St. John’s Wort is a plant. It is used in teas, creams and ointments, and dietary supplements. These supplements come in the form of tablets, capsules, and liquid extracts. The supplements are used for a variety of health conditions. These include kidney and lung problems, sleep issues, menopause, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, wound care, and depression. Its most common use is for depression. St. John’s Wort does not require a prescription.
Path to improved well being
Dietary supplements can affect how your body processes prescription and over-the-counter medicine. There has been extensive research done on its success. There are mixed reviews. However, we do know that it negatively interacts with a long list of medicines. It can be dangerous. In some cases, it can be deadly. Talk to your doctor before taking St. John’s wort.
Things to consider
St. John’s wort reacts with many different types of medicines. These medicines include:
- Birth control pills
- Cyclosporine (medicine used in organ transplants)
- Digoxin (heart medicine)
- Some HIV medicines (including indinavir)
- Some cancer medicines (including irinotecan)
- Warfarin (blood thinner)
- Any medicines that affect serotonin (Serotonin is produced by your nerve cells. This can lead to serotonin-related side effects.)
St. John’s Wort causes multiple side effects including:
- Light sensitivity
- Dry mouth
- Stomach upset
- Sexual dysfunction
Questions to ask your doctor
- Do all supplements interact with prescription medications?
- Do any supplements interact with over-the-counter medicines?
- Do doctors approve of St. John’s Wort?
- Is it safe to take during pregnancy?
Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.