St. John's Wort and sleep? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 08-21-2008, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have started taking St. John's Wort 1800 mg. a day. I have terrible insomnia. I've been taking it a few years ago and it affected my sleep the same way. Anyone else has had this experience? Should I lower the dose?

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#2 of 24 Old 08-21-2008, 06:43 PM
 
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I don't really know about that, but St John's wart has somehow gotten a reputation for depression relief, when it's actually much more effective for wound healing & stuff, or very mild situational depression. Hope that gives you a little info.

Heather, mama to Harriet, Crispin, in with Tom and 2
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#3 of 24 Old 08-22-2008, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't really know about that, but St John's wart has somehow gotten a reputation for depression relief, when it's actually much more effective for wound healing & stuff, or very mild situational depression. Hope that gives you a little info.
There is a lot of research on the effectiveness of SJW. It is helpful in treating both mild, moderate and major depression.
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#4 of 24 Old 08-22-2008, 06:03 PM
 
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There is a lot of research on the effectiveness of SJW. It is helpful in treating both mild, moderate and major depression.
that's how the studies go I guess, there's one out there to prove whatever you want to prove, and it's also probably one of those YMMV type things too. I just had read a couple of studies in a herbal seminar I attended.

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#5 of 24 Old 08-23-2008, 05:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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that's how the studies go I guess, there's one out there to prove whatever you want to prove, and it's also probably one of those YMMV type things too. I just had read a couple of studies in a herbal seminar I attended.
Here are some links if you want to have a look at it: http://www.hypericum.com/toc.htm
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#6 of 24 Old 08-23-2008, 10:16 AM
 
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Thanks! I'll take a look! I looked, cool stuff! I wonder if there are any good herbs for bipolar...I'd be afraid to take something specific to depression.

Heather, mama to Harriet, Crispin, in with Tom and 2
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#7 of 24 Old 12-23-2008, 10:09 AM
 
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I don't know that St. John's Wort would be a good one to take for Bi-polar, because I've read it can trigger manic episodes, if you're prone to mania. But many people do find St John's Wort to be very beneficial for helping with mild to moderate depression. I think it can help with sleep as well, but I've heard better things about Valerian root for that. I am not sure which herbs are good for bi-polar. sorry.
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#8 of 24 Old 12-24-2008, 01:19 PM
 
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I've been having trouble sleeping lately and I"m taking a high dose of St Johns, not sure its helping....

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#9 of 24 Old 01-03-2009, 02:07 AM
 
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I don't really know about that, but St John's wart has somehow gotten a reputation for depression relief, when it's actually much more effective for wound healing & stuff, or very mild situational depression. Hope that gives you a little info.
It can be very effective for depressioin, providing you need it. It won't work if you need seratonin, but can be wonderful if your depression is a dopamine or norepinephrine issue.

It's lovely for nerve pain and puncture wounds as well. But yes, it can be used quite effectively for depression.
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#10 of 24 Old 01-03-2009, 02:12 AM
 
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OP-since it's not an adaptogenic herb you may be having a response to it. I would back down. It's supposed to be helpful in cases of insomnia so I'd say you are reacting in a negative way. Just like meds herbs can be tricky and some people have the opposite response than intended. That's a pretty high dose, too.


Are you taking it for sleep issues? You could try several other things instead that don't have specific biochemical actions. That way it either works or it doesn't, but it's not going to rewire your nervous system!
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#11 of 24 Old 01-04-2009, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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that's how the studies go I guess, there's one out there to prove whatever you want to prove, and it's also probably one of those YMMV type things too. I just had read a couple of studies in a herbal seminar I attended.

There is a huge meta study on the effectiveness of SJW (includes about 20 different high quality studies) - it's published in the British Medical Journal and is far more reliable than a herbal seminar. Please gather information before you dish something. This information is very important to the woman here who need to treat depression.

It's is true that SJW can trigger mania. For a lot of people it is great for treating imsomnia but for a smaller group it can have the opposite effect.
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#12 of 24 Old 01-04-2009, 12:11 PM
 
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Well, I wasn't putting it out entirely, just saying be cautious and do your homework to see if it's right for you. I didn't just take some herbal seminar, I worked with one of the most highly respected herbalists in practice in our midwifery community(great lakes area). She's been an herbalist for 30 years and is very very knowledgeable. We talked at great length on this topic due to our need to assess post partum moms for depression and what to offer these women. She's someone I trust a lot more than clinical studies, but I'm more into plant's healing energies than I am in what works for a lot of people. I just find it offensive to have my experience blown off just because it doesn't sound good enough to qualify for someone else's standards. This is really a mom to mom list, not a pro list isn't it?

Heather, mama to Harriet, Crispin, in with Tom and 2
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#13 of 24 Old 01-04-2009, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Since there are a lot of moms suffering from depression who takes SJW I think it is discouraging to tell them that it doesn't work. And since research shows that it is even more or as effective as various anti-depressive meds but without some of the nasty side effects I think is even more sad that you say it doesn't work when you didn't even bother to look at the link I posted.

When you say that studies tend to show whatever you want them to show it is even more important to look at large scale meta studies and not small scale anecdotal evidence from a herbal practioner. I do not mind hearing about personal experience from other moms but to claim that something doesn't work when lots of research says that it does is not in anyones best interest. It's bad advice. If it's based on personal experience or the clinical experience of a herbalist I don't think it is right to claim that it doesn't work - especially when research is showing the exact opposite. Only large scale studies without any methodological flaws can tell if something is working or not.
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#14 of 24 Old 01-04-2009, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OP-since it's not an adaptogenic herb you may be having a response to it. I would back down. It's supposed to be helpful in cases of insomnia so I'd say you are reacting in a negative way. Just like meds herbs can be tricky and some people have the opposite response than intended. That's a pretty high dose, too.


Are you taking it for sleep issues? You could try several other things instead that don't have specific biochemical actions. That way it either works or it doesn't, but it's not going to rewire your nervous system!
I'd love suggestions on how to treat insomnia. I'm getting older and lack of sleep is more draining. I've been taking sleep meds for a long time. I've tried some herbal treatments and melatonin. Melatonin has some effect but not enough. I'm not sure how much you can take.

I'm taking SJW for severe PMS (also known as PMDD) but since I seem to have it sorted out with vitamin B6 I guess I should stop taking it. It sounds plausible that I'm having a kind of adverse reaction to it. I have always had sleep issues but SJW makes it much worse. I think it's like a manic reaction but only a fraction of the real thing of course. I agree that the dose is quite high. In most studies the standard dose is 900mg and then you'll double the dose if there isn't any effect in three weeks.

Anyway here is the abstract for the meta analysis in the british medical journal:

Abstract

Objective: To investigate if extracts of Hypericum perforatum (St John's wort) are more effective than placebo in the treatment of depression, are as effective as standard antidepressive treatment, and have fewer side effects than standard antidepressant drugs.
Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis of trials revealed by searches.
Trials: 23 randomised trials including a total of 1757 outpatients with mainly mild or moderately severe depressive disorders: 15 (14 testing single preparations and one a combination with other plant extracts) were placebo controlled, and eight (six testing single preparations and two combinations) compared hypericum with another drug treatment.
Main outcome measures: A pooled estimate of the responder rate ratio (responder rate in treatment group/responder rate in control group), and numbers of patients reporting and dropping out for side effects.
Results: Hypericum extracts were significantly superior to placebo (ratio = 2.67; 95% confidence interval 1.78 to 4.01) and similarly effective as standard antidepressants (single preparations 1.10; 0.93 to 1.31, combinations 1.52; 0.78 to 2.94). There were two (0.8%) drop outs for side effects with hypericum and seven (3.0%) with standard antidepressant drugs. Side effects occurred in 50 (19.8%) patients on hypericum and 84 (52.8%) patients on standard antidepressants.
Conclusion: There is evidence that extracts of hypericum are more effective than placebo for the treatment of mild to moderately severe depressive disorders. Further studies comparing extracts with standard antidepressants in well defined groups of patients and comparing different extracts and doses are needed.

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/313/7052/253
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#15 of 24 Old 01-04-2009, 05:15 PM
 
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for acute purposes coffea cruda 30C (a homeopathic remedy) can be taken with significant efficacy for sleep issues. White chestnut flower essence can also be wonderful..neither have a biochemical effect and there isn't a way to react negatively.

In terms of herbs your other options are ashwaganda or skullcap which are both wonderful for sleep issues. You can even use the tinctures and just take a dropperful before sleep.

Another folk remedy that is actually wonderful and can affect melatonin deficiency without any adverse affect on the pineal glad is honey taken just before bed. Most studies show that 2T is a good amount.

Magnesium is something that should be used for ANYONE with sleep issues. Your best bet is to take it around 5 pm (apart from calcium.) You will need to start slow and move up so that your body doesn't get oversaturated off the bat. I prefer and recommend magnesium citrate. Magnesium is the mineral responsible for muscle relaxation. Calcium contracts the muscles and magnesium allows them to release. It also helps with depression, cramping and insomnia.

Had you been on the pill? That is a huge contributer for B-6 deficiency which can lead to all kinds of depressive issues that are tied to PMS. Iodine deficiency also contributes to all PMS symtpoms. I'm glad you have it under control at this point though.
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#16 of 24 Old 01-04-2009, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was on the pill 10 years ago and that has definitely made a difference. I also started having migraines back then. I thought magnesium and calcium were to be taken together since they are often mixed in the same capsule. I did read that a lot of people are deficient in magnesium because they get too much calcium. If you suffer from pms the mag/calc. ratio is 1:1 and not 1:2. Do you know how much magnesium is usually needed? I do have magnesium citrate so I'll try to take it instead of the calc/mag. capsules I got.

Do tinctures work faster than dried herbs? I like to eat a protein rich meal before bedtime and maybe that's not such a good thing when it comes to absorbing whatever herbs or supplements I take.

Sleeping pills tend to cause great problems with fluid retention and most herbs intended for insomnia do the same so they do have some effect. I guess I've gotten so used to having problems with my sleep that I feel the need to get that hammer effect from sleeping pills. I'd really love to get rid of them. I'll look into the things you suggested. Thank you very much!
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#17 of 24 Old 01-04-2009, 05:38 PM
 
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when we are in balance the ratio of cal to mag is 2:1. Most people are deficient in magnesium so clearly the balance will not be the same. Calcium and magnesium compete for uptake and normally in a balanced body that is fine as calcium always has "first dibs." If what is needed is magnesium and they are taken together calcium is still going to win. If you have an imbalance it's fine to take the cal/mag in the am, you just then need to add mag at night without a competitor so to speak.

You should notice a difference off the bat if it's needed. I recommend NaturalCalm as a supplement (it's mag citrate) and it has you start at 1 tsp and move up to 3. Again, it's important since it's water soluble to start slow and work your way up. I take about 700mg of mag a night and notice when I miss it. I've been doing this for about 5 years! It's not an easy deficiency to correct. It can be done though and as long as I supplement I feel great.

Dried herbs and tinctures are quite different in many cases (depending on the herb. your supplier etc.) There are a few herbs that I prefer to work with dry, but most if we are talking medicinal usage (where the older the herb gets and the longer it sits around especially if it's exposed to light/air the less effective it will be.) I go for tincture. It really can make a huge difference and it's not something that is talked about enough, IMO.

If you do the coffea cruda what *I* would do is put one dose in about an ounce of water and starting when you want to go to sleep take a spoonful every 10 minutes or so. It won't take long to get through it and hopefully you will be able to conk out!

Unfortunately much like depression and meds or herbs that work on different neurotransmitters what works for you will be largely dependent upon why you are having issues. However most of what I have shared is either energetic or nutritional in nature and will have either positive effects or none at all. Keep us updated and sweet dreams!
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If you are bi-polar, and you take St Johns Wort, you will not be able to sleep. (Or ie: it will make you manic.)

Here are the symptoms:

http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Sec...ontentID=23037
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#19 of 24 Old 01-04-2009, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you do the coffea cruda what *I* would do is put one dose in about an ounce of water and starting when you want to go to sleep take a spoonful every 10 minutes or so. It won't take long to get through it and hopefully you will be able to conk out!

Unfortunately much like depression and meds or herbs that work on different neurotransmitters what works for you will be largely dependent upon why you are having issues. However most of what I have shared is either energetic or nutritional in nature and will have either positive effects or none at all. Keep us updated and sweet dreams!
Thanks. I found this description http://www.truestarhealth.com/Notes/2258008.html - sounds interesting. I guess you can combine them or???

I'll change my calc. mag routine.
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If you are bi-polar, and you take St Johns Wort, you will not be able to sleep. (Or ie: it will make you manic.)

Here are the symptoms:

http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Sec...ontentID=23037
That's making me a little scared! My mom's twin sister and her daughter are both bi-polar. I guess I do fit part of the symptoms but I've always seen it as personality thing (like I'm easily excited and experience emotions quite strongly - though not very strongly). I'm also quite optimistic when I'm not suffering from PMS. Would you even bother to talk to a professional about this if it isn't so bad that you'd want meds because of it???
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#21 of 24 Old 01-04-2009, 09:52 PM
 
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Would you even bother to talk to a professional about this if it isn't so bad that you'd want meds because of it???
An imbalance of neurotransmitters can cause similar symptoms without you being in a full out pathological state. The fact that hypericum gives you insomnia gives you clues as to which neurotransmitters are already present and by default which ones may be lacking. It doesn't mean (in my non professional opinion) that you are bi-polar or even headed in that direction. If you take care of your needs now there is no reason that it would have to escalate. Again, JMO.
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#22 of 24 Old 01-04-2009, 09:54 PM
 
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Thanks. I found this description http://www.truestarhealth.com/Notes/2258008.html - sounds interesting. I guess you can combine them or???

I'll change my calc. mag routine.
It is best to take one homeopathic remedy at a time, but you can combine them with other nutritional supplements. So if the coffea cruda seems like something you want to try then you can also do the white chestnut flower essence (for a racing mind, thoughts that go round and round) honey, magnesium, herbs etc.
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#23 of 24 Old 01-04-2009, 11:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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An imbalance of neurotransmitters can cause similar symptoms without you being in a full out pathological state. The fact that hypericum gives you insomnia gives you clues as to which neurotransmitters are already present and by default which ones may be lacking. It doesn't mean (in my non professional opinion) that you are bi-polar or even headed in that direction. If you take care of your needs now there is no reason that it would have to escalate. Again, JMO.
Please tell me which ones you think I need??? I ended up buying tyrosine and 5-htp. I used julia ross' false mood type guide along with a lot of other resources. I know it's often trial and error but you can't buy amino acids in Denmark so I need to pay a lot in shipping and toll. Thanks again for all your advice!

ETA: I have huge problems with being cold too. Especially hands and feet but as it's freezing in Denmark at this time of year, I'm really suffering from it. I need three times the amount of clothing other people need and it's still not enough! I remember that julia ross links it to serotonin deficiency. I have bought 5-htp but got a really upset stomach because I had eaten to close before I took it.
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#24 of 24 Old 01-06-2009, 11:08 PM
 
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I recently started St. John's wort and I also had trouble sleeping. I started slow, and my body seems to have adjusted to the dose I'm taking. I'll probably up the dose in a couple of days, and I bet I'll have trouble sleeping again. I'm trying hard to give this a chance, though. A great site for information on St. John's wort (and other natural remedies for depression) is www.sjwinfo.org. I've learned a lot there. Different brands affect people differently. That could come into play, also.
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