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Can The St John's Wort Herb Help ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Sufferers?

Posted Aug 26 2008 4:29pm
Another great article from Claire Williams, Editor of Sleepydust.

Copyright, Claire Williams, 2003-2005. All Rights Reserved.

Before I begin...

I am a Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome / Chronic Fatigue

Syndrome sufferer myself but I am not medically trained! I

am merely passing on to you, things I have read and learnt

which may interest you. I am not a 'health expert', so

please - if you come across anything in this article that

you find interesting, do a little research on it yourself

and contact your doctor or health professional about it

before taking any advice from this article.

Depression, anxiety and sleep disorders can all be symptoms

of ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Whereas some ME/CFS

sufferers may never experience depression and anxiety as

symptoms of their ME/CFS, others unfortunately do.

For example, according to Dr Shepherd in his book

'Living With ME', true clinical depression probably affects

between 25-33% of ME/CFS sufferers at some stage.

----- SIDE NOTE ------

I often recommend Dr Shepherd's book 'Living With ME' because it's a good 'all-rounder'.

You can read my review about this book here:

----- SIDE NOTE ------

Many ME/CFS sufferers are prescribed antidepressants to

help them sleep and to ease their fatigue (even if they are

not depressed). But although prescribed antidepressants

do help **some** ME/CFS sufferers, others find that they

experience bad side-effects.

St Johns Wort (also known as Hypericum perforatum) is an

interesting natural alternative to prescription


Many medics seem to say that it has far fewer side

effects, yet it apparently works just as effectively as

common SSRI antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil/Seroxat

and Zoloft. In fact, according to Dr Charles Shepherd in

his book 'Living With M.E.' (mentioned above), St John's

Wort seems to have a lower incidence of side effects

(around 20%) - much lower than that seen with conventional

antidepressant drugs (around 60%).

----- SIDE NOTE ------

For more information about the 'darker side' of SSRI

antidepressants visit:

----- SIDE NOTE ------

With a 2,400 year history of safe and effective use, the

use of St Johns Wort has risen dramatically recently,

especially in Britain. And in Germany, they apparently use

St Johns Wort a lot to treat depression, anxiety and sleep

disorders, all of which, as mentioned earlier, can be

symptoms of ME/CFS.

St John's Wort has both anti-viral and anti-depressive

properties and has been used by Europeans for centuries as

a remedy for:

- sleep

- depression

- anxiety


- menstrual cramps

- menopausal stress

- irritability

- neuralgia

- tension

------ SIDE NOTE ------

To find out how St Johns Wort works visit:

------ SIDE NOTE ------

Having said that, one of the most common side effects of

St John's Wort is fatigue, which is obviously relevant when

you suffer from ME/CFS! So if you do try St John's Wort,

keep an eye on your energy levels. If they plummet even

further, it may be a sign to rethink whether you should be

taking it or not.

What's more, St John's Wort **has** been found to interfere

with some prescription medicines. Studies published in the

Lancet and the British Medical Journal have shown that

St John's Wort speeds up the breakdown of medicines in the

body, leading to lower levels of the drugs in the blood.

So if you're taking other medication or supplements of any

kind, that's another factor for you and your doctor to

consider before taking St Johns Wort.

------ SIDE NOTE ------

There are other side effects and dangers of St Johns Wort.

You can find out more about some of these on these two pages:

------ SIDE NOTE ------

As with taking any new substance for the first time, the best

thing you can do is to approach St Johns Wort with caution.

In essence, you should **not** take St John's Wort until

you have checked with your doctor that it is safe to do so.

It's also often advised to start slowly with a low dosage.

Although sometimes it gets remarkable results, sometimes

St John's Wort does nothing. It really is down to the

individual. But research suggests that you do need to take

St John's Wort for a number of weeks in order for it

to work.

Bottom line?

Always, ALWAYS check with your doctor first before taking

St Johns Wort. And if you do decide to take it, keep an eye

on your energy levels. If your fatigue worsens noticeably,

then just be aware that it might be the St Johns Wort

that's causing it.

And if you do decide to try St Johns Wort, remember that

research shows that you need to take St Johns Wort for a

few weeks in order for it to start working.


To find out more about St John's Wort visit:

And to read reviews of St Johns Wort supplements, vist:


Claire Williams is editor of

and has suffered from Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome

/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since 1995.

She created '' to help

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

sufferers deal with their condition - from

handling their money worries, to recovering

from their illness...

To subscribe to the newsletter in which this article was

first published, please go to:

Copyright, Claire Williams, 2003-2005. All Rights Reserved.

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