Natural, wholesome, inexpensive and available over the counter, St John’s wort seemed to be the dream remedy for depression. Taken all over the world in huge quantities, it has become the pill to pop without guilt or fear, the herbal Prozac that dusted away the blues nature’s way.
The downside is only now emerging. Although studies show that it is effective for mild to moderate depression and two million British people are taking it, you do have to be careful.
The chief drawback is that the remedy, derived from the yellow flowering hedgerow plant, interacts with other drugs causing them to metabolise through the body too quickly. This is obviously very significant for people on the contraceptive pill or the blood-thinning drug warfarin, who are at risk of a stroke.
Herbal remedies for depression. Warnings issued
The Medicines Control Agency issued a warning on March 1st 2000 that patients who are on a long list of drugs should stop taking St John’s wort until they have consulted their GP or pharmacist. Medications for asthma, epilepsy, depression, migraine and heart problems are all implicated.
The authorities in the Irish Republic have gone further by banning the over-the-counter sale of the ancient herbal remedy since January 1st 2000. It is now available only on prescription.
In the United States, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) issued a warning in February 2000 that the herb could interfere with drugs used to treat HIV-infected patients. It also raised the possibility of complications for other patients taking similar medication, including those undergoing heart transplants. The FDA cited research showing that for patients taking St John’s wort, the effectiveness of the antiviral drug Indinavir was ‘dulled’.
There have also been some reports from America that St John’s wort can cause nerve damage or cataracts when combined with bright sunlight. This is believable because herbalists have always known that when St John’s wort is used externally, you have to keep out of the sun. Combined with oil, it is used on the skin for paralysis or to treat pain from nerves or shingles.
Researchers have found that hypericin, the active ingredient in St John’s wort, does react with sunlight. This is particularly significant for people who suffer from the ‘winter blues’ or seasonal affective disorder, who might be tempted to combine a course of St John’s wort with light-box therapy – sitting for long periods bathed in bright light.
Herbal remedies for depression
A better alternative to St Johns Wort as an herbal remedy for depression would be high grade EPA fish oil.
EPA fish oil has been scientifically proven to be very effective for depression, bipolar – manic depression and related disorders, and unlike St Johns Wort the side effects are all positive, thick long healthy hair growth, good nails and fantastic skin. High grade omega 3 EPA fish oil taken in the correct dose and strength give count less benefits.
If you are going to use High Grade Omega 3 fish oil EPA as a natural remedy for depression it is imperative that you take the strongest concentrate of EPA fish oil (90%) and in the correct dose daily to give your self the best chance for the EPA to work and give the maximum therapeutic effect.
It has recently been reported that the Epa works best without the DHA , this notion came about from studies that have been performed on people suffering from depression, researchers found that the higher the EPA to DHA ratio the better the results have been.Learn how I beat Depression