St John's Wort Side Effects, Caution and Contradictions

Although the herb has been safely used for hundreds of years, there are some potential St John's Wort side effects, warnings and contraindications which you may want to take note of if you are using it.

The side effects of St John's Wort include photosensitivity, a condition where there is an increased sensitivity to sunlight. Thus, anyone using the herb should exercise extra caution in terms of getting exposure to sunshine. Sunlight and vitamin D are critical for good health. Hence, moderation - having some exposure during the morning and evening periods of the day - would be a good idea.

Other side effects and common St John's Wort symptoms when using the herb are nausea, headaches, dizziness and lack of libido.

St John's Wort side effects also include gastrointestinal discomfort and in some cases skin irritation and skin rashes.

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A note about St John's Wort Side Effects, Caution and Contradictions

Herbs are God and nature's gifts to us. While the use of herbs and herb remedies has brought excellent results for many people, do note that their health benefits may be limited when they are used in isolation. However, when combined with some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition, the impact on one's health will be greatly magnified.

In natural health and healing, we believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases. We also believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man’s understanding. It is thus a good idea to apply these fundamental health steps no matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem.

For patients suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure, it is advisable to use St John's Wort with extreme caution, since there is evidence that St John's Wort has a tendency to increase blood pressure.

Understanding the potential danger St John's Wort usage might pose

One important question which comes to mind is, what is the danger St John's Wort might pose, especially if used incorrectly, and how this danger comes about. The following explanation might give a better understanding on why it is necessary to be careful.

  • There are certain chemical substances in St John's Wort called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) and these chemical inhibitors were and are also currently used in the treatment of depression in its mild form.

  • MAOI stop or slow down the action of a certain proteins called monoamine oxidase. Monoamine oxidase, by the way, is a protein that generally destroys certain neurotransmitters in the brain. This is a task which needs to be done, but if the neurotransmitters are destroyed in huge volumes and to a large extent, depression would then set in.

  • The MAOI in St John's Wort inhibits the monoamine oxidase, thus managing to increase or keep the neurotransmitters at higher amounts - this makes one feel good psychologically.

  • Another action performed by the protein monoamine oxidase is that it destroys or eliminates tyramine, a substance that affects blood pressure. If the protein monoamine oxidase is blocked or inhibited by the MAOI in St John's Wort, the level of tyramine increases quickly. Thus, while the MAOI in St John's Wort is busy making you feel better, your blood pressure might also be increased.

  • This particular reason led to the death of quite a sizeable number in the 1960s due to brain hemorrhages.

St John's Wort and Medical Drugs

Besides the abovementioned possible St John's Wort side effects, extra caution should be exercised if one is taking any prescription drugs. If used in combination with other drugs or if other drugs are part of a treatment plan, St John's Wort might react with these drugs and either enhance or inhibit the breakdown of these drugs.

Studies have reported that the St John's Wort plant can reduce the effectiveness of some prescription drugs like Digoxin, Warfarin and Indinavir, as well as birth control pills.

Other Caution and Possible Contraindications

As safety information and the possible St John's Wort side effects on pregnant or nursing women as well as young children are presently not really available, it is strongly recommended that these groups of people do not consume the herb.

Also, patients in advanced stages of depression may not want to rely only on St John's Wort, since it has been proven effective mostly in treating mild to moderate forms of depression.

Conclusion - St John's Wort Side Effects, Cautions and Contradictions

St John's Wort is a powerful herb and, if used correctly, can bring important health benefits to its consumers.

However, powerful herbs, due to their potent ingredients and substances, when used incorrectly, can also potentially bring about the most severe adverse effects and reactions. Thus, if this herb is abused or badly utilized, there could be some potential serious St John's Wort side effects and symptoms.

As with the use of all herbs as natural remedies, exercising some common sense is very important. For example, it would be unwise to suddenly begin taking large and liberal St John's Wort dosages.

If possible, it would be ideal to consult a knowledgeable health professional; do be aware, though, that almost all medical doctors are ignorant about herbs and natural remedies and are unlikely to be able to offer any constructive opinions.

St John's Wort Pages | St John's Wort Information, History, and more | St John's Wort Dosage, Methods of Use and Preparation | Benefits of St John's Wort For Depression, Anxiety and other Ailments | Does St John's Wort Work? - Information on Research and Studies | St John's Wort Side Effects, Caution and Contradictions

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