St. John's Wort

I started taking St John's Wort tablets five days ago and I'm thinking about upping the dose and taking two tablets a day instead of one because it hasn't improved anything, in fact my mood has dipped further as far as me going to bed thinking about how I don't have a future and there's no point caring on which I haven't thought like in a few weeks at least.

On the back of the packet, it says that it shouldn't be used by people under 18 but I saw that as an over-reaction by the UK as when I looked it up online I read multiple times that St John's Wort been successful mainly on children and teens. But maybe that's why it isn't working, I don't know.

The dosage is 250mg of extract (as dry extract) from St John's Wort aerial parts (Hypericum perforatum L.) (3:5-6:1)(equialent to 875-1500mg of St John's Wort.) I'm not sure if doubling the dosage will do more bad than good as it says on the pack not to go over but maybe if I do it will start working properly.

I need opinions,

Merry Christmas.


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9 Replies

  • Hi

    I think that maybe like antidepressants it make take a couple of weeks to kick into your body.

    I hope you are'nt on ant other medication as St Johns Wort can cause a badcreaction. If you are its best to check with your Dr. Maybe you need something stronger like an antidelressant from your GP.

    Happy Christmas.

    Jackie xx

  • Hi

    I also started taking St Johns Wort about 5 days ago but am assuming it will take about a month before I see any major benefit. I would stick with it and wait until then before thinking of switching as it does take time to kick in.

    Try to have a Happy Christmas,


  • My GP advised me to take only my prescribed medication.We are all different so I wish you well with your choice . Many swear by it.Do check though

  • St Johns Wort is a very old and effective remedy and it is not addictive like conventional antidepressants. Also it is natural from a plant and it does not contain nasty chemicals which can cause many unwanted side effects. I admire you for trying it . Of course the GP will try and get you on antidepressants, its part of his job to support the profits of pharmaceutical companies !. I think antidepressants are very damaging to health and they do not treat the cause of depression. They only mask symptoms and they can cause violent and suicidal thoughts. My advice is keep on St Johns Wort. Eat a very healthy diet and try to do some form of excercise like swimming which boosts your immune system and releases feel good endorphines into your brain making you feel happier. Merry christmas

  • Wow, Optimistic9 i couldnt agree with you less, in fact i find much of your post a little offensive and not at all sensitive to those of us on the site seeking help which may or may not include medication. Although im sure your post is not intended to offend i would like to address some of your points, which i will come back to in a moment...

    Jessicajayx - Its great that youre aware that you may need a helping hand in what presumably is a rough patch (or more) in your life, its important to recognise this and help yourself, or seek help, so well done. Only you can know what your situation is, how long it has been this way and how it effecting your life. If this is not a temporary situation for you and you have felt low for some time then St Johns Wort is worth a shot as its a herbal remedy and available without prescription, and may well provide the support you're looking for. Many have found it very useful which is why its a popular choice and readily (enough) available. I would say stay with the standard dose for 2-3 weeks to give it time to get into your system, it should take 2 weeks to get into your system and leave it another week to settle, then see how you're feeling. Don't forget there is no such thing as a miracle cure for depression (if thats what you think you may have) so this alone won't 'fix' you, perhaps read some self help books (perhaps stay away from the overly american ones as they can be a little twee) and do your research online, not just forums as peoples experiences can differ, and no two people, or theirs lives are the same. If you still feel desperately low in a few weeks time go to your GP, they will tell you if you should up your dose (probably not) or if you may need alternative help, ie. from a mental professional, or prescribed medication, or tell you some info on helplines etc you can contact if you get desperate, like the Samaritans. It is your GPs job to look after your wellbeing, if youre not happy with your GP, book an appointment to see another one. Please dont go up a dose before speaking with them, if they think you need to be on medication (this can be short term, let them review your needs) then you will need to be clear of St Johns Wort first, so they will ask you to stop taking them for a week, and come back a week later for a prescription (if necessary) so your system has had time to clear. Also PLEASE BEAR IN MIND that St Johns Wort should not be taken if you're on the pill, it can stop it from working, the pill that is!! Hopefully you've noted this from the info inside the packet, always read these please, especially for anythig related to mental health, you need to know what to expect so you can be prepared. Personally ive taken St Johns Wort a few times over the years after a friend of mine raved about it, im afraid it didnt help me, but it helped her, and it may help you. St Johns Wort is used for for mild depression / in times of low mood. I personally need more support but you may find it helpful, so be open to it working and give it a chance, see how you feel. Your initial low may be based on giving something a go that didnt work as you may have expected, or as quickly, try and be patient (easier said that done i know) and see how it goes. If you don't think its working, please seek help rather than upping the dose. It may be a little of something else will help you more than a lot of SJW, especially as you mention you're under 18. You could always ring NHS Direct and chat with them, see what they advise, although i suspect that will be a visit to your GP in a few weeks time, or sooner. Wishing you the best x

    I'm not sure how old you are so please read the below as i don't want you to be scared of seeking medical help should it be needed.

    Optimistic9 (some of these comments are for Jessicajayx's benefit) ...

    'St Johns Wort is a very old and effective remedy and it is not addictive like conventional antidepressants. Also it is natural from a plant and it does not contain nasty chemicals which can cause many unwanted side effects. I admire you for trying it.'

    - Its not effective for everyone but its definitely admirable to try a herbal remedy before seeking an alternative medication, it works for many, but not all. JJX you could try the Rescue Remedy range? They do lots of versions now, and there is a good stock in Tesco's often 3for2, although not that cheap i'm afraid. They have some great elderflower pastilles, well i like them anyway! Anti-Depressants can be addictive, but as long as your sensible, keep to your prescribed dosage and keep your GP informed they will help you to monitor your dosage/progress/requirements. As will all medication there can be side effects but please don't let this scare you, keep yourself informed by reading the leaftlet enclosed with the medication and reading reliable online resources such as the NHS site: There is also lots of talk on here about peoples personal side effects with their medication so you can always reach out and we'll be here. The obvious problem with mental heath issues is that in times of turmoil how do you know what is the medication and whats you? Like i said, just keep informed but don't be scared of science, if it did more harm that good it would not be prescribed.

    'Of course the GP will try and get you on antidepressants, its part of his job to support the profits of pharmaceutical companies!'

    - What utter rubbish! The GP benefits in no way by prescribing medication that you do or don't need, and NHS and private pharamaceutical companies have nothing to do with each other! A GP would be fired if they were found to be prescribing medication, or even giving out information, for the benefit of any pharamceutical company, as would the pharma comp be fined substantially! And most likely some very bad press woudl be on its way which they won't risk. In fact the relationship between most GPs and sales pharma reps is often rocky at best, in no way does a GP have an interest in supporting the profits of a pharmaceutical company. Pharmaceutical companies are businesses, and run as such, the NHS is publically funded healthcare primarily funded by general taxation. A reliable GP should take you through the options avaialble to you, which if they deem suitable as the medical professional, may or may not include medication.

    'I think antidepressants are very damaging to health and they do not treat the cause of depression. They only mask symptoms and they can cause violent and suicidal thoughts.'

    - Depression can be linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain, which no amount of counselling or herbal remedies can cure. Medication is used as a support mechanism for depression, not a cure, and is never 'sold' as otherwise. Often medication is required to re-balance the brain before adding or switching to another form of support. JJX please bear in mind that the above quote is one person's opinion (which of course they are very much entitled to!) and not the opinion of a medical professional, or science. These low feelings that are mentioned above can of course occur with or without the medication and wen taking medication it is important to communicate your experiences with the relevant people.

    JJX, O9 is right in regards to diet and exercise, don't ever underestimate their power! Its hard to get up and going on your own so try and find some support from someone who can help provide that 'Umpf' that you might be missing at the moment. You don't have to push yourself too hard, you can do something easy so its satisfying, it can work wonders! Or if you know someone that could do with a bit of excerise after Christmas (eek!) ask them if they would like to gym/swim/class/run/dance etc with you, sometimes doing it for someone else's benefit makes it easier to put in the effort.

    O9, i hope you don't take offense to any of my above comments but i feel it important to address them. What works for one, may not work for another and we need to support each other as best as possible and make sure were not providing any overly bias information which may unintionally misinform someone, especially a minor. I hope you understand, best wishes.

    Look after yourselves. Sorry about the lengthy message! x

  • I was only trying to help as I have tried many herbal and homeopathic remedies and find they work well. What you said about depression being caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain is not neccessarily true as this has never been proven and there is no test to varify this . Depression can be caused by many things, usually external factors. Diabetes however IS definitely proven to be caused by a chemical imbalance and the imbalance is lack of insulin. So which imbalanced chemical causes depression?. I do know a lot about health and will be gladly corrected if Im wrong . I am also very honest and always like to know the truth . I really dont want to argue with anyone on this site. I went on it initially because I have had a bereavement and thought it may offer me some support

  • I agree absolutely about there being no CAUSAL evidence about depression being the result of a chemical inbalance. There is plenty of evidence that some prople are more prone to depression as a result of a genetic redisposition towards certain tendencies such as over-sensitivity. These tendencies can be reinforced by certain experiences particularly high levels of stress and loss of a parent before age 12 and most psychiatrists and other mental health professionals will agree that the cause of depression is very complex and certainly not a straightforward chemical inbalance. However the physical manifestation of depressive feelings is a chmical inbalance and that is why medication is often used to treat it, that way the chemical inbalance can be altered, sometimes with great benefit but other times not and usually with some side effects that can be long term. The side effects may not be noticeable but will be having an effect upon the body and may contribute to other health problems that are diagnosed later in life. Whether it's worth taking medication for depression, as with all medication, is the balance between the good and harm it can do to the particular individual at a particular time.

    I shouldn't worry about upsetting people, you know the saying - you can't please all of the people all of the time. Sometimes we can't worry about pleasing others and just have to say what we think and to hell with the consequences!

    Keep writing! Sue.

  • Hi O9 i am very sorry for your loss and do hope that you are coping as well as one can. Obviously anything that helps, including expressing opinions on here, should be encouraged. There is nothing worse than the loss of a loved one so my thoughts are with you. Its so important to find some support at this time x

    Unfortunantly having said that my comments were due to not only what you were saying but the way you've been saying it. I am in no doubt that herbal and homeopathic remedies work for millions around the world, and agree they should be encouraged as a first point of call. but they do not work for everyone and medication should not be avoided if it is what a medical professional thinks is best. Many years have gone into medical research and the development of medicines so we should leave it to the medical professionals that have the education and authorisation to provide such guidance. I am in no way recommending the use of medication for depression but neither would i ever recommend it be avoided. Each case and each human is an indivdual and people need to find what works best for them. Herbal and homeopathic remedies are for mild depression or extended peroids of low mood, they are not recommended (see packets) for major or manic depression or other serious mental disorders. They are not sold as a fix, they are merely there to support, which again, may not work for everyone.

    I didnt say depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, i said it CAN be, which is often where medication is prescribed. There are A LOT of different Anti-Depressants and they work differently from each other and are used under different circumstances. As you say depression can be caused by many things and effects people in different ways, there is no one cause, as is there no one fix. I'm not going to go too much into the science when there is educational information readily available on the internet and in books, and none (or most) of us are not medical professionals anyway. You are right that a chemical imbalance is only a hypothesis on the cause of depression but for most of us here the cause is no longer the issue, its the search for a 'fix' knowing there isnt one - finding relevant coping methods, this can include pyscotherapy, medication and alternative therapies and support.

    'Depression is actually a state of high arousal. Depressed people have higher concentrations of stress hormones (cortisol, noradrenaline) than non-depressed people. The apathy and exhaustion seen in depressed people is a consequence of too much arousal, and the way the body and mind respond to this arousal. The way we respond to situations (with thoughts of hopelessness, helplessness, anxiety, anger, etc.) effects the emotions we feel which, in turn effect the chemicals which are released. But the emotionally aroused brain and the presence of stress hormones in turn affects how we think and feel - so it is a ‘two way street’. Thoughts and emotions affect chemical composition and chemical composition affects thoughts and emotions. So, to sum up, beating depression is not about bad things happening to us but rather how we have learned to respond to life events - good or bad.' As you also mention medication is not necessarily the way foward, 'Thyroid problems, food intolerances and other physical illness can lead to feelings of depression but less than 10% of clinical depression is thought to have a chemical basis. Appropriate psychotherapy has still been shown to be more effective than drug treatment alone in the treatment of chemically based depression, and far more effective in preventing relapse. By far the majority of depressions are learned phenomena not chemical ones.' It's the people's choice and we should be thankful we have one.

    I personally am in debted to my medication which is currently keeping me in work, but its not for everyone.

    I am just asking that you be a little more mindful of the people participating on these forums who may, or may not be, in a desperate situation and will be willing to try anything (safe) that may help, this should should not be discouraged. Depression can feel impossible to manage but at least some of us feel a bit better that we're at least trying as best we can.

    Also i hardly think the link to Diabetes is relevant here, for starters as im sure you know there are two types, you can create too much insulin, as well as not enough. Plus its the regarding the Pancreas, not the brain, its a very different field!

    Wishing you all the best. I don't want this to turn into a debate as i don't feel either way on the issue, other than i am pro choice for the treatment of depression! We have to hope that people educate themselevs as best they can before looking into treatment but with mental illness i personally think doing something is better than doing nothing.

    JJX - So sorry for taking over your blog! I hope you're doing ok.

    Look after yourselevs everyone x

  • Thanks I do understand. My heart goes out to all the people struggling with depression. This site is a real help. I always find talking about things helps a lot. I know medication has its place but it should never be the only solution. I hope to see more counselling and psychotherapy available on the NHS. Best wishes .