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St. John's Wort (Hypericum Perforatum)

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St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

 

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1050363/the_potential_dangers_of_saint_johns_pg3.html?cat=68

 

The Potential Dangers of Saint John's Wort: The Antidepressant Herb that May Not Be Right for Everyone

 

Juniper Russo, Yahoo! Contributor Network

 

Oct 1, 2008 "

 

Although it is, at best, marginally effective as a depression treatment compared to other natural alternatives like fish oil and Sam-e, Saint John's Wort remains one of the most popular options utilized by those seeking natural supplements to ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

 

Because it is a natural supplement, Saint John's Wort is usually assumed by patients to be safe. While, compared to conventional psychiatric medications, it does carry few risks of severe side effects, it is still something that should not be taken without first researching the potential hazards of this popular herbal remedy.

 

Herbs, like their refined, synthetic counterparts, are, in fact, medications. Like conventional medications, they carry both benefits and risks. For the most part, the dangers of natural cures are minimal compared to the dangers of man-made drugs, but patients must still make themselves fully aware of the potential dangers so as to avoid inflicting harm on themselves unknowingly.

 

It may be disappointing to many who are suffering from moderate to severe depression that Saint John's Wort has been shown to be ineffective at treating moderate to severe depression, according to a series of 2002 double-blind studies carried out by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. While studies by NCCA and other organizations have shown it to be effective for mild depression, its effects are considered to be limited, at best, for those with severe depression.

 

One of the most critical dangers of taking Saint John's Wort is that it has a tendency to induce manic episodes in patients who are bipolar. According to a 1999 statement released by Biol Psychiatry based on placebo-controlled studies, it should not be used to treat depression in those with manic-depressive disorders, because, rather than stabilize the patient, it tends to swing them in the opposite--but equally dangerous---psychological direction.

 

 

If you are fair-skinned, sunburn easily, or spend a lot of time outdoors under direct sunlight, Saint John's Wort may not be a good option for you. It is believed by many herbalists, based statements released by the companies that grow and sell the herb, to increase photosensitivity in some people, and may have led to severe sunburn or even melanoma in people who would not have otherwise been quite as sensitive. It is also believed to react with light to produce free radicals, which damage the body's healing capabilities and may, rarely, exacerbate symptoms of depression.

 

Saint John's Wort also has a noticeable effect on both male and female reproductive systems, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine . It has been linked to erectile and ejaculatory dysfunction in men, as well as lowered sperm count.

 

Equally unwanted by many is its opposite effect on women. It may drastically reduce the effectiveness of progesterone-containing contraceptives, including the traditional birth control, the progesterone-only "minipill", and Mirena IUDs. This may lead to unwanted pregnancies. More frightening is the potential for causing ectopic pregnancies (always fatal for the embryo and sometimes fatal for the woman) among those who are using progesterone-containing intrauterine devices.

 

 

In addition to its interaction with hormonal contraceptive medicines, Saint John's Wort is known to interact negatively with many other medicines, leading to a warning by the American FDA and the British government that it should not be taken with any prescription medication. Saint John's Wort slightly speeds the body's metabolism of drugs that it ingests. While this increase in metabolism is relatively small, it can still be a significant issue to those who rely on prescription medications that need to be released slowly. Immunosuppresants, benzodiazepines, and antiretrovirals, as well as many other prescription drugs, are known to interact negatively with Saint John's Wort. The effect has been especially documented in patients who are HIV positive or whose immune systems are otherwise compromised.

 

 

The interaction caused by Saint John's Wort that needs the most warning--since many who are using it to treat depression are also likely taking other medications--occurs when it is combined with antidepressants.

 

Taking Saint John's Wort with MAOI's, SSRI's, or other antidepressants can lead to a drastic overproduction of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which may be a life-threatening reaction. Serotonin syndrome, as it is known, can also be caused when Saint John's Wort is taken in conjunction with other natural serotonin-increasing supplements, such as tryptophan, kanna and 5-HTP.

 

Many natural treatments for depression carry far fewer side effects and drug interactions than Saint John's Wort. Kanna, an herb that acts similarly to Prozac, is one example of an depression-treating herb not known to cause any adverse reactions. Fish oil is an effective treatment of depression that requires very massive doses before the threshold of benefit is reached. Vitamin B complexes have long been used to treat psychiatric disorders, and are water-soluble, with no potential for overdose. Sam-e is also known to be very effective, and is often prescribed along with conventional medications in Germany and Italy. While Saint John's Wort may carry more benefits than risks for some people, it has a higher profile of potentially problematic reactions than some other supplements,

 

 

If you are considering taking Saint John's Wort, make sure you thoroughly research its potential dangers. Be certain that you are not taking any medications that might interact negatively with it, and consider another natural alternative if you are. Always discuss it with your doctor before you make any change in your medications, especially if you have a medical condition, are taking prescription drugs, or are under treatment for bipolar disorder.

 

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

http://www.natural-remedies-review.com/st-johns-wort.html

 

.....Side Effects, Toxicity and Warnings

 

What are some side effects of taking St. John's wort?

 

Most people report using this herb to only cause mild side effects. Reported side effects include: dizziness, fatigue/sedation, insomnia, headache, restlessness/anxiety, dry mouth, constipation, stomach pain and cramps, photosensitivity, rash and itching. It may also cause sexual dysfunction and impotence.

 

To avoid stomach related side effects, take this herb with a meal.

 

 

What are some dangers in using St. John's wort?

 

This herb seems to induce the liver enzymes causing drugs to breakdown faster. St. John's wort is shown to increase or decrease the action of many prescription drugs. We have listed several major dangers of using this supplement while you are on other prescription drugs.

 

Do not combine this supplement with other prescription without checking with your doctor or pharmacist.

 

Taking St. John's wort with prescription migraine medications such as Imitrex, Amerge, Maxalt and Zomig (and others) may significantly worsen the side effects of this group of drugs.

 

Using St. John's wort by women may cause breakthrough bleeding, affect the regular menstrual cycle. For women taking oral contraceptive pills (birth control pills), it might make it less effective and cause unwanted pregnancy.

 

Also, St. John's wort also causes blooding thinning medications such as Coumadin (warfarin) to be less effective. This could cause excessive bleeding.

 

In theory, St. John's wort seems to increase the effect of Plavix possibly causing more bleeding than usual.

 

 

How safe is it to use this herb in children?

 

There is one study done in children to show that it is safe to use. Dosage should be no more than half the adult dose. Use this herb in children under medical supervision.

 

 

 

Dosage & How to Take It

 

Standardized Extracts - Take 300 to 500 mg three times daily (standardized to 0.3% hypericin or 3% hyperforin). Take with food to avoid stomach complaints.

 

Powder and Infusion - Take 2 to 4 grams three times daily.

 

On the Skin - The typical dosage is not known. A 1.5% concentration preparation have been used. Apply up to three times daily to treat dermatitis, wounds and hemorrhoids.

 

Selected References for St. John's Wort

Revised: January 1, 2011

 

_______________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

http://atheism.about.com/library/glossary/paranormal/bldef_stjohnswort.htm

 

St. John's Wort

 

 

Name:

St. John's WortCommon Name: Klamath weed

Botanical name: Hypericum perforatum

 

Location:St. John's Wort grows in both the United States and Europe. In America, it is most abundant in Northern California and Southern Oregon.

 

Profile:

 

St. John's Wort is alternative medicine's success and its failure - it's a symbol of why alternative medicines can help people, but also why it is dangerous to people's health and lives. St. John's Wort is a "food supplement" which is used to treat depression. It is not regulated by the FDA or any government agency. St. John's Wort works - it does indeed seem to help with mild forms of depression, but only with the very mild forms. Studies performed at Duke University have demonstrated that with moderate to severe depression, St. John's Wort does no good at all.

 

St. John's Wort can also kill you, if you aren't careful - it is a drug, and drugs can be dangerous. It's common for ads for "natural remedies" to give the impression that, being "natural," they are inherently safe, perhaps safer than laboratory-created medicines. Then again, arsenic is also "natural."

 

 

 

Lurking Dangers

 

Why is St. John's Wort dangerous? The active ingredient in St. John's Wort is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).

 

These substances were among first used to treat depression, and they are still used today when the condition is in a mild form. MAOIs inhibit the actions of a protein in the brain called monoamine oxidase. This protein "cleans up" in the brain by destroying neurotransmitters. You can't have neurotransmitters sitting around forever after they have done their job, so they have to be eliminated; yet if too many are eliminated, depression can result. MAOIs, then, keep the levels of neurotransmitters a bit higher and help keep you feeling better.

 

MAOIs do something else, however: they also "clean up" tyramine, a molecule that affects blood pressure. When monoamine oxidase is blocked, the levels of tyramine increase quickly. You feel better, emotionally and psychologically, but your blood pressure can rise so much and so quickly that the blood vessels in your brain can burst. When MAOIs were first introduced in the 1960s, the country was swept by a wave of deaths from inexplicable brain hemorrhages.

 

 

 

Foods to Avoid

 

Eventually, the link between MAOIs and tyramine was discovered, so the banned drugs could be reintroduced along with a warning for patients to restrict their diets. Foods high in tyramine and which are forbidden include:

 

alcoholic beverages (especially chianti, sherry, liqueurs, and beer)

alcohol-free or reduced-alcohol beer or wine

aged foods, especially aged meats and cheeses

smoked or pickled meat, poultry, or fish

bologna, pepperoni, salami, summer sausage, or any fermented sausage

meat with tenderizers, unfresh meat, meat extracts, canned meats

dried and pickled fish, including caviar, anchovies and pickled herring

liver, especially chicken livers.

cheeses (especially strong or aged varieties), except for cottage and cream cheese

fermented foods and homemade breads with a lot of yeast

fruit: raisins, bananas, canned figs, red plums, avocados, or any overripe fruit

vegetable products: green bean pods, eggplant, Italian broad beans, soy sauce

There are additional foods which can only be eaten in moderation. All of this information is given to patients who are prescribed MAOIs by their doctor. As you can see, the list is very extensive and includes a lot of popular foods; because of this, many people find taking MAOIs to be very difficult.

 

 

 

Drug Interactions

 

And that isn't all. It is a simply phramaceutical fact that drugs sometimes interact with each other - there is no way around this. Does St. John's Wort interact with anything? As a matter of fact, yes - it can interfere with the chemotherapy drug irinotecan, reducing its ability to kill cancer. The FDA has issued a long list of additional medications which St. John's Wort can interfere with - medications used to treat conditions like HIV infection, heart disease, seizure, and cancer. It even affects drugs used to prevent transplant rejection and pregnancy.

 

The next time you see St. John's Wort in a store, however, take a look at the package and see if it contains health warnings or a list of foods which you shouldn't eat or drugs which it can interact with. You will probably search in vain. The best I have every seen tells people not to take the product if they are taking other MAO inhibitors and not to take it with "high tyramine foods like red wine" - a warning so inadequate as to actually cause depression in the reader. Others are even worse, giving no warning whatsoever.

 

 

 

But Does it Work?

 

The "success" here is the fact that a popular alternative treatment to a medical condition can indeed work - people have been helped. The failure, however, is the fact your health is needlessly put in danger because you are not given enough information to make an informed choice when such dangerous drugs are marketed without sufficient warning. The only saving grace is that doses of St. John's Wort may not contain enough active ingredient to cause a negative reaction - but in that case, it may also not contain enough to actually work.

 

If herbal remedies and alternative medicines work, then they must affect your body's chemistry and biology. In such a situation, it is possible to have negative reactions - side effects brought about by your own body, by other drugs, by foods, etc. On the other hand, if there are no possible side effects, then there is no effect on your body's chemistry and biology - which means that the drug can't actually work. You should think about that the next time you look at an alternative medicine and fail to see any warnings about side effects or reactions with other drugs or food.

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

 

http://www.whathealth.com/stjohnswort/dangers.html

 

 

As a herb, St John's wort is often viewed as a natural product. This quality can influence users into believing it is completely safe to take.

 

Whilst any side effects are generally mild and well tolerated, there are a lot of complex chemicals in St John's wort which can interact with other drugs.

 

Compared to traditional antidepressants, St John's wort is a product of nature; it does not have the patents and subsequent research devoted to them.

 

However, St John's wort as a herbal remedy has stood the test of time over two millenia.

 

Modern research appears to support the notion that St John's wort is a safe treatment for depression; although it's effectiveness for more severe depression is questioned.

 

 

 

 

The dangers surrounding St John's wort are concerned with:

 

the quality of the preparation being used

the interaction with other drugs and conditions

the onset of more extreme side effects (such as photosensitization and serotonin syndrome)

Unlicensed St John's Wort Products

Unlike Germany and Ireland where St John's wort is only available by prescription, in most countries it is available over the counter. It is advisable to purchase from reputable sources.

 

 

Risks Of Unregulated St John's Wort

 

contaminated batches are rare but still a possibility

more likely to be differences between different brands and between different batches

instructions which accompany the St John's wort product may be misleading

St John's Wort May Cause Photosensitization Photosensitization refers to the eyes and skin becoming over sensitive. If photosensitization occurs, it is much easier to get sunburn. If this side effect is mild, suncream should be worn on bright days.

 

In severe cases, advice from a doctor should be sought who may advise switching to another treatment option.

 

St John's Wort May Contribute To Serotonin Syndrome Serotonin syndrome can be a very serious condition in which serotonin levels are raised too high, causing a range of symptoms which are barely perceptible to fatal.

 

 

Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:

 

confusion

convulsions

hypertension

tachycardia

 

If users of St John's wort are already taking another form of antidepressant, they may be more likely to develop this condition.

 

 

St John's Wort Can Interfere With The Effectiveness Of Other Drugs

 

For example, St John's wort can interfere with drugs used during organ transplant operations; this can lead to dire consequences (see also, 'St John's wort interacts with drugs').

 

St John's Wort: Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

 

There is limited research into the effects of St John's wort on pregnancy and breast feeding. Women should not take St John's wort whilst pregnant or breast feeding as the risks are not understood.

 

St John's Wort May Not Be Suitable For Severe Depression

 

St John's wort is not a proven treatment for severe depression; there is conflicting evidence as to its effectiveness [5]. If a person with severe depression takes St John's wort and it does not benefit them, suicide could be a potential consequence.

 

Treatment options for depression (especially severe depression) should be discussed with a doctor first.

 

 

St John's Wort May Worsen Symptoms Of Existing Medical Conditions

.

 

These include Alzheimer's disease, in which St John's wort can worsen or cause psychotic symptoms.

 

St John's wort may also worsen symptoms of schizophrenia, manic depression (bipolar disorder) causing mania, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and any existing allergies.

 

St John's Wort Does Not Treat The Cause

 

Like traditional antidepressants, St John's wort will not treat the cause of depression. In some cases, depression may arise due to naturally low levels of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which leaves us feeling low.

 

However, in many cases, depression is triggered by life events which may need to be addressed through non-drug treatments such as psychotherapy and counselling.............

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ajay

Thanks Punar for the wealth of info.

 

Any comments from people who have tried St. John's Wort?

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compsports

Thanks Punar for the wealth of info.

 

Any comments from people who have tried St. John's Wort?

 

Hi,

 

I took it many years ago when I stupidly cold turkeyed Prozac and became suicidal. It helped greatly.

 

I may have not waited long enough between taking the Prozac and the SJW but fortunately, nothing happened.

 

I took if for about 4 years before it seemed to poop out. But I think the other psych meds were doing that and not the SJW. Who knows?

 

My former therapist thought it was my most effective AD.

 

CS

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Altostrata

St. John's Wort is a noradrenergic, which is why it causes "mania" -- like SNRIs.

 

Generally, people with withdrawal syndrome do poorly with anything that is stimulating. If you have withdrawal anxiety or insomnia, it may make those symptoms worse.

 

Everybody's different, though. Evaluate the information and make the choice that you believe is right for you. And post here and let us know what happens!

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solida

I took it 10 years ago,in a crisis, and it worked great, without any side effects and without withdrawal syndroms.It made me vey calm,though.

 

Then I tried it last year and all hell broke loose after it kicked in-and even worse after I stopped.It took me 6months to recover from.Mad!!!

 

solida

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Altostrata

Yes, a destabilized nervous system may react poorly to substances that used to be fine before withdrawal.

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squirrel

I was advised to take it by a doc. was told to stop Paxil at 5mg and take st Johns Wort. Crashed badly so did not continue with it.

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bronxboy8

How you feeling pun? I hope you have improvements, and for st. John wort I took it early in withdrawal didn't really notice it did anything for me.

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serotonin

Hi everyone after reading everything and listening to helpful advice from memebers of this forum i believe saint john wort is the culprite to my insomania!

 

Right now i have been taking at least 900mg for 1 week, and today i already took 370 mg, how do i slowly taper off of this?

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Altostrata

What I would do: Don't take any more today, take 200mg tomorrow, take 100mg day after, and so forth.

 

SJW is relatively weak.

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serotonin

Ok thank u hopeully no withdrawal!

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Nikki

Shanti you have posted about this. I just read this on CrazyMeds.

 

Here’s another one pitting Zoloft against Hypericum extract. The objective of the study totally gives away the desired outcome, “to demonstrate the non-inferiority of hypericum extract versus sertraline in the treatment of moderate depression.” Right. Give Zoloft to people who aren’t depressed enough to need real medication, and see if Hypericum doesn’t fail when comparing the results. The results being a complete tie, with Hypericum sucking somewhat less.

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Altostrata

Could be one placebo against another, the hypericum being considerably safer.

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bubbles

I took hypericum (we are talking St John's Wort, aren't we?) for a year, had zero side effects and was able to CT with no ill effects (didn't know any better, wouldn't do that again even with something like hypericum, but all was well). In the end it wasn't enough (though who can tell, the Lexapro came with a doctor phoning me at intervals to check on me - much better potential for placebo effect than buying hypericum at a supermarket...) and I switched.

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Altostrata

Merged our various St. John's Wort topics.

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JanCarol

Sent here by CW (thanks, CW!).  Hubby has been on 450mg St John's Wort for a year.  It's time to come off, even if it helps him.  He has never been on any antidepressants, and when he got so down this time last year, he was considering a prescription.

 

I said, rather than ruin your nice, clean brain, let's try something weaker to see if it gets you going.  After a 3 month trial (time to reorder) I asked if he was ready to quit and he said he was afraid to quit.  But now at the 1 year mark, I'm reluctant to keep him on it, especially given what I read above.  He has had a stroke (brain hemorrhages could be a problem) and I HAD NEVER HEARD the stuff about MAOI action, I always thought it was SSRI action.  He is not on any known conflicting medicine, but we are looking into intensification of his psoriatic arthritis.

 

My plan (which was poo poo'd by my psychologist!) is to taper of 25% biweekly, so that in 2 months he is free of it.  Pending of course, his own stability.  My psychologist was like, "Oh, you'd better ask a compounding chemist or someone about that!"  La-dee-dah!  As if anyone in the medical profession would say anything other than QUIT!

 

I love my husband, and don't want him to have any more grief than he already has!  I'm thinking that, for an herbal product, that is a nice, conservative taper.  Plus, I'm getting him on the magnesium program.  I'll be sure to let y'all know how it goes, and we'll have a spare bottle left over if anyone needs a lift!   ;)

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Altostrata

Sounds like a good plan, JanCarol.

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JanCarol

Well, first 2 weeks of taper, he was at 25% reduction.  We found some tablets, easier to break than capsules.  

 

He says taper is going well, in spite of all the cortisone reaction and other stuff (I may ask him to hold at 50%, because it has been intense, exhausting, and tiring) he tapered to 50% this week.  

 

So far, quite smooth.  I would say (unless SJW causes hiccups) easy going.  I also hope for no rebound withdrawal after some unspecified lapse of time - but I'm not gonna mention it to him unless it happens.  (for the story of hubby's cortisone shot, see my intro thread, page 5).

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TammyP

I am very frustrated.  I'm in Hawaii and am suffering from a sunburn/heat rash.  I've been off and on St. John and never had this happen.  I was prescribed this by my Naturopath while getting off Western AD to prevent withdrawals. That worked.  I've been researching the sunburn issue and happened upon this site to learn what she (NP) told me is not consistent with what I've read in here. She stated that SJW is NOT addictive and withdrawals are NOT possible, Sun allergy is RARE.  

 

I went to her initially for Diverticulitis, which is caused by constipation, I seriously almost died from this, and she really helped me.  Now I read SJW can cause consitpation.  Also, she recently prescribed me Zen a "Natural Anxiety" suppliment to aid in sleeping.  SJW can cause insomnia.  Also I find out that SJW is a MAOI, and there are foods to avoid, and of course the majority on the list I eat. I am really really upset right now, I trusted her, left my Western Doctor thinking that Naturopathic Medicine is the answer.  

 

Regardless I want to get off everything now so I can enjoy the sun in HAWAII, but reading this I need to decrease gradually.   I've been saying, preaching, to my friends that we have to take our health into our own hands, because these practitioners are doing exactly that, practicing.  

 

Starting today, as it's 1am, can't sleep and itching like crazy due to sun rash I will cut my dose in half and see how that works.  

 

Thank you to this forum for helping me see the "light". 

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mammaP

I used to take St Johns wort many years ago and had to avoid going in the sun uncovered. I got

a very itchy rash and also had to be careful with my light box.. I was fine after I stopped taking it .

You can reduce it much faster as it is natural, reduce a little each day over a few days. It isn't addictive

but your brain will be used to it and it is just a bit more gentle than stopping it cold turkey. I hope you

have some relief because I know how uncomfortable it is!  Sorry for not replying to your post sooner I have

only just seen it, we've been very busy lately and a few posts have been missed.

 

(I hate it when people say that a reaction is RARE....it may not be as rare as she thinks, I am certain no-one

ever reported my reaction, and many others may react too and not report it,  who would we report it to?)

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compsports

I am very frustrated.  I'm in Hawaii and am suffering from a sunburn/heat rash.  I've been off and on St. John and never had this happen.  I was prescribed this by my Naturopath while getting off Western AD to prevent withdrawals. That worked.  I've been researching the sunburn issue and happened upon this site to learn what she (NP) told me is not consistent with what I've read in here. She stated that SJW is NOT addictive and withdrawals are NOT possible, Sun allergy is RARE.  

 

I went to her initially for Diverticulitis, which is caused by constipation, I seriously almost died from this, and she really helped me.  Now I read SJW can cause consitpation.  Also, she recently prescribed me Zen a "Natural Anxiety" suppliment to aid in sleeping.  SJW can cause insomnia.  Also I find out that SJW is a MAOI, and there are foods to avoid, and of course the majority on the list I eat. I am really really upset right now, I trusted her, left my Western Doctor thinking that Naturopathic Medicine is the answer.  

 

Regardless I want to get off everything now so I can enjoy the sun in HAWAII, but reading this I need to decrease gradually.   I've been saying, preaching, to my friends that we have to take our health into our own hands, because these practitioners are doing exactly that, practicing.  

 

Starting today, as it's 1am, can't sleep and itching like crazy due to sun rash I will cut my dose in half and see how that works.  

 

Thank you to this forum for helping me see the "light". 

Hi TammyP,

 

SJY is not a true MAOI drug

 

http://tangcenter.uchicago.edu/herbal_resources/stjohnswort.shtml

 

 

Initially, monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibition was considered a possible mechanism of action. Later studies have shown, however, that the inhibition of MAO by St. John's wort is clinically insignificant. Adverse events that would be expected with MAO inhibition have not been reported with St. John's wort.

Just you know, I took it several years ago and definitely did not restrict my diet.  I am still here:)

 

I do remember the insomnia issues and found it difficult to get the right dosage as too little didn't seem enought and the right amount caused sleep difficulties.  I finally switched to Wellbutrin which is another post.

 

Sheesh, your NP is in denile big timel.  How frustrating.

 

Hang in there.

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

You might want to look at this link too:

 

 

Other Concerns  

 

Certain foods contain a substance named tyramine. These foods include aged cheeses, aged or cured meat, sauerkraut, soy sauce, other soy condiments, beer (especially beer on tap), and wine. Drugs in the MAO inhibitor family interact adversely with tyramine, causing severe side effects such as high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and delirium. One case report suggests that St. John’s might present this risk as well. 96 However, other studies suggest that normal doses of St. John’s should not cause MAO-like effects. 4,5,97 Until this issue is sorted out, we recommend that individuals taking St. John’s wort avoid tyramine-containing foods. Since MAO inhibitors react adversely with stimulant drugs such as Ritalin, ephedrine (found in the herb ephedra ), and caffeine, we also recommend that you avoid combining St. John’s wort with them.

 

SJW is definitely NOT an innocuous substance and many have found that it must be tapered off gradually. The above link also has some comments about sun exposure.

 

 

Photosensitivity   Cows and sheep grazing on St. John's wort have sometimes developed severe and even fatal sensitivity to the sun. In one study, highly sun-sensitive people were given twice the normal dose of the herb. 47 The results showed a mild but measurable increase in reaction to ultraviolet radiation. Another trial found that a one-time dose of St. John’s wort containing 2 or 6 times the normal daily dose did not cause an increased tendency to burn, nor did 7 days of treatment at the normal dose. 83 However, there is a case report of severe and unexpected burning in an individual who used St. John's wort and then received ultraviolet therapy for psoriasis. 48 In addition, two individuals using topical St. John's wort experienced severe reactions to sun exposure.

 

Sheesh, cows and sheep?????

 

Forewarned is forearmed.

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chicken

I tried it some years ago and it made me feel weird in the head. I stopped taking it. I surely don't think it's a harmless herb.

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compsports

Actually, I had more luck with SJW than I did with any other antidepressant and my therapist agreed.   I did end up switching to Welllbutrin but my guess is it was the other meds that I was on (Adderall and Remeron) that were probably causing the problems.

 

I was careful to take the best rated brands which may have helped keep my problems to a minimum. 

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

From the drugs interaction checker at drugs.com:

 

interaction-2-big.png st. john's wort ↔ food

Applies to: st. john's wort

While you are taking St. John's wort, you must not eat or drink certain foods and beverages that are high in tyramine. Eating these foods while you are taking St. John's wort can raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels. This may cause life threatening symptoms such as sudden and severe headache, confusion, blurred vision, problems with speech or balance, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, seizure (convulsions), and sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body). Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms. Foods that are high in tyramine include: air dried meats, aged or fermented meats, sausage or salami, pickled herring, and any spoiled or improperly stored beef, poultry, fish, or liver, red wine, beer from a tap, beer that has not been pasteurize, aged cheeses, including blue, brick, brie, cheddar, parmesan, romano, and swiss, sauerkraut, over the counter supplements or cough and cold medicines that contain tyramine, soy beans, soy sauce, tofu, miso soup, bean curd, fava beans, or yeast extracts (such as Marmite). Caffeine intake should be limited as well.

 

I am posting this here even though the information is contained in the first post. I will, however, re-post the content from above to show why this is important to remember:

 

Lurking Dangers

Why is St. John's Wort dangerous? The active ingredient in St. John's Wort is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).

These substances were among first used to treat depression, and they are still used today when the condition is in a mild form. MAOIs inhibit the actions of a protein in the brain called monoamine oxidase. This protein "cleans up" in the brain by destroying neurotransmitters. You can't have neurotransmitters sitting around forever after they have done their job, so they have to be eliminated; yet if too many are eliminated, depression can result. MAOIs, then, keep the levels of neurotransmitters a bit higher and help keep you feeling better.

MAOIs do something else, however: they also "clean up" tyramine, a molecule that affects blood pressure. When monoamine oxidase is blocked, the levels of tyramine increase quickly. You feel better, emotionally and psychologically, but your blood pressure can rise so much and so quickly that the blood vessels in your brain can burst. When MAOIs were first introduced in the 1960s, the country was swept by a wave of deaths from inexplicable brain hemorrhages.

Foods to Avoid

Eventually, the link between MAOIs and tyramine was discovered, so the banned drugs could be reintroduced along with a warning for patients to restrict their diets. Foods high in tyramine and which are forbidden include:

alcoholic beverages (especially chianti, sherry, liqueurs, and beer)
alcohol-free or reduced-alcohol beer or wine
aged foods, especially aged meats and cheeses
smoked or pickled meat, poultry, or fish
bologna, pepperoni, salami, summer sausage, or any fermented sausage
meat with tenderizers, unfresh meat, meat extracts, canned meats
dried and pickled fish, including caviar, anchovies and pickled herring
liver, especially chicken livers.
cheeses (especially strong or aged varieties), except for cottage and cream cheese
fermented foods and homemade breads with a lot of yeast
fruit: raisins, bananas, canned figs, red plums, avocados, or any overripe fruit
vegetable products: green bean pods, eggplant, Italian broad beans, soy sauce

There are additional foods which can only be eaten in moderation. All of this information is given to patients who are prescribed MAOIs by their doctor. As you can see, the list is very extensive and includes a lot of popular foods; because of this, many people find taking MAOIs to be very difficult.

 

(this link pops you to the first post)
 

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compsports

CW,

 

Obviously, it is better to cautious but during the 2-3 years I was on SJW, my diet wasn't restricted at all and I had zero problems.   And my psychiatrist never said anything about restricting foods which he definitely would have done if this was an issue.

 

I do remember consulting several sites and came to the conclusion it was not a true MAOI drug.   Perhaps you could say I was lucky but for two years?  I don't think so.

 

I would be very curious as to what those sites are basing that information on because it just doesn't make any sense based on my experience which I realize proves nothing.   But then again, if this substance truly was an MAOI drug, I should have been in the ER several times.

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

CS,

 

Perhaps you could do a search for more current content and post here? The original poster posted that in 2011.

 

It does say: "the active ingredient in" not that it IS a MAOI. Perhaps you metabolize tyramine differently? Any chance that might be affecting your sleep? I think it would be worth checking out. Could be the missing piece in your puzzle......

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compsports

CW,

 

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply I was taking it now.   I took it from around 2001/2002 to 2004.

 

Hmm, even if I metabolized it differently, I would think at least once I would have had a severe reaction and I didn't.   I will try to find current research but so far, I have come up dry.

 

I do wonder if perhaps taking top rated brands might have saved me from potential problems.   Hard to say.

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

Aha! I found something, that original statement is a bit misleading after all. This is from the Merck Manual online:

 

 

The flowers of St. John's wort contain its biologically active ingredients hypericin and hyperforin. St. John's wort may increase CNS serotonin and, in very high doses, acts like a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).

 

"Acts like" is not the same but maybe biologically so, when it is in the body, the point may be moot (no distinction).

 

And further:

 

 

Potential adverse interactions occur with cyclosporinedigoxin, iron supplements, MAOIs, NNRTIs, oral contraceptives, protease inhibitors, SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants, and warfarin .

 

Definitely worthy of a warning.

 

So maybe it depended upon which ingredient, hypericin or hyperforin, was standardized or predominant. The cheaper formulations of stuff always use the most easily retrieved or synthesized ingredient.

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compsports

Ah, so maybe the fact that it is at the high doses that it acts like an MAOI inhibitor is the reason is the reason for the warnings.   Yup, the warnings are definitely justified.

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alwayslookup

Be VERY cautious with everything that acts as a MAO inhibitor like ST. J Worth, Ginseng, etc

 

Yesterday after trying ginseng again and later eating stuff high in tyramine (not knowing the warnings), It made me wake up in the night with crazy mania. It was like a seizure which kind of felt a bit like a serotonin syndrome too. As I can remember it was like the seizures I had in the past multiple times when I took St.Johns Worth with or without antidepressants. I also tried it in withdrawal with similar results but only now, looking back, I understand why those things happened!!

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ang

Thanks Punar for the wealth of info. Any comments from people who have tried St. John's Wort?

I'm trying it, and it's working for me.... no horrific mood changing problems....  But I aint on any SSRIs anymore.

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ang

 

From the drugs interaction checker at drugs.com:

 

interaction-2-big.png st. john's wort ↔ food

Applies to: st. john's wort

While you are taking St. John's wort, you must not eat or drink certain foods and beverages that are high in tyramine. Eating these foods while you are taking St. John's wort can raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels. This may cause life threatening symptoms such as sudden and severe headache, confusion, blurred vision, problems with speech or balance, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, seizure (convulsions), and sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body). Call your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms. Foods that are high in tyramine include: air dried meats, aged or fermented meats, sausage or salami, pickled herring, and any spoiled or improperly stored beef, poultry, fish, or liver, red wine, beer from a tap, beer that has not been pasteurize, aged cheeses, including blue, brick, brie, cheddar, parmesan, romano, and swiss, sauerkraut, over the counter supplements or cough and cold medicines that contain tyramine, soy beans, soy sauce, tofu, miso soup, bean curd, fava beans, or yeast extracts (such as Marmite). Caffeine intake should be limited as well.

 

I am posting this here even though the information is contained in the first post. I will, however, re-post the content from above to show why this is important to remember:

 

Lurking Dangers

 

Why is St. John's Wort dangerous? The active ingredient in St. John's Wort is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).

 

These substances were among first used to treat depression, and they are still used today when the condition is in a mild form. MAOIs inhibit the actions of a protein in the brain called monoamine oxidase. This protein "cleans up" in the brain by destroying neurotransmitters. You can't have neurotransmitters sitting around forever after they have done their job, so they have to be eliminated; yet if too many are eliminated, depression can result. MAOIs, then, keep the levels of neurotransmitters a bit higher and help keep you feeling better.

 

MAOIs do something else, however: they also "clean up" tyramine, a molecule that affects blood pressure. When monoamine oxidase is blocked, the levels of tyramine increase quickly. You feel better, emotionally and psychologically, but your blood pressure can rise so much and so quickly that the blood vessels in your brain can burst. When MAOIs were first introduced in the 1960s, the country was swept by a wave of deaths from inexplicable brain hemorrhages.

 

Foods to Avoid

 

Eventually, the link between MAOIs and tyramine was discovered, so the banned drugs could be reintroduced along with a warning for patients to restrict their diets. Foods high in tyramine and which are forbidden include:

 

alcoholic beverages (especially chianti, sherry, liqueurs, and beer)

alcohol-free or reduced-alcohol beer or wine

aged foods, especially aged meats and cheeses

smoked or pickled meat, poultry, or fish

bologna, pepperoni, salami, summer sausage, or any fermented sausage

meat with tenderizers, unfresh meat, meat extracts, canned meats

dried and pickled fish, including caviar, anchovies and pickled herring

liver, especially chicken livers.

cheeses (especially strong or aged varieties), except for cottage and cream cheese

fermented foods and homemade breads with a lot of yeast

fruit: raisins, bananas, canned figs, red plums, avocados, or any overripe fruit

vegetable products: green bean pods, eggplant, Italian broad beans, soy sauce

There are additional foods which can only be eaten in moderation. All of this information is given to patients who are prescribed MAOIs by their doctor. As you can see, the list is very extensive and includes a lot of popular foods; because of this, many people find taking MAOIs to be very difficult.

 

(this link pops you to the first post)

 

 

Well it is 2015 now, all the reports I read now, say St Johns Wort is comparable in effectiveness to other AD, with much less risks (and I agree with this).  Effexor gave me seriously high blood pressure, and semi mania for 8 years.  I became bipolar after a drug cocktail, I am presently taking St Johns Wort, and I still have my brain...... I like it.  No-where have I read that it is an MAOI .... they are guessing as they guess with the "chemical imbalance theory".... It has been used for 3,000 years.... unlike all the "new u beaut drugs" with brand new patents, that are killing us and sending us crazy.  Am sure that if SJW as dangerous as effexor et al, the big pharma would have had it banned years ago, making them more able to push their product.

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midomidi2013

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

 

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1050363/the_potential_dangers_of_saint_johns_pg3.html?cat=68

 

The Potential Dangers of Saint John's Wort: The Antidepressant Herb that May Not Be Right for Everyone

 

Juniper Russo, Yahoo! Contributor Network

 

Oct 1, 2008 "

 

Although it is, at best, marginally effective as a depression treatment compared to other natural alternatives like fish oil and Sam-e, Saint John's Wort remains one of the most popular options utilized by those seeking natural supplements to ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

 

Because it is a natural supplement, Saint John's Wort is usually assumed by patients to be safe. While, compared to conventional psychiatric medications, it does carry few risks of severe side effects, it is still something that should not be taken without first researching the potential hazards of this popular herbal remedy.

 

Herbs, like their refined, synthetic counterparts, are, in fact, medications. Like conventional medications, they carry both benefits and risks. For the most part, the dangers of natural cures are minimal compared to the dangers of man-made drugs, but patients must still make themselves fully aware of the potential dangers so as to avoid inflicting harm on themselves unknowingly.

 

It may be disappointing to many who are suffering from moderate to severe depression that Saint John's Wort has been shown to be ineffective at treating moderate to severe depression, according to a series of 2002 double-blind studies carried out by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. While studies by NCCA and other organizations have shown it to be effective for mild depression, its effects are considered to be limited, at best, for those with severe depression.

 

One of the most critical dangers of taking Saint John's Wort is that it has a tendency to induce manic episodes in patients who are bipolar. According to a 1999 statement released by Biol Psychiatry based on placebo-controlled studies, it should not be used to treat depression in those with manic-depressive disorders, because, rather than stabilize the patient, it tends to swing them in the opposite--but equally dangerous---psychological direction.

 

 

If you are fair-skinned, sunburn easily, or spend a lot of time outdoors under direct sunlight, Saint John's Wort may not be a good option for you. It is believed by many herbalists, based statements released by the companies that grow and sell the herb, to increase photosensitivity in some people, and may have led to severe sunburn or even melanoma in people who would not have otherwise been quite as sensitive. It is also believed to react with light to produce free radicals, which damage the body's healing capabilities and may, rarely, exacerbate symptoms of depression.

 

Saint John's Wort also has a noticeable effect on both male and female reproductive systems, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine . It has been linked to erectile and ejaculatory dysfunction in men, as well as lowered sperm count.

 

Equally unwanted by many is its opposite effect on women. It may drastically reduce the effectiveness of progesterone-containing contraceptives, including the traditional birth control, the progesterone-only "minipill", and Mirena IUDs. This may lead to unwanted pregnancies. More frightening is the potential for causing ectopic pregnancies (always fatal for the embryo and sometimes fatal for the woman) among those who are using progesterone-containing intrauterine devices.

 

 

In addition to its interaction with hormonal contraceptive medicines, Saint John's Wort is known to interact negatively with many other medicines, leading to a warning by the American FDA and the British government that it should not be taken with any prescription medication. Saint John's Wort slightly speeds the body's metabolism of drugs that it ingests. While this increase in metabolism is relatively small, it can still be a significant issue to those who rely on prescription medications that need to be released slowly. Immunosuppresants, benzodiazepines, and antiretrovirals, as well as many other prescription drugs, are known to interact negatively with Saint John's Wort. The effect has been especially documented in patients who are HIV positive or whose immune systems are otherwise compromised.

 

 

The interaction caused by Saint John's Wort that needs the most warning--since many who are using it to treat depression are also likely taking other medications--occurs when it is combined with antidepressants.

 

Taking Saint John's Wort with MAOI's, SSRI's, or other antidepressants can lead to a drastic overproduction of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which may be a life-threatening reaction. Serotonin syndrome, as it is known, can also be caused when Saint John's Wort is taken in conjunction with other natural serotonin-increasing supplements, such as tryptophan, kanna and 5-HTP.

 

Many natural treatments for depression carry far fewer side effects and drug interactions than Saint John's Wort. Kanna, an herb that acts similarly to Prozac, is one example of an depression-treating herb not known to cause any adverse reactions. Fish oil is an effective treatment of depression that requires very massive doses before the threshold of benefit is reached. Vitamin B complexes have long been used to treat psychiatric disorders, and are water-soluble, with no potential for overdose. Sam-e is also known to be very effective, and is often prescribed along with conventional medications in Germany and Italy. While Saint John's Wort may carry more benefits than risks for some people, it has a higher profile of potentially problematic reactions than some other supplements,

 

 

If you are considering taking Saint John's Wort, make sure you thoroughly research its potential dangers. Be certain that you are not taking any medications that might interact negatively with it, and consider another natural alternative if you are. Always discuss it with your doctor before you make any change in your medications, especially if you have a medical condition, are taking prescription drugs, or are under treatment for bipolar disorder.

 

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

http://www.natural-remedies-review.com/st-johns-wort.html

 

.....Side Effects, Toxicity and Warnings

 

What are some side effects of taking St. John's wort?

 

Most people report using this herb to only cause mild side effects. Reported side effects include: dizziness, fatigue/sedation, insomnia, headache, restlessness/anxiety, dry mouth, constipation, stomach pain and cramps, photosensitivity, rash and itching. It may also cause sexual dysfunction and impotence.

 

To avoid stomach related side effects, take this herb with a meal.

 

 

What are some dangers in using St. John's wort?

 

This herb seems to induce the liver enzymes causing drugs to breakdown faster. St. John's wort is shown to increase or decrease the action of many prescription drugs. We have listed several major dangers of using this supplement while you are on other prescription drugs.

 

Do not combine this supplement with other prescription without checking with your doctor or pharmacist.

 

Taking St. John's wort with prescription migraine medications such as Imitrex, Amerge, Maxalt and Zomig (and others) may significantly worsen the side effects of this group of drugs.

 

Using St. John's wort by women may cause breakthrough bleeding, affect the regular menstrual cycle. For women taking oral contraceptive pills (birth control pills), it might make it less effective and cause unwanted pregnancy.

 

Also, St. John's wort also causes blooding thinning medications such as Coumadin (warfarin) to be less effective. This could cause excessive bleeding.

 

In theory, St. John's wort seems to increase the effect of Plavix possibly causing more bleeding than usual.

 

 

How safe is it to use this herb in children?

 

There is one study done in children to show that it is safe to use. Dosage should be no more than half the adult dose. Use this herb in children under medical supervision.

 

شركة تسليك مجارى بالرياض

 

شركة تسليك مجارى بالرياض بافضل الطرق واحدث الادوات الخاصة لتسليك مجاري وشفط بيارات تحت اشراف فنيين شركة رش مبيدات وعمالة مدربة علي التنفيذ .

عزيزي عميل شركة تنظيف بالرياض اذا كنت تعاني من انسداد المجاري من المواد المتراكمة التي تعمل علي سد مواسير المجاري فلا تقلق يوجد لدي  شركة مكافحة الحشرات بالرياض الحل لهذه المشكلة حتي تسير الامور عادية كما هي .

%D8%B4%D8%B1%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%A9-%D8%B9%D8 شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض

شركة تنظيف المنازل بالدمام

 

طرق تسليك المجاري :

  1. شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض يتم تسليك المجاري بضغط المياه وامادة ثاني اكسيد الكربون وايضا بالمنظفات وذلك عن طريق جهاز ضغط الماء
  2. تقوم شركة تنظيف موكيت بالرياض بشفط البيارات في الشوارع عن طريق سيارات الشفط لازالة جميع الدهون والمواد المتراكمة الناتجة عن انسداد المجاري والتي تسبب روائح كريهة في المنزل
  3. شركة تنظيف مجالس بالرياض  مشكلة انسداد المجاري ناتجة عن وجود ترسبات ومواد متراكمة مما تؤدي الي عدم سريان المياه وطفح الماء وهذا يسبب خطورة علي المنزل فالحل لدينا في وجود فنيين شركة تنظيف مسابح بالرياض متخصصين في تسليك المجاري عن طريقة سوستة الكترونية يتم ضغطها في مواسير المجاري حتي حل المشكلة مع المواد الخاضة بتسليك المجاري

  %D8%AA%D8%B3%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%83-%D9%85%D8

لذلك خصصة شركة تسليك مجارى بالرياض فريق عمل جاهز متخصص في تسليك المجاري برياض ومستعد في اي وقت من الاوقات ان يتواصل معكم فريق شركة عزل اسطح بالرياض والذهاب اليكم لحل مشكلة المجاري وانسداد البالوعات

 نعدكم بان نقوم في  شركة تنظيف فلل بالرياض  لحضراتكم بخدمات تسليك المجاري وتنظيفها هي وشبكات الصرف الصحي علي اعلي مستوي من التقنية والدقه والجدارة

 فقط مع شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض لتنظيف وتسليك المجاري بالرياض حيث ان خدماتنا في التسليك وتنظيف المجاري متوفرة

 بجميع مدن المملكة :

الاخطار التي تسببها مشاكل انسداد المجاري :

  1. شركة رش حشرات بالرياض ينتج عن انسداد المجاري تخريب الاساسات والبنية التحتية للمباني والطرق وحدوث تصدعات بسبب تسربات مياه الصرف .
  2.  شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض تلوث المياه والمياه الجوفية وتلوث مياه بشبكات الامداد في حالة وجود عيوب في الشبكة تعمل شركتنا جاهده علي توفير كافة الخدمات التي قد يحتاج اليها عملاء شركة جلي بلاط بالرياض والتخلص من المشكلات التي تسبب القلق والمضايقات بطرق مبتكرة وحديثه واسعار مخفضة .

 كما يوجد ايضا لدي شركة تنظيف فلل بالرياض العديد من الخدمات مثل شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالرياضشركة شراء اثاث مستعمل بالرياض شركة تنظيف بمكة

 ولكن من يعانون من مشكلة فى التنظيف لما يتطلبه من مجهود شاق وقت طويل تقدم لكم كشف تسربات المياه ايضا افضل عمالة وفنيين من  شركة تنظيف شقق بالرياض فى مجال النظافة بادواته

كما يوجد لدي شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض فروع كثيرة في مجالات مثل الرش والمكافحة والتنظيف وكشف التسربات والعزل فنحن شركة تخزين اثاث بالرياض نعمل علي راحتكم لكي تزيد ثقتكم بنا ولكي تستفيدوا من خدمتنا تفضلوا لزيارة خدماتنا:

شركة تسليك مجارى بالرياض

 

Dosage & How to Take It

 

Standardized Extracts - Take 300 to 500 mg three times daily (standardized to 0.3% hypericin or 3% hyperforin). Take with food to avoid stomach complaints.

 

Powder and Infusion - Take 2 to 4 grams three times daily.

 

On the Skin - The typical dosage is not known. A 1.5% concentration preparation have been used. Apply up to three times daily to treat dermatitis, wounds and hemorrhoids.

 

Selected References for St. John's Wort

Revised: January 1, 2011

 

_______________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

http://atheism.about.com/library/glossary/paranormal/bldef_stjohnswort.htm

 

St. John's Wort

 

 

Name:

St. John's WortCommon Name: Klamath weed

Botanical name: Hypericum perforatum

 

Location:St. John's Wort grows in both the United States and Europe. In America, it is most abundant in Northern California and Southern Oregon.

 

Profile:

 

St. John's Wort is alternative medicine's success and its failure - it's a symbol of why alternative medicines can help people, but also why it is dangerous to people's health and lives. St. John's Wort is a "food supplement" which is used to treat depression. It is not regulated by the FDA or any government agency. St. John's Wort works - it does indeed seem to help with mild forms of depression, but only with the very mild forms. Studies performed at Duke University have demonstrated that with moderate to severe depression, St. John's Wort does no good at all.

 

St. John's Wort can also kill you, if you aren't careful - it is a drug, and drugs can be dangerous. It's common for ads for "natural remedies" to give the impression that, being "natural," they are inherently safe, perhaps safer than laboratory-created medicines. Then again, arsenic is also "natural."

 

 

 

Lurking Dangers

 

Why is St. John's Wort dangerous? The active ingredient in St. John's Wort is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).

 

These substances were among first used to treat depression, and they are still used today when the condition is in a mild form. MAOIs inhibit the actions of a protein in the brain called monoamine oxidase. This protein "cleans up" in the brain by destroying neurotransmitters. You can't have neurotransmitters sitting around forever after they have done their job, so they have to be eliminated; yet if too many are eliminated, depression can result. MAOIs, then, keep the levels of neurotransmitters a bit higher and help keep you feeling better.

 

MAOIs do something else, however: they also "clean up" tyramine, a molecule that affects blood pressure. When monoamine oxidase is blocked, the levels of tyramine increase quickly. You feel better, emotionally and psychologically, but your blood pressure can rise so much and so quickly that the blood vessels in your brain can burst. When MAOIs were first introduced in the 1960s, the country was swept by a wave of deaths from inexplicable brain hemorrhages.

 

 

 

Foods to Avoid

 

Eventually, the link between MAOIs and tyramine was discovered, so the banned drugs could be reintroduced along with a warning for patients to restrict their diets. Foods high in tyramine and which are forbidden include:

 

alcoholic beverages (especially chianti, sherry, liqueurs, and beer)

alcohol-free or reduced-alcohol beer or wine

aged foods, especially aged meats and cheeses

smoked or pickled meat, poultry, or fish

bologna, pepperoni, salami, summer sausage, or any fermented sausage

meat with tenderizers, unfresh meat, meat extracts, canned meats

dried and pickled fish, including caviar, anchovies and pickled herring

liver, especially chicken livers.

cheeses (especially strong or aged varieties), except for cottage and cream cheese

fermented foods and homemade breads with a lot of yeast

fruit: raisins, bananas, canned figs, red plums, avocados, or any overripe fruit

vegetable products: green bean pods, eggplant, Italian broad beans, soy sauce

There are additional foods which can only be eaten in moderation. All of this information is given to patients who are prescribed MAOIs by their doctor. As you can see, the list is very extensive and includes a lot of popular foods; because of this, many people find taking MAOIs to be very difficult.

 

 

 

Drug Interactions

 

And that isn't all. It is a simply phramaceutical fact that drugs sometimes interact with each other - there is no way around this. Does St. John's Wort interact with anything? As a matter of fact, yes - it can interfere with the chemotherapy drug irinotecan, reducing its ability to kill cancer. The FDA has issued a long list of additional medications which St. John's Wort can interfere with - medications used to treat conditions like HIV infection, heart disease, seizure, and cancer. It even affects drugs used to prevent transplant rejection and pregnancy.

 

The next time you see St. John's Wort in a store, however, take a look at the package and see if it contains health warnings or a list of foods which you shouldn't eat or drugs which it can interact with. You will probably search in vain. The best I have every seen tells people not to take the product if they are taking other MAO inhibitors and not to take it with "high tyramine foods like red wine" - a warning so inadequate as to actually cause depression in the reader. Others are even worse, giving no warning whatsoever.

 

 

 

But Does it Work?

 

The "success" here is the fact that a popular alternative treatment to a medical condition can indeed work - people have been helped. The failure, however, is the fact your health is needlessly put in danger because you are not given enough information to make an informed choice when such dangerous drugs are marketed without sufficient warning. The only saving grace is that doses of St. John's Wort may not contain enough active ingredient to cause a negative reaction - but in that case, it may also not contain enough to actually work.

 

If herbal remedies and alternative medicines work, then they must affect your body's chemistry and biology. In such a situation, it is possible to have negative reactions - side effects brought about by your own body, by other drugs, by foods, etc. On the other hand, if there are no possible side effects, then there is no effect on your body's chemistry and biology - which means that the drug can't actually work. You should think about that the next time you look at an alternative medicine and fail to see any warnings about side effects or reactions with other drugs or food.

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

 

http://www.whathealth.com/stjohnswort/dangers.html

 

 

As a herb, St John's wort is often viewed as a natural product. This quality can influence users into believing it is completely safe to take.

 

Whilst any side effects are generally mild and well tolerated, there are a lot of complex chemicals in St John's wort which can interact with other drugs.

 

Compared to traditional antidepressants, St John's wort is a product of nature; it does not have the patents and subsequent research devoted to them.

 

However, St John's wort as a herbal remedy has stood the test of time over two millenia.

 

Modern research appears to support the notion that St John's wort is a safe treatment for depression; although it's effectiveness for more severe depression is questioned.

 

 

 

 

The dangers surrounding St John's wort are concerned with:

 

the quality of the preparation being used

the interaction with other drugs and conditions

the onset of more extreme side effects (such as photosensitization and serotonin syndrome)

Unlicensed St John's Wort Products

Unlike Germany and Ireland where St John's wort is only available by prescription, in most countries it is available over the counter. It is advisable to purchase from reputable sources.

 

 

Risks Of Unregulated St John's Wort

 

contaminated batches are rare but still a possibility

more likely to be differences between different brands and between different batches

instructions which accompany the St John's wort product may be misleading

St John's Wort May Cause Photosensitization Photosensitization refers to the eyes and skin becoming over sensitive. If photosensitization occurs, it is much easier to get sunburn. If this side effect is mild, suncream should be worn on bright days.

 

In severe cases, advice from a doctor should be sought who may advise switching to another treatment option.

 

St John's Wort May Contribute To Serotonin Syndrome Serotonin syndrome can be a very serious condition in which serotonin levels are raised too high, causing a range of symptoms which are barely perceptible to fatal.

 

 

Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:

 

confusion

convulsions

hypertension

tachycardia

 

If users of St John's wort are already taking another form of antidepressant, they may be more likely to develop this condition.

 

 

St John's Wort Can Interfere With The Effectiveness Of Other Drugs

 

For example, St John's wort can interfere with drugs used during organ transplant operations; this can lead to dire consequences (see also, 'St John's wort interacts with drugs').

 

St John's Wort: Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

 

There is limited research into the effects of St John's wort on pregnancy and breast feeding. Women should not take St John's wort whilst pregnant or breast feeding as the risks are not understood.

 

St John's Wort May Not Be Suitable For Severe Depression

 

St John's wort is not a proven treatment for severe depression; there is conflicting evidence as to its effectiveness [5]. If a person with severe depression takes St John's wort and it does not benefit them, suicide could be a potential consequence.

 

Treatment options for depression (especially severe depression) should be discussed with a doctor first.

 

 

St John's Wort May Worsen Symptoms Of Existing Medical Conditions

.

 

These include Alzheimer's disease, in which St John's wort can worsen or cause psychotic symptoms.

 

St John's wort may also worsen symptoms of schizophrenia, manic depression (bipolar disorder) causing mania, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and any existing allergies.

 

 

St John's Wort Does Not Treat The Cause

 

Like traditional antidepressants, St John's wort will not treat the cause of depression. In some cases, depression may arise due to naturally low levels of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which leaves us feeling low.

 

However, in many cases, depression is triggered by life events which may need to be addressed through non-drug treatments such as psychotherapy and counselling.............

Thanks Punar for the wealth of info. Any comments from people who have tried St. John's Wort?

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a99

It has helped me a little with my anxiety .

I tried a tablespoon of the herb and it helped a little . Is that dose  safe  ?

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