Natural remedies: Does anyone have experience with St. John's Wort?

Discussion in 'Healthful Living / Natural Treatments' started by Lil, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I'm buying some magnesium supplements for my son as the counselor suggested it for his trouble sleeping and a quick google showed me it's a pretty good bet, especially since he eats pretty much nothing but bread and meat and so doesn't get enough of anything healthy. Nixing the idea of melatonin, since I keep reading it may increase depression. Last night we had a talk and he mentioned his mood swings. He's always been a moody kid...we joked when he was little that he was like a hormonal teenage girl...wish I'd considered it an actual problem back then.

    I've been thinking about St. John's Wort. Has anyone got any opinions on that? Anyone ever tried it. Google is letting me most reliable sources seen to indicate that there's not been enough study. Ironically, my son is pretty anti-medication. But he's willing to take the something like a vitamin or herbal supplement will fly.


    (May have put this in the wrong forum...but figured everyone here has had years to try this and that. :) )
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Lil, even natural stuff should be monitored by a doctor. Many have side effects. If he won't see a homeopathetic doctor, I wouldn't do it. It could make things worse. I know people who got manic from St. Johns Wort. I've never tried it myself. I really believe a good diet and exercise are the best natural ways...of course, no drug use too!

    I have a funny story. (Well, it's funny today.This was when I was a young teen, maybe 16). I had it in my head I had schizophrenia. I don't know why...I knew something was wrong. Anyhow I read that Niacin can help schizophrenia so I bought a bottle and took an advanced amount as the book recommended. I ended up in the ER where my poor grandother volunteered with my bag of Niacin, shaking and sick as hello to my stomach. The doctor sternly looked at the bag and said, "Drugs?" He pulled out the Niacin and looked shcoked. My grandmother did too. In retrospect, it was funny...then, not so much.
  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member


    There were some studies indicating that prozac (to which St John's Wort has been favorably compared) helped with PMS.

    So, as I went through menopause, I tried St John's Wort.

    It helped me.

    I only took it for a week or so at a time. I took it only when I felt noticeably depressed.

    I would notice myself being a little too cheerful, a little too forceful, and I would stop taking it until hormones switched, again.

    Wishing you and your child well.

  4. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    He can be quite depressive at time, but mostly he's moody. His moods switch quickly and his biggest problem is anger...easily frustrated and angry. He has to bite his tongue at work apparently, because it's a pretty back-breaking job and he gets stressed, worn out, ready to snap at people he doesn't feel are working as hard as he is, but he's been there two weeks and so doesn't feel he has the right to say anything and wouldn't do so politely anyway and doesn't want to get fired for going off on someone...I told him to make sure the counselor is told about this next week. He asked me for a stress ball (I have a dozen on my desk at work). I'll give him one, and hope he doesn't throw it at someone. :rolleyes: At least he asked for something and recognizes it's a problem.

    Getting him in counseling has been difficult, but he's going. Getting him to a medical doctor...well, maybe if the counselor suggests it he'll ask.

  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Bipolar is usually not fast ups and downs. That is more borderline characteristically. If he has borderline, and I don't know if he does, but...St. John's Wart won't help for that. Borderline SHOULD and WILL be calle3d soon emotional dysregulation disorder as your emotions can change from minute to minutes and your thoughts are all over the place and you do cause yourself self-destruction. Substance abuse is common.

    I think m ost of our adult kids here have personality disorders, not bipolar primarily and certainly not schizophrenia. Personality disorders fools us and doctors too. So maybe read up on it and see what you think. You do get moody and sad with borderline and then you get happy, but you can see minute to minute changes at times. I have traits. I fight them.

    Any odd people on either side of your sons genetic tree, even if he never met them? The DNA is what it is.
  6. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Administrator Staff Member

    Some links about St Johns Wort
    St. John's wort
    Likely effective for...
    • Mild to moderate depression. Taking St. John’s wort extracts improves mood, and decreases anxiety and insomnia related to depression. It seems to be about as effective in treating depression as many prescription drugs. In fact, clinical guidelines from the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine suggest that St. John’s wort can be considered an option along with antidepressant medications for short-term treatment of mild depression. However, since St. John’s wort does not appear to be more effective or significantly better tolerated than antidepressant medications, and since St. John’s wort causes many drug interactions, the guidelines suggest it might not be an appropriate choice for many people, particularly those who take other medications. St. John’s wort might not be as effective for more severe cases of depression.
    • Possibly effective for...
    • Menopausal symptoms. Some research shows that a combination of St. John’s wort plus black cohosh can help improve menopausal symptoms.
    • The conversion of mental experiences or states into bodily symptoms (somatization disorder). Treatment with St. John’s wort seems to reduce symptoms after 6 weeks of treatment.
    • Wound healing. Some research shows that applying a specific St. John’s wort ointment (Gol-Daru Company) three times daily for 16 days improves wound healing and reduces scar formation after a cesarean section.
    Possibly ineffective for...
    • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Taking a St. John’s wort extract for 8 weeks does not seem to improve symptoms of ADHD in children ages 6-17 years.
    • Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
    • HIV/AIDS.
    • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
    • Pain conditions related to diabetes (polyneuropathy).
    St John's wort for major depression.

    • A total of 29 trials (5489 patients) including 18 comparisons with placebo and 17 comparisons with synthetic standard antidepressants met the inclusion criteria. Results of placebo-controlled trials showed marked heterogeneity. In nine larger trials the combined response rate ratio (RR) for hypericum extracts compared with placebo was 1.28 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.10 to 1.49) and from nine smaller trials was 1.87 (95% CI, 1.22 to 2.87). Results of trials comparing hypericum extracts and standard antidepressants were statistically homogeneous. Compared with tri- or tetracyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), respectively, RRs were 1.02 (95% CI, 0.90 to 1.15; 5 trials) and 1.00 (95% CI, 0.90 to 1.11; 12 trials). Both in placebo-controlled trials and in comparisons with standard antidepressants, trials from German-speaking countries reported findings more favourable to hypericum. Patients given hypericum extracts dropped out of trials due to adverse effects less frequently than those given older antidepressants (odds ratio (OR) 0.24; 95% CI, 0.13 to 0.46) or SSRIs (OR 0.53, 95% CI, 0.34-0.83).

      The available evidence suggests that the hypericum extracts tested in the included trials a) are superior to placebo in patients with major depression; b) are similarly effective as standard antidepressants; c) and have fewer side effects than standard antidepressants. The association of country of origin and precision with effects sizes complicates the interpretation.
    • How does St. John's Wort work?
      For a long time, investigators thought a chemical in St. John's wort called hypericin was responsible for its effects against depression. More recent information suggests another chemical, hyperforin, may play a larger role in depression. Hypericin and hyperforin act on chemical messengers in the nervous system that regulate mood.
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
    • List
  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    His biodad. He really was the only one in the family like that, although paternal grandpa had a drinking problem too. Alcoholic. Lazy...but in a weird, irresponsible way. Would do hard, physical work for buddies, but wouldn't hold a job (or even look for one). Talented with various types of construction and mechanics, but wouldn't work for a company. Compulsive liar. No drugs to speak of, although he did try to grow a little pot plant once. I was nice and watered it for him...with Diet Coke...until it died. :D Manipulative. Emotionally abusive. Controlling. Had stolen from his parents, drove without a license (which was physically taken from him as a minor by a cop because he'd scratched the date of birth - and he simply refused to get another, so every time he got pulled over he got points for diving without, until he lost it for real on points). Decided to be a thief after I divorced him. Ran from the law. Got caught. Committed suicide in jail.

    Does that count? LOL

    My side of the family are really so normal and well-adjusted it's boring. My son sometimes acts so much like biodad it scares me.
  8. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Lil -- I've used St John's Wort (infrequently and only short-term use) for a few years. I used it when I felt majorly stressed out by difficult child, maybe 1-2 weeks at a time at most. It worked well for me. I have never been diagnosis'd with depression or anxiety, but difficult child experiences certainly felt like anxiety/PTSD times to me. No side effects. I also did some research on it (I'm not big on taking medications, myself, unless circumstances warranted -- and some circumstances definitely warrant it). What I saw on side effects was possible photosensitivity and it's contraindicated when combined with some other medications. I was either on no medications or just 1 medication (low strength....weaning off it now), so medication combo's weren't an issue for me.

    ** What helped me most with stress/anxiety/tension over police incidents with difficult child is that St John's Wort is said to be a natural skeletal muscle relaxer by some. Oh my, yes, sure felt like that to me when I needed to release tension. I also learned a very helpful biofeedback technique which I still use periodically. Verrrry relaxing. :D

    I don't drink alcohol, smoke anything, and only took that 1 low-strength medication. So, there really wasn't anything for St John's Wort to interfere with in me. I am a fan of St John's Wort for infrequent use for me.

    ** Disclaimer -- I don't have the right credentials to diagnosis or prescribe. Always good to see an MD.

    Now, our difficult child? There's no way it would be strong enough for him. Risperdal, Zyprexa, etc had minimal effect on him. Only Seroquel seemed to affect him. That one REALLY slowed him down. But almost too much. It's always such a battle to find what helps mood disorders best. And then, just when you've found something good, their body chemistry can adapt. It's such a continual thing figuring it out. Honestly, it must be REALLY difficult for them wrestling with their severe mood swings. I feel for them there.

    Lil -- I loved your story about watering the pot plant with Diet Coke! You are ON IT, girl! Love it! :D

    I hope you find some answers. You're very sharp and wise. I enjoy your posts and am rooting for you, virtually (as in "on-line"....not as in, "almost"!)
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    I have an even more natural thing to try. Dont tell him all the things this can help.

    Bergamot Essential Oil. Find a way to make it so he will use it. Maybe a roll on good smelly stuff. Tell him if he puts it on his pulse points it will help him feel better. Spray it on light bulbs to infuse it in the air, anything you can think of. This wonder oil helps with mood disorders and assorted addictions.

    I have to send another bottle over to Cory's house because I gave the bottle I made to Billy and he never took it out of his car and now cant find it. Cory thinks it is something that will relax him a tiny bit to help with sleep along with helping with the smell of smoke in the house. I dont care what he thinks. I will probably even use some and make it into a candle. Go on eBay and buy it. Its not all that expensive. You can get enough to get a good start on some lotion and spray for between 5 and ten bucks. Buy a cheap small spray bottle at walmart.
  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I love the scent of bergamot. That is what makes Earl Grey Tea so delicious and aromatic, right?

    I am thinking about ordering as you suggested Janet, and using it to scent the house.

    It never occurred to me that the oil could be ordered like that.


  11. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I've never even heard of bergamot. I'll have to look into it!

    All we got so far is a men's multivitamin and a magnesium supplement. We talked to the pharmacist to make sure of the dosage. He started last night taking the magnesium and took his vitamin this morning. He's always been so resistant to taking anything! When he was younger, we couldn't get him to even chew Flintstones. When he had surgery, he refused his pain medications. Heck, the first time he came home so sore and achy from lifting boxes, I said, "I'm going to get you some ibuprofen." He said, "It won't help." I said, "You're not taking 2, you're taking 4." His eyes got big and I had to laugh. Explained to him that 4 otc pills = 1 prescription strength and I take that much every night before bed and my doctor said it was fine. He took them. Low and behold, they helped! The first time I gave him Benadryl to help get to sleep he didn't think they'd work. "They don't affect me." Yeah...slept like a baby. That's all otw sleeping pills are, mega doses of antihistamine. Got to be careful not to get dependent on that though. That he even asked for the magnesium is kind of a miracle. He said he woke up at 5 (didn't have to go in until 7 today) but that he slept well. I'm pretty sure there's a placebo effect there, along with the fact that he's working a hard, physical, job for a change, but I'll take it.

    If he thinks it works, it may work. We'll give anything a try! I'd love to get him to a doctor for a real physical and blood work. He eats such an unhealthy diet and has always been one of those people (like me) who gets cranky and moody when he's hungry. I used to have to send granola bars with him to school for a late snack. But I gently suggested it last night and his response was, "No needles.":rolleyes:

    He nearly had a meltdown today because his shoes fell apart and he had to wear an old cheap pair of fake converse I found. Just a normal morning in my house.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Just watch out for interactions with St John's Wart, though... not just with medications, but with supplements etc. It's well known for reacting with all sorts of stuff.
  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Decided not to go with that and all he's taking is a multivitamin and an extra magnesium supplement. His sleep has definitely improved. Of course, now that he's quit his early morning job he stays up late...but he is still sleeping better.
  14. Jon777

    Jon777 New Member

    I seem to recall that St. John's Wort tends to be a stimulant. Are you sure that you found it recommended for sleep?

    Posting an article about natural treatments for sleep. From the website of an MD, with interest in natural medicine.

    Chief Editor:

    Dr. Jacob Mathew, webmaster,

    Consultant: Dr. Mansoor Ahmed. M.D. F.C.C.P
    Director, Cleveland Sleep Center
    Assistant Professor of Medicine & International Health,
    Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio