St Johns Wort side effects are important to know before using this potent herb.
Before discussing the side effects of St Johns Wort however, let us give a brief overview of what it is and where it comes from.
Named after the New Testament biblical prophet John The Baptist, this powerful medicinal herb has been used for centuries by Europeans for many varied ailments including soothing of nerves, as a anti-bacterial agent for wounds, and for other health issues.
St. John’s Wort is a perennial shrub-like plant that has yellow flowers, and that is where its therapeutic substances reside. (“Perennial” basically means it grows year around.)
While it is now grown around the world, it is native to Europe, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Western areas of Asia. It is now grown commercially all over the world including America.
It is also popular as an herbal antidepressant and in Germany, it is even prescribed as an over-the-counter “medication.”
Its potency is now known far and wide.
St Johns Wort Side Effects
In one study, researchers found that those with AIDS who received high doses of St. John’s Wort were more susceptible to light-induced toxicity (Annals of Internal Medicine, 3/16/99). Other reported side effects include sensitivity to sunlight, dry mouth, constipation, and upset stomach.
Pregnant and nursing women should not take St. John’s Wort without consulting their doctor.
Before using any herbal extract, it is wise to consult with your physician as herbal extracts like St Johns Wort have potent compounds that can adversely interact with prescribed over-the-counter drugs.
This is important. If you are experiencing higher blood pressure, that is hypertension, they you should stop taking the St Johns Wort. It may be perhaps due to a current drug you are taking but also maybe not.
While everyone’s biochemistry is the same, it is commonly known that some drugs, herbs, or foods affect some people differently than others.
Allergies to certain compounds, sensitivity to even the smallest doses, or even serious effects occur with the same food There have also been some reports showing the potential of St Johns Wort to minimize the effectiveness of birth control pills.
This too is primarily anecdotal with the cause and effect information minimal.
Even though St John Wort side effects exist, the testing that has been conducted to this point on St Johns Wort has shown it to be a safe herb with many wonderful medicinal benefits.
Hypertension & St Johns Wort
Some users of St Johns Wort understandably inquire about hypertension and St Johns Wort. There are reports of people experiencing hypertension (high blood pressure) caused by St Johns Wort dosage.
At this point in time, however, that claim is anecdotal and not clinically ratified. After extensive research, we cannot find any clinical study that verifies the link between hypertension and St Johns Wort. This is not to say it doesn’t exist for further study is perchance needed.
That notwithstanding, while every herbalist of competence and doctors as well confirm St. John’s Wort to be a safe herbal medicine — especially for depression, please consult with your doctor if any doubts remain.
You should especially do so before taking a St. John’s Wort dosage if you are currently taking a doctor-presecribed antidepressant like Prozoc or Zoloft.
As St Johns Wort is such a potent herb, some interaction between prescribed medication and a St John’s Wort dosage is a possibility. Currently, there are studies being conducted in Europe and the U.S. to verify some anecdotal claims made about st johns wort side effects, st johns wort dosage, and hypertension and st johns wort.
Benefits of St Johns Wort
The benefits of St Johns Wort include helping to:
- Promote sleep
- Alleviate symptoms of PMS
- Alleviate anxiety & stress
- Control fibromylagia symptoms. Researchers believe fibromyalgia is caused in part by a shortage of the neurotransmitter serotonin that St. John’s Wort can help alleviate.
- Soothe hemorrhoid itching and burning through cream application.
- Ward off infections due to its antibacterial and antiviral properties including momonucleosis
- Treating herpes simplex and influenza though more clinical studies need to be done.
How to Choose Good St Johns Wort Supplements
Make sure you St Johns Wort supplement is of high quality coming from standardized herbal extracts. Also, make sure the supplements standardized to 0.3% hypericin. If you can, make sure the herb is freeze-dried upon harvesting and in liquid extract thus capturing the effectiveness of the compounds responsible for St. John’s Wort’s efficacy.
Even if the herb is not in liquid form, at least try to make sure it’s in freeze-dried form. Scientists disagree, and will tell you to stick with the standardized extract as it conforms to formulations used in research.
They do confirm herbalists belief though that the standardized 0.3% hypericin is critical for the active compound largely responsible for its therapeutic qualities.
I hope this St Johns Wort Side Effects web page has been useful to you.
Yours in health,
Nutritional Supplement Bible