St. John’s Wort: Natural Cure for Depression and Anxiety?
People have used St. John’s wort for centuries to treat depressions and deal with anxiety. And with great success. Recent studies have proved that this natural treatment works better than most synthetic antidepressants.
It’s often estimated that one out of four adults in the United States alone suffers from some sort of mental or emotional disorder, and depression and anxiety may be the most common of these conditions. True clinical depression is not just an occasional bout of sadness, but real depression symptoms include long-term disinterest in things you once enjoyed, lack of energy, changes in sleep patterns, indigestion, headaches, and in some cases, thoughts of suicide. Serious cases of clinical depression, especially when it interferes with your daily life or when you have thoughts of harming yourself, should be treated by a doctor. The same is true for anxiety that you cannot seem to get under control.
However, if you feel that you’re not seriously depressed but are simply being bored with life, including with your job, your friends, and even your family, are lacking enthusiasm, don’t always sleep well, and find it difficult to concentrate, you may want to try St. John’s-wort. Let’s look at this supplement a bit closer and you can then determine if it’s the natural cure you need for such common mood disorders.
1.What is St. John’s Wort?
Hypericum perforatum is the scientific name for a type of flowering plant that is more commonly called St. John’s wort. The plant may be dried, and then an extract of its leaves and stem are chopped and put in pill form. St. John’s wort is usually available over the counter at your neighborhood pharmacy and at vitamin shops worldwide.
2. How has St. John’s-Wort Been Used in Medicine?
Many centuries ago, people discovered St. John’s wort uses for depression, mood disorders, lack of energy, and even for anxiety and panic disorders. In fact, in a recent study published by the National Institutes of Health, the herb was found to be more effective than placebos and as effective as synthetic antidepressants for treating mild depression symptoms! It is widely used in parts of Europe and especially in Germany as a depression treatment and as a cure for anxiety, panic, and other mood disorders.
3. Why Use St. John’s-Wort?
There are many uses for the St. Johns’ wort herb, a treatment for depression being the most common. The calming effect of the herb can help with anxiety and panic, as mentioned above. It can also help to regulate mood, so that those with bipolar disorder or manic depression may have fewer manic episodes. You can also use St. John’s wort for weight loss, if you tend to overeat or reach for comfort foods when you’re nervous and anxious. The calming effect of this herb can control your jitters and the cravings that go along with it, helping you to keep your calorie consumption in check and your weight under control.
4. What are the Advantages of St. John’s Wort?
One thing to keep in mind about the St. John’s wort herb is that it’s just that, an herb. It’s not a synthetic medicine created from chemicals that are very difficult for your body to digest and metabolize, and it’s very readily available; you don’t need a prescription to try it. Some have found that this herb is easier on the system of elderly patients, children with anxiety disorders or depression, and even for pregnant women.
However, you always want to talk to your doctor before you take any medication, even over-the-counter supplements and natural treatments, and especially when you’re pregnant or using other medications. Be sure you mention to your doctor all the medications you’re taking as well as any health conditions you might have that can be affected by supplements, including pregnancy, diabetes, high blood pressure, and history of heart disease. If your doctor has given you the green light, you might find that St. John’s wort is a better option with fewer side effects than harsh, strong anti-depressants and mood disorder medication.
5. Dosages for Your Symptoms
A standard St. John’s-wort dosage is about 300 milligrams, three times per day, for most cases of mild to moderate depression. As with all medications and treatments, you might start at an even lower dose or try a 300-milligram tablet just once per day, and then note if you have some relief from your depression and if there are any side effects. Because some conditions are more severe than depression, you may need a stronger dose. A standard St. John’s wort dosage for anxiety might be up to 900 milligrams, three times per day. Here, too, you may want to start with a smaller dosage and note its effects, and slowly increase to this standard dose only when and if it’s actually needed.
6. What are the risks and side effects of taking St. John’s-wort?
While this herb is very natural, you don’t want to think that there are no Saint John’s-wort side effects to consider. If you’re allergic to the chemical properties of the herb, you might have a standard allergic reaction including a skin rash or sneezing. The herb also increases photosensitivity, meaning your skin may be more likely to burn when exposed to the sun. Wear a stronger sunscreen and be mindful of your sun exposure when taking any St. John’s-wort dosage. You also need to be careful of St. John’s wort and alcohol; alcohol itself is a depressant and, when mixed with this herb, you reaction times may be very slowed. This makes it dangerous to drive or operate any heavy machinery.
Using St. John’s wort for depression can also mean dizziness and as well as tiredness or insomnia. It lowers the seizure threshold, so anyone with a seizure disorder needs to be cautious about its use. It may also lower drug concentration, so if you’re taking medications for any other condition, you need to discuss this with your doctor as he or she may need to adjust your dosage. If you’re using St. John’s wort for weight loss, be sure you’re still eating the right number of calories and getting the nutrition you need, as well as healthy exercise every day.
While you need to be careful when taking St. John’s wort for depression or any other mood disorder, you may find that it’s the natural cure you’ve been looking for to treat anxiety, depression, and other similar conditions. It may help get your symptoms under control while helping you live a more positive life, and even help with weight loss and manic episodes. Talk to your doctor and then consider if St. John’s wort is right for you!