Saturday, August 02, 2008

Herbal Remedies and Depression-St. John's Wort

I mentioned St. John's Wort briefly in an earlier post. I want to add some more information about this herbal remedy today.

It is the most herbal remedy for treating depression, and has been the subject of numerous studies, and been tested against pharmaceutical remedies; it has often worked at least as well as the pharmaceutical drugs in the study, and with fewer side effects.

(One caution, if you are taking any other medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking St. John's Wort, or any other herbal remedy, to be sure there are no interactions between the drug and the herbal remedy.)

This herbal remedy is approved by the German Commission E to treat anxiety and depressive moods. (The German Commission E is the German Regulatory Authority's herbal watchdog agency, which conducted extensive assessments of scientific data about 300 common herbal remedies; they listed the uses for which the herbal remedies may be considered effective. Their conclusions are considered to be the best expert consensus on medicinal herbs currently available.)

St. John's Wort may increase sensitivity to sunlight, especially if there is a past history of photosensitivity (that just means sensitivity to light). For most people, this reaction is dose related, and would require a massive dose, about 8 ounces for someone weighing 150 pounds. The recommended dose is generally in the area of 300-900 mg daily, usually in several doses. Check the dosage recommendations from the manufacturer of any herbal remedy you may take, as different manufacturers produce products of different strengths. It is also a good idea to discuss the appropriate dosage with a professional herbalist, or your doctor or pharmacist.

If you are suffering from depression, I cannot urge you strongly enough to check with your doctor or other qualified health professional to rule out any major health problems.

The material presented in this blog is for informational use only and should in no way be used as a substitute for needed medical treatment. I am not a doctor, I do not diagnose or treat disease. If you need medical care, please consult the appropriate medical professional. And please discuss with your doctor if you are taking or planning to take any herbal preparations.

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