The herb St. John's wort and its use in medicine
- herb St. John's wort and its use in medicine
Medicinal properties of herb St. John's wort have been known for a long time, but by representatives of official medicine have begun to actively discuss it in 1996when one of the reputable scientific journal published a report on a meta-analysis, according to which the herb St. John's wort is effective against mild to moderate depression.In the same issue of the magazine was a material which was emphasized - to ensure the effectiveness of St. John's wort, more research is needed, but in spite of this, the use of talking about it, many experts and selling drugs from this plant began to grow rapidly.
Herb St. John's wort contains a lot of biologically active chemical compounds, but its healing properties are attributed mainly components such as hypericin, pseudohypericin, gipersorin and flavonoids.Doses of St. John's wort is usually assigned on the basis of the content of hypericin, which can vary significantly depending on the part of the plant used for the production of the drug, growing conditions and time of year.
According to earlier studies, during which studied the standardized extract of St. John's wort, which is the main ingredient hypericin, herb St. John's wort in about twice as effective as placebo.In several studies, reports even said that St. John's wort is much more effective than standard antidepressants.However, none of these studies lasted more than six weeks, and this is not enough to determine whether the agent effectively in the long term, and to identify all the side effects that it may cause.Furthermore, during the majority of these studies, there were problems with the diagnosis;to placebo was significantly lower than usual doses of standard antidepressants - too small a dose of St. John's wort, which was administered to patients were so different that one subject could receive six times more hypericin than another.
In general, carried out to date research on the effectiveness of St. John's wort, is quite complex and contradictory.The most authentic looking analysis of 26 studies in which St. John's wort compared to placebo Placebo - an effective tool for self-hypnosis .According to this analysis, the study, which showed low efficacy in the treatment of depression, St. John's wort Treating depression - tablets needed , were better organized and carried out, in general, more responsible.In one such study involved 200 people with severe depression - as expected against the disease St. John's wort has been powerless.In another study, involving 340 patients, it was found that hypericum fails and mild depression.Moreover, these two studies were the only ones of the 26 who were randomized, placebo-controlled, as well as carried out in several different places - it corresponds to the gold standard of clinical trials.
first studies did not show any serious side effects of St. John's wort, though it was found that it can cause lethargy, dry mouth, slight dizziness, skin rash, and increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight.However, several years ago, there were obtained data indicating that the St. John's wort may reduce the effectiveness of indinavir (a drug used to slow the development of HIV and AIDS), cyclosporine (used after organ transplantation), and warfarin (blood thinners).
St. John's wort acts on an important pathway - cytochrome P-450.Since the processing of many prescription medications that are used to treat disorders such as depression, heart disease and some types of cancer, it goes on this way, physicians should warn patients that the use of St. John's Wort Hypericum : application - medicine for 99 diseases simultaneously with certain medications are potentially dangerous.Later, they have been identified and some of the other problems associated with St. John's wort, because of which it can not be taken by pregnant or lactating women, as well as those who take prescription antidepressants.
Even if future studies show that St. John's wort is useful, there are other problems that may prevent the effective use of this plant.One such problem is the preparations of St. John's wort preparations of St. John's wort - recipes of traditional medicine , which are now on the market a lot.Despite the fact that the claimed amount of hypericin and pseudohypericin in them approximately equal, in practice, the concentration of the active substances may vary.For example, in one study, it was found that capsules based Hypericum one concentration grade can be hypericin seventeen times higher than in others.Pseudohypericin concentration difference reaches thirteen times.Another study found that in seven out of ten products based on the amount of St. John's wort hypericin is 75-135% of the volume indicated on the package.In other products the contents of this matter does not exceed half of the stated concentration.In 2003, a study was conducted, the results of which revealed that only two of the 54 drugs based on St. John's wort hypericin concentration no more than 10% different from the stated.
In addition, the packages of such drugs often do not specify what part of the plant used in the production of, and does not list possible side effects.In some preparations, containing St. John's wort, heavy metals were found.
Doctors say that despite the fact that St. John's wort helps some people who suffer from mild or moderate depression, psychotherapy for these disorders is usually more effective.Severe depression treated by means of alternative medicine is useless and potentially dangerous as relying on them, some people postpone visit to the doctor, and it can have very serious consequences.