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St. John's Wort for Treating Depression

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What should I watch for if I take St. John's wort?

You should be alert for any of the following effects if you are taking St. John's wort:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Fatigue and restlessness with long-term use
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased sensitivity to the sun -- especially if you are fair-skinned and taking large doses
  • Stomach upsets

What precautions should I take with St. John's wort?

Herbal therapies are not recommended for pregnant women, children, the elderly, or those with certain medical conditions or taking certain medicines.

Research from NIH has shown that St. John's wort may reduce the effectiveness of several drugs, including birth control pills and some heart disease medications. Talk to your doctor about all the medications you are taking. 

Always tell your doctor if you are taking St. John's wort or any other herbal product.

What other precautions should I take with herbal remedies?

Here are additional precautions you need to take to increase the safety of using herbal remedies:

  • Discuss any drugs or supplements you use, including herbal products, with your doctor.
  • If you experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, insomnia, diarrhea, or skin rashes, stop taking the herbal product and notify your doctor.
  • Beware of commercial claims of what herbal products can do. Look for scientific-based sources of information.

 

Which brands of herbal products should I use?

Only purchase brands that list the herb's common and scientific name, the name and address of the manufacturer, a batch and lot number, expiration date, dosage guidelines, and potential side effects.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Kiefer, MD on March 07, 2014
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