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St. John's Wort™

$12.10 USD (90 capsules)

Recomended use : 1-3 capsules a day


Product Description

An herbal supplement to support positive mood balance.* This natural perennial plant contains flavonoids, tannins, and hypercin that has properties that help to slow the breakdown of Serotonin and Norepinephrine which are important to the central nervous system. The maintenance of these brain chemicals helps to keep proper mood balance.

Each capsule contains 333 mg St. John's Wort Extract (Hypericum perforatum) containing 1 mg Hypericin.

Additional ingredients: gelatin, water, silicon dioxide, vegetable stearate.

Warning: Do not take this product if you are taking any MAO inhibitors or anti-depressants.

Caution: Consumption of Hypercin may render the skin photosensitive. Care should be taken during exposure to sunlight, tanning lights or UV sources. If you are pregnant or lactating, consult your physician before taking this product.

As a dietary supplement take 1-3 capsules daily in divided doses with meals.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

An extract of a yellow wildflower called St. John's Wort is taken by many Americans for depression, often without consulting a doctor. Companies who sell it say it promotes a positive mood and emotional well-being. Many studies have found it effective for clinical depression, but physicians say more evidence is needed, particularly for
severe cases.

St. John's Wort, sold in pill form and as a tea, is widely used as a mood-booster. Its reputation took a hard hit in 2002, upon publication of a large National Institutes of Health-funded study. The study, which found the plant extract no better than a placebo for treating major depression, followed a U.S. trial published in 2001, which found it ineffective.

But a review published late last year by the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that St. John's Wort is better than a placebo for major depression and "similarly effective" to standard antidepressants, with fewer side effects.

While St. John's Wort flopped in the two U.S. trials, "the overall evidence looks a little different," says the Cochrane review's lead author Klaus Linde, a physician at the Center for Complementary Medicine Research at the Technical University of Munich. The Cochrane Review looked at 29 trials with 5,489 patients, mostly from non-U.S. countries. Side effects of the extract were generally not worse than placebo, Dr. Linde says.

Doses vary, often ranging from 500 to 1,200 milligrams a day. In the U.S., a monthly supply could cost as little as $3 to $20 or more.
Some scientists are skeptical of the NIH-funded trial's results because a control group of patients taking the well-respected mainstream medication Zoloft also failed to beat placebo—suggesting a possible methodological flaw. State University of New York clinical professor Ronald Brenner says the study results also said nothing about patients with less-severe depression.

"I have no question that St. John's Wort works in mild to moderate depression," says Dr. Brenner, chairman of psychiatry at St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, N.Y. He recommends standard antidepressants for major depression, given the mixed trial evidence and the elevated risk of suicide in those patients.

Many physicians remain skeptical of St. John's Wort, even for minor depression, because many positive studies on it come from German-speaking countries, such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The reasons for the more positive results in those countries aren't known, says Dr. Linde. He says the German patient populations may be different, perhaps depressed for less time than U.S. patients. Most of the trials in German-speaking countries also were funded by makers of St. John's Wort products, while the two major U.S. trials weren't, Dr. Linde says.

"It's hard to totally discount the evidence out of Europe, but it's a bit puzzling that we haven't been able to replicate the results here," says Sheila G. Jowsey, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

If you do take St. John's Wort, it's important to tell your physician. Even more than many herbals, it is known to interfere with the efficacy of standard medical therapies, including cardiac medications and anti-rejection drugs taken by transplant patients, says Dr. Jowsey. There is also a risk that St. John's Wort might interfere with the efficacy of contraceptives, but that hasn't been proved, says Dr. Linde.