Taking St. John’s Wort to treat mild depression that occurs with ADHD might be a helpful way to control symptoms that don’t respond as well as you would like to traditional attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medicines and therapies. As always, discuss all of your symptoms with your doctor or medical professional whether they are symptoms of attention deficit disorder or otherwise.
This posting is continued from Use St. Johns Worth For Depression with ADHD ADD
It should go without saying, but here it is anyway.
I am not a doctor. Nothing in this article or on this website should be considered medical advice. All information including dosages, medications, timing, and recommendations and warnings are for general knowledge only and is not medical advice. Consult with a physician before starting any treatment. Drug interactions can be dangerous or unpleasant. Consult a pharmacist or physician about taking any medicine, herbal remedy, or supplement.
How To Use St. John’s Wort
- Not all herbal medicines, natural remedies, vitamins, supplements, and pills are created equal. Time and time again, studies or investigative journalism has shown that LOTS of over the counter medicines don’t have what they say they have in them. Just because it says it on the label doesn’t make it true. My ADHD trick for getting real alternative ADD treatments in a bottle is to always buy from a company that has something to lose. That is, buy your St. John’s Wort from a respected brand that has more to lose from the bad publicity about selling a crappy product than they have to gain from cutting corners. The easiest way to use this ADHD tip is to buy your stuff at Whole Foods or Vitamin Cottage or the like. These companies build their entire business model around being “better” and “more trustworthy.” That means the suppliers know that they are out, if bad publicity threatens to drag down their brand name. If you don’t want to go that route, then buy from a well-known and respected supplement brand.
- St John’s Wort can be what my gal once termed, “buzzy.” That means that it can make your mind seem a little buzzed. Not in an intoxicated way, and not in a racing way, but in a crackling, seems like I can feel the electricity firing in my neurons, sort of way. What that all means is that it can make it very hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. So, start by taking your St Johns Wort in the mornings, not in the evenings until you have an idea of how it affects you.
- Like all depression medications, and unlike most ADHD drugs, St. John’s Wort is not an instant effect medicine. It must build up in your body, or more specifically in your brain, before it has any effect. That means you need to take it for six weeks or so before deciding if it does or does not work. It may start working sooner. However, if if seems to be working on Day 2, that just be a good day or a placebo effect. More importantly, it might be that something else is working, so don’t just attribute it to the St. Johns Wort. Instead, look around and evaluate what you are doing that is different, maybe there is something else going on that helps with your inattention or other ADD symptoms and you need to know what that is. (I have one ADD friend who is always more focused after a night of drinking, but after the hangover ends. There isn’t much you can do with that alternative ADD treatment-wise, but at least you know not to judge the effectiveness of other things on that kind of day.)
- Finally, get the dosage right. Remember how I said not all pills are created equal? That goes double in the supplement world of alternative herbal therapies, because there is no regulations telling manufacturers or customers what SHOULD be in the bottle. Contrast this to multivitamins where the label has to say what percentage a vitamin is of the government established recommended daily allowance. That way you know if your vitamin has the right amount of Vitamin B, for example.
- The right dosage for adults using St. John’s Wort for the treatment of minor depression is 300mg with 0.3% hypericins taken three times a day. Note that to get a full dosage like this without encroaching on bedtime, you’ll need to use a schedule like first thing in the morning, after breakfast, and after lunch, or something similar. Furthermore, note that you need BOTH of those numbers to be on the label. A cheapo way of making St. John’s Wort is to just throw a bunch of it in a vat regardless of quality and then make 300mg pills. The 0.3% hypercins means that the right amount of actual medicinal quality stuff is in there.
- Don’t just get Hypercin extract or hyperphorin, or whatever. All the best studies test the WHOLE St. John’s Wort herb, not just extracts of it. Some research suggests that while the compound called hyperforin within St. Johns Wort might be the main cause of improvement for mild depression treatment, there is also research suggesting that some of the other components inside of the herb might be important as well. If you are getting 0.3% hypercins, then you are getting all of the hyperforin already, so you might as well get the other stuff.
- Lastly, St. John’s Wort can interfere with other prescription drugs and medications so research the heck out of what you are taking before you start up. If you are already taking anti-depressants the DO NOT start taking St John Wort too. That is a recipe for big trouble. Also, it seems that almost everything in the world interferes with heart medications, so specifically check with your doctor first if you are taking any heart medicine. I don’t have to tell you which is more important of the two if you want to stay alive.
That should about do it. If you want to verify (PLEASE DO) the research and medical information I have jotted down here quickly, and without any editing, start with the U.S. Nation Library of Medicine from the National Institutes of Health at PubMed.gov. Here is a link to get you started. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12543057
Yes, there is a lot of medical and scientific terminology in there, but don’t wimp out. Keep reading and you will get the gist of what is going on even if you don’t know what molarity is. The last sentence or two of the abstract is usually a conclusion, so at the very least read that. Also, always note the date of the research. It is often the case that the first study has very positive results because the first research is usually don’t as a proof of concept that more research is worthwhile. Even though the results are often reported in a splashy manner, these experiments are done on the cheap with limited controls and small groups of test subjects. Later research is typically more reliable, and when it comes to the brain, stuff from before 1980 is the mental equivalent of using leaches, so forget about research from the 1970s and before that has not been followed up significantly.
Have you tried using St. John’s Wort or other herbal medicines as alternative therapy for your ADHD or co-morbid conditions like depression? What has your experience (good or bad) been?