Kelly's St. John's Wort pages for depression since 1997
What other capsule/pill options besides SJW?
There are a number of other options. SJW is just the most popular, but it doesn't work for absolutely everybody. If you've tried different brands, including one that is known to be of high quality, and you've give it at least six weeks, you can try something else before you go to the doctor for the prescription antidepressant. Don't give up, there are a number of good options.
Let me preface this by saying that I don't have much personal experience with some of the other options. St. John's Wort just worked for me. But there is more information in my message forum from people with more experience than me with 5-HTP, Rhodiola Rosea, SAMe, and other options.
Don't combine different treatments together! If you do, you'll never know which one is working, or why. Too many variables in your treatment make it too hard to figure out what's going on. Plus, if you combine all SJW with 5-HTP or even prescription meds, there's a chance that you get serotonin syndrome, where you actually feel more depressed as a result of too many meds.
Probably the most common option after SJW is 5-HTP, which is also available over the counter. The dosages are completely different from St. John's Wort, but there are some active people here in the forum that have had very good results with it. I'd say it can be as effective as SJW, it's just a different option.
It's is not a good idea to combine 5-HTP with prescription antidepressants in particular. More information about 5-HTP is in the forum and on other websites.
This is an interesting one. It's a herb sold over-the-counter, and I first discovered it from posts in my own message forum. I'm not aware of any scientific studies about it, but I am positive that it's effective. Rhodiola Rosea today is in a similar state to what St. John's Wort was ten or fifteen years ago - not too much is known about it, but there are reports of overwhelming success in treating depression. It should be taken during the day on an empty stomach. Follow the directions in the forum and don't overdo it... and of course, give it some time.
Some people claim SAMe, which is used for a number of things besides depression, can be used to treat depression as well. I think the results are somewhat mixed. It's also very expensive. I'd try one of the other options before I'd look at SAMe, personally.
Other natural optionsPeople too easily discount some of the most obvious ways to combat depression. I am a very big believer that sunlight and exercise made a dramatic difference. People get far less sunlight nowadays than years ago, because we're all stuck in offices all day long. And exercise, while good for you, is so easy to sluff off.
Light box therapyLight boxes with full-spectrum lights have long been used to treat S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder), and many people have used them with success. They are used more in the winter time, when we get far less sunlight than usual. One word of caution: protect your eyes, particularly if you're taking St. John's Wort which increases your sensitivity to sunlight. You don't want to damage your eyes on the road to recovery from depressions. Somewhat related to light box therapy are tanning beds. There's all sorts of debate about how harmful they are, but most recent scientific studies show that tanning beds are actually less harmful that suntaning outside - because they can can control the types of UV light that is emitted from the bulbs. Since I'm a big believer that sunlight is very important to our health, well-being and emotional outlook, tanning beds can be a good thing. But again, if you're taking SJW remember that it increases your sensitivity to sunlight, so you may burn more easily.
Meditation and yogaWhen a psychiatrist, psychologist or regular doctor tells his patients about the benefits of meditation, the patient sometimes feels like he/she has been ripped off. It's too easy to deny the benefits of meditating just 20 minutes per day. It can make a remarkable difference. If it's just not for you, fine. But don't discount it too soon. Twenty minutes a day spent meditating can have many health benefits.
Exercise and sunlightWell, I've wrote about this already. It's too easy to say, "yeah, whatever" and reside to just taking a pill to overcome your depression. If you write off exercise and sunlight altogether, you're doing yourself a disservice.
Eating healthyNo more McDonalds fat burgers for fat people. Through the chemical process of hydrogenating lard and oil, McDonalds and all the other fast food chains can take otherwise healthy food and make it very bad for you, though saturated fats that stay in your body like lead weights. Cutting out fatty foods and eating healthy not only makes you feel better about yourself, it can impact how your body functions and processes serotonin (which affects depression and your moods overall).
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