Guide to Herbal Medicine

The following information about commonly used herbs in the treatment of anxiety related disorders has been developed in association with Schwabe.
-    St John”s Wort
-    Valerian
-    Passion Flower

St John’s Wort

St Johns  WortSt John”s Wort (Hypericum perforatum L) has been used as a remedy for nerve disorders for more than 2000 years.  This bushy perennial plant, which has bright yellow flowers, grows wild in many parts of the world including Europe, Asia and the USA.  The petals and leaves of the plant contain a number of unique substances such as hypericin and hyperforin. The herb is a popular herbal medicine for the treatment of low mood, with at least 30 studies on more than 1,700 patients showing that St John”s Wort can be an effective remedy for mild- to-moderate depression without the side effects of more conventional anti-depressants.
While it is not clear exactly how St John”s Wort works, it is thought that is helps to prolong the action of serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter, which when deficient can result in low mood.  It also often used for symptoms associated with sleep problems, SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and PMS.
300mg (900mcg hypericin) to 900mg of St. John”s Wort can be taken daily. One-a-day formulations are available.
When taking St. John”s Wort it is important to be aware of any interactions with medication you are currently taking.

When considering taking St. John”s Wort you should be aware of the following:
-    If you are taking prescribed medicines, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking St John”s wort. It can interfere with how some prescribed medicines work.
-    Do not take with other anti-depressant drugs.
-    Do not take with the following: warfarin, cyclosporine, oral contraceptives, anti-convulsants, digoxin, theophylline, HIV protease inhibitors, triptans and SSRI anti-depressants.
-    Do not take during pregnancy or breast-feeding.
-    Avoid over-exposure to the sun especially if fair-skinned while taking St John”s wort.

To find out more about St. John”s Wort visit  www.herbfacts.co.uk/pages/herb-file/st-johns-wort.php
St John”s Wort can be found in Karma – a traditional herbal medicinal product used to relieve the symptoms of slightly low mood and mild anxiety based on traditional use only.

Karma is registered by the MHRA under the traditional herbal medicines registration scheme, which means that it meets a standard of safety, quality and information.  Karma contains 425mg of extract (as dry extracts) from St John”s Wort aerial parts (Hypericum perforatum L.) and costs £14.99 for 30 tablets, or £24.99 for 60 tablets. Always read the label. KarmaMood® contains 250mg of extract (as dry extracts) from St John”s Wort aerial parts (Hypericum perforatum L.) and costs £9.99 for 30 tablets.

KarmaMood is available in the same outlets as Karma plus Waitrose, Morrisons and Tesco, and other leading independent pharmacies and health food stores nationwide. For more information visit www.karmamood.co.uk

For further information about St John’s Wort and other herbs, please see: http://www.herbfacts.co.uk/

Valerian

Valerian

Valerian is found growing in North America and Europe and is recognisable from its pinkish flowers that grow from a tuberous rhizome and its distinctive rather unpleasant smell.  Throughout history, Valerian has been used medically to treat nervous anxiety, reduce muscle tension and relieve mild insomnia.
Valerian is now widely cultivated for medical use as it contains several unique substances, such as valerenic acid and valeranon that have a relaxant action that is particularly effective in treating stress and anxiety.
Valerian is also widely used for sleep problems, particularly sleep disturbances due to anxiety.  Valerian helps to calm the brain and body rather than inducing sleep directly, allowing sleep to occur naturally.  It is often combined with other herbs such as lemon balm and hops, both of which are well known for their calming properties.

Before taking Valerian, you need to be aware of the following:
-    Valerian enhances the action of sleep-enhancing drugs so should not be taken at the same time as sleeping pills or tranquillisers, although it can be combined with other herbs such as camomile, melissa or passionflower.
-    Do not take if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
-    Valerian should not be taken before driving or any other situation where you need to be alert.
-    Valerian is not suitable for children

Valerian can be found in NiteHerb – a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances due to symptoms of mild anxiety based on traditional use only. NiteHerb is regulated by the MHRA for safety and quality, and contains clear patient information.  Each NiteHerb tablet contains 150mg of extract (as dry extract) from valerian root and is priced at £5.99 for 30 tablets. One to two NiteHerb tablets should be taken half an hour before bedtime for two to four weeks continuously. Always read the label.

It is available nationwide from Boots, Waitrose, Morrisons, Superdrug and Holland & Barrett and leading pharmacy and health food stores.  For more information visit www.niteherb.co.uk

Passionflower

Passionflower is a climbing shrub with large flowers with white petals surrounded by a crown of pink or violet filaments and large stamens that is native to South America, but is widely cultivated throughout Europe. Passionflower has long been valued by herbal practitioners for its calming and sedative actions and it has been used over the years for anxiety, fatigue and insomnia.  It contains alkaloids, glycosides and steroids and it is thought that the alkaloid (once known as passiflorine) is the main active ingredient. Today, Passionflower is widely used for anxiety and nervous tension, and is often combined with valerian and/or hops.

For further information about Passionflower visit www.herbfacts.co.uk/pages/herb-file/passionflower.php
Before taking Passionflower you need to be aware of the following:

-    Do not take passionflower if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Passion Flower can be found in Relaxherb – a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of symptoms associated with stress such as mild anxiety, based on traditional use only. RelaxHerb is regulated by the MHRA for safety and quality, and contains clear patient information. Each RelaxHerb® tablet contains 425mg of dry extract from passion flower (Passiflora incarnata L.) equivalent to 2125-2975mg of passion flower.

RelaxHerb® is priced at £8.99 for 30 tablets and available from Boots and other leading independent pharmacies and health food stores nationwide. Adults: Take one tablet per day. Always read the label.  For more information visit www.relaxherb.co.uk