SJW again. Does anyone have any info about dosage above the standard dose.

One note of caution is that SJW seems to make your liver work more efficiently, so if you are taking any other medication you may need a higher dose whilst on SJW.

Kendall wrote: "Temporary depression from a loss. a death, or a divorce, is one thing, but, clinical depression is forever. Therapy is useless because it is caused by a chemical imbalance. (Not enough seratonin) Some sort of pill to correct that imbalance is required, probably forever. "

I disagree with this. For one thing, clinical depression can often be triggered by one of the stressful events you mentioned above. There is no real seperation between reactive and biological depression. Most people with depression will have some form of biological tendency towards it as well as circumstances which both trigger and maintain the illness. There is little evidence that having a strong inherited component makes you unsuitable for therapy (cognitive behaviour therapy being the most successful). Therapy can change the way you think about things, and can therefore change your brain chemistry. Likewise, someone whose depression is mainly a reaction to the situation they are in can also respond well to anti-depressants - which may enable them to deal better with the situation and change it (and themselves) for the better.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Bernard
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 11:23 AM

Jude... good luck!

SJW is exactly that for me, too. I can confidently say that it has, so far, prevented me from 'ending it all'.

I have found that, when I need it, I don't need to take the full recommended dose; somehow my metabolism seems to 'know' how much I need. Instead of two doses per day, I seem to need three doses over four days.

After a couple of weeks I can manage without, but I don't seem to make the decision consciously - I just forget to take any.

My main problem still hasn't been solved - I need to find a different job. My present job is too physical, which was okay when I was younger... but that's another story.

SJW doesn't suit everyone, but adverse reports are significantly fewer than for any of the 'commercial' drugs.

Peg - the interesting thing about SJW is the way it seems to be more 'instant (in many cases) than any 'commercial' drug, nor is a 'withdrawal period' needed - where a gradually reducing dose is required.

I'm only guessing, and I'm by no means an expert (ex = has-been, spurt = drip under pressure) but it would seem to me that the issue of side-effects associated with the drugs is the key factor... SJW has very few side-effects, and very few people are adversely affected by the known side-effects, such as increased photosensitivity.

Comments, anyone?


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Peg
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 03:04 PM

interesting to hear your experiences, Jude. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: JudeL
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:13 PM

As I said things seem to affect different people differently - my problem I know has been partly physical a hormone imbalance (of known cause) and partly a stress reaction to a concentration of extreemly traumatic events. I had also been taking oil of evening primrose, which on it's own seemed to go some way to help stabilise the mood swings which had upset me (all the more because it didn't feel like me to be so volatile) but sometimes I seem to need just that little bit more which SJW appears to supply. I don't know how it affects others or how long it takes I can only say how it affects me - and so far it seems to help. I notice some difference in a day or two but it's probably about a week before the full effect kicks in. I suppose it's not so much a conscious decision to stop taking it, more that after a while (a few weeks) I begin to forget to take it and until and unless I start feeling down again don't even think about it. In the last couple of years I have had a series of events to deal with that I found overwhelming. Each time SJW seemed to help me through the worst until I could cope again without it. I know I'm over the worst when I start forgetting to take it.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: kendall
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:08 PM

Thanks to Togus Vets center, I have run out of Wellbutrin. I ordered it by mail two weeks ago, and when it didn't arrive, I called and some robot said it had been discontinued! No notice at all! Finally, I reached a real human being, and she promised to take care of it. Guess what? So far, she hasn't.

Tell you what, I wouldn't want to be the punk who jumps me right now!


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Peg
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 11:20 AM

Jude; It was surprising to see that you feel a change after only ONE DAY of taking SJW? All the literature I have read, and my own experience, tell me that it takes several weeks for it to build up in your system to the point wheer an effect is felt...how much time do you allow to elapse between stopping taking it and starting again? I have noted I can go up to a week after taking it for several months and start again and all is well; but if I let it go for two weeks or longer I need those three weeks for it to build up sufficiently...in fact am abiut to do so now because I have been off it for soem timne and will have a very stressful autumn semester coming up!


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Hawker
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 11:00 AM

I'm rushoing and admit I have not read all the replies, but I took St John's Wort for a short while, it is good for depression, but I stopped as it is NOT good if you have high blood pressure, I would suggest that if you take any regular medication it is always a good idea to check it our with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any herbal remedy, the effects of your prescribed drug therapy may react with the other medication and cause more or worse problems!
Keep well and Happy:0}
Lucy


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: John Kidder
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 12:50 AM

Should have added the following, from Orthomolecular Medicine Online.

"Diseases such as atherosclerosis, cancer, schizophrenia or depression are associated with specific biochemical abnormalities which are either causal or aggravating factors of the illness. In the orthomolecular view, it is possible that the provision of vitamins, amino acids, trace elements, electrolytes or fatty acids in amounts sufficient to correct biochemical abnormalities will be therapeutic in preventing or treating such diseases."


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: John Kidder
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 12:42 AM

Fine supportive helpful thread.

My four siblings and I all are affected by various degrees of bipolarity. We use acupunture (now actually recognized by the mechanics and chemists at the FDA as an effective treatment for depression) and various herbs, SJW among them.

My sister Margot had a widely publicized breakdown a couple of years ago - acupuncture and herbs got her back on track. Margie now uses a system called "orthomolecular medicine", and she is, mirabile dictu, no longer troubled by raving mania or the black deeps. I repeat - she is no longer troubled. She has been spending a lot of her time speaking to all sorts of mental health groups, including those dominated by psychiatriac/drug company interests, about the use of natural substances to right biochemical imbalances.

First try at Mudcat links. I hope this is a link to a Google page with numerous references: Click here and this one to "Orthomolecular Medicine Online" Click here.

It shouldn't be a surprise, gicen that we are products of the earth and all, that the substances required to fill our biochemical needs are all available in nature.

John Kidder


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: GUEST,'gargoyle
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 11:48 PM

Returned to the M.C.
Began the S.G's
My depressions..... hopin' to cure.
Oh, Mr. Joe Offer,
Please, don't kick me off here
Saint John's and M.C's.
the the best cure...I ever did see.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: kendall
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 11:44 AM

Temporary depression from a loss. a death, or a divorce, is one thing, but, clinical depression is forever. Therapy is useless because it is caused by a chemical imbalance. (Not enough seratonin) Some sort of pill to correct that imbalance is required, probably forever.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Noreen
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 10:18 AM

Gee, Geoff... this is a blast from the past. I'm finding it very interesting re-reading this thread from my current position, and remembering how I felt when I posted the contributions above... a very moving experience.

I have nothing but good words to say about SJW. It helped me through the worst year of my life. It's not a cure, but helped me cope with the worst symptoms of the depression (without any of the side effects which came with prescribed medication) while I worked my way out of it, with counselling, and the support of good friends; many of them mudcatters.

Last October, Jeri said:
"May you find yourself in the sun more and more often, until you forget what the darkness was like." I don't think I'll ever forget what it was like, as it's a part of me, but I am certainly in the sun now nearly all the time, and I do appreciate it. I'd like to wish Jeri's wish, for those who are still going through it: it can get better! I'm very happy to talk further about this with anyone- feel free to PM me, or discuss it further here.

Thanks again, my friends.

Noreen
xxx


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: kendall
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 08:14 AM

Wellbutrin works for me.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: JudeL
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 05:28 AM

We are all individuals who react differently to things. At the end of the day find something that suits you. I find taking SJW short term works for me to help me regain balance. I don't take it all the time, but I find that if I'm over-reacting and getting upset at trivia and can't seem to deal with stuff, within a day of going back on SJW I'm starting to regain perspective and feel myself again. I would not expect SJW to work for everyone and it may well have unwanted side effects for some - all I can really say is that for me it does what I need it to and I haven't noticed any adverse affects. I don't know that I'd notice an increase in photosensitivity since I have always burnt so easily that I tend to stay in the shade anyway. Also I have been on iron tablets for years as I tend to become anaemic without them.

Jude


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 08:37 PM

Any other opinions on how effective/not St. Jon's Wort might be?
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: mousethief
Date: 12 Oct 00 - 12:07 PM

I never knew St. John had a wart. He did spend a lot of time on Patmos, writing (or rather dictating), and supposedly could have gotten warts while he was there.

What?

Oh. Never mind.

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Catrin
Date: 12 Oct 00 - 12:03 PM

Re: Counselling.

I have just finshed studying for a diploma in counselling. One thing that is reinforced again and again is the need to be 'non-judgemental'. If you are being judgemental you send subtle (yet powerful) messages to the 'client' which will can anly do harm.

Also, the importance of the relationship is emphasized. Without feeling able to trust each other it's nigh on impossible to get any work done.

Noreen just gave the best definition of what counselling 'should' be. I can't better that.

I have had counselling myself in the past and I went through two 'naff' ones before I found somebody I could trust. Then it was like a breath of fresh air.

BTW it will soon be illegal (in the UK) for people to describe themselves as 'counsellors' without the necessary training.

Just my tuppenceworth.

Catrin


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: kimmers
Date: 11 Oct 00 - 01:31 PM

Yes, the warning about birth control pills and SJW is a real one... I have a good friend who is eight months pregnant because of it. And she thought she was depressed *before*!

This has been a very intelligent and fair discussion with reasoned replies. I have only one thing to add, something I tell my patients all of the time: Natural does not necessarily equal safe. There are many herbal meds out there that are quite pharmacologically active and may vary in their strength and purity. Buy from a reputable store, and look on the label to see where the products were grown or produced. Here in the US, we've had problems with imported herbal meds being contaminated by things such as lead and prednisone. This has mainly been noted in products from China.

And... remember, there's no free ride. Anything that plays around with the way your body works has the potential for side effects. What we should hope to accomplish is the achievement of the fewest side effects for the greatest benefit. I think that SJW is probably a reasonably good medication provided that the patient follows the directions, and it is certainly cheap. Most of my patients, though, want something that is covered by their insurance so they won't have to pay anything.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 09:51 PM

Nothing on St. John's, but much on exhausted adrenals as a factor in recovery from depression, if not a cause in itself, which it also may be. See the recent thread PRAISE'S GOOD NEWS ON HEALTH for links. PM me for more info.


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Subject: RE: Help: St. John's Wort
From: Jeri
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 09:50 PM

It's understandable, Noreen, it's hard for me to comprehend what it's like it at all. It seems I misunderstood what you were saying, and I apologise. May you find yourself in the sun more and more often, until you forget what the darkness was like.

I try to learn by reading up on things and listening to people, and I'm learning a lot from this thread. Thanks to everyone who has shared, and will share their own experiences.


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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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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 - 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 - 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 - 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 07:23 AM

Refresh


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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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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