St. John’s Wort has been employed for centuries as a mood stabilizer and anxiety reducer. After the invention of common anti-depressants, the use waned, but as the push to all things healthy has emerged, many are looking at it as a natural
alternative. However, weighing the positives and negatives are wise decisions when looking into this as a treatment to anxiety.
While traditionally grown in Europe, the plant is classified as a weed, and has become cultivated in numerous locations, including South and North America. When the plant matures, the flowers are harvested and allowed to dry in the sun or other hot dry place, and the dust from the grinding is then converted to a pill. It can also be supplied as an oil, in which the process of infusing the plant in another oil, typically Olive Oil until it is mixed.
The recommended dosage for treating anxiety and depression is one 300mg pill three times a day, for a total of 900mg a day, and it is available at a variety of stores, including superstores, natural food stores, on-line and as dietary supplement on the shelves of many pharmaceutical stores. It will not be found as a medication as it is not FDA approved to be marketed as such in the United Stated.
There are many positives to the use of the herb. It has indeed been reported to treat mild depression and anxiety, and is considered all natural if this is a concern for many who are on a holistic path. It has a very minimal side effect profile, with nausea and GI upset being reported rarely in the beginning of treatment. It is also much less expensive that currently marketed anti-depressant medications.
Since St. John’s Wort is not regulated by the FDA, however, it leaves some room for uncertainty. Ingredients do not have to be thoroughly listed, nor do warnings commonly appear on the packages, specifically in regards to this treatment with anti-depressant drugs. Lack of testing can provide some ambiguity about long term health effects, though there have been no reports of harmful long term side effects. Caution must be made to read the label to ensure the consumer is getting the actual dosage, rather than a lower concentration with a substitute.
Many who have taken the herb have reported an enhanced mood when used to treat mild symptoms. It should be stressed,
however, that for serious mood disorders and other illnesses it may not be sufficient for management of all
symptoms. It remains important to see a physician and report that it is being taken, especially in conjunction with other medication. It should never be taken with an anti-depressant as it can cause an overload of active ingredient and damage the brain.
For years, St. John’s Wort has been indicated in the treatment of mild mood disturbances, and while testing has been scarce, this is a trend that has been changing as more people have turned to it instead of modern medicine for depression.