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Testimonial - Severe Depression Relieved

#1
Howdy,

First off I want to thank Kelly for this board. I have been looking for a good forum for people with depression using SJW and I really appreciate this place!

I am a 37 year old male who has been suffering major depression my entire life. Every day was torture. I had tried talk therapy and saw little results and gave Paxil a try but felt no relief. I had long ago given up and have just tried to muddle through. But one day, lo and behold, I came upon some pages discussing the efficacy of SJW and Sam-e.

I loaded up on a handful of different natural meds under the assumption that:

1. If I was going to try this I wanted the best shot at being successful
2. I didn't know how many more times I could get my hopes up so, by golly, this had better work

I took smaller doses of everything including 5-htp, sam-e, dmae, sjw etc and wonder of wonders noticed a major improvement!!! Eventually I ran out and due to circumstances couldn't afford to buy everything again. The depression came back and I just bought SJW after a lot of reading. Sure enough I saw an immediate effect but not at the same level the cocktail had given me. After reading some more studies I saw that max dosage for severe depression could be up to 1800mg and so upped my dosage.

I can now say that for the first time in my life I don't spend my day filled with sadness, guilt, wracking pain and negative thoughts. I can't explain to people who haven't lived through it how amazing this is and how many ways my mind and outlook has changed. Perhaps I might compare it to having extremely poor vision and getting your first pair of glasses. Ah, I can SEE!

My journey is not through. I expect to try to mix and match an even more perfect combination and dosages as well as experiment in other ways. I have even found that taking my SJW in two doses in a day is better for me than seperating into three doses.

But now my main worry is that the SJW will quit working and I'll have to switch over to Sam-e or something else rather than can I make it through another day. I have hope again.

I fully expect to take something for the rest of my life. Recently I ran short and reduced my daily dosage to ration things until the new bottle came through. That return to even partial pain was a shock I don't want to repeat.

For anyone out there seeing this website through the haze of pain that so many of us here have lived through I urge you to give SJW, Sam-e etc a very thorough try. I can attest that it has changed my life. Good luck and God bless. :dance:
 
#2
relate

Thanks for sharing your story. I too am 37 male who has suffered depression all my life. I just started SJW 4 days ago and already I am feeling improvement. I related to your story and just wanted to drop you a line and say thanks.
Will
 
#3
I just started taking SJW 4 days ago and am starting to feel better. Maybe part of it is knowing we are doing something proactive for ourselves. Thanks for sharing your stories.
 
#4
Great! I'm so glad to hear that people are being helped by SJW! :smile: It has changed by life in so many ways that I can't even explain it. It is not as if suddenly every day is beautiful. It is just that now I feel like I think I should have felt all my life. There are ups and downs but it is nothing like before. God bless and keep on keeping on. If SJW doesn't work for you or quits working then please don't give up. Take heart in your positive experience and know that there is solution and keep looking until you find it. It is worth it.
 
#5
Ocd

Hello,

I know the main focus of the forum is depression but I suffer from pure O OCD. I do not have any visible compulsions just obsessive thoughts and anxiety, which also leads to depression. I do not take any form of medication but at times, the OCD can be a challenge to get through the day. Is there anyone out there who has taken SJW for OCD and if so, what were the results?

Thanks in advance
 
#6
Great post!

Excellent post, there's no way I could've said it better myself. The putting on the glasses thing and being able to SEE :glasses: said it all!!! Whew!!!! I wish I had more time to explain, but you basically already explained exactly the changes I've seen take place in myself as well. I'll compliment your other point as well and address the "midday-demon unholy-ghosts" that might be lurking out in the audience: Don't despair, look through the haze and realize that there is hope. Do not go into Walmart and buy some crap brand of SJW just because it's a penny a bottle, they are not selling herbs & vitamins, let me reiterate, go ahead and pay up to $20 a bottle for the SJW or RR, it is nothing, and for this amount of peace in your life it's a bargain. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
 
#8
Here are some studies

What, can't you use Google? :talkface: I'm the OP and still having life changing effects. I'll share what little I know.

Here are a few links discussing such studies:

http://www.worldwidehealthcenter.net/articles-228.html

This is the MD-written article that first alerted me to the possibility that the 900mg dose I was taking wasn't necessarily the optimum dosage considering the severity of my depression. Basically, it is a criticism of some of the studies, and resulting articles, regarding SJW. Here is the nut graph that convinced me:

"There is, in fact, one published study using SJW in severe depression. Dr. Ernst-Ulrich Vorbach and colleagues in Germany conducted a multi-center study with 209 severely depressed patients, of whom 38 were hospitalized at the time.3 They were given 1800 mg daily, versus Shelton's 900 mg for 4 weeks, increasing to 1200 mg if no response, and compared it to imipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant. While the results in the two groups were similar, the side effects in the SJW group, despite the high dose, were far lower.

So, SJW may, after all, be useful for severe depression, given in the right dose. Can you imagine a Pfizer study that gives the patients a half dose of Zoloft, then concludes that their product was ineffective?"

And here is a link with a more detailed discussion of that particular study:

http://pb.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/full/24/6/232

A recent randomised, double-blind six-week study compared 1800 mg daily of a special extract of St John's Wort called LI160 with 150 mg daily of imipramine (Vorbach et al, 1997). The trial involved 209 patients, 107 received LI160 and 102 received imipramine. There were no significant differences between the two groups. Every patient in the trial had an ICD-10 F 33.2 diagnosis (severe episode of major depression, recurrent without psychotic symptoms; World Health Organization, 1992). Patients did not receive any other medication except chloral hydrate for insomnia, they were also allowed to continue taking lithium.


The HAM-D, the CGI and the Von Zerssen Depression Scale (VZD; Zerssen et al, 1974) were taken at Days -3, 0, 7, 14, 28 and 42 to measure depressive symptoms. In the comparison between treatments Vorbach et al assumed equivalent efficacy if the difference in the results was within a 25% deviation (i.e. they were within 25% of each other). After six weeks the HAM-D score for the patients taking LI160 had dropped from 25.3 to 14.4. In the imipramine group the score had decreased from 26.1 to 13.4. This result and the changes in the CGI and VZD scales were not statistically equivalent within the 25% deviation interval. In all cases there were greater improvements in the imipramine group.
The results were analysed to identify the number of patients in each group who showed a 50% and 33% reduction in the total HAM-D score. In the LI160 group there were 35.3% and 57.9% responders respectively; this compared with 41.2% and 62.7% response rates in the imipramine group. These results were statistically equivalent within the 25% deviation interval.

Most studies don't use 1800mg at the start. At most they wind up being something like 6-8 week studies and 2-4 weeks in they up the dosage to 1800 if the lower dose is ineffective. Here is an example:

http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/330/7490/503

Objective To investigate the efficacy of hypericum extract WS 5570 (St John's wort) compared with paroxetine in patients with moderate to severe major depression. Design Randomised double blind, double dummy, reference controlled, multicentre non-inferiority trial.
Setting 21 psychiatric primary care practices in Germany.
Participants 251 adult outpatients with acute major depression with total score
22 on the 17 item Hamilton depression scale.
Interventions 900 mg/day hypericum extract WS 5570 three times a day or 20 mg paroxetine once a day for six weeks. In initial non-responders doses were increased to 1800 mg/day hypericum or 40 mg/day paroxetine after two weeks.
Main outcome measures Change in score on Hamilton depression scale from baseline to day 42 (primary outcome). Secondary measures were change in scores on Montgomery-?sberg depression rating scale, clinical global impressions, and Beck depression inventory.
Results The Hamilton depression total score decreased by mean 14.4 (SD 8.8) points, corresponding to 56.6% (SD 34.3%) of the baseline value, in the hypericum group and by 11.4 (SD 8.6) points (44.8% (SD 33.5%) of baseline value) in the paroxetine group (intention to treat analysis; similar results were observed in the per protocol analysis).

----------------------------------------------------

My personal experience is that 900mg (for me) is helpful but not terribly effective. 1800mg changed my life.

I'm not a doctor. My point was that if your depression is severe, or merely if you have some minor positive effects but still experience symptoms, then consider upping your dosage and see if your experience mirrors mine.

I would never suggest everyone start at 1800mg. I would recommend giveing SJW a good 6 week trial at 900mg and then start upping dosage by 300mg every week or two until you MAX at 1800mg. Track your effects.

You may experience an inverted U of effectiveness where you move up your dosage and experience more relief then move up more and start having less positive effects. At that point you need to back off to where you had the best outcome.

Keep in mind that even if your depression is relieved you are still going to have lots of bad mental habits left over from the long years of depression that need to be overcome. One of the upsides of SJW is that you have a much easier time fighting, and winning, such battles.

But, if your depression is as severe as mine was, and you are desperate to see if SJW was for you before moving on to SAM-E, then I can't pooh-pooh starting at 1800mg for six weeks and checking the effects.

Note, I said severe depression (long term) not the "blues." ;)
 
#10
I've lowered my dosage

Howdy,

I just thought that I would share a personal experience which illustrates a point Kelly has made in another thread on the forum.

For a few weeks I was feeling worse and for a while figured that I was just stressed and tired. Nothing like it used to be, mind you, but still less than my best. By the end I had begun to wonder if I had a bad batch of SJW and looking forward to when the bottle ran out so I would get a new batch.

It turned out I missed my morning dose of 900mg a couple of days and upped my night time dosage to 1200mg to somewhat compensate. I then returned to my normal dosage of 1800mg split between morning and night.

It occurred to me that I had felt better on the lower dosage and was feeling worse back on the higher dosage.

So, for the last week I've been taking 1200mg at night and noticed that I my symptoms are back to what they used to be when I started on 1800mg.

I just wanted to reiterate Kelly's point that if you start to feel the effects of SJW wane to try cutting back on your dosage. It has certainly worked for me.

I thought this was especially important to bring up since this thread has a certain focus on higher dosage levels for severe depression. It may be that over time you need to cut back to maintain optimum effectiveness.

Thanks to Kelly for bringing that to my attention. :glasses:

---------------------------------------

Edited as I just noticed that my first post in this thread was about one year ago so this change in my dosage is pretty much lined up with my one year anniversary with SJW.
 
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okieblonde

Regular Member
#11
I am wondering if I should try upping my dosage. SJW has worked wonderful for me at 900 mg. My depression is totally gone. I still have issues with motivation though, not motivation to do the things I like, but motivation to do the things I don't like, but know they need to be done (cleaning house, getting work done etc.)

Any advice?
 
#12
Interaction w/other herbal supplements?

I just starting taking SJW two days ago. I feel good, with no apparent physical side effects, and a very even temper and mood which I have not enjoyed in a long time. I have a positive outlook for this remedy, and perhaps that is mainly the benefit so far, but anyway, I'm pleased to have found something without side effects that may help me. I've had experiences with two prescribed antidepressants, Paxil and Zoloft, and neither was an option for me because of terrible side effects and/or ineffectiveness.

Currently I am also experiencing some digestive issues and I'm considering using an herbal supplement product to cleanse my system. I'm wondering if anyone has experience with interactions of SJW with other herbal supplements?
 
#13
I just logged in to update my progress in this thread and noticed I had a PM from last year. I do apologize PM'er that I didn't get the question earlier. I will address it later in this post.

Currently I am on 900 mg a day and doing very well. Thank God for St. John's Wort! I spent some time at 1200mg and decided to give 900mg a try.

I am very happy that I was able to start at the 1800mg and get relief but after almost a year I was able to reduce my dosage and still maintain (or get back) my mental gains.

The PMer wrote:

"I saw your posts, stating that when you first started using St. John's wort, 900 mg per day did not work for you, but 1,800 mg did work for you. My question is this: Once you upped the dosage to 1,800 mg per day, how soon did you see a difference (a few days, one week, six weeks, etc...).
I have been on SJW for about 5 - 6 weeks now, but I was only taking 300 mg per day for the first month. I have been on 900 mg per day for about 10 days now. I don't feel any differerence yet (still feel depressed). I was told by soneone on this forum that I should give the 900 mg per day a full six weeks before deciding what to do next. I will most likely do that, but I wanted to get your opinion on how soon you saw a difference once you increased your dosage."

I am not a doctor or psychiatrist, but I was one of those lucky people who felt the effects of SJW immediately (at high dosage.) I literally felt like a different person within days.

So, I can't tell you what to do. You might consider -- if you are severely depressed, if you have tried 900mg for some real period of time and felt little to no relief -- upping the dosage to 1800 mg.

With my dosages I was lucky that I was able to get a dose that helped me and could feel something wacky and not right going on that signalled me. I got lucky that I messed up my dosage and was able to notice that I needed to drop my dosage

I am not a doctor I am only sharing my experiences. I don't really want to give "advice" because all I know is what happened with me and I have outlined my experiences here in the hope that it might help someone else out there in pain.

God bless and good luck. Don't give up!
 
#14
Your post has given me hope! I'm a chronic insomnia which is caused by my severe obsessive compulsive thoughts. I read up on SJW and was told that it only works for those with mild to moderate depression/anxiety/etc.. However after reading your post I feel a renewed sense of hope.

With 5 htp I felt an immediate slight lift of my thoughts but the side effect I received (irregular heart beat) was unbearable. I tried SJW before but probably didnt stick to it long enough to see any benefit. I think i'm going to try it again, this time maybe at a higher dosage.

Do you thing SJW alone is just as effective as those strong SSRI drugs such as paxil?
 

srevell

Regular Member
#15
kitana89;8569 said:
Do you thing SJW alone is just as effective as those strong SSRI drugs such as paxil?
Yes. On my blog I have posted a review of a meta-analysis of data from 29 studies in which SJW was compared to prescription antidepressants. It was found that the SJW tested in the trials were superior to placebos and as effective as standard antidepressants, with fewer side effects. You can see the full review at:-

http://www.stjohnswortblog.com/uncategorized/st-johns-wort-vs-prescription-antidepressants

There is some suggestion from newer studies that the SSRIs may be no better than the older tricyclic antidepressants.

Steve
 
#16
Still going strong

Checking in now five years down the road and still taking St. John's Wort. My life has changed completely. It still isn't "perfect" and I still have times of anxiety, irritability or pain. However, when I think back on those many dark years of basically wanting to kill myself between the ages of 12 and 37 (that is not exaggeration) I can't thank God enough for the gift of St. John's Wort. Before, I was daily tortured. Now, I have setbacks and bumps in the road.

If I go a few days without taking them the downward slide is apparent. I am currently taking 900mg daily of GNC brand SJW. Likely, I will be on this gentle herbal supplement the rest of my. That's okay. Except for the cost of a couple of Cafe Mocha's from Starbucks a month I have no downside or side effects.

Don't give up on yourself. You are worth it! Keep trying until you find YOUR answer. Good luck and God bless.
 
#17
hibbs02;6669 said:
What, can't you use Google? :talkface: I'm the OP and still having life changing effects. I'll share what little I know.

My personal experience is that 900mg (for me) is helpful but not terribly effective. 1800mg changed my life.

I'm not a doctor. My point was that if your depression is severe, or merely if you have some minor positive effects but still experience symptoms, then consider upping your dosage and see if your experience mirrors mine.

I would never suggest everyone start at 1800mg. I would recommend giveing SJW a good 6 week trial at 900mg and then start upping dosage by 300mg every week or two until you MAX at 1800mg. Track your effects.

You may experience an inverted U of effectiveness where you move up your dosage and experience more relief then move up more and start having less positive effects. At that point you need to back off to where you had the best outcome.

Keep in mind that even if your depression is relieved you are still going to have lots of bad mental habits left over from the long years of depression that need to be overcome. One of the upsides of SJW is that you have a much easier time fighting, and winning, such battles.

But, if your depression is as severe as mine was, and you are desperate to see if SJW was for you before moving on to SAM-E, then I can't pooh-pooh starting at 1800mg for six weeks and checking the effects.

Note, I said severe depression (long term) not the "blues." ;)
Hi Hibbs02,
I was reading your posts, which I think go back to 2007/2008 and thought of writing to you.

I have been on SJW for 5 weeks now. In the first week I was only takeng 500mg a day, the 2nd, 3rd week 600 mg . For the past 2 weeks I have been taking 900 mg. The brand I am taking is Perika. It is such a shame, but for about 5 days it is not working as well as it was at the beginning. It says on the bottle to take 1 tablet 3 X a day and I have also read on this forum about other people taking Perika 3 X a day.

Reading your post makes me wonder, whether I should try taking a higher dose. I guess I have to just try it.

I have tried 5 HTP, but like others, stopped it because I started having chest pains and irregular heart beat.

Is it really save to take more St John's Wort?

Mina
 
#18
Up the dose?

Hi Mina,

I do not have the exact answer as I have never tried taking more than 3x daily (currently Nature's Bounty).
But I can safely say after being on SJW for over 10 month that this time of the year is very tricky. What works wonders during spring, summer and autumn for many people will not be sufficient during these horrid winter months (SAD syndrome).

I have tried 3 different brands so far, including Perika which was very good indeed, although a bit pricey. However regardless of the brand, after initially starting on 3x300 a day as per labels, a few weeks later I realised that 2x300 is perfect for me and was almost a happy bunny - or at least 'normal' - during summer and autumn, (while before taking SJW summers seemed just as grey as any other time of the year).

But come November and it started going downhill, even though I did not change the dosage. December was a nightmare and I still have not recovered, but just a few days ago I though I will increase to 900mg daily instead of just throwing in the towel.

The funny thing is that this was due to some readings I have done on prescription drugs. I thought SJW has 'lost it's magic' on me and I might have to go back to the GP and get something prescribed (with all respect; I'm sure she would have been delighted to do so, if I'd confessed that the 'herbal remedy' had failed ;-).
Anyways, in the blogs and reviews on Citalopram, Fluxotine (the ones I was prescribed before I found SJW) and other anti depressants, many people said, their doctor have upped the dose (often doubled) during this period and then just before spring started lowering again.

I am no expert but if SJW works chemically similarly to SSRIs in the brain ( less the very unpleasant side effects) then can't see why shouldn't it be used similarly if necessary?
Have to admit though that 1800mg SJW (double the recommended) a day sounds too much.

These are just my thoughts, but I'm kicking myself that I haven't clicked and increase the dose 2-3 month ago even though I felt fine on 600mg at the time, but should have taken precautions before the 'dark months' arrived...Try and error I guess, but it seems, that's what docs need to do with prescription drugs, because individuals respond differently.


(Just had to add: I find it astonishing just how much I do not think when slipping into depression; when it gets bad, instead of thinking that there might be a solution (like up the dose in this case) I just wanted to give up because it 'does not help me anyway'. But I am starting to understand that this is a state of mind, that slowly sneaks in and takes over thoughts and emotions undetectably, until it's almost too late....weird and creepy at the same time.)
 
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#19
higher dose SJW

Dear June,

Thank you for your reply and your thoughts, they are greatly appreciated. I do feel less alone, as you can imagine, when it is the same problem for all of us.


But come November and it started going downhill, even though I did not change the dosage. December was a nightmare and I still have not recovered, but just a few days ago I though I will increase to 900mg daily instead of just throwing in the towel.

I am not thinking about giving up, since I know perfectly well what it feels like to be on Citalopram or Fluxotine.


The funny thing is that this was due to some readings I have done on prescription drugs. I thought SJW has 'lost it's magic' on me and I might have to go back to the GP and get something prescribed (with all respect; I'm sure she would have been delighted to do so, if I'd confessed that the 'herbal remedy' had failed ;-). Ha, ha. They are all the same, are’t they??!!

Anyways, in the blogs and reviews on Citalopram, Fluxotine (the ones I was prescribed before I found SJW) and other anti depressants, many people said, their doctor have upped the dose (often doubled) during this period and then just before spring started lowering again.

I am no expert but if SJW works chemically similarly to SSRIs in the brain ( less the very unpleasant side effects) then can't see why shouldn't it be used similarly if necessary?
Have to admit though that 1800mg SJW (double the recommended) a day sounds too much.


Makes sense. :smile:


(Just had to add: I find it astonishing just how much I do not think when slipping into depression; when it gets bad, instead of thinking that there might be a solution (like up the dose in this case) I just wanted to give up because it 'does not help me anyway'. But I am starting to understand that this is a state of mind, that slowly sneaks in and takes over thoughts and emotions undetectably, until it's almost too late....weird and creepy at the same time.)[/QUOTE]
Yes, I know what you mean. Thinking straight and being focused is very often a problem for me too


Many many thanks, lots of love and healing to you (however cheezy that sounds!)
Mina

 

Christle

Regular Member
#20
Hi Everyone:
I already I have more than three weeks, taking sjw and a week after starting with sjw, I decided adding 5-hpt.
I am taking 900 mg of sjw, and from 100 to 200 mg of 5-htp how I feel is necessary, but I do not see a significant change, I have moderate depression and general anxiety, along with some features of OCD .
My question is the following, for those who know more about this than me, should I go up sjw dose? perhaps at 1200 mg? and see what happens? I just want to be sure, considering that I also take 5htp, I do not know if it will be appropriate. Would appreciate your help and advice, thanks in advance, have a nice day.:lookaround: