Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett on St. John’s Wort-5

Part 5, Summary and References

Summary

St. John’s wort is another effective alternative to antidepressants that may be more acceptable for some women. Its standard use is for mild-to-moderate depression, but it has also been used for major depression. Some cautions are in order. Even though St. John’s wort is a “natural” alternative to medications, it too is a medication and should be treated as such. It should never be used with antidepressants. Mothers need to tell their health care providers that they are taking it, as it can interact with a number of different medications. If used with safety concerns in mind, normal use of this medication does not appear to be harmful to mothers or babies. Although hyperforin is excreted into breast milk, it appears in very low levels in infant plasma and in some cases was undetectable (Hale, 2006; Humphrey, 2007).
REFERENCES

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Hale, T.W. (2006). Medications and mothers’ milk (Vol. 12). Amarillo, TX: Hale Publishing.

Harkness, R., & Bratman, S. (2003). Handbook of drug-herb and drug-supplement interactions. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

Hu, Z.P., Yang, X.X., Chan, S.Y., Xu A.L., Duan, W., Zhu, Y.Z., et al. (2006). St. John’s wort attenuates irinotecan-induced diarrhea via down-regulation of intestinal pro-inflammatory cytokines and inhibition of intestinal epithelial apoptosis. Toxicology & Applied Pharmacology, 216, 225-237.

Humphrey, S. (2003). The nursing mother’s herbal. Minneapolis: Fairview Press.

Humphrey, S. (2007). Herbal therapeutics during lactation. In Hale, T.W. & Hartmann, P.E. (Eds.), Textbook of Human Lactation (pp. 629-654). Amarillo, TX: Hale Publishing.

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Zhou, C., Tabb, M.M., Sadatrafiei, A., Grun, F., Sun, A., & Blumberg, B. (2004). Hyperforin, the active component of St. John’s wort, induces IL-8 expression in human intestinal epithelial cells via a MAPK-dependent, NF-kappaB-independent pathway. Journal of Clinical Immunology, 24, 623-636.

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