Herbal remedies have been used throughout the world for thousands of years and recently their use has become popularized in America. People tend to view herbal remedies as being safer then prescription drugs because they are believed not to contain chemicals or cause side effects. St. John’s Wort is an herbal remedy, which prevents the destruction of serotonin, a natural anti-depressant, is often used to treat depression. Due to the increasing interest it St John’s wort, as well as in other herbal remedies, there has been a great deal of research done recently in the effectiveness and safety of this herb in regards to depression.
Depression is a mental illness, which affects millions of Americans each year. Currently there are many prescription drugs, called anti-depressants that have been proven to successfully treat it. The causes of depression are somewhat of a medical enigma, however, it is known that depression is associated with a change in the brains chemistry involving the function of neurotransmitters (Reichert).
This chemical change occurs in healthy brain’s, which experience sadness, but ends after the unpleasant stimulus is removed. In people suffering from depression this chemical change does not correspond to any particular stimulus. Symptoms of depression are often incapacitating and include severe and extended sadness, feelings of worthlessness, feelings of emptiness, irritability and anxiety (Reichert, Spake).
... the middle ages are generally considered obsolete and relying on herbal remedies, prayer, spells, and incantations, there were also surgeries ... it out. Sometimes doctors would purge and humor with herbal remedies, and or administer laxatives. Bloodletting was also a more ... cases leprosy meant separation from ones family. Aside from herbal remedies, the Catholic church was a cure for almost anything. ...
The first major study conducted on the matter in the United states found that St John’s wort had negligible benefits on patients with major depression with no statistically significant benefits more then those produced by a placebo (Shelton).
However other studies have “proved”, not only that St. John’s Wort is more successful in treatment of patients with depression, but that It is actually similarly or more effective than some tri-cyclic prescription antidepressants (Linde).
The apparent contradictions in research findings are confusing and provide little help to a patient or doctor in deciding whether to use St John’s Wort as a treatment for depression. One of the reasons that there is so much confusion is the lack of involvement by Federal Food and Drug Administrations in herbal remedies. The Dietary Supplement Health Education Act of 1994 put herbal remedies into the category of dietary supplements.
This means that these herbal remedies are not subjected to the same sort of testing that over-the-counter or prescription medications are (USFDA).
Michael Mc Guff in, the president of the American Herbal Producers Association has said that testing of these products is unnecessary because, ” these products are tested by years and years of use.” (Spake) The numerous cases of side-effects occurring from St John’s Wort would provide argument however, that claims of “years and years of use” are not sufficient protection for consumers. The documented side effects of St John’s wort are astonishing. The FDA has received over 3, 000 reports of adverse reactions to herbal remedies and estimates that at least one hundred cases go unreported for each that are reported. Some of the most serious side effects occur when patients neglect to tell their doctors about the herbal remedies they are taking. It is believed that the herb causes other medications to be absorbed by the One of the least severe side effects is an over sensitivity to sun light this occurs because when St John’s Wort interacts with the sunlight it produces oxygen bubbles, which damage the myelin which is wrapped around nerves, when this myelin is damaged nerve cells produce feelings of electrical tingling and pain on the skin (Spake).
... drugs can exaggerate the side effects the herb produces. Some of the important side effects of St. John’s herb are ... of patients undergoing surgeries have history of herbal medicine intake (Barbara, 2007). Herbal use has been associated with prolonged bleeding, ... prior to administration of anesthesia, intake of St. John’s Wort must be questioned. Photosensitization drugs like tetracycline ...
Headaches are frequently reported as well (Castleman).
Some of the most severe side effects occur as the result of St John’s effect upon the metabolism of other drugs by causing them to be eliminated from the body twice as fast as they would be in a person not taking St Jhon’s Wort. (Bouch nez).
The FDA issued a warning in February of 2000 addressing this problem and emphasized that St John’s Wort causes birth-control-pills and drugs used to prevent transplant rejection half as effective as they should be (Thurton).
Patients taking St John’s Wort prior to transplantation’s have died as a result (Thurton).
St Johns Wort also is known to interfere with Indinavir a critical HIV treatment drug (Spake).
Other side effects to St John’s Wort are the result of, which is found in the herb. Hyper cin has caused adverse reactions to the amino acids, tryptophan and tyrosine, amphetamines, asthma inhalants, beer, coffee, wine, chocolate, f ava beans, salami, smoked or pickled foods, yogurt, cold or hay fever medications, diet pills, narcotics and nasal decongestants (Thurton, Spake, Linde).
It has also been proven to cause high blood pressure and nausea in some users. (Linde).
While the effectiveness of St John’s Wort is currently uncertain what is certain is that there are very dangerous and serious side effects which can occur with it’s use. The USFDA’s negligence in controlling the herbal remedy market has led to the current situation where misperception’s about herbal remedies being safe, despite all of the evidence that they are not, lead people often use powerful herbal chemicals, such as St John’s Wort without consulting their doctor’s first.
... the music of those who worked with him. web web web web web web web web web web web web web web web web >. ... Look Into The Life and Music of JOHN COLTRANE Pg. 1 John Coltrane was born in born in Hamlet, ... way. The musician's is through his music." John Coltrane couldnt have said it better, and his universe ... . Joel Dorn describes in The Last Giant: The John Coltrane Anthology; It's hard to realize, if ...
With well researched prescription anti-depressants available is seems best for consumers to pursue these safer chemicals, which have been proven effective, then risk facing the uncertain and potentially fatal side effects of St John’s Wort, which has not been proven to provide relief from depression. Works CitedBouchnez, Colette “Curb Herbs Before Surgery” USA Today 10 July 2001 Castleman, Michael The Healing Herbs: The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Nature’s Medicines. Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Artemis Press, 1991 Fisch man, Josh ” Herbs and Prescriptions Can Make a Deadly Mixture” Us News”5 January, 2000 Linde, Klaus, Gilbert Ramirez, et al. “St John’s wort for depression – an overview and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials” British Medical Journal 3 August 1996: No. 7052 Volume 313″Popular Herb May Weaken the ‘pill'” MSNBC web Reichert, R. , “St.
John’s Wort for depression” Quarterly Review of National Medicine Spring, 1994 Shelton RC, Keller MB, Glen berg A, et al ” Effectiveness of St, John’s Wort in Major Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial” Journal of the American Medical Association 18 April 2001: Volume 285, Number 15 Spake, Amanda ” Natural Hazards” US News 2 December, 2001″St. John’s Wort’s Benefits Questioned” MSNBC web Susan m> RN, Gary N. Barone, MD, et al ” St John’s Wort: A Hidden Risk for Transplant Patients” Medscape Online Medical Journal web Food and Drug Administration Web sight web.