Joined: 13 Dec 2006
Location: Cleveland, OH
|Posted: Dec Thu 14, 2006 4:59 pm Post subject: St. John's Wort Handout
|St. John's Wort Handout
The Miracle of St. John's Wort
St. John's Wort is another oldie-but-goodie herb. "Wort", by the way, does not mean that St. John had warts . . . it simply means "plant." Researchers usually call it hypericum, its Latin name.
Information about the herb we call St. John's Wort predates Christianity. Native Americans used the fresh leaves for their soothing effect. It has long been popular for replenishing the nervous system, especially when the brain seems depleted, or when the nervous system is out of balance.
A couple of dozen studies have been done using hypericum extracts on depressed people, and the results have been generally very good.
Roughly two out of three patients with milder forms of depression and symptoms like fatigue and disturbed sleep were helped with hypericum extract in carefully controlled European studies.
Another study from Europe [where herbs are much more commonly used than in the United States] compared hypericum with imipramine, a drug often used to treat depression. This research was carried out at 20 different health centers, with 135 depressive patients.
After six weeks of treatment, the St. John's Wort extract proved just as effective as the drug, but with fewer side effects. The same result was achieved comparing the herbal extract with another drug, maprotiline.
Prevention herbal advisor Varro Tyler, Ph.D., points out that St. John's Wort has a generally stimulating effect, so it shouldn't be taken at bedtime.
While the pick-me-up effect of St. John's Wort is known best, it also has a knock-it down effect that could prove far more important.
The herb possesses the unusual ability to take the "bite" out of some viruses. At New York University Medical Center, it has been shown that a smidgen of hypericum, a component of St. John's Wort, put in a test tube with blood infected with HIV cells renders the blood free of any active virus.
Some day soon, it may be possible to protect blood stored for transfusion by the single expedient of adding a bit of hypericum, suggests Daniel Meruelo, Ph.D., professor of pathology at NYU. Hypericin is a "broad-spectrum viricida agent," he explains.
In blood samples, besides inactivating AIDS-causing HIV, it can also knock out hepatitis C. Where as modern testing has reduced the incidence of HIV in blood transfusions to an infinitesimal 1 in 450,000 to 660,000, hepatitis C is more common. Plus, hypericin might also be able to turn off any new viruses that could creep into our blood supply, the way HIV once did.
As for therapeutic use, the only real results have been achieved with experimental animals. If given right after injection with certain strains of leukemia virus, hypericin completely blocks the disease. And combined with AZT, the result is a virus fighter stronger than either one alone.
Research is under way already to see just how useful this amazing herbal extract will be in human beings.
The caution with St. John's Wort is:
A) not to take huge doses [no more than 300 mg. at one time -- and a maximum of 900 mg. a day]
B) not to sunbathe after taking it. [that's because hypericin is photoreactive, going into superhigh gear when exposed to the sun.]
Be especially cautious , advises Dr. Tyler, if you're taking another photoreactive drug already, like tetracycline.
Check with your doctor or pharmacist.
Prevention Magazine, January, 1996, Sunshine Horizons, December 1995-January 1996
Passion Flower is the herb of choice of treating intransigent insomnia. It aids the transition into a restful sleep without any narcotic hangover. In the Yucatan it is used for insomnia, hysteria and convulsions in children It may also be used wherever an anti-spasmodic is required, e.g. in Parkinson's disease, seizures and hysteria. It can be very effective in nerve pain such as neuralgia and the viral infection of nerves called shingles. It may be used in asthma where there is much spasmodic activity, especially when there is associated tension.
In Italy, it is used to treat hyperactive children. It is quieting and soothing to the nervous system. It does not bring depression nor disorientation.
One doctor says that Passion Flower kills a form of bacteria that causes eye irritation. Therefore, it is good for inflamed eyes and dimness of vision. He says in some cases it surpasses Eyebright for inflamed eyes and dimness of vision.
Today's Herbal Health, by Louise Tenney, M.H., The Holistic Herbal, by David Hoffmann
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Nature's Sunshine Products
St. John's Wort with Passion Flower
Nature's Sunshine Products has blended St. John's Wort which is soothing to the nervous system and helps with minor depression, with Passion Flower. The downside of St. John's Wort is that it tends to also be generally stimulating, making it not recommended to be taken at bedtime. It also can cause a sensitivity to light.
This is where Passion Flower comes in. Passion Flower is quieting and soothing to the nervous system. It is recommended to be taken at bedtime. It also is soothing to the eyes, possibly helpful for photosensitivity. So you can see where these two products can compliment and balance each other, combining to form a effective anti-depressant that does not have negative side effects.
It may have several beneficial effects though; especially helpful may be the neutralizing of some viruses.
This wonderful combination and many others are available from the following Nature's Sunshine Products Independent Distributor:
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St. John's Wort- All About
Synonyms: Common St. Johnswort, Goatweed, Hypericum, Klamath Weed, Millepertuis, Saint Johnswort, Tian Ji Huang, Tien Chi Huang
Family: Hypericaceae or Guttiferae
Genus species: Hypericum perforatum, Hypericum japonicum, Hypericum erectum
Type: Perennial herb
Part Used: Dried flowering tops
Homeopathy: Tincture of whole fresh plant
Location: Europe, western Asia
Actions: Abortifacient, alterative, analgesic, antibacterial, antidepressant (MAOI activity), antidiarrheal, antifungal, anti-HIV, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antitumor, anxiolytic, astringent, blood purifier, capillary protectant, cholagogue, CNS depressant, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, hemostyptic, immunoenhancer, monoamine oxidase inhibitor, nervine, sedative, tonic, uterine tonic, vermifuge, vulnerary
Indications: AIDS (hypericin), anorexia, anxiety, asthma, bed-wetting, breast cancer, bronchitis, bruise, burns, cancer (stomach), catarrh, chorea, common cold, contusion, cytomegalovirus (hypericin), depression, diarrhea, dysentery, ear infection, earache, excitability, facial pain, fibrositis, hair loss, hemorrhoids, HIV infection (hypericin), human Papilloma virus (hypericin, inflammation, irregular menstruation, jaundice, lumbago, menopausal neurosis, mild neurotic depression, nervous exhaustion, neuralgia, neurasthenia, pain, painful menstruation, rheumatism, sciatica, snakebite, Staphylococcus aureus, toothache, tumor, varicose veins, wounds
Homeopathic Indications: Asthma, bites, brachial neuralgia, broken bone, bruise, bunion, concussions, corns, coxalgia, diarrhea, gunshot wounds, headache, hemorrhoids, hydrophobia, hypersensitiveness, impotence, meningitis, neuralgia, paralysis, pertussis, rheumatism, scars, sciatica, spinal irritation, stiff neck, tetanus, ulcer, wounds Chemicals & Nutrients: Tannins (up to 10%)
Preparation & Dosages:
Decoction: 15-60 g, in 2-3 doses
Dried Herb: dose 2-4 g or by infusion, 3x/day
Liquid Extract: 1:1 in 25% alcohol, dose 2-4 ml, 3x/day
Tea: 2-4 g in boiling water, steep 5-10 minutes, drink 1-2 cups 2x/day.
Tincture: 1:10 in 45 % alcohol, dose 2-4 ml, 3x/day
Note: To obtain effect, use 2-8 weeks.
Contraindications: Prozac, antidepressants, lactation, pregnancy.
Drug Interactions: May potentiate MAOI therapy and/or antagonize antidepressants. Due to the diuretic action of this herb the following drug interactions are possible: increased risk of toxicity with anti-inflammatory analgesics; if hypokalemia occurs possible antagonism with antiarrhythmics and potentiation of muscle relaxants; antagonizes antidiabetic (hypoglycemic) drugs; may potentiate and/or interfere with antihypertensives; may potentiate lithium therapy; when taken with corticosteroids there is a risk for hypokalemia; may potentiate other diuretics and increase the risk of hypokalemia. Due to the antihypertensive (hypotensive) action of this herb the following interactions are possible: when taken with anesthetics an increased hypotensive effect; potentiation of antihypertensives; when taken with diuretics difficulty with diuresis and hypertension may result; antagonism of sympathomimetics. Interferes with the absorption of iron and other minerals when taken internally.
Side Effects: (Possible adverse effects and/or overdose effects)
Photosensitization especially in people with fair skin (sunburn-like inflammation of those parts of the skin exposed to strong sunshine).
Warning: Hypericum perforatum is poisonous to animals. Tannins are incompatible with alkalies, gelatin, heavy metals, iron, lime water, metallic salts, strong oxidizing agents and zinc sulfate. Tannins precipitate proteins. Tannins may cause bowel irritation, kidney irritation, liver damage, irritation of the stomach and gastrointestinal pain. Long-term and/or excessive use of herbs containing high concentrations of tannins is not recommended. A correlation has been made between esophageal or nasal cancer in humans and regular consumption of certain herbs with high tannin concentrations (Lewis, W.H. and M.P.F. Elvin-Lewis. 1977. Medical Botany. Plants Affecting Man's Health. New York: John Wiley & Sons.)
Note: Hypericin has been shown to inhibit HIV replication in infected cells, protect laboratory animals from infection with some retroviruses, and is not toxic to cells. Hypericin has also been found to be effective against cytomegalovirus (CMV) and human Papilloma virus (HPV).
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