Hypericum in the treatment of seasonal affective disorders.
ABSTRACT Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) represents a subgroup of major depression with a regular occurrence of symptoms in autumn/winter and full remission in spring/summer. Light therapy (LT) has become the standard treatment of this type of depression. Apart from this, pharmacotherapy with antidepressants also seems to provide an improvement of SAD symptoms. The aim of this controlled, single-blind study was to evaluate if hypericum, a plant extract, could be beneficial in treating SAD patients and whether the combination with LT would be additionally advantageous. Patients who fulfilled DSM-III-R criteria for major depression with seasonal pattern were randomized in a 4-week treatment study with 900 mg of hypericum per day combined with either bright (3000 lux, n = 10) or dim (< 300 lux, n = 10) light condition. Light therapy was applied for 2 hours daily. We found a significant (MANOVA, P < .001) reduction of the Hamilton Depression Scale score in both groups but no significant difference between the two groups. Our data suggest that pharmacologic treatment with hypericum may be an efficient therapy in patients with seasonal affective disorder.
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ABSTRACT: Herbal medicines were the "sole" source of medicine for thousands of years, in every culture since the advent of human civilization. Today, patients are increasing the use of these botanicals for numerous conditions, such as mood and cognition. This article will explore commonly used herbal remedies for mood and cognition functioning. It is imperative that nurses and nurse practitioners obtain expertise with these botanicals with regard to efficacy, adverse effects and contraindications, possible drug interactions, and safety considerations.Holistic nursing practice 01/2012; 26(1):38-51. · 0.34 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To review preclinical information related to possible antidepressant mechanism(s) of action of St. John's wort in order to address the issue of whether its purported clinical effectiveness has a rational pharmacologic basis. Primary and review articles were identified by a MEDLINE search (1966-January 1998) and through secondary sources. Many of the original German articles had English abstracts, but where necessary, German articles were translated into English. The results of a new screen of hypericin activity at receptor and uptake sites are summarized. All of the articles identified from the data sources were evaluated and all information deemed relevant was included in this review. The neuropharmacology of St. John's wort has been examined in only a few studies. A mechanism similar to that of the synthetic antidepressants, such as the selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors or monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, might play a role, but other mechanisms are possible. Hypericum extracts have only weak activity in assays related to mechanisms of the synthetic antidepressants, that is, inhibition of MAO, catechol O-methyltransferase, or serotonin reuptake. It has been postulated that the clinical efficacy of St. John's wort could be attributable to the combined contribution of several mechanisms, each one too weak by itself to account for the overall effect. The recent demonstration of a significant affinity of hypericin for sigma receptors presents new possibilities for consideration.Annals of Pharmacotherapy 12/1998; 32(11):1201-8. · 2.92 Impact Factor
Article: Seasonal affective disorder.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of recurrent depressive or bipolar disorder, with episodes that vary in severity. Seasonal patterns of depressive episodes are common, but SAD seems to be less common than such patterns suggest. SAD was at first believed to be related to abnormal melatonin metabolism, but later findings did not support this hypothesis. Studies of brain serotonin function support the hypothesis of disturbed activity. The short-allele polymorphism for serotonin transporter is more common in patients with SAD than in healthy people. Atypical depressive symptoms commonly precede impaired functioning, and somatic symptoms are frequently the presenting complaint at visits to family physicians. The best treatment regimens include 2500 Ix of artificial light exposure in the morning. When patients seem to have no response or to prefer another treatment, antidepressants should be considered.The Lancet 11/1998; 352(9137):1369-74. · 39.21 Impact Factor